Insights + News + Updates

JB+A Team Announcement – Heather Ehlert

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I am pleased to share Heather Ehlert recently undertook the role of Chief Operating Officer. In her time with JB+A, Heather has provided nonprofits a mature, working confidence and thorough knowledge when responding to their needs. Passionate and pragmatic, Heather is a perfectionist, driven by her dedication to JB+A’s mission: committed to nonprofit success.

It’s a joy to announce Heather will take on additional responsibilities for the firm. Our team is happy she has expanded her tenure with JB+A in this capacity.

-Jeffrey D. Byrne, President + CEO

Heather joined Jeffrey Byrne + Associates in early 2013 as Director of Development and is now Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Heather will continue to serve JB+A consultants and clients with the dedication for which she has become known. Heather is responsible for the operational management of JB+A and will continue to provide client consultation in all areas of fundraising. Heather offers comprehensive and experienced evaluations on strategic planning, fund development, staffing and systems, volunteer engagement and campaign planning and management.

Heather is excited to take on this expanded role with JB+A and looks forward to continuing her service to JB+A and its nonprofit client partners.

Salvation Army Advisory Boards: In the Vanguard of the “Army Behind the Army”

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John Marshall
Senior Vice President

For the past 42 years, I have had the opportunity to work with a great number of Boards throughout the nonprofit sector: higher education, healthcare, culture and the arts, human services, etc. I have had many extraordinary experiences with a wide range of Boards” many functioning beautifully, some so-so and occasionally, well, some not so good.

If there is one organization I feel deserves special mention for its “best practices” in partnering with Boards, it would be The Salvation Army (also known as “the Army.”) Its Boards are well-organized, efficient, productive and consist of committed members who are wonderful supporters of one of our country’s most respected organizations. The Army refers to these Boards as Advisory Boards.

The Army is very careful to ensure its Boards are well organized and its members provided with the tools they will need to be successful as Army ambassadors within their respective communities.

One real advantage the Army has is its Organizational Manual for Advisory Organizations. It covers the full gamut of what is necessary to organize and run a successful Advisory Board. The Army urges its several hundred Boards throughout the United States to adhere to the policies and procedures laid forth within the Manual, thus promoting a consistency throughout the Advisory Board sector of the organization.

In addition, every four years, the Army organizes a three-day conference in which it brings together Advisory Board members from throughout the Army’s four territories for a time of further training and education, reflection, sharing and fellowship. Conferences involve fundraising professionals of great prominence as presenters and attract national celebrities such as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (a significant supporter of the Army – do you recall Thanksgiving Day’s NFL game at AT&T Stadium?) and former First Lady Laura Bush. In addition, the Army’s National Commander attends, offering words of encouragement.  Much is gained from these national gatherings and it is the Army’s hope that attendees will return to their respective communities renewed, inspired and motivated to assist the Army in its efforts of “Doing the Most Good.”

Army Advisory Boards are successful for a wide array of reasons. However, I believe that what is most responsible for their success is their committee organization and the unflinching willingness of members to carry out their responsibilities.

What I like most about Army Advisory Boards is their clarity in purpose, outlined in a member Job Description which ensures new Board members know exactly what the expectations are for joining an Army Board. Seldom if ever will you hear a Board member say “Well, I didn’t know I was expected to do that.”

Most Army Advisory Boards have all or most of the following committees:

Executive: consists of the Board officers and in most cases the chairs of the various committees. This ensures communication on the various activities is at the highest level.

Nominating: In my estimation, this is the most important committee on an Army Advisory Board. It is responsible for identifying prospective Board members, interviewing them in advance (during which full information such as Army literature, the job description, etc. is shared), making appropriate recommendations regarding new members, ensuring the slate of Board officers is advanced for approval per policy and holding annual evaluations of Board members including the review of meeting attendance, support of Army public functions, committee participation and financial support.

Finance: works closely with Army leadership to review all aspects of financial records and to provide professional expertise when needed.

Public Relations: works with Army staff in ensuring Army messaging is appropriately targeted and that the public has a clear understanding the Army is far more than just “bell ringing and thrift stores.”

Property: partners with Army leadership in reviewing all Army properties and make helpful suggestions on the best ways to address any issues.

Development: works closely with the Army’s development staff in identifying prospective new donors, setting up appointments with prospects, participating on visits and assisting Army staff in the planning, preparation and execution of fundraising special events.

The Army is also very good in encouraging non-Advisory Board members to serve on committees such as Public Relations, Development and Property. This is particularly attractive to the community member who cannot commit to full Board membership but wishes to assist in an area of his/her real interest and expertise.

Lastly, what always makes quite a difference in how successful a Board will be is when the organization’s executive takes an active interest in the work of the Board. In the Army’s case, the local commanding officer is always expected to attend not only regular Board meetings, but also committee meetings when his/her presence is requested. In my work with the Army over these many years, I have also found that the Army’s very best Boards are due in part to the commanding officer taking a personal interest in their Advisory Board members.

Remember: personal, little things can truly make a difference.

The following is a Job Description your organization may wish to utilize for Board members:

  • Become fully informed about the programs and services of the organization and be committed to its mission
  • Be as personally generous a financial contributor as possible and lead the organization to others who have the capacity to be financially supportive
  • Serve as an ambassador for the organization within the community, utilizing your connections to access community resources and volunteers and enhance the image of the organization
  • Identify those within the community who have influence and affluence and be a leader in recruiting them to the Board
  • Attend Board meetings on a consistent basis and actively participate
  • Actively serve on at least one Board committee
  • Be willing to use your professional expertise as well as those you are professionally associated with for the betterment of the organization
  • Be willing to perform a self-assessment of your performance as a Board member and make improvements where necessary

Art, Science, Success: Creating Opportunity for Prospect Development in Your Organization

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JB+A is pleased to welcome guest contributor Marissa Todd, JD, MBA – a prospect development professional and current President of Apra Missouri-Kansas – as she shares her insights and experience on prospect research and development.

Marissa Todd, JD, MBA
JB+A Guest Contributor

How many of us have heard the phrase “the art and science of fundraising”? Probably many of you reading this. It’s quite the popular phrase and is often used to describe the intersection of data and research with the relationship building that takes place across the donor development cycle.

The art part of fundraising is generally the domain of gift officers and senior level administrators whose main role is to meet with donors and prospects in order to cultivate and solicit gifts. The science part, especially in smaller development operations, is often shared by many hands from the gift officers to the database manager to gift processing, and if you are fortunate, a prospect research professional. Having talented professionals to implement and execute both the art and science pieces is critical to a strategic, successful development operation.

However, many organizations do not believe they have the resources to invest in staff for prospect research. If you are one of the organizations who struggle with resources or time for the science of fundraising, fear not! This passionate prospect development professional has some tips that any organization, regardless of size, can try to take steps to integrate prospect research into your organization.

First and foremost, make sure you are collecting information from your prospect interactions. Most fundraising databases have an area for you to capture contact reports from your emails, phone calls and meetings with prospects. Make sure staff utilize this area to capture substantive interactions. These reports can be a wealth of information (pun intended!) on the potential capacity of a prospect, as well as provide historical context during staff transitions. Having a central place for relationship data is key to continuing to build relationships. If you are looking for good prospects, looking at who has historical contacts is a great way to start.

If your database doesn’t have this capability, consider creating a call report form your staff can fill out electronically and save to prospect files on your server. At my first fundraising job, our database was so ancient you couldn’t even click – everything was done using the F keys and commands, so not surprising there was no contact report area. The development used a call form and paper prospect files helped me many a time in connecting dots. When the organization converted to a new CRM, students entered the historical reports of top donors into the new system, so we had a complete picture.

Another great way to ease into some prospect research is by looking at your highest lifetime donors. Although many of these folks may have given their ultimate gift to your organization, many of your top cumulative donors get that way through loyalty and longevity, not a five or six figure gift. Look at the donation history of these donors and you will surely find some prospects who you could be creating more meaningful relationships with and moving to larger annual and major contributions.

Speaking of donations, does your organization produce a periodical donation report (daily, weekly, monthly)? If so, this is an excellent tool to proactively look for new potential prospects. At two of the organizations I have worked, I developed a donation report that also pulled in helpful information like analytical modeling scores, total giving, last two year’s giving totals and engagement information. Using this information, it is easy to scan the report and pick out donors who maybe should be looked at closer, like those who suddenly double their previous gift or make a first-time donation at a certain level ($100, $500, whatever is appropriate for your organization).

So let’s say you implement the donation report and have a good list of potential prospects. You don’t have any paid resources to screen them, so what do you do? There are a plethora of free resources out there to get started with prospect research! A simple search of a county assessor site to verify home ownership and value is a great place to start. Using a search engine to do a quick search of a prospect’s name and location may also open you up to employment information, business associations, etc. The Secretary of State’s office in each state has a business registry you can search to verify business ownership. The list goes on and on. I have numerous bookmarks for free sites, but some of my favorites are sites that themselves are curators of both free and paid resources, like Helen Brown Group or Prospect Research Institute. Most of these sites allow you to sign up for a free account, and then you also receive emails updating you on new resources and other potential services.

Investing a little time and energy in prospect research can make a huge difference in your fundraising efforts. As one of my former gift officer colleagues put it, before she worked with a researcher she felt like she was on a wild safari with no end that often came up totally empty. After research was put in place, she had a map and a plan and was better able to focus her time and effort on the right potential prospects. Don’t leave your gift officers wandering in the wild; invest in some strategic prospecting and keep everyone moving toward fundraising success for your organization.

Marissa Todd has been working in nonprofit and higher education fundraising for over a decade. She found her passion for the prospect development profession at her first Apra conference in 2014. Since then, Marissa has focused on developing and growing small shops, at Stephens College, University of Central Missouri and her next adventure, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. She is very involved with Apra, serving as the President of Apra Missouri-Kansas and on several Apra International committees. She has also presented at Apra and CASE conferences and loves to share her passion for prospect development with anyone who will listen.

Marissa earned her BA and JD from the University of Missouri and her MBA from Stephens College. In her free time, Marissa likes to experiment with cooking and wine, devour books and cheer on her favorite sports teams. She also likes to plan adventures with her husband, Michael, and snuggle up on the couch with their cats, Artie and Faurot.

 

Inaugural National History Academy

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Editor’s Note: JB+A is proud to share this special piece with you, which showcases former JB+A Consultant and current colleague and friend, Bill Sellers. Bill is President of Journey Through Hallowed Ground, a nonprofit partnership that promotes and supports civic engagement through history education, economic development through heritage tourism and the preservation of cultural landscapes in a 180-mile corridor from Gettysburg, PA through Maryland and Harpers Ferry, WV to Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, VA.

Bill Sellers feels there is a “crisis in historical and civic literacy.” A recent report by the National Assessment of Educational Progress concluded that only 18% of high school seniors showed proficiency in their knowledge of American history and 23% were proficient in civics. Of the seven subjects included in the Report, students scored lowest in their knowledge of U.S. history.

Bill is actively doing something to reverse these statistics — by providing future leaders with a “multidimensional, contextual understanding of history and its figures.” Bill developed the National History Academy, a five-week residential summer program for high school students to not just learn American history, but live it.

Bill Sellers describes the vision for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: walking in the footsteps of leaders who helped define and shape the American story including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Brown, Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr., and where soldiers fought for the birth and survival of this nation. Students will experience traditional classroom learning, but more importantly, visit 42 sites within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.

The region was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of the 11 most endangered places in the United States in 2005, was declared by Congress as a National Heritage Area in 2008, and Route 15/20 was named a National Scenic Byway in 2009. The Journey includes 12 National Parks, nine presidential sites, 30 historic Main Street communities, dozens of Civil War battlefields, and over 100 sites related to the fight for Civil Rights.

The mission of the Academy is to “foster an understanding of key events, people and issues in the country’s history and to engage our nation’s future leaders in the rights and duties of American citizenship through place-based, experiential learning.”  Its motto, “Historia Est Magistra Vitae” is taken from Cicero’s De Oratore and means “history is the teacher of life.”

Highly motivated students in 10th, 11th and 12th grades may apply. The application process includes a short application and a short response to the question, “Tell us why you want to be a part of the National History Academy in two paragraphs.”

Applications will be reviewed by a committee and judged on maturity of response and understanding of the topic. One-hundred students will be accepted into the Academy. Successful applicants will then be invited to register for the Academy, which runs June 24 to July 28, 2018.  A limited amount of financial aid is available.

To learn more about the National History Academy, visit here.

To learn more about Journey Through Hallowed Ground, visit here.

Bill and the Academy are also featured in the May-June 2018 issue of Harvard Magazine, which is published by a separately incorporated nonprofit affiliate of Harvard University, Bill’s alma mater.

JB+A Client Success: Congratulations PKD Foundation: JYNARQUE™ Approved as First Treatment for Polycystic Kidney Disease

By | All Posts, Current Events/News, Healthcare, JB+A Client Fundraising Success, News You Can Use | One Comment

JB+A is excited to share good news involving its client partner, PKD Foundation. PKD, a chronic, genetic disease, is characterized by uncontrolled growth of cysts in the kidneys and other organs and can lead to kidney failure. Previously, there had been no treatment specifically for PKD in the U.S., with the only option for survival a transplant or dialysis. Today, there is new hope.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted 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 polycystic kidney disease (PKD). The PKD Foundation not only supported early studies that led to the development of JYNARQUE™ as a treatment, but also helped guide PKD patients to the JYNARQUE™ clinical trials.

Although not a cure, patients who are prescribed JYNARQUE™ for PKD will see a slower decline in their kidney function, leading to improved health and well-being. “Today is an historic day in providing hope to patients with polycystic kidney disease, and we are thrilled to be a part of this first milestone to treat patients with ADPKD,” said Andy Betts, CEO of the PKD Foundation. “For the past 35 years, our goal has been to support PKD patients from care to cure. It is gratifying to play a part in the discovery of this treatment and to see it come to fruition.”

Betts also recognizes all of the patients who graciously took the time and resources to participate in the clinical trials to bring JYNARQUE™ to the PKD community: “This treatment would not exist without these patients,” says Betts. “We hope that this is just the beginning of new treatments on the horizon for patients suffering from PKD. We will continue to stand beside PKD patients until there is a cure, supporting them with access to future studies, to new treatments, and to ensure the affordability of care.”

JB+A is proud of PKD Foundation for this milestone achievement, and for the unwavering care and support it provides to those living with PKD.

About PKD Foundation:
PKD Foundation has been dedicated since its founding in 1982 to supporting and improving the lives of patients affected by polycystic kidney disease. These efforts are accomplished through promoting research to find treatments and a cure, as well as providing education, advocacy and awareness on a national level. The Foundation provides direct services to local communities nationwide and is the largest private funder of PKD research.

PKD Foundation is the only organization in the United States solely dedicated to finding treatments and a cure for PKD. Our mission: We give hope. We fund research, advocate for patients and build a community for all affected by polycystic kidney disease (PKD).

To learn more about PKD Foundation, visit here.

To learn more about JYNARQUE™, visit here.

Love your Volunteers. Really.

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Veronica Gerrity
Coordinator of Administration + Consulting

April 15th through the 21st was National Volunteer Week in the US, powered by Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. This special time gave nonprofit organizations the opportunity to remember the great works accomplished by their volunteers.

Established in 1974 and growing steadily ever since, National Volunteer Week has grown exponentially each year. The repeated success of this celebration proves honoring the impact of volunteers in our communities will inspire others to serve. JB+A has come up with 10 creative ways to say thank you to your volunteers year-round and show these unpaid, yet highly productive workers for your organization how valuable they and their contributions really are:

  1. Shout it Out – give a public shout out to your rockstar volunteers on your website, Facebook, Twitter or newsletter. Highlight specific volunteers and shine a light on their hard work and the impact they have on your organization.
  2. Let Them be Creative – Do your volunteers wear an organizational t-shirt? Hold a contest to let your volunteers design it. This helps volunteers feel creative and empowered – and really increases wardrobe options for your long-time volunteers.
  3. Share a Gift of Love – Ask those served by your nonprofit to craft personal gifts (letters, art work, poems, pictures from past events) to give to treasured volunteers.
  4. Volunteer Hall of Fame – Have an empty wall in the office? Create a Volunteer Hall of Fame and post pictures of each volunteer. Highlight a new “inductee” each month or quarter.
  5. Have Them Say It – Invite volunteers to share personal stories about why they volunteer and special experiences with your organization, then feature those stories in your newsletter, on your website and social media and on the Hall of Fame wall.
  6. Flexibility is King – Have a volunteer who is always reliable? Show your appreciation by giving them first dibs on working desirable projects or offer more flexibility in their volunteer schedule.
  7. Meet and Eat – Treat your volunteers to a meal with the people who appreciate their time the most – your clients and their families, staff and Board members. Yum.
  8. Remember the Person – Keep records of volunteers’ birthdays and send them a card. Did you hear about a major accomplishment or life event (graduation, new job, wedding or birth etc.) with a volunteer? Send them a quick note and let them know your organization is proud to be a part of their lives.
  9. Make Them Laugh – Have extra candy lying around? Create “punny” thank-you messages and add some candy to surprise your volunteers when they walk in. Sometimes the silliest way to say thank you is the one that will stick.
  10. Show Them the Love – Create an online photo album showing the work your volunteers have contributed over the last year. The visual impact of seeing their accomplishments is a great way to reinforce your organization’s appreciation.

Lastly, remembering to simply say “thank you” and remembering to say it often is sometimes all anyone needs to hear to reaffirm their commitment and love for your organization. Taking the time to be sincere and making each occasion to recognize volunteers meaningful will allow your organization to achieve more and be better.

Cast from the vision of 1,000 points of light shared by founder President George H. W. Bush in his 1989 inaugural address, Points of Light helps mobilize people to take action on the causes they care about through innovative programs, events and campaigns.

Why Major Gifts? Why Now?

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How many of us wish there were more hours in the day to focus on our major giving program and donors? Some of us may be one-man teams, but even those of us lucky enough to work in a fully-staffed, robust development office wish we had more time to reach out to more donors and have more meaningful conversations. Some of us don’t work on major gifts because there isn’t time and we don’t really see the need: “Why would I spend the time on major gifts if I’m getting by with annual gifts, grants, earned income, etc.?”

Good question. And below is arguably a good answer.

First, let’s reference GivingUSA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy published by The Giving USA Foundation, an arm of The Giving Institute. Of the approximately $390 Billion dollars given by Americans in 2016, 72% was given by individuals.  Add in the 8% giving through bequests (which are also given by individuals, technically) and the 7% from family foundations and the total is closer to 87% received from individuals.  That leaves only 13% given by foundations and corporations. Also, foundations are only legally required and mostly stick to a 5% mandatory distribution requirement.

Donor-Advised Funds and non-traditional giving methods allow for a myriad of possibilities and vehicles for individuals to use to invest in causes and programs about which they care deeply. It is also easier and a better use of staff resources (including time!) to cultivate and grow donors you already have, than to go out and identify new donors.  This is especially true when you look at the national statistics on donor retention. The 2017 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report found donor retention year-over-year averages 45%, meaning more than half of your new donors will not give a gift a second time.

A major giving program gives your donors a path to a deeper relationship with your mission and allows for greater impact through financial investment. With donor acquisition costs on the rise,  spending time examining your current donor base is a better use of time and results in a higher ROI. These individuals have already self-selected and said “yes” to you and your work at least once, but how well do you really “know” them? When was the last time your organization (or have your ever?) conducted a wealth screening? You may know who your top donors are, but do you know who are your most loyal?

To implement a major giving program, organizations should rely on the four pillars of a successful solicitation:

  1. You need a major giving case for support that clearly explains your mission and needs and expresses the impact major giving investments will have on your nonprofit.
  2. It’s imperative that we really “do our homework” and know our donors by understanding their past support, motivations to give and philanthropic goals. This is where the art and science of fundraising converge at the intersection of qualitative and quantitative knowledge.
  3. Utilizing this knowledge, we can develop personalized cultivation strategies, guided by best practices, to present the strongest solicitation possible.
  4. We need to steward our donors by identifying meaningful recognition and continuing communication.

By now, I hope you you’re thoroughly convinced individual donor prospects and major giving are elements you need in your resource development plan.  But do you still wonder if you have the time and resources to implement a major giving program your own organization?

Well, you can quit wondering.

JB+A is pleased to present a solution, in partnership with Softerware, Inc.: DonorPerfect Consulting Services Powered by Jeffrey Byrne + Associates is a 12-month, one-on-one phone and web-based consulting service that will help your organization institute major giving best practices and will offer advice crafted for each organization’s unique needs.  Expert coaching provided by us (JB+A) while utilizing DonorPerfect software and DonorSearch wealth screenings will help you identify and achieve your organization’s major giving fundraising goals.

Want to learn more?  Give me a call at 816-237-1999 or email me at KLord@FundraisingJBA.com.

Women as Leaders

By | Boards + Leadership, News You Can Use | No Comments

Veronica Gerrity
Coordinator of Administration + Consulting

With the fervor of International Women’s Day sweeping social media and news outlets last week, examples such as #pressforprogress and McDonald’s flipping their famous arches to make a “W” seemed everywhere. At JB+A, we wanted to explore the landscape of the nonprofit sector and look at how women are making an impact.

In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, DonorPerfect – a fundraising growth platform – shared their Nonprofit Leadership Workbook for Women. You can get it here. Notable was the statistic that although 73% of all nonprofit employees are women, women make up only 45% of nonprofit CEOs. This number has even more disparity when the organizational budget is factored in.  As an organization’s budget increases, the likelihood of a female leader decreases drastically. Despite this statistic and trend, the nonprofit sector is striving for gender parity.

Now let’s talk about Boards. A recent BoardSource survey Leading With Intent:2017 National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices, showed women make up 43% of nonprofit Board members compared to the 12% seen at public companies. Once again, nonprofits have far more diversity than the private sector when it comes to gender, but these numbers still do not accurately reflect our population and we can only wonder what our sector would be like with more inclusion at all levels.

Locally, organizations such as Women’s Foundation, Women’s Philanthropy at the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City and Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri, are all striving to make changes in our community through focusing on women philanthropists, volunteers and leaders. These organizations are tackling the need to train women and involve women in all aspects of the nonprofit world.
What else can we do? The White House Project: Benchmarking Women’s Leadership had these suggestions to keep progress moving forward.

  • Develop the pipeline. With a majority female labor force, the nonprofit sector has a pipeline in place. The challenge is to develop appropriate mentoring and staff development opportunities to position mid-level managers for the top positions in the organization.
  • Teach women improved negotiation skills to help them improve their prospects for promotion to top leadership positions and to reduce the salary gap.
  • Recruit, train and retain people of color across all levels of the nonprofit organization. Several studies suggest that the overall lack of racial and ethnic diversity in organizations can make the organizational culture alienating for persons of color.
  • Widen the search criteria for top leadership positions and look within the organization as well as outside.
  • Increase the diversity of boards.

By following these suggestions, our sector can continue to lead the way in gender equality and continue to profit from a steady pipeline of invested, qualified and motivated women.

Giving USA Special Report: “The Data on Donor-Advised Funds: New Insights You Need to Know.”

By | Fundraising, Giving USA, News You Can Use, The Giving Institute | No Comments

Katie Lord
Vice President

On, Thursday, March 1, The Giving Institute and Giving USA Foundation hosted a webinar to coincide with the release of its latest special report “The Data on Donor-Advised Funds: New Insights You Need to Know.”  A special panel included three industry experts on the subject: Pam Norley – President of Fidelity Charitable; Una Osili – Professor of Economics and Associate Dean for Research and International Programs, Indiana University, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy; Dave Scullin – CEO of the Communities Foundation of Texas and Mike Geary – lawyer and donor-advised fund holder.

This report is the first of its kind, revealing key insights into the creation of and grants from Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs.)  Want to hear the webcast in its entirety?  Click here

DAF Contribution Key Findings

  • DAFs continue to show annual growth – both in new funds being opened and in assets; Growth of assets in these funds is outpacing the growth of overall charitable giving – by three times the rate
  • Organizations most likely to sponsor DAFs have two characteristics: they receive large contributions and have low revenue
  • 15 organizations – consisting of community foundations, single-issue charities and national fund sponsors – hold 60% of DAF assets and make 60% of all grants

DAF Grants Key Findings

  • Education, religion and public-society benefit receive the most grant dollars from DAFs; education receives the most grant dollars
  • Granting patterns from DAFs mirror those of high net worth individuals
  • Grants from DAF are relatively stable from year to year
  • Differences between large and small DAF sponsors are nominal

After the Giving USA Foundation research was presented, Pam Norley, President of Fidelity Charitable, shared insights from the 2017 annual report regarding Fidelity Charitable’s fund holders.  Some of the myth-busting highlights of her presentation are below, including numbers from Fidelity Charitable’s Annual Report about the demographics of fund holders and the amounts of grants made each year.

  • Demographics of DAF holders (Fidelity Charitable 2017)
    • 55 years and older
    • 85% give to more than six (6) nonprofits
    • 79% volunteer with the organization receiving grants
  • DAF Grants by the Numbers (Fidelity Charitable 2017)
    • 60% of a DAF holder’s total giving comes from DAFs versus 40% from traditional assets
    • There are 9.7 grants per account annually
    • Donors grant out 24% of their assets annually from their DAFs versus 5% given from foundations
    • $4,200 is the average grant size
    • $19,000 is the average DAF account balance

In closing, Donor-Advised Funds are here to stay. They’re a great vehicle for both donors and nonprofits in making philanthropic impact.  As more research continues, it will be up to everyone to build relationships with our donors and DAF holders to maximize the benefits of this charitable giving vehicle.

And be sure to check out JB+A’s post on the continued rise of DAFs.

 

A Remarkable Act of Generosity

By | Donor Cultivation, Fundraising, Major Gift Solicitation, News You Can Use, Stewardship | No Comments

John Marshall
Senior Vice President

We have all heard about donors making million-dollar-plus gifts and the impact such generosity had on the recipient charity. Americans are clearly the most generous people on the face of the earth with million dollar gifts occurring annually in the thousands.

Like most fundraisers, I think about what truly motivates a person to give that much away and what I can do to secure such a gift for my clients. There is no doubt a worthy organization with a particularly compelling need can be successful in attracting seven-figure gifts. But, I have found over the years, that what is almost as important is taking the time to get to know your donors and paying particular attention to “the little things.”

I’ll never forget a meeting I had very early in my career with Dr. John Hanna, former president with Michigan State University and one of the most beloved figures in the history of that school. After about a 10-minute conversation he concluded our time together by giving me some sage advice: “John, whatever you do while you are here at MSU, don’t ever forget that people always come first. If you pay attention to them and show you care every bit as much about them as you do their philanthropy, well, truly wonderful things can happen.” It was a lesson I have carried with me ever since.

Some time ago, I was reminded of what Dr. Hanna had said while I was working with The Salvation Army in New York City, one of the Army’s largest divisions in the world.

In early December, The Salvation Army’s Greater New York Division holds its Annual Christmas Luncheon. The luncheon attracts a crowd of approximately 1,600 and serves as the official “kick-off” to the Army’s Christmas Campaign in New York City. It also is an event where individuals are publicly recognized for their extraordinary support to The Salvation Army. Since 1948, luminaries such as General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Catherine Marshall, Dr. Billy Graham, Helen Hayes, Bob Hope, Nancy Reagan, Rudolph Giuliani, Yogi Berra and many others have received the Army’s prestigious Pinnacle of Achievement Award.

In 1993, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, an elderly couple who had for years been very generous donors, were chosen to receive the Army’s Community Service Award. Shy of being in the spotlight, Mr. Smith chose not to attend but his wife Lois did and joined a very distinguished group of VIPs including Mrs. Margot Perot, wife of the noted philanthropist. After receiving the award, Lois spoke very humbly about being honored and simply stated that she and her husband dearly loved the Army and its work with the underprivileged.

The following year, one of the worst hurricanes in history struck Florida, precariously near the home where the Smiths spent their winters. Knowing they were in Florida, we decided to have the Divisional Commander (the Army’s equivalent to a CEO) call the Smiths just to say hello and to ask if they were safely weathering the hurricane.

Lois answered the call and was quick to express her appreciation for the Colonel’s call and to say that she was safe. She also shared with him that just two months earlier, her husband had passed away from a heart attack.

Prior to the conclusion of their conversation, the Colonel asked if he could offer a prayer for her during which Lois openly wept. When he concluded, she said “Colonel, when I return to the city could you please visit me in my home?” Of course, he agreed to do so without reservation.

Several weeks later, the Colonel and I were sitting with Lois in her beautiful and very posh Upper East Side penthouse home. In fact, being very private people, this had been the very first time a representative of the Army had been in her home.

“Colonel,” Lois said, “I can’t thank you enough for your phone call. That was a very difficult time for me and it meant so very, very much to me. I would like very much to make a gift in honor of my husband. Can you please give some thought as to how a seven-figure gift might be put to good use? I am particularly interested in something that will benefit children.”

A series of more visits, conversations with her financial advisor and a site visit to two locations in the Bronx followed.  We showed her two daycare centers that were in dire need of significant renovations. She soon became very interested in helping with these particular facilities and asked that we put together a request that would completely cover the cost of the renovations.

Several weeks later, back in her home and in the presence of her financial advisor, the Colonel and me, Lois signed an agreement outlining the specifics of her gift and how it was to be utilized.

Her gift was for $10 million, at that time the largest gift from an individual the Army had ever received in New York City.

Now, I am absolutely certain that honoring Lois and her late husband played a role in her making such an extraordinary gift. But I am just as certain the Colonel’s phone call, reaching out to her in a time of crisis, was even more of a factor.

The truly successful charities in the world are those which understand that stewardship is far, far more than just sending out a timely thank you letter. As Dr. Hanna said, “Don’t forget that people come first.”  It can make a huge difference – just ask The Salvation Army in New York City.