Certainty in Year-End Fundraising During Uncertain Times

By Molly Hansen, Vice President, Alford Group

The end of the year is around the corner—the single biggest fundraising opportunity of the year! Just how much year-end philanthropic giving will be impacted this year by current events is impossible to know.

In the fundraising forums that I am part of, I often run across the phrase, “We’ve been here before.” I beg to differ! We have not been here before.

Continue reading “Certainty in Year-End Fundraising During Uncertain Times”

Celebrating Black Philanthropy

By Brenda B. Asare, President and CEO, Alford Group

Featuring:

Liz Thompson, President and Office Director, Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education (The CAFE)

Don Thompson, CEO and Founder, Cleveland Avenue, LLC

 

The world is learning how to overcome the discomfort of talking about race and organizations everywhere are having some real courageous conversations on how we can move forward together to create lasting change for people of color. This change will create a ripple effect where others who have been marginalized will benefit and increase their ability to thrive as well – no one is left behind.

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Diversity in Fundraising: Making a Long-Term Commitment

By JoAnn Yoshimoto, CFRE, Senior Consultant

Growing up in Kentucky during segregation, Jimmie Alford – Alford Group’s founder – attended an all-white school, and didn’t experience racial diversity until the age of nine when his parents moved to Chicago. The move, due to the closing of coal mines, placed Jimmie’s family in a small apartment in the Englewood community. Jimmie was one of three white students in his third grade class of 40 students.

Along with his classmates, he understood economic diversity and its impact on themselves, their families and their community while living in extreme poverty within a predominantly affluent nation. He also directly and personally saw and felt the impact of discrimination. He decided at a young age that the injustice of discrimination was something he would never allow to penetrate his life and that he would work his entire life to eradicate it in all forms. Like many who grow up marginalized in one way or another, Jimmie vowed to lift himself out of his circumstances, make a better life and never forget the important life lessons learned along the way. His commitment to this goal was unwavering and steadfast.

While Jimmie passed away suddenly in 2012, his spirit and leadership remain with us as the nation and world grapple with the opportunity afforded by the Black Lives Matter movement and a renewed call for equity and social justice. We share his unwavering optimism that better days lie ahead when we all work together.

Diversity

Diversity is one of seven core values of Alford Group, and one of Jimmie’s enduring “fingerprints” on the consulting firm he founded in 1979. One manifestation of this commitment is our 20+-year sponsorship of the Diversity Workshop and Diversity Art Showcase at the annual AFP International Conference. While our dedication to diversity and inclusiveness has remained resolute over the decades, the demographics of America – and thus the universe of donors and prospective donors – have changed dramatically. Lessons learned from diverse communities, and the shared values of diversity, equity and inclusiveness (DEI), are more relevant and more essential today than ever before. Continue reading “Diversity in Fundraising: Making a Long-Term Commitment”

Effective Donor Communication Strategies During COVID-19

Moderator: Brenda B. Asare, President and CEO, Alford Group

Panelists:

  • Alyssa Conrardy, President and Co-founder, Prosper Strategies
  • Cara Gosse, Vice President of Communications and Development, Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin
  • Kathy Schaeffer, Kathy Schaeffer Consulting, LLC

COVID-19: Four lessons learned in crisis management

By Mary Kaufman-Cranney, CFRE, Vice President

As seasoned fundraising consultants at Alford Group, we can say there’s never been anything like COVID-19. However, we have helped our clients through many crises over our 40-year history and the lessons we’ve learned can be applied to today’s challenges.

Since the outbreak hit, my colleagues and I have been working around the clock with clients who are scrambling to transition to this new virtual reality, all while trying to maintain fundraising momentum. This crisis is affecting organizations in a wide variety of ways. Some organizations are experiencing a survival crisis, others are working to raise the additional funds needed to match the increase in demand for their services, and others are pulling out all the stops to not skip a beat as they move forward with their campaigns.

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COVID-19 Stimulus Bill Includes Charitable Giving Incentives: What This Means for Donors

By Jennifer Shin, MBA, CFRE, Consultant – LinkedIn

Over the past few weeks, we’ve held our breath as Congress worked to pass a $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act or “stimulus package”) on Friday, March 20, 2020. While the enduring impact of COVID-19 and the reach of this package is not yet known, nonprofits across the sector are looking to this bill to find answers in its many provisions, from forgivable emergency loan programs to direct cash infusions.

Meanwhile, nonprofits have focused on communicating to their supporters at all levels as they’ve had to make very difficult decisions and invited philanthropists to join them in finding solutions. Please check out the message by Alford Group’s President and CEO Brenda Asare that outlines ways some organizations have leaned in and facilitated deep and meaningful conversations around the community.

Now, let’s take a focused look at the varying charitable giving incentives for individuals and what this means for donors. Continue reading “COVID-19 Stimulus Bill Includes Charitable Giving Incentives: What This Means for Donors”

A New Philanthropic Landscape: Navigate confidently through COVID-19

A Message from Brenda B. Asare, President and CEO, Alford Group

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has created unexpected challenges and new daily realities for your organization. While this is uncharted territory for all of us, we know that the need for your services and programs continues and Alford Group stands ready to be your partner through this difficult time.

One reality that is not new is that Americans are generous – in good times and bad. That history of generosity has enabled us to weather challenges and come through difficult times stronger.

In recent meetings with many organizations we are helping clients navigate and create strategic approaches to meet increased demands for services, pivot on special events and engage with donors in meaningful ways. Over the past 40 years, Alford Group has helped our clients navigate through national crisis, economic downturns and organizational challenges.

The most important thing to remember is that your donors and volunteers care about you and your mission. They want to know how they can help your organization. Here are some proactive steps – and specific strategies being implemented by our clients – to consider.

Continue reading “A New Philanthropic Landscape: Navigate confidently through COVID-19”

Gratitude Beyond the Thank You Letter

By Molly Hansen, Vice President

During this time of year, gratitude is front and center as the holiday spirit begins to take shape in our communities. However, we know that for nonprofit leaders like you, gratitude is not just felt during this time of year but infused in our work all year long.

In fundraising, we know that sending thank you letters within a few days of receiving contributions is an essential pillar of a basic development program. Additionally, there are countless articles on the internet with excellent suggestions for going further in expressing gratitude to your donors and I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you as you come up with new ways to further engage your most valued supporters:

  • Send a welcome packet to new donors with information about the impact of their giving
  • Set up board members to make thank you calls to a few donors each month
  • Engage donors as volunteers, especially with direct contact with your organization’s participants and programs

The idea is to bring people closer to your organization. These small gestures can have a positive and lasting impact on your donor retention – keeping your donors year over year and increasing the level of their contributions.

Continue reading “Gratitude Beyond the Thank You Letter”

Comprehensive Annual Giving – Roadmap to Creating Your Plan

By Amy Hines, Senior Vice President

Annual giving programs typically serve as fundamental revenue engines for nonprofit organizations and yet are notoriously knotty plans to put on paper. We need our institutional leaders, boards and staff to understand our plans. Making them understandable, measurable, achievable, and yet strategic and ambitious is part of the job of the chief development officer.  How best to do that?

What to include in annual giving?

By definition, an annual giving program encompasses solicitations that recur each year, and that should produce incrementally greater results over time, increasing the number of donors and dollars raised. The program should generate predictable cash income at targeted times in the year, based on when solicitation activities are scheduled to occur. Annual giving income addresses an organization’s need for current funds, largely, but not exclusively unrestricted. Continue reading “Comprehensive Annual Giving – Roadmap to Creating Your Plan”

As Good as It Gives: America’s Philanthropy Today (Giving USA 2019 By the Numbers)

By Alexis Cooke, Consultant

Alford Group celebrated 40 years of impact with Giving USA events across the country, including in Chicago, Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver, WA.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for  presentations sharing the recently released Giving USA 2019 Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018. There is a lot to consider in reviewing Giving USA 2019’s report, so let’s dive in and discuss some key takeaways.

Continue reading “As Good as It Gives: America’s Philanthropy Today (Giving USA 2019 By the Numbers)”

How to Prepare for a Major Campaign: Insights from expert fundraisers

By Mary Kaufman-Cranney, CFRE, Vice President

I recently facilitated a panel of development professionals at the statewide Arizona AFP Conference in Flagstaff to discuss the ins and outs of preparing for and launching a major campaign. The session reinforced best practices along with the creativity and flexibility needed to adapt to the bumps in the road that come with any campaign.

Between the panelists and myself, we brought about a dozen or two campaign experiences, a half billion dollars raised and more than a few stories of how campaigns truly bring out magical moments – from motivated donors and serendipity occurrences, to inspired board engagement and giving.

What is a major campaign?

As we got going, the panelists were nodding their heads as I got us all on board with the definition of a major campaign.

Definition of a Major Campaign:

A carefully organized, intensive fundraising effort in a specific amount of time designed to secure extraordinary gifts for specific purpose(s) that propel the organization to a whole new level of achieving its mission & reaching its vision Continue reading “How to Prepare for a Major Campaign: Insights from expert fundraisers”

Five Tips: Engage Your Board in Major Gifts Fundraising

Practical Ideas and Tools

By Mary Kaufman-Cranney, CFRE, Vice President

While presenting at a recent AFP lunch meeting, I asked the audience, “How many of you have at least a few board members engaged in your major gift fundraising efforts?” Not to my surprise, only a handful of the more than 100 fundraisers in the room raised their hands. Then I asked, “How many of your board members are passionate about your mission?” As you would imagine, everyone in the room raised their hand! So, how do we turn that passion into fundraising action? Here are a handful of tips and tools to get results: Continue reading “Five Tips: Engage Your Board in Major Gifts Fundraising”