JGA Blog

Campaigning During A Crisis: How to Adjust and Plan

June 25, 2020

The nonprofit world, just like the world in general, has been turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic and the growing crises over the economy and race relations in the US. All of us involved in philanthropy are working to determine our course in the choppy and unchartered waters.

Recently JGA sponsored a webinar aimed at casting a guiding light on moving forward with a fundraising campaign in the midst of these challenges. The webinar, Campaigns and COVID-19: What the Pandemic Means for Your Campaign, brought the perspective of four guests representing organizations at different stages of campaigns: planning; leadership gifts/quiet phase; major gifts/public phase; and campaign closure.

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Giving USA Reports a Robust Year for 2019 Giving

June 16, 2020

The environment for charitable giving was favorable in 2019. Economic strength underpinned very positive giving patterns and precedes potential challenges that may occur in 2020, considering the economic, health, political, and social challenges prevailing to date. However, positive trends in 2019 help establish momentum and a strong base of support to which nonprofits can strive to return.

Giving USA Foundation has released annual estimates of charitable giving for 2019, showing that giving reached more than $449 billion amid a strong economy. Giving USA 2020: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for 2019  reports Americans gave $449.64 billion in 2019. This marks the third year of growth with the highest giving levels ever seen—over $400 billion—driven by individuals as the largest source of charitable gifts. Total giving reflects an increase of 4.2% in current dollars and of 2.4% in inflation-adjusted dollars from 2018. These numbers demonstrate a robust pattern of giving, bolstered by a strong economy.

Total US Giving 2019

In addition to the impacts of the economy and other challenges this year, political giving trends may be another relevant factor. Historically, political giving represents a low share of all giving and has not had substantial impact on giving across subsectors—so the 2020 election is not anticipated to have a major effect. However, due to high engagement in advocacy, awareness of current issues, and unusual circumstances in 2020, this trend may shift in this election cycle.

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Learning to Change

June 04, 2020

Like you, we at JGA have discovered new ways of doing that which only 90 days ago might have seemed unlikely—or unnecessary. The definition of what is necessary has changed so dramatically. And, we’ve all changed, adjusted ,and innovated in ways that would have in February felt unimaginable.

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Raising Funds in a Crisis: Connect and Tell Your Story

May 28, 2020

You need to draft an appeal to your annual donors and prospects in the middle of this COVID-19 global pandemic, but you are worried your donors have a lot of other things on their mind right now (just like you do). How can they possibly think about giving when they are faced with challenges, concerns, and uncertainty? Yet, your donors are generous, and your mission relies on gaining their support—points that affirm now is not the time to stop fundraising.

In today’s headlines, stories of giving and volunteering win our hearts and attention. Philanthropy and the spirit behind it are bringing us together now, as much as ever. People are responding to positivity and calls to do and help. So, they are ready respond to your appeal for support—but, you must first connect with them.

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Philanthropy’s Role in Reopening Your Doors After COVID-19

May 20, 2020

What role will philanthropy play as your organization prepares to welcome students back to campus, host performances, open the doors to your museum or resume in-person gatherings at your place of worship?

If you have ventured out of the house, you have seen the modifications that businesses are making to welcome customers back – plexiglass at checkout counters and drive-through windows, signage to accommodate social distancing in lines and many other modifications.

Each of you needs to develop and implement plans to help protect your stakeholders as you re-open your doors.

The timeframe and requirements for each of you to resume operations will vary drastically based on location, size of the groups, type of activities and the demographics of your constituency. But, no matter the differences, much planning will be required. Have you considered how philanthropy can be a part of your re-opening plans?

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Guiding Your Team in Tackling Complex Issues

April 23, 2020

Like many college advancement leaders, Jane saw her alumni participation numbers continuing to trail downward. She knew she needed to engage with alumni in a way that was meaningful and increased their connection to their alma mater, but it wasn’t something she could expect the alumni office to do all on their own. They needed new techniques to engage alumni, and it was a project that would require both the alumni and advancement departments to work together. They also needed to create more collaboration with career services and other departments.

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Keep Your Fundraising Team Engaged During Social Distancing

April 21, 2020

Today, the vast majority of us find ourselves and our staff working from home. This remote work arrangement, while necessary for everyone’s health and safety, creates some unique challenges. Though the current crisis has changed how we work, it hasn’t changed the desire to keep the missions of our institutions moving forward. Here are a few tips for you and your team while you are working remotely that will help position your organization to be more effective once the crisis passes.

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The CARES Act and Your Donors: The Potential Impact on Giving

April 06, 2020

The CARES Act, an economic stimulus bill that was passed into law on March 27, 2020, contains many provisions to assist for-profit companies, nonprofit organizations, and individuals. Most of the initial commentary about the recent stimulus packages has, for obvious reasons, focused upon the organizational aspects such as payroll protection and enhancements to the small business loan program.

It is important that you also consider the tax changes that potentially affect the planning considerations of your donors and, therefore, might also affect your fundraising efforts.

Here are three aspects of the CARES Act that might have an effect on the philanthropic planning of your donors. Keep in mind that these are not the primary reasons a donor makes a gift. Your mission matters the most. Tax planning tends to affect how they give, not why.

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COVID-19: Historical Giving Data and What to Do Today

March 23, 2020

A week ago Friday, I posted my first blog about COVID-19 and the impact it might have on nonprofit  philanthropy. A lot has changed in the past week – seemingly by the hour.  As you continue to navigate these complex waters, let’s first take a look at some historical data to see how philanthropy weathered the storm of other crises. 

The Data

Unfortunately, there is no philanthropic data from the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, so we have to look at the next most relevant set of data. The research from Giving USA and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy help us understand how donors behave during a time of crisis and also during an economic downturn.

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COVID-19: Philanthropy in a Changing Landscape

March 13, 2020

We hope above all that you and yours are safe and healthy.

With the escalation of COVID-19, we know that you are facing many complex decisions and processing information at a fast pace. We want to assure you that JGA is here to help you think through the complex donor situations and the potential impact of COVID-19 on philanthropy. As always, our JGA team is accessible; whether we are working with you in your setting or remotely, we will stay in close touch to assist with this fluid situation. We have considerable expertise in remote work and anticipate there will be no disruptions to our service.  

While it is too early to predict the full impact COVID-19 will have on giving and volunteering by your friends and supporters, we recommend that you and your colleagues focus on the following key areas in these days:

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