Insights + News + Updates

Last Minute Tax Considerations to Save Donors Money in April!

By | All Posts, Annual Giving, Capacity Building, Donor Cultivation, Fundraising, Insights, Legislative + Advocacy, News You Can Use, Planned Giving, Stewardship | No Comments

Editor’s Note: JB+A  is pleased to feature our friend and colleague William McMorran, Senior Partner and Planned Giving Consultant with Green Oak Consulting Group, which provides tailored planned giving solutions for nonprofit organizations, individuals and retirement communities.  Bill believes donors, and the charities that they believe in, deserve a committed and trusted partner to create and support meaningful planned gifts. For more than two decades, Bill has provided fund development, endowment, planned giving and management services, including investment and administrative support, to charitable organizations. He is widely published expert and a featured speaker in planned giving and tax and health policy.  Bill believes a donor’s goals and objectives are the most important part of the planned giving process. We’re happy to share some sage advice from Bill about end-of-year planned giving and tax strategies.

William McMorran
JB+A Guest Contributor

As we head into the final month of the calendar year, fundraisers know it’s not just a time to focus on holiday celebrations and gift lists:  it’s a great time to look at recent revisions to the tax law and make sure donors are aware of what’s taking place, so they can make educated decisions.

Lower Tax Rates – Consider Your Withholding/Estimated Tax. The new tax law reduced the tax rates in each income tax bracket. This could be good or bad depending on your current bracket. You may actually find yourself in a higher bracket this year. The new law also increased the standard deduction, it may make a difference in whether you itemize or not.

It’s important to look at your withholding or your final quarterly payment now. With the changes and the uncertain withholding patterns this year, make sure that you are still on target to pay your potential liability. The IRS already is worried that taxpayers will under withhold and has issued an alert on this.

Some Itemized Deductions Eliminated – Be Careful. The new tax law eliminated many itemized deductions. The itemized deductions that remain available are:

  • State and local sales, income and property taxes are now capped, up to $10,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, and up to $5,000 for single filers
  • Medical and dental expenses—if they are more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income
  • Home mortgages, lower ceilings for new buyers
  • Charitable gifts

IRA Charitable Transfers Unchanged – A Great Strategy. If you are over 70.5 and have an IRA, you can avoid paying taxes on your required minimum distribution (RMD) by having your IRA Custodian transfer that amount (it can also be higher or lower) to the charity(ies) of your choice, using a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD). This not only saves you from paying taxes on your RMD but lowers your overall income, potentially saving you even more tax dollars.

Look for Savings – Harvest Gains and Losses. Take a look at your investment portfolio, are there gains or losses you can realize? Ideally, you can reduce your tax exposure by taking advantage of any investment losses this year, losses that could offset gains.

Summary: There’s a lot going on for your 2018 income tax return. Look at your withholding/quarterly payments, talk to your advisors and plan while you still can make a difference!

Mindful Fundraising in Membership Organizations

By | All Posts, Annual Giving, Capacity Building, Database Management, Donor Cultivation, Fundraising, Insights, Major Gift Solicitation, News You Can Use, Planned Giving, Stewardship, Strategic Planning | No Comments

Jennifer Studebaker
Coordinator of Administration + Consulting

“We do not engage in fundraising. We’re a membership-based organization.” This is the response I have received when engaging with associations and other nonprofits that operate on a membership model. While I understand developing a giving program sounds like a lot of work, you do not need a sophisticated development department to make giving a part of your organizational culture.

If your membership organization is a registered 501(c)3, you are engaged in fundraising! Membership dues are fully tax deductible. Membership organizations that do not intentionally fundraise are missing out on an opportunity to reinforce member stickiness and ensure your organization’s future financial stability.

I am inviting you to take your current fundraising to the next level by setting an intention to be mindful in your fundraising. You are ahead of a lot of organizations new to fundraising in that you have a built-in donor database of individuals and other organizations that have made an annual commitment to your organization through their membership. These members are invested in your organization’s success, and you may be surprised by their willingness to give when presented the opportunity. Here are some potential next steps to embrace fundraising in your membership organization:

  1. Make it easy to give.
    Your members send you a payment at least once a year, so you are equipped to receive financial transactions. Make it as simple as possible for them to add to their membership dues and submit a separate donation. Add a Donate button to your website. Include a donation option in your membership form. Accept donations at your events.
  1. Make the gift meaningful.
    Let your members know where the funds will be going. If you are seeking to build an endowment to ensure your organization’s financial security, tell them so. If you are planning to build a scholarship fund to help members attend your annual conference, celebrate each year the impact of their donation by sharing the number of scholarships given.
  1. Make way for a legacy.
    Your organization holds a special place in your members’ hearts, and they may wish to extend that commitment beyond their life. Planned giving should be an important part of your fundraising plan. You do not have to be an expert but identify advisors that can help you through the process should you need counsel in how to accept and manage a planned gift.

As someone who has staffed a membership organization, I recognize there are a lot of moving parts between journals to prepare, meetings to plan and memberships to process. However, remember that fundraising is already a part of what you do. I am asking you to make it a conscious part of your daily routine, rather than an unintentional one. Begin bringing mindfulness to your fundraising now. Create a giving plan and program that allows your members to support you beyond their membership dues.

#GivingTuesday – A Kickoff to the Giving Season

By | All Posts, Annual Giving, Capacity Building, Current Events/News, Donor Cultivation, Events, Fundraising, Insights, News You Can Use, Nonprofit Marketing, Social Media, Stewardship, Technology | One Comment

#GivingTuesday 2018! Did you see the billboards announcing its arrival around the Kansas City metro area?

These billboards were made possible by the generosity of Lamar Advertising, the largest provider of outdoor advertising in Kansas City. Each year since 2013, Lamar has partnered with JB+A to raise awareness of #GivingTuesday by providing pro bono digital billboards around our community. “Lamar is happy to be involved with this great organization for the 6th year in a row. We are excited that we are able to raise the awareness in the Kansas City community, and hope the movement continues to flourish,” says Dave Halpin, Sales Manager.

With eighteen billboards throughout the metro area, it is estimated that over 3.5 million people in the last week have been reached through this campaign. Looking back, this suggests that over 21 million Kansas City residents and visitors have seen these billboard announcements over the past 6 years, reminding them of #GivingTuesday. A sincere thanks to Lamar for this valuable act of service!

#GivingTuesday is a movement that harnesses the power of social media and collaboration, and just celebrated its seventh year with nonprofits from 150 countries participating. In 2017, #GivingTuesday saw over 300 million dollars raised, 2.5 million online gifts, and 21 billion social media impressions. The average online gift was $120.40. These numbers have surpassed 2016, which saw 170 million dollars raised overall. Will 2018 be one for the record books?!

How did you engage your donors for #GivingTuesday 2018? Here are some ways that JB+A clients inspired their donors to give and spread the word:

Covenant Retirement Communities

Lend a Hand This #GivingTuesday

Thanks for your interest in supporting Covenant Retirement Communities for #GivingTuesday (Tuesday, Nov. 27th)! By donating to our Benevolent Care Fund, you are assisting countless seniors at our communities who have run out of resources through no fault of their own.

To provide peace-of-mind and financial assistance, the Benevolent Care Fund steps in to assist these residents who may no longer be able to afford services at our community. Without donors like you, the Benevolent Care Fund would not exist. Thank you for your generosity – every gift makes a difference in the lives of our residents.

Developing Potential, Inc.

“Support DPI by texting this Giving Tuesday!” 

This Giving Tuesday, Developing Potential is asking for your support for our Building Lives Capital Campaign.

Developing Potential serves more than 150 adults having developmental disabilities in the Kansas City area. 80% of the individuals we serve need support at meal times, 33% require medication dispersed during the day and 98% live at or below the poverty line. We are blessed to serve these individuals every day but there is a large number of individuals that are NOT receiving services. Developing Potential has embarked on a $3.25 million capital campaign to build a new facility to help alleviate our wait list and to support the unique needs of the individuals we serve.

You can help us on this global day of giving by texting in your donation or donating online, sharing this email and our social media posts leading up to and on Giving Tuesday, and telling your personal story of the impact Developing Potential has had in your life.

Please help us help others this Giving Tuesday!

Warriors’ Ascent

#GivingWarriorsAscent

November 27th, 2018 is #GivingTuesday and as a part of that special day and Veteran’s day (Nov 11th), Warrior’s Ascent is increasing awareness about our cause to help Veterans heal and tend their MIND, BODY and SOUL.

EVEN A SMALL DONATION OF $5 goes a long way to help a Veteran learn new skills and find a team to help them succeed after their service.

If you believe in Veterans and are looking for a way to honor them by giving back, consider making a donation to Warrior’s Ascent.

Remember, #GivingTuesday can really help kickoff your end-of-year giving. Giving does not end on #GivingTuesday, but rather begins a season of generosity and caring that we should carry with us into the new year.

The Campaign Planning Study:  Putting More Action into your Study

By | All Posts, Campaign Planning + Management, Capacity Building, Fundraising, Insights, Major Gift Solicitation, News You Can Use, Strategic Planning | No Comments

Heather Ehlert
Chief Operating Officer

Whether you call it a “Feasibility Study,” “Campaign Planning Study,” “Campaign Readiness Assessment” or “Oh-My-Gosh-We’re-Actually-Thinking-About-a-CAMPAIGN!” a planning study is critical to laying a solid foundation for a large-scale fundraising effort.  Not only does it help prepare your organization internally, but a (good) planning study also externally tests your project plans and campaign concept. But couldn’t/shouldn’t a planning study also include getting a head start on cultivating and soliciting key leadership and lead gifts for the campaign?

That’s where the JB+A Integrated Campaign Planning Study comes into play.

Yes, we need the planning study process to measure internal readiness:

  • Assessing the organization’s infrastructure, giving histories and current/previous activities in fundraising
  • Reviewing the functionality of the Board and other volunteers as related to fundraising
  • Appraising your organization’s financial development strengths
  • Determining what is already in place and what is needed to enhance the overall success of your campaign

Yes, we need to a planning study to test external receptivity and get perspective from top donors, leaders and key influencers:

  • Seeking community feedback about your organization, your programs, your leadership and the specific project within the campaign
  • Gauge the potential for support for the fundraising effort
  • Evaluate the fundraising landscape and market viability (potentially competing efforts)

Then we compile and analyze the findings and develop a final report and campaign action plan containing observations, conclusions and recommendations to serve as a nifty road map for implementing your campaign.

Many times, an organization (the Board) will PAUSE after a planning study final report is presented, to contemplate the findings and recommendations and make its own determination of next steps. Yes, a campaign is serious business – life altering, actually – and the decision to undertake one merits serious reflection.  But too often, an organization is struck by “analysis paralysis” and lets too much time pass before finally deciding to move forward with a campaign.  By then, “real life” is back in full swing, and the project and campaign plan is no longer front and center for staff, volunteers, leadership or prospective donors engaged during the planning study.  A tremendous opportunity is lost.

But wait!  This delay can be avoided, forward energy can be maintained, enthusiasm need not be lost.

A JB+A Integrated Campaign Planning Study also includes critical activities to leverage the awareness and momentum generated during the internal and external assessments:

  • Recruiting campaign leadership (chairs/co-chairs)
  • Organizing and launching the Campaign Steering Committee
  • Appraising and prioritizing your top leadership gifts for the campaign (and that includes strategies for cultivation and solicitation)
  • Soliciting the “Inner Family” (Board members, Campaign Steering Committee and staff)

The JB+A Integrated Campaign Planning Study:  all the tried and true, best practices elements you need from a planning study, PLUS the critical first steps of a campaign.  It’s like having your cake and eating it too.

Is the JB+A Integrated Campaign Planning Study right for your nonprofit?   Give us a call (816-237-1999) or drop us a line (info@fundraisingjba.com) and we’ll help you decide.

Don’t Fear DAFs (Donor-Advised Funds)

By | Annual Giving, Current Events/News, Donor Cultivation, Fiscal Management, Fundraising, Grants, Insights, Major Gift Solicitation, News You Can Use, Stewardship | No Comments

Katie Lord
Vice President

Over the past several months there has been a lot of negative media attention cast upon the nonprofit sector relating to Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs).  But before I dive deeper into my thoughts about the matter, let’s start with the basics.

I have to say you may have your head buried in the sand if you haven’t read something about a DAF, but here’s a refresher.  A Donor-Advised Fund is a philanthropic vehicle established at a public charity.  It allows donors to make a charitable contribution, receive an immediate tax benefit and then recommend grants from the fund over time. Whew! That was a very scholarly explanation from AFP.  In layman’s terms, a DAF is a way for individuals or families to save money or “funds” for philanthropic purposes which they can give out over time.

I know what you’re thinking: “Why don’t they just give all the money to charity now? And better yet, why not give it to my charity?”  As we all know, donor intent can difficult to pinpoint. This vehicle allows donors to give money with the intention of charitable purpose while still researching and identifying the impact they wish to make. It’s far more likely the gift wouldn’t be made at all (to any organization) if the donor is not crystal clear on desired outcomes. As a fundraiser, we know purpose and discovery of desired impact is one of the most special roles we can play in a donor’s journey. The DAF gives time for that process.

While DAFs have gained in popularity, the concept has been around since 1931 when the first DAF was created by New York Community Trust. Over the past few years, with the rise of Community Foundations and organizations such as Fidelity, Schwab and Vanguard Charitable, DAFs have garnered new attention across the philanthropic and financial industries. It’s fair to say we have come a long way!

According to the most recent data for 2016, it is estimated there were just under 300,0000 DAFs in the United States. Last year alone brought staggering growth.  According to the Giving USA Special Report “The Data on Donor-Advised Funds: New Insights You Need to Know” giving to DAFs made up 8% of annual charitable giving – $23.27 billion 2017.  Of course, this could have been partially due to the new tax legislation, but there has been a consistent rise in DAFs over the last 10 years.

This pales in comparison to foundations, which hold a total of $890,061,214,247 in total assets, according to Foundation Center’s Aggregate Fiscal Data of Foundations in the U.S. 2015 data, which can be viewed here at http://data.foundationcenter.org.

So how do I feel about the DAF and how do I incorporate it into my nonprofit practice?  I’m so glad you asked (well, read this much of my article, anyway…) Due to my love of all things “philanthropy” and my deep belief in donor-centric strategies, I am a strong supporter and advocate for the DAF.  Any vehicle created for the benefit of the nonprofit sector and gives donors and nonprofits alike another funding opportunity is great news for our industry and the overall advancement of philanthropy.  The more options we have and the easier we make it for people to be charitable, the higher the likelihood we move the needle of American philanthropy from 2% of GDP (around which it’s been hovering for close to 40 years) to higher levels.

Let’s also admit the last thing we want our donors or well-meaning individuals to do is start another foundation that only gives out an average 5% each year. DAFs typically grant 24% of their funds annually.

Tools such as a DAF are not inherently good or bad.  Unfortunately, as with everything, I’m afraid, some funds are not created with the best of intentions of the greater good, but rather for the greater tax benefits of the donor.  This does bring up the discussion and conversation about oversight but let’s remember one bad apple doesn’t always have to ruin the bushel.  As we move into the “new era” of DAFs, I do believe there are some tweaks and regulations needed in transparency,  reporting requirements and time limits for fund inactivity – all to ensure DAFs are dispersing gifts for philanthropic support.

On the other side of the coin however, donors who have DAFs should be able to pay pledges and the tax-deductible portion of events out of their funds.  This account was created for a donor’s philanthropic use and as long as no goods, services or other benefit are provided to the donor I don’t see what the point in making a fuss.

We need to remember as fundraisers, we should seize any and all opportunities to build strong relationships with our donors. We shouldn’t be afraid to discuss giving vehicles other than cash  with our donors.  A DAF is simply another tool in the fundraising toolbox to help donors maximize their impact and giving potential to your organization. It’s our responsibility as fundraisers to understand DAFs and discuss them with our donor prospects.

I leave you with a few points to ponder as you explore and integrate a DAFs into your fundraising plan:

  • Do your major donors have DAFs? Would they like to contribute through one?  If you don’t have those answers, there’s one way to find out:  ASK them.
  • Does your organization’s website or donate page have a function through which donors can easily grant you a contribution from their DAF?
  • Do you have an organizational profile on your Community Foundation website? Do you update it annually?
  • Do you sit down with your Community Foundation or National Fund officers on an annual basis and ask for your grant report?

If you have more questions or thoughts about DAFs, I’d be more than happy to visit with you.  You can reach me at klord@fundraisingJBA.com. Don’t fear the DAF. Just put it to work for your organization.

Giving USA 2018: What Did Americans Give to Charity in 2017?

By | All Posts, Annual Giving, Fundraising, Giving USA, Insights, News You Can Use, The Giving Institute | No Comments

Powered by a booming stock market and a strong economy, charitable giving by American individuals, bequests, foundations and corporations to U.S. charities surged to an estimated $410.02 billion in 2017, according to Giving USA 2018: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2017.

Giving exceeded $400 billion in a single year for the first time, increasing 5.2 percent (3.0 percent adjusted for inflation) over the revised total of $389.64 contributed in 2016. Giving from all four sources and giving to all but one of the major types of recipient organizations grew in 2017, driven by economic conditions. Giving to eight of the nine major types of recipient organizations significantly increased in 2017. Giving to foundations experienced the largest gain of any subsector (an increase of 15.5 percent), far outpacing the growth in total giving. Arts/culture/humanities was the second-fastest growing subsector.  Giving to international affairs decreased following six consecutive years of growth.

There’s a lot of data that comes with Giving USA.  Check out this fantastic video overview of Giving USA 2018 from The Giving Institute and Giving USA Foundation and use this great resource to strengthen your fundraising.

And be sure to see Jeffrey Byrne’s five ways nonprofits can use Giving USA to improve their fundraising here.

Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy is the seminal publication reporting on the sources and uses of charitable giving in the United States. The production and release of Giving USA is the result of the collaborative efforts of Giving USA Foundation, a public service initiative of The Giving Institute, and Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

#GivingTuesday: November 27, 2018

By | All Posts, Annual Giving, Current Events/News, Fundraising, Insights, News You Can Use, Nonprofit Marketing, Social Media, Technology, Uncategorized | No Comments

Heather Ehlert
Chief Operating Officer

Social media + celebration = global giving = #GivingTuesday. In 2017, #GivingTuesday raised more than $300 million online through 2.5 million gifts in more than 150 countries around the world.  And for the seventh year in a row, Lamar Advertising is collaborating with JB+A to support this global day of giving, by generously providing pro bono digital billboards throughout the Greater Kansas City Metro.

How will you participate in #GivingTuesday?  It’s not too late to make a plan.  Download your JB+A #GivingTuesday Guide here.

Celebrating its 7th anniversary, #GivingTuesday falls on November 27th this year. November may seem like a long way away with countless other deadlines in between for you and your organization, but there are three important steps you can take now for a successful #GivingTuesday this fall:

  1. Identify your #GivingTuesday Program/Theme Focus

Highlight a specific program or immediate need to create your communications talking points and grab donors’ attention. Setting a fundraising goal that is attainable and clearly ties back to what it will help your organization accomplish increases excitement and participation.

  1. Create your #Hashtag

Identify your unique #hashtag for your #GivingTuesday campaign based on the program or theme you have selected. Be sure to make it short and relevant to your organization and something easy for people to remember.

  1. Alert donors, volunteers and other constituents

Let folks know via email and your website (and in any already scheduled correspondence in your communications plan) about your #GivingTuesday plans and educate them about the social media channels your organization will be using.  Don’t forget to arm them with your #hashtag.

For more tips about ways you can participate in #GivingTuesday, visit https://www.givingtuesday.org/.

Open Spaces: A Kansas City Art Experience

By | All Posts, Arts/Culture/Humanities, Current Events/News, Events, Insights, News You Can Use | No Comments

JB+A is excited to profile its Client Partner Open Spaces – a unique public-philanthropic partnership that will strengthen Kansas City’s presence in the arts and culture landscape. Open Spaces is a contemporary arts exhibition showcasing the work of leading national and international artists as well as local talent from our diverse visual and performing arts community.

Conceived as a recurring event unfolding in the Fall of 2018, Open Spaces is curated by a nationally-recognized Artistic Director Dan Cameron and implemented by a working team of representatives from the City of Kansas City and KC Creates.

With Swope Park as the hub, works by more than 40 visual artists in a wide range of media have been installed throughout our City. Internationally-renowned artists such as Nick Cave and Ebony G. Patterson are joined by local talent like Shawn Bitters and Sike Skyle Industries to transform KC into an artistic exhibit like we’ve never experienced before. There’s even a mobile app  to guide you through all Open Spaces has to offer – and you can interact with each piece by providing your feedback and reaction to each work of art with the artist and share your adventures with your friends and fellow Open Spaces explorers.

And mark your calendars for “The Weekend,” from October 12 through 14: visual art, music, dance, theatre, performance, film, poetry and the culinary arts all come together at Starlight Theatre, Swope Park and The Village.  A lineup of 11 recording artists slated to perform include headliners The Roots (Friday, October 12), Janelle Monáe (Saturday, October 13) and Vijay Iyer Sextet (Sunday, October 14). Get more info and your tickets here.

Learn more at www.openspaceskc.com.

Little Things Make the Difference

By | All Posts, Insights, News You Can Use, Organizational + Personal Development, Volunteers | No Comments

John Marshall
Senior Vice President

My wife and I were recently quite nicely entertained by the movie Knight and Day starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. It’s not for everyone, but we like action movies and there was plenty of it in this fast-paced film. During a lull in the movie Diaz asks Cruise what makes him so successful as a secret agent: “I pay close attention to the little things,” was his response. His answer made me think about “the little things” in my life and the impact they have had on me and those around me.

When relating to people, it seems I have always paid attention to the little things. Maybe it goes back to when I was a kid growing up in a Salvation Army Officer-parent home and observed my folks always going the extra mile to help people or undertake one of their many acts of kindness – neither of which were intended to elicit any type of response or reaction.

Or it might have been the Stephen Covey seminar I attended several years ago “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” I learned a lot during that week, but what has stayed with me the most is the lesson on the Emotional Bank Account. It teaches that if you keep a healthy balance of positive deposits in people’s emotional bank accounts, interpersonal relationships with those you work with, friends and family members can be a whole lot better.

Have you ever worked with or for someone who seems to always be pointing out the things you do wrong while ignoring your positive contributions? I have, and it’s not any fun. These are the individuals whose emotional bank accounts with people are always awash in red ink, and like a regular bank account, things will catch up with them eventually.

I have found paying attention to the little things is really effortless and the upside can be quite substantial. I like to send handwritten notes or cards to people with a simple note of congratulations or recognition for something accomplished….maybe even a thank you where none was expected. Donors love this attention (well, most of them do, anyway) and believe me, although they may not say anything, they do remember your thoughtfulness.

I also think it is very important to do the little things when dealing with your staff or co-workers. In the fundraising business we are usually under a lot of pressure to perform and don’t always take the time to offer a “Kudos” or well-deserved pat on the back. If you are a manager, praise of a direct report for a job well done, either one-on-one or in a staff meeting, can make all the difference in the world. When I was the head of a large team a few years ago, I always ended our monthly all-staff meeting agenda with a topic entitled “Share a Kudos.” I enjoyed sitting back and listening to staff expressing their appreciation for the efforts of others within our department. There is no doubt in my mind that this activity was partially responsible for creating an harmonious atmosphere for our team.

Let me close by suggesting you don’t forget your family when contemplating the little things, especially your children. In my opinion, contentment in one’s life is dependent upon an harmonious balance between work and home, so make certain you are paying attention to the little things at home just as much (if not more) than at work.

“The little things” – they’re easy to do and bear little to no financial cost. But engage in them consistently and the benefits can be priceless.

Fundraising Fitness Test Guru Led a Workout in KC

By | Annual Giving, Capacity Building, Database Management, Donor Cultivation, Fiscal Management, Fundraising, Insights, Major Gift Solicitation, News You Can Use, Stewardship, Uncategorized | No Comments

Jennifer Studebaker
Coordinator of Administration + Consulting

And oh boy, was it a good one! Erik Daubert, MBA, ACFRE and Chair of the Growth in Giving Initiative and the Fundraising Effectiveness Project came to Kansas City for Nonprofit Connect’s 501(c) Success National Speaker Series on September 11. Erik dived right in with the history, purpose, and goals of the Fundraising Fitness Test. This free tool was developed as part of the Fundraising Effectiveness Project in an effort to help nonprofits understand and evaluate the performance of their development efforts. Requiring only three fields from your database (Donor ID, Donation Amount and Donation Date), the pre-programmed Excel document calculates key performance metrics such as your donor retention, gains and losses, and donor dependency with the Pareto principle.

The Fundraising Effectiveness Project does have reports that you can benchmark your organization against. However, Erik advised that the best organization to compare yourself against is your own. The Fundraising Fitness Test allows you to do this by comparing year over year data, showing your growth in giving over time. The 6 year trend tab lets you to step back and see the impact that known events had on your organization’s giving. The arrival of a new CEO may spark an upward swing, while the loss of a Development Officer may have led to a shortfall from the previous year. This is the type of data that you can take to your Board to celebrate wins and highlight opportunities for growth.

Erik warmly welcomed up our guest panelists, the true heroes of the day! Megan Sturges Stanfield of Junior Achievement, Cindy Wissinger of St. Paul’s Episcopal Day School, and Laci Maltbie of Sherwood Autism Center braved the stage to share their own experiences taking the Fundraising Fitness Test. They were all surprised to learn how quickly they could complete the test and impressed at the value of the information they received. Laci did run into some roadblocks in getting the data extracted properly from her database, highlighting one challenge that other CEOs and Presidents may encounter. Cindy Wissinger noted that her first run at the test was skewed by their capital campaign donations, and she is looking forward seeing the results with only her annual fund donations. Megan was wowed by the ease of the test, and she could immediately see impact of development decisions her organization has been making over time. All panelists happily endorsed the Fundraising Fitness Test, and Jeffrey Byrne + Associates does as well!