The Philanthropic Paradox in Donor Communication: Change is the only constant, with ONE big exception

By JoAnn Yoshimoto (CFRE 2000-2021), Senior Consultant

Digital versus print communication

The explosion of online communications channels, expanding new technologies and a younger population is a reality to be reckoned with. Add to those trends the new and exciting fundraising results from online giving, and the projected $8.8 trillion transfer of wealth by 2027, and it’s easy to leap to the conclusion that the wave to catch and surf to the land of opportunity is digital. However, let’s look closely at compelling opportunities, documented results and stated donor preferences before we take the plunge.

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5 trends to inform your 2022 fundraising campaign strategy

By Mariah Fosnight, CFRE, Consultant

Last year as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe and racial and social inequities were exacerbated and brought into the national spotlight, we nonprofit warriors “pivoted” and navigated “uncharted waters” during “unprecedented” times, while kindly asking our colleagues to “please unmute yourself.”

Although I always jump at the chance to reference Friends – “PIVOT! PIVOT!” – I’m happy to say these overused words and phrases are mostly behind us, mostly. (Plus, there are less cringe-worthy and more productive ways to reference Friends. Read on and you’ll see.)

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The Growing Power of DAFs: Here’s what you need to know

By Jamie Philippe, CFRE, Vice President

Donor-advised funds, or DAFs, have been at the top of mind for many people since the release of the Giving USA report for philanthropy for the year 2020 (check out our blog here for an overview) and especially now with Giving USA’s groundbreaking report on DAFs which was released on November 11, 2021. DAFs have also received extra attention this year due to the bills that have been introduced in the U.S. Senate that aim to place new restrictions on DAFs. However, for many, there is a real lack of clarity around the current status of DAFs, and they raise more questions than answers.

For development professionals who oversee fundraising for their organization, the question is how to engage DAF-holders. Given the stunning growth in DAFs over the past five years, there are no signs of their popularity slowing down, so let’s unpack and demystify this hot trend. What are the rules around DAFs? What are the benefits of a DAF? How can your organization gain access to them?

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Never Waste a Good Pause

By Mary Hackett, Associate Vice President and JoAnn Yoshimoto, CFRE, Associate Senior Consultant

It was Machiavelli who first advised “never waste a good crisis.” By that he meant one could look at the opportunities afforded by a crisis to change, to innovate and to improve.

To paraphrase Machiavelli, we advise “never waste a good pause.” Whether it’s a lull in activity or a forced rethinking of business-as-usual, most nonprofits are experiencing a “pandemic pause.” At minimum, everyone should take a moment to consider how to effectively navigate in the new normal. For those who are experiencing a pause, the silver lining is that we can utilize this time to strategically prepare for the future.

We can explore ways to embrace the pandemic pause to PAUSE:

P – Position

A – Analyze

U – Unify

S – Steward

E – Evaluate

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Giving USA: The Next Normal and a New Age of Philanthropy

By Alexis Cooke, Consultant, Alford Group

On Wednesday, June 17, Alford Group hosted a panel of national experts and funders to discuss Giving USA’s Annual Report on Philanthropy in 2019 in light of current realities, new opportunities and our future as non-profit staff, funders and philanthropists. The full discussion, along with Alford Group’s Giving USA report, may be found here.

As Brenda Asare, Alford Group’s President and CEO, noted as she opened the panel discussion, we all had high hopes for 2020 – momentum within the sector was strong and anticipated to continue at the close of 2019 and through 2020. Of course, no one knew what was coming nor how incredibly important that cushion would be to the survival of many nonprofits. As leaders representing funders and philanthropists across the country, Laura, Marguerite, Steve and Beth offered critical insights into philanthropy today and provided some hope as Brenda said “we must look up and ahead, as that is where we are all going.”

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Giving USA 2020 By the Numbers and Beyond

By Alexis Cooke, Consultant, Alford Group

On Wednesday, June 17, Alford Group’s Karen Rotko-Wynn, Executive Vice President, shared highlights, trends and key takeaways from Giving USA 2020: The Annual Report on Philanthropy in 2019. Karen’s full presentation, along with a panel discussion with national experts and funders discussing the next normal and the future of philanthropy may be found here.

To be at this moment – mid-June 2020, reflecting on last year’s philanthropy during these challenging and volatile times – well, it feels a bit disconnected. It is hard not to ask why these data points matter; it is difficult to receive this report without wondering what this year’s annual report on philanthropy will say.

However, as the longest running, most comprehensive and most authoritative report on charitable giving in the United States – representing 128 million households, 600,000 nonprofits and 80,000 foundations and businesses – the information reported through Giving USA is deeply relevant. As leaders and staff of nonprofits, it is important to understand data trends and to know where to focus efforts; it is important to know where your organization fits within this data; and it is important to understand this data in relation to navigating our current, very difficult year.

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Now What? 4 Must-Dos for Your 90-Day COVID-19 Recovery Plan

Mary Kaufman-Cranney, CFRE, Vice President

Every organization is approaching and responding to COVID-19 differently, but regardless of the approach – certainly, all have been considering what fundraising will look like in the coming months and year. We know a rough road lies ahead and no one can predict what this recovery will look like; however, there is some good news.

The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy tracks giving during disasters, and what they’ve seen so far with COVID-19 is record levels of seven-figure gifts being made to organizations. America is being more generous than ever.

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Nonprofit Board Members: The dos and don’ts in a time of crisis

By Molly Hansen, Vice President

Dear Board Members,

The initial shock and fear– or denial – of the Coronavirus outbreak has shifted into, “How long can this possibly go on?”

Just like every person, institution, business and organization, the nonprofit community has never been through anything like this. As a board member of a nonprofit organization, are you wondering how you can help during this time of crisis? Or perhaps you’ve already jumped into the deep end of daily tasks and are trying to help the staff do their jobs?

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3 Steps to Light Up Your Donor Engagement Strategy Through COVID-19 and Beyond

By Jennifer Shin, MBA, CFRE, Consultant – LinkedIn

With the cancellation of traditional fundraising events and the elimination of in-person meetings due to COVID-19, nonprofits across the sector are elevating their donor engagement strategies and reaching their base of support in unparalleled ways during this critical time. In my conversations with clients, some are now challenged to think about how to build a more integrated approach to their current donor engagement strategies while using the systems they already have in place as they pivot to plan for the next fiscal year.

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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”

Highway to Your Fundraising Metrics

By Jennifer Shin, MBA, Consultant and Mariah Fosnight, MBA, MID, Client Service Associate

Congratulations! As you near year end, you can momentarily rest in cruise control knowing that the craze of event season is an image in your rearview mirror. Imagine you’re in a position where both the total number of attendees and the number of new attendees spiked at the variety of friend-raising events you’ve held throughout the year. Exhale a sigh of relief, crank up the volume to your favorite song and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Now the dust is settling and it’s time to take back control of the car. You run your annual metrics and expect to see strong retention numbers with the added donor engagement you’ve invested in over the last two years. To your surprise, you see that retention rates for the last fiscal year actually decreased for the first time in several years. Yikes! Before you accelerate off the next exit, let’s take a deeper dive. Along the way, we’ll provide helpful strategies to get ahead of these downward trends. Continue reading “Highway to Your Fundraising Metrics”