Insights + News + Updates

You Can Change Board Conversations Around Philanthropy By Using the Fundraising Fitness Test

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Erik Daubert, MBA, ACFRE

Chair of the Growth in Giving Initiative and the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, Faculty at Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, LaGrange College, and Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Originally posted on Nonprofit Connect

I have worked with hundreds of nonprofit organizations who have used the Fundraising Fitness Test (FFT) and I am often asked, “How should I use the Fundraising Fitness Test with my board?” (Available for FREE at www.afpfep.org)

The answer is, “Effectively!”

At the Growth in Giving Initiative and the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, our goal is for fundraising to be more effective, and this is just as true with your board of directors as it is with your overall development program.

So, how can you be most effective at using information from the Fundraising Fitness Test with your board?

The first thing to decide is, “Which data points are right for our organization to share?”  While this answer is not always clear at the onset, you should begin by analyzing your test results.

Once you have run the Fundraising Fitness Test and reviewed your results, you should ask some key questions:

  • What opportunities stand out in our analysis as areas of opportunity?  Some examples of this may be findings related to new donor acquisition, specific donor group retention strategies, Pareto Principle analysis and comprehension, Gain/Loss indicators and more.  Having a good understanding of the information found in the report empowers you to have and lead strategic conversations about how to improve development performance going forward.
  • What does leadership think about how things are going, based on information appropriately shared from the FFT?  One of my favorite quotes in fundraising is, “The best idea is someone else’s!”  By this, I mean, when a board chair or a CEO thinks something such as, “We need more major donors” or “We need to broaden our base of support of donors”, I almost always say, “You are right!” Because these ideas are “theirs”, you don’t have to do the heavy lifting of convincing them to embark on these efforts…that part of the work is already done!  The FFT reveals all kinds of information in the results, and will, perhaps, spark important ideas for your Board on where to spend their energy!  For example, by seeing your organization’s major donor acquisition, upgrades, retention rates, and more, you can have strategic conversations about how to best make more, good results happen in your future fundraising efforts.  You can use your past performance as your “baseline” while also using information available at www.afpfep.org/reports to see what is happening in the broader nonprofit sector.  Nonprofit organizations can compare against themselves (By comparing against previous year’s past performance) and also against other nonprofits in their sector and  region of the country.
  • What is the best use of board member engagement and/or development committee engagement at this time?  If having board members do critical development work like solicitation, recognition, cultivation, stewardship or other activities is the goal, you can use results from the FFT to share why this is a good idea.  By leveraging key data points such as “We are behind the national average for Human Services organizations on repeat donor retention” you can help to shape and guide key conversations around development program improvement.

So, how should you use your FFT with your board?

  • Determine which points you should highlight.  Share some points to celebrate (they are there!) and also points to work on and improve.
  • Share these findings with key leaders such as your CEO, Board Chair, Financial Development Committee Chair, or other key leader as appropriate to your organization.  Have conversations about what is working and what can be improved.  Talk strategically about what you might do to make the results better for next year.
  • Mutually decide which points should be shared with the overall board.  Be transparent both in the celebration of great work, and recognition of the work yet to be accomplished.
  • Remember that while the Fundraising Effectiveness Project has information on how other nonprofits are doing with regard to these metrics, the best comparison of all is against your own organization!  Look at how you did last year, two years ago and beyond, and look at what is working and what is not.  These findings can be used as a basis for well- informed conversations – about personnel, budget, strategy, tactics, focus and more – to create a better future for your nonprofit organization and your financial development efforts.

For more information about how to engage your board with data and the Fundraising Fitness Test, check out the tools and resources available at www.afpfep.org.  There you can find tutorials on how to run the Fundraising Fitness Test in addition to key resources and reports outlining findings by our senior research and data compilation teams.

We hope you will find these resources helpful and thank you for raising more funds to make the world a better place!

Written by Erik J. Daubert, MBA, ACFRE Chair, Growth in Giving Initiative/Fundraising Effectiveness Project Work Group.  Erik serves as Faculty at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, LaGrange College, and Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in their various philanthropy programs, in addition to serving as an Affiliated Scholar with the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute.  He also works as the Director of Financial Development Education at the YMCA of the USA.  Erik may be reached via email at daubert.erik@gmail.com

The Growth in Giving Initiative’s work to date is often recognized by our work on the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) which includes tools like the Fundraising Fitness Test.  The FEP was launched in 2006 to help nonprofit organizations measure, compare, and maximize their annual growth in giving.  The FEP is focused on “effectiveness” (maximizing growth in giving) rather than “efficiency” (minimizing costs).   Check out FREE resources at www.afpfep.org

Nonprofit Staff Development: Not a Nicety, A Necessity

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Katie Lord
Vice President

Between technological advances, the rise of the “gig” economy and the transition to a majority millennial workforce, it should come as no surprise that change is happening across all sectors and it is happening faster than we are able to accommodate. This can be especially true when it comes to the nonprofit sector, where I consider our adaptability to change similar to turning the Titanic. While our industry may be a bit slower to adapt than most due to constraints of resources, the best and most sacred resources most of us have is our staff. Our staff has the ability to lead the charge for change within our organization.

We have all seen the classic business quote below of the fabled conversation between a nameless corporate CEO and the CFO:

CFO asks CEO: “What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us?”

CEO: “What happens if we don’t, and they stay?”

This is just as true for nonprofits, especially when it comes to development and volunteer management staff. Nonprofits are known to have one of the highest turnover rates in staff with an estimated 19% annually. According to The Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey by Nonprofit HR, 81% of nonprofits said that their nonprofit organization had no employee retention plan. That is astonishing, especially when you consider how much more cost effective it is to keep your high performing development staff than it is to replace them. How can you keep your top talent engaged and decrease your turnover rate? The answer is simple. Invest in your staff through personal and professional development.

Another finding of The Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey states, “Less than 1% of nonprofit funding has historically gone toward supporting nonprofit talent and only 0.03% ($450M) of the sector’s $1.5 trillion annual spending has been allocated to leadership development.” Let that sink in for a minute. The nonprofit sector accounts for 10% of the GDP and is the third largest employment sector behind retail and manufacturing, yet we don’t invest in our biggest asset of all, our workforce!

Investing in professional development for nonprofit staff is no longer a nicety. It is a necessity, especially when you factor in the traditionally lower salaries that sector employees make compared to their corporate counterparts.  According to a study by Execu-Search, 76% of millennial employees (who are the largest generation in the current workforce) think that professional development is one of the most important aspects of a company’s culture. Below are a few suggestion of how you can offer professional development to your high performing staff that won’t break the budget:

  • Choose a business or career development book and read as an office
  • Bring in a local speaker to talk with your employees about a relevant topic to your mission
  • Reimburse or pay for membership in a professional development association
  • Allow staff to take a webinar or attend a seminar once a quarter
  • Have staff select one conference every other year to attend (many provide financial assistance or scholarship opportunities)
  • Encourage your staff to volunteer to serve on boards (Believe me, it gives your staff member an invaluable perspective to be on the other side of the table) and allow flex time for your staff to do so
  • Hire a coach for first time managers or for those you see with leadership potential

It is important for us as a sector to not shy away from investing in our staff’s development. It is our staff who run our programs and who work tirelessly to fill the gaps in our society left by both the public and private sector.  By not providing employees with professional development, we risk continuing to be slow to adapt as a sector and thereby losing our most promising talent and future change makers to others who will allow them to grow.

Is Your Nonprofit in Shape? Don’t Miss Erik Daubert and The Fundraising Fitness Test in Kansas City

By | All Posts, Annual Giving, Campaign Planning + Management, Capacity Building, Database Management, Donor Cultivation, Education, Events, Fiscal Management, Fundraising, News You Can Use, Organizational + Personal Development, Prospect Research, Stewardship, Strategic Planning | No Comments

How can you put your data to work?

Utilize the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP).

The Fundraising Effectiveness Project has developed a tool kit for nonprofits to harness their fundraising data. One of the largest philanthropic research projects in the world, the FEP was established in 2006 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute. Its aim was to conduct research on fundraising effectiveness and help nonprofits increase their fundraising results at a faster pace. FEP provides free tools like the Fundraising Fitness Test for tracking and evaluating an organization’s annual growth in giving. Explore the FEP and Fundraising Fitness Test here.

For those of you in the Greater Kansas City area, join us on Tuesday, September 11 for the 501(c) Success National Speaker Series with Erik Daubert, MBA, ACFRE, Chair of the Growth in Giving Initiative and the Fundraising Effectiveness Project. Erik will demonstrate how nonprofits can use the Fundraising Fitness Test to understand their own financial development data – and ultimately make better fundraising decisions. To reserve your spot now, register here.

Economic Trends, Philanthropy and Civil Society: Dr. Patrick Rooney and Giving USA 2018 in Kansas City

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Dr. Patrick Rooney
Executive Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Professor of Economics and Philanthropic Studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

On June 15, JB+A welcomed Dr. Patrick Rooney, Executive Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Professor of Economics and Philanthropic Studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, back to Kansas City for his 13th year of presenting Giving USA.  This year’s report was presented as part of the 501(c)Success National Speaker Series program of Nonprofit Connect, sponsored by Jeffrey Byrne + Associates and U.S. Trust.

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. In addition to his presentation covering the sources and recipients of giving (check out the 2017 charitable giving numbers here). Dr. Rooney provided insights about five key areas that impact philanthropy:

  1. Civil Society
  2. Tax Policies
  3. Disaster Giving
  4. Donor-Advised Funds
  5. Generational Giving
  1. Civil Society
    We’ve heard it before from Dr. Rooney:  more people give than vote, and that trend hasn’t changed. A study found that in every presidential election year (for which there is data), more Americans have donated than voted!  As the world of politics becomes more and more turbulent, don’t lose sight of the role charitable giving plays. In some cases, changes in public policy or budgets actually drive giving (think ACLU for example, or “rage giving”.)  But these reactionary gifts haven’t quite “moved the charitable giving needle” overall.
  2. Tax Policies
    Dr. Rooney addressed the misperception that people donate because of a tax deduction. He pointed out the irrationality of that behavior (if someone only cared about himself he would never give, because one is always in a better fiscal position by NOT giving away money). BUT, theoretically anyway, a tax deduction lowers the “cost” of giving (the after-tax price) and consequently, eliminating the tax deduction increases the cost of giving.  Dr. Rooney’s research concluded a 35% tax rate and an increased standard deduction would reduce charitable giving by more than $13 billion, and that didn’t include impact from dropping corporate tax rates or doubling the exemption for the estate tax. The research also noted that adding an expanded charitable deduction would increase charitable giving by $4.8 billion. Bottom line, tax and fiscal policy decisions impact charitable giving and the nonprofit sector.
  3. Disaster Giving
    Does giving to disasters usurp giving to other sectors? This is an understandable concern, given the phenomenal response we’ve seen over recent years to both domestic and international disasters.  But Dr. Rooney reassures us that research indicates there’s not significant displacement: gifts to disaster response average $50 and are in high quantity immediately following a disaster but tend to (but not always) taper off with time and as media coverage shifts away from the disaster. Studies support that there are no permanent effects on giving – to either disaster relief organizations or other charities.
  4. Donor-Advised Funds
    The dialogue and debates surrounding Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) seem endless – but for better or worse, DAFs are here to stay (DAF asset values have more than doubled between 2010 and 2015, from $33.6 billion to $78.6 billion) and are likely to become even more popular with the doubling of the standard deduction, given they are a useful way to “bunch” gifts in a year and maximize tax deductibility. DAFs are often the recipients of “liquidity moments” – meaning, donors can easily place their resources into a DAF and then allocate gifts through the DAF to charities over a period of time.Dr. Rooney cautioned against assuming all gifts to DAFs would have been made directly to either public charities or private foundations if DAFs were not available.  He reminded us all DAFs end up in charities eventually (for example, commercial holders of DAFs have policies in place to ensure funds are donated from “dormant” accounts after a set period of time) and are really permanent commitments to philanthropy.  It’s still unclear if/the extent to which DAFs cause displacement or reallocation of giving.
  5. Generational Giving
    Dr. Rooney shared observations on generational succession in American giving and stressed the importance of understanding differences by generation.  The Greatest and Silent generations (born before 1945) had a sense of common purpose, a high confidence in institutions and were active in civic participation. They overcame the Great Depression and World War II and created Social Security. These generations had a larger percentage of families who gave large amounts than later generations.Boomers, GenXers and Millennials (all born after 1946) place a higher emphasis on autonomy, have a lower confidence in institutions and demonstrate less empathy.  These generations also participate less in formal religion and experienced more political and economic scandals.  These generations have a smaller percentage of families giving large amounts than the Greatest and Silent generations, but among these generational families who do give large amounts, the level of giving is higher than or similar to the level of previous generations. Dr. Rooney stated a critical statistic is that donors are down, and dollars per donor are up but starting to slip. He stressed it seemed unlikely we would increase total giving by applying more pressure to existing donors – rather, we need to have a clearer understanding of why donors are down and better grasp gender differences by generation.

Remaining aware of the deeper variables that impact giving will help us understand our donors and prospective donors better, and enable us to build stronger relationships with them – ultimately improving the overall outcomes of philanthropy, and most importantly, improving our communities.

Fundraising Big Data with DonorPerfect Online

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Jennifer Studebaker
Coordinator of Administration + Consulting

DonorPerfect Online (DPO) Vice President Jon Biedermann and Dr. Nathan Dietz, a published scholar and experienced practitioner of quantitative and qualitative social science research, recently led a webinar analyzing the results of 2.24 million transactions and 427,000 donors over a period of years. So what did these numbers reveal about fundraising behavior?

Demographic data showed most 2017 gifts were to human services at 23%, followed by health and religious organizations. Offline donations remained the most common way to give, though online donations have increased from 4% in 2014 to almost 8% in 2017. First time givers declined from 2015-2017, but Jon noted that the recent declines in first time donors points to increased donor retention.

Not all of these findings may be surprising for the experienced nonprofit professional. However, one of the key parts of data-based decision making is allowing the data to speak. Your assumptions may be correct, but actually testing your assumptions is vital.

The most compelling insights were around the importance of thanking donors and multichannel giving. The DPO data showed only 48.5% of the donors in the data reviewed were thanked for their gifts. Over half of donors in 2017 were not thanked! The impact of thanking showed in the transaction data. While they waited longer to give again, their donations ($50 on average) were higher than non-thanked donors ($35 on average).

Here are some key steps to turn this insight into action:

  1. If you do not currently have a standard protocol for thanking donors within 72 hours of receipt, establish one now.
  2. If you have an acknowledgement process, review any messages that donors receive through your website or other channels, since this may be an opportunity to improve the impact of your messaging through customization. Ensure that the thank you message, whether mailed or email, is properly addressed and matches the campaign or fund to which they are donating.

Multichannel donors gave over twice as much as other donors over the course of their lifetime, and their annual giving average was $325, opposed to $75 offline only and $100 online only. Multichannel includes solicitation via direct mail, telephone, email, face to face, text, social media, events, flyers and newsletters. Knowing this, consider the following:

  1. Donors want to give, so make it as easy as possible for them to donate. I know from my user experience research that hard to navigate websites or poorly organized information will result in people abandoning their efforts, even when highly motivated. If you are able, invite a volunteer to do a test run of completing your donation form or donating online. Ask for their feedback, but while they complete the task, observe where they hesitate or take more time than expected. This combination of feedback and observation will help you identify the pain points your donors may be experiencing. Removing those will help guarantee that giving to your organization is a positive experience that donors will wish to repeat.

Also think about the value of wealth screening in prospecting major donors and cultivating monthly donors.

Click here to view the full webinar.

Introducing JB+A’s Newest Team Member

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“It is a pleasure to welcome Jennifer Studebaker to the JB+A team. Jennifer brings valuable nonprofit and interpersonal communications experience and understands client needs. From day one, the JB+A team and our clients have felt the positive impact of her enthusiasm and commitment to client success.” – Jeffrey Byrne, President + CEO

Jennifer Studebaker, Coordinator of Administration + Consulting

Jennifer joined JB+A at the end of June. A practicing anthropologist, she has a strong background in qualitative research and a passion for seeing nonprofits succeed. Jennifer holds a M.S. in Anthropology from Purdue University and a B.A. in Anthropology from Indiana University. She conducted her field research in Belize with a focus on chronic disease and food choice. She is an active member of the Society for Applied Anthropology.

She began her career at The Society for Ethnomusicology in Bloomington, Indiana, where she managed the Society’s day-to-day operations for four years. She also served as Secretary and Assessment Working Group Chair at the Bloomington Food Policy Council and was a founding Trustee of the Glenn Carter Memorial Toolshare.

Jennifer relocated to Kansas City in 2016 and quickly dove into Kansas City’s growing tech scene. At mySidewalk and SMG, she polished her skills in customer research and relationship management. Jennifer says, “I recognized my calling was with nonprofits, and at Jeffrey Byrne + Associates, I have the opportunity to support our clients in achieving their missions and fundraising goals.” Jennifer enjoys spending her free time with her husband David and their two pets, Hildr, a one-eyed black cat, and Butters, an elderly mini lop rabbit.

You can reach Jennifer at 816.237.1999 or at JStudebaker@FundraisingJBA.com.

Chief Advancement Officer Opportunity with JB+A Client PKD Foundation

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Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a genetic disease (passed from an affected parent to their child) causing uncontrolled growth of cysts in the kidney eventually leading to kidney failure. It affects all racial and ethnic groups equally.

JB+A Client PKD Foundation, based in Kansas City, Missouri, is the only organization in the United States solely dedicated to finding treatments and a cure for PKD and to improve the lives of those it affects.  The Foundation does this through promoting research, education, advocacy, support and awareness on a national level, along with direct services to local communities across the country. PKD Foundation is the largest private funder of PKD research. Over the last 30 years, it has invested more than $42 million in basic and clinical research, nephrology fellowships and scientific meetings with a simple goal: to discover and deliver treatments and a cure for PKD.

Strengthening the Mission of PKD Foundation through Enhanced Fundraising

PKD Foundation has benefitted from a successful fundraising program, and provides individuals, foundations and corporations with the opportunity to support a number of programs and projects. It seeks financial support through annual giving, major gift giving, grants and planned giving and by staging a number of unique special events across the country. Fiscal Year 2018 (7/1/17 – 6/31/18) has been a banner year for fundraising, as it is projected that total giving to the Foundation will be above $9,500,000 – an increase of 53%, with an average gift of $278 (the highest average over the past ten years). Much of the increase over FY 2017 can be directly attributed to the significant growth experienced in the Major Gifts sector ($5,000 and above).

Although the PKD Foundation is pleased with the recent growth in financial support, it is aware that generations of families devastated by unending loss from PKD are looking more to the PKD Foundation for answers, treatment and eventually a cure. Therefore, the Foundation has made the commitment to launch a five-year $70,000,000 campaign, one which will alter the course of PKD through increasing the Foundation’s investment in research as well as providing the best resources for its patient community. The campaign will provide the Foundation with the resources to attack PKD on several fronts including: Propelling Research, Supporting Patients, Securing Future Research and Amplifying Voice.

Background

While PKD Foundation has a team of fully-committed staff who all share the vision of one day finding a cure for this devastating disease, key positions will be added to the Development Department to increase its fundraising capacity, in light of the $70,000,000 campaign.

This begins with recruiting and hiring an experienced Chief Advancement Officer (CAO) – a position that will work closely with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Board of Directors, while providing a high level of leadership and guidance to other members of the Development Department. The CAO will not only have an impact on the campaign, but on the success of the Development Department for many years to come.

Responsibilities

The CAO reports directly to and collaborates closely with the CEO of PKD Foundation. The following list of responsibilities does not restrict the work of this position, but rather, sets forth specific guidelines to be followed in a prompt and efficient manner.

  • Maintain a working knowledge of PKD Foundation policies and procedures specifically related to his/her area of responsibility
  • Cooperate with and assist the CEO in advancing the mission of PKD Foundation through the coordination of all development activities
  • Identify and coordinate appropriate opportunities to utilize the strengths of the CEO in his participation in the cultivation and solicitation of high-end donors and prospects
  • Prepare a Strategic Development Plan and department budget prior to the beginning of each fiscal year showing goals, action steps and outcome measures for each fundraising discipline and individual for the ensuing year
  • Establish realistic, inspiring and challenging development goals and objectives with staff and present same to the CEO to review and reach agreement on proposed development goals and objectives; provide regular updates on results
  • Study and recommend changes and new policies to the CEO, related to all aspects of development functions
  • Encourage, train and support staff reporting to him/her and monitor accountabilities for results and outcomes of all development initiatives
  • Effectively and efficiently administer the affairs of the department, especially to the creation and monitoring of the budget to ensure compliance with PKD Foundation standards, policies and expectations
  • Provide oversight of Directors of Leadership Giving to ensure best practices in the strategic identification, cultivation and solicitation of donors and prospects
  • Work closely with Planned Giving staff in overseeing all aspects of the Planned Giving program to ensure the appropriate promotion of the various Planned Giving vehicles to current and prospective donors
  • Remain personally active in the pursuit of major and planned gifts, maintaining a portfolio of high-end donors and prospects
  • Collaborate with the Database Administrator to ensure all information is current and relevant
  • Oversee the development of all Direct Mail appeals, closely evaluating the productivity and efficiency of mail service vendors to ensure generation of an acceptable return on investment
  • Work closely with the Director of Marketing and Communications to ensure all PKD Foundation promotional materials are current and appropriate for use in advancing fundraising initiatives of all types
  • Direct the oversight and development of all aspects of capital campaigns to include assessing needs, strategic planning and participation of volunteers and appropriate staff
  • Work closely with the Walk for PKD staff to enhance current walks and special events and to identify opportunities for greater activity in areas currently not being served
  • Develop educational materials and training for volunteers to ensure best practices and outcomes; assist volunteers in their role as ambassadors within their communities
  • Oversee the pursuit of an appropriate level of identification and solicitation of foundation grantors and engage PKD Foundation scientific staff in such activities as appropriate
  • Serve as a member of the PKD Foundation executive management team and maintain an effective liaison with PKD Foundation personnel to promote clear understanding of development programs and responsibilities
  • Attend and participate in educational initiatives in the interest of advancing the well-being of the PKD Foundation

The CAO will likely devote 80% of his/her time to overseeing Leadership Giving (major gifts) and Planned Giving. He/she will work closely with the Directors of Leadership Giving and also work closely with the CEO in utilizing his time connecting with PKD Foundation prospects with the highest level of giving capacity. The CAO will also be expected to handle his/her own portfolio of Leadership level prospects and manage the other division of the Development Department.

Minimum Qualifications

  • A Bachelor’s degree (Master’s preferred) from an accredited college or university in fundraising, communications or related field
  • A minimum of 15 years of fundraising experience and 7 to 10 years of increasingly responsible leadership experience within a fully-integrated development program
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written, and strong interpersonal skills

Application Instructions

Candidates should submit a cover letter, resume and three professional references. Please send materials to: PKDFoundationExecSearch@FundraisingJBA.com.

PKD Foundation works to maintain the best possible environment for its employees, and strives to provide a collaborative, creative environment where each person feels encouraged to contribute to its processes, decisions, planning and culture. PKD Foundation offers highly competitive compensation in addition to an extensive benefits package including:

  • Paid time off – 20 days
  • 11 Paid Holidays
  • Medical, Dental and Vision benefits
  • 403(b) 9.5% of salary, no match required
  • Generous HSA Contributions

To learn more about this exciting opportunity, contact JB+A President and CEO Jeffrey D. Byrne at 816-237-1999 or at PKDFoundationExecSearch@FundraisingJBA.com.

Check out the recent success of PKD Foundation with the approval of JYNARQUE™ (tolvaptan) to be the first treatment in the U.S for adult patients with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), the most common form of PKD.

Giving USA 2018: Americans gave $410.02 Billion to Charity in 2017

By | All Posts, Current Events/News, Events, Fundraising, Giving USA, News You Can Use, Organizational + Personal Development, The Giving Institute | One Comment

Giving USA 2018: Americans gave $410.02 billion to charity in 2017, crossing the $400 billion mark for the first time
Stock market, economic conditions helped drive solid growth in contributions across the board

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, released today.

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 USA, the longest-running and most comprehensive report of its kind in America, is published by Giving USA Foundation, a public service initiative of The Giving Institute. It is researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI.

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. While policy developments may have played some role in charitable giving in 2017, most of the effects of the tax policy changes adopted in late December 2017 likely will affect giving in 2018 and beyond.

“Americans continue to give, and they continue to give generously,” says Jeffrey D. Byrne, President + CEO of Jeffrey Byrne + Associates, Inc. “Even during a time of intensely different perspectives and ideology – especially on the political front – people are giving more as they have more resources available and they are giving to a wide-range of causes.”

The increase in giving in 2017 was generated in part by increases in the stock market, as evidenced by 19.4 percent growth in the S&P 500. Investment returns funded multiple very large gifts, most of which were given by individuals to their foundations, including two gifts of $1 billion or more.

In addition to the S&P 500, other economic factors, such as personal income and personal consumption, are associated with households’ long-term financial stability and have historically been correlated with giving by individuals. These factors also experienced strong growth in 2017.

The Numbers for 2017 Charitable Giving by Source
All four sources of giving – individuals (70 percent of the total), foundations (16 percent), bequests (9 percent) and corporations (5 percent) increased their 2017 donations over 2016, according to the report.

  • Giving by individuals totaled an estimated $286.65 billion, rising 5.2 percent in 2017 (3.0 percent, adjusted for inflation). The single largest contributor to the increase in total charitable giving in 2017 was an increase of $14.47 billion in giving by individuals.
  • Giving by foundations increased 6.0 percent, to an estimated $66.90 billion in 2017 (3.8 percent, adjusted for inflation). Grantmaking by community foundations rose 11.0 percent from 2016. Grantmaking by operating foundations and independent foundations also increased, at 6.2 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively. Giving by foundations has seen strong growth for the past seven years; its five-year annualized average growth rate of 7.6 percent far exceeds the 4.3 percent annualized average growth rate for total giving. Data on foundation giving are provided by the Foundation Center.
  • Giving by bequest totaled an estimated $35.70 billion in 2017, increasing 2.3 percent from 2016 (0.2 percent, adjusted for inflation). Gifts from bequests tend to fluctuate year to year, largely due to very large gifts being made in some years and not in others.
  • Giving by corporations is estimated to have increased by 8.0 percent in 2017, totaling $20.77 billion (5.7 percent, adjusted for inflation). Corporate giving includes cash and in-kind contributions made through corporate giving programs, as well as grants and gifts made by corporate foundations. Corporate foundation grantmaking is estimated to have totaled $6.09 billion in 2017, an increase of 4.5 percent (in current dollars) from 2016. Corporate giving was boosted by $405 million in contributions for relief related to natural and manmade disasters.

The Numbers for 2017 Gifts to Charitable Organizations
Giving USA’s research also examines what happens within nine different recipient categories of charities. In 2017, 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.

  • Giving to religion increased 2.9 percent (0.7 percent adjusted for inflation) between 2016 and 2017, with an estimated $127.37 billion in contributions.
  • Giving to education is estimated to have increased 6.2 percent (4.0 percent adjusted for inflation) between 2016 and 2017, to $58.90 billion.
  • Giving to human services increased by an estimated 5.1 percent (2.9 percent adjusted for inflation) in 2017, totaling $50.06 billion.
  • Giving to foundations is estimated to have increased by 15.5 percent (13.1 percent adjusted for inflation) in 2017, to $45.89 billion. This growth was driven by extraordinarily large gifts by major philanthropists, such as Michael and Susan Dell and Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, to their foundations.
  • Giving to health is estimated to have increased by 7.3 percent (5.1 percent adjusted for inflation) between 2016 and 2017, to $38.27 billion.
  • Giving to public-society benefit organizations increased an estimated 7.8 percent (5.5 percent adjusted for inflation) between 2016 and 2017, to $29.59 billion.
  • Giving to arts, culture, and humanities is estimated to have increased 8.7 percent (6.5 percent adjusted for inflation) between 2016 and 2017, to $19.51 billion.
  • Giving to international affairs is estimated to be $22.97 billion in 2017, a decline of 4.4 percent (6.4 percent adjusted for inflation) from 2016, but still reached its third-highest level ever recorded.
  • Giving to environmental and animal organizations is estimated to have increased 7.2 percent (5.0 percent adjusted for inflation) between 2016 and 2017, to $11.83 billion.

In addition, giving to individuals, which is less than 2 percent of total giving, is estimated to have declined 20.7 percent (22.4 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars) in 2017, to $7.87 billion, primarily as a result of an unusually high increase in 2016. The bulk of these donations are in-kind gifts of medications to patients in need, made through the patient assistance programs of pharmaceutical companies’ operating foundations.

“At $410 billion, giving in the US has reached 41 percent of a trillion dollars,” says Byrne. “There is a heightened interest in the overall economic environment and other factors that contributed to the growth of giving in 2017. This is a very positive sign for the overall outlook of philanthropy. I am optimistic we will reach $1 trillion in charitable giving in the next couple of years.”

Explore Giving USA products and resources, including free highlights of each annual report at its online store at www.givingusa.org for more information. And be sure to check out Jeffrey Byrne’s advice on how nonprofits can use Giving USA to improve fundraising.

Join us on June 15 for 501(c)Success National Speaker Series, Dr. Rooney and Giving USA

By | All Posts, Current Events/News, Giving USA, News You Can Use, The Giving Institute | No Comments

Giving USA 2018: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2017 is coming to Kansas City with Dr. Patrick Rooney, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. This program is part of Nonprofit Connect’s annual 501(c)Success National Speaker Series.

No other source provides the context for annual giving like Giving USA. The insight and information in Giving USA is used by major donors, nonprofit executives and managers, fundraising professionals, financial advisors, foundation Boards and other decision makers to plan strategies and identify opportunities in charitable giving. Leaders in philanthropy utilize Giving USA to act on the emerging challenges and trends affecting philanthropy and fundraising.

Charitable giving reached new heights in 2016, totaling $390.05 billion.

Did we eclipse that figure in 2017?

Reserve your spot to find out and register today.

Friday, June 15, 2018
7:30 – 9:00 AM
7:30 a.m. – Breakfast | 7:50 a.m. – Program

Kauffman Foundation Conference Center
4801 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110

Fees/Admission
$25  Nonprofit Connect members
$50  Nonmembers

Dr. Rooney will present this first look at the just-released Giving USA report. As one of the key people behind the research for the report, Dr. Rooney will provide unique observations about current trends and insights about the future of U.S. philanthropy you won’t hear anywhere else.

For more than 60 years, Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy has been the trusted source for all-encompassing giving data. Its research estimates all giving to all charitable organizations across the U.S., and is researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Get more information about the Giving USA research. And be sure to pre-order your copy of the report.

Giving USA: Interesting Reading or Fundraising Guide?

By | All Posts, Annual Giving, Capacity Building, Commentary, Current Events/News, Donor Cultivation, Fundraising, Giving USA, News You Can Use, Organizational + Personal Development, The Giving Institute | 2 Comments

Jeffrey D. Byrne
President + CEO

We’re approaching that most wonderful time of the year: Giving USA 2018: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2017 is on the horizon. We’re ready to welcome Dr. Patrick Rooney back to Kansas City as he gives us that coveted first look at giving data for 2017 and provides critical observations and interpretations about the state of philanthropy in the U.S. This will be our 13th year of presenting the report with Dr. Rooney in Kansas City, and I am proud of our partnership and friendship with this nationally-recognized (and fun!) expert on philanthropy.

It’s no secret I’m a fundraising “nerd,” and so many questions come to mind as I eagerly anticipate the release of our most trusted and comprehensive annual giving report: Will charitable giving rise for the fourth straight year? How did rage giving and tax reform affect philanthropy? Will the other recipient sectors continue to close the gap on or even surpass giving to religion? How did the economy impact giving?

But here’s the most important question about Giving USA to consider:  How can nonprofits use the report to improve their fundraising?

Don’t treat Giving USA the way some organizations treat their strategic plan and simply place the report on a shelf as you go about your daily routine. Read the report.  Understand the report.  Share the report.  Refer back to the report.  Make changes to fundraising strategies based on the report.  At JB+A, everyone carries a copy of Giving USA (perhaps my good habits ARE rubbing off on others)and we make notes, discuss the trends, identify nonprofit sector needs, successes and failures, evaluate our clients’ fundraising progress and brainstorm new strategies and tactics to improve fundraising.  Remember that great American Express ad campaign, “Don’t leave home without it”?  The same goes for Giving USA.

Here five ways Nonprofits can use Giving USA to improve their fundraising:

  1. Understand the correlations between giving and economic factors
    The stock market, personal wealth, personal income, GDP, corporate pre-tax profits and unemployment rates impact giving by all four sources (individuals, foundations, bequests and corporations). Trends are closely monitored by people “inside” and “outside” the philanthropy sector. Be aware of changes in these indicators, anticipate how changes will impact donors and adjust fundraising strategies accordingly.
  1. Confirm or dispel myths about giving
    Economic and political scenarios, complex societal issues, diverse giving platforms, wealth and capacity are just some of the drivers behind philanthropy. Understand the context of these drivers, help manage expectations about giving and set realistic and achievable goals for your fundraising plans.
  1. Educate Board members, volunteers, donors and staff about the broad context of philanthropic giving
    Help stakeholders better understand your organization’s funding patterns and potential. This isn’t so much about “keeping up with the Joneses of fundraising” but rather, what can we learn from their success and what can (or can’t) we emulate?
  1. Be nimble in your fundraising and stewardship
    Nonprofit fundraising must evolve as philanthropy evolves.  We are seeing an increase in the popularity of non-traditional giving vehicles (such as donor-advised funds and non-cash assets) and donors want more evidence of the impact of their gifts. What do your donors expect? Listen to your donors and prospective donors – and tailor your strategies to match their needs and expectations.
  1. Recognize the “individual giving effect”
    An estimated 87% of total giving in 2016 came from individuals, bequests and family foundations. There are human beings involved in every gift, and unfortunately sometimes, we forget this. Focus on developing and maintaining meaningful relationships with not simply the “concept of donor” but on an individual basis…with Bill and Marcia, with Joe and Liz, with Emma, with Peter and with Shane.

One last thought: Americans give an average of more than $1 billion a day to help others. So, you can also use the report to remind yourself (and others): nonprofits are doing very important work.  Good job.

Be sure to register now for the 501 (c) Success National Speaker Series Giving USA 2018: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2017 with Dr. Patrick Rooney.  Details are below.

Friday, June 15, 2018
7:30 – 9:00 AM
7:30 a.m. – Breakfast | 7:50 a.m. – Program
Kauffman Foundation Conference Center
4801 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110