Creative Ideas for Giving Tuesday

September 4, 2019 in Acquisition, Donor Relationship Management, Fundraising, Giving Tuesday, Marketing & Communications

Giving Tuesday falls on December 3 this year. GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated in the US on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, GivingTuesday starts the charitable season, when many focus on end-of-year giving.

According to the GivingTuesday website:
In 2018, 75% of those making financial contributions on #GivingTuesday were repeat donors, with a mean gift size of $105. Data shows that the holiday creates a net bump in overall yearly giving, and has proven not only to engage new donors, but to motivate existing donors to give more. Your organization will have the opportunity to join thousands of organizations around the world to encourage more generosity.

That is great news in terms of number of donors and gift amounts but it also presents a challenge as we are competing with thousands of other charitable organizations around the world. So we’ll want some creative ideas for our campaign that grab donors attention, are simple, and make it easy for them to give. Continue reading »

Don’t Wait: Start Planning Your Next Capital Campaign Now! (Part 2)

August 1, 2019 in Donor Relationship Management, Fundraising, Uncategorized

Part 1 of this series focused on the need to identify and recruit potential capital campaign chairs several years in advance of a campaign. If they are not already serving as leadership volunteers in your philanthropy program, you can take the following steps:

  1. Invite these prospective campaign chairs and leaders to become involved in your program.
  2. Teach best practices in donor cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship.
  3. Emphasize the vital importance of listening to donors to better understand their interests and motivations.
  4. Roleplay solicitations to demonstrate calling for an appointment, presenting your case, working as a team, making the ask, and dealing with objections.
  5. Have them accompany you on solicitation visits so they can observe you in action, participate in the conversation, and become comfortable with the process.
  6. When they are ready, allow them to take the lead during the visit, and then critique their performance afterward.
  7. Evaluate their potential as leadership volunteers and donors.
  8. Strategically groom them for a leadership role.

Continue reading »

Don’t Wait: Start Planning Your Next Capital Campaign Now! (Part 1)

July 20, 2019 in Fundraising, Leadership & Management

Keep smiling, you tell yourself.

Your CEO is informing you, the chief development officer, that your organization’s board just approved a major building project that hadn’t been on your radar. What also wasn’t on your radar: a $10 million capital campaign (or $25 million or $50 million) that’s needed to supplement other funding sources.

Maintain a good poker face, you think. After all, a well-planned, successful capital campaign will take your philanthropy program to a higher level.

And there’s more news: your CEO wants to break ground in six to 12 months if fast-tracked approvals can be secured. And who, she asks, should lead the capital campaign? Continue reading »

Take Steps Now to Keep Continuing Education in Your Budget

April 4, 2019 in Fundraising, Leadership & Management

Are you doing that annual dance with your CFO to keep professional membership and conference fees from being cut from your development/advancement budget? One CFO I worked with years ago eliminated the money from my budget, never to be seen again. He reasoned that since I didn’t need the funds that year (because he wouldn’t let me spend the money), then I certainly didn’t need them in the future. Okay then . . .

Continue reading »

Tax and Jobs Act – What Gift Officers Need to Know

July 2, 2018 in Fundraising, Taxes

There are a lot of studies, some positive and most negative, about the impact on giving based on the Tax and Jobs Act of 2017 passed and signed into law in December 2017. Although we don’t know what the impact will be as of yet, there are things we do know. Below is a summary of what you should know as a charitable gift officer.

Continue reading »

Spring is in the Air

April 18, 2018 in Fundraising

For us here in the Northeast, we are still waiting on Spring to really arrive. We are looking forward to warmer days, blossoms on the trees, the arrival of birds from their winter homes, and the start of EVENT SEASON.

Spring is such a natural time of year for organizations to host events – both annual and special events.  Fun runs are great for community engagement and awareness. Golf outings allow sponsors who have been supportive of your organization to be recognized and to renew their commitment to your cause. Galas are opportunities to introduce your charity to a new audience through featured entertainment, exclusive venues, and pre-event publicity. There is a LOT of good that can come from an event, but that must be weighed against the work, time, and energy that goes into producing a successful event.

When planning something for your organization, be mindful of the commitment you are making of your staff and volunteers and be sure everyone is up to the task. Remember that there is always an upfront cost associated with putting on a great event and the proceeds from participants or attendees can’t always be guaranteed. A realistic budget is important, as is a clear marketing/promotional plan. Recruiting volunteers who have experience in running a specific type of event are key players in the process and should be recognized for their abilities and knowledge. Don’t forget the reason for putting on an event and don’t lose sight of the overall mission and vision of your organization. And, above all, try to enjoy the incredible special event you’ve worked so hard to realize.

What’s in a Name?

March 30, 2018 in Fundraising

A while back, we were working with a client whose membership had not been exposed to the idea of philanthropic giving as a culture. The client’s goal was to increase overall giving by the general membership in an effort to support the mission of the organization. For many years, it was assumed that dues and outside support were enough to sustain the amazing work the group is doing. Unfortunately, this was not the case and it was becoming more and more clear that they would not be able to maintain their level of quality work if something didn’t change to give them an increased revenue stream.

The idea of conducting a Capital Campaign was discussed and after a Feasibility Study was completed it was determined there was an opportunity to increase funding through the membership. But how?

The notion of conducting a formal Capital Campaign seemed almost too extreme to the leadership. Afterall, the members were not used to philanthropic giving and to immediately launch into a “campaign” could be viewed by some as aggressive. Instead, we decided the better approach would be to frame it as a shift in thinking. By taking some of the same elements as a Capital Campaign such as educating stakeholders, involving key influencers, and communicating the needs and benefits of the group, we are achieving the same results without raising concern or comfort level from those we hope to enlist in this effort.  Creativity and flexibility are paramount in any fundraising initiative…think outside the box and don’t be restricted by names.

How the New Tax Cuts and Job Act Might Impact Your Organization

March 13, 2018 in Donor Relationship Management, Fundraising

In December of 2017, President Trump signed into law the Tax Cuts and Job Act. The law does not change a taxpayer’s ability to deduct charitable contributions as long as they are itemized deductions. But because of the increased standard deduction, it is likely that the number of taxpayers who itemize their deductions will be smaller and it could possibly impact future donor contributions. Continue reading »

Wishing you a prosperous 2018!

January 5, 2018 in Fundraising, Marketing & Communications

As we wrap up 2017 we are grateful for the many clients we work with and the incredible people we meet each day who  make our world a better place. While the landscape of philanthropy is always changing to consider the economic and social climate, the one constant is the underlying goal of non-profit organizations to improve the lives of others through the generosity of their supporters.

Continue reading »