JGA Blog

Seeking Big Gifts: Steps to build your major gifts fundraising program

May 28, 2019

Building a systematic major gifts program can have a dramatic impact on your fundraising ROI (Return on Investment). Establishing a major gifts program that is systematic involves creating a purposeful, organized, and ongoing program for identifying and cultivating relationships with donors that leads to solicitation and stewardship of major gifts.

A successful major gifts program also entails focusing your efforts on those prospects who are likely to make the largest financial impact on your organization. A sharper focus on your top prospects will allow you to better steward your institution’s resources and work more effectively and efficiently.

We believe success in securing major gifts is so important for nonprofits, that Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates (JGA) partnered with the Chronicle of Philanthropy to provide a curated collection of Chronicle articles and JGA insights on major gift fundraising.

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Are You Taking Advantage of Challenge Gifts in fundraising?

May 07, 2019

Challenge gifts are a mainstay of most nonprofit fundraising programs for one very good reason . . . they are effective! For decades nonprofits in all sectors have utilized challenge gifts to incentivize giving to achieve a variety of goals.  Their effectiveness has not waned.  They work in any number of situations.  They work with all generations.  Leveraging giving has universal appeal!

Although fundraisers can provide numerous anecdotes of how challenge gifts have stimulated giving, formal research also has shown that challenge gifts attract donors and increase contributions.  One study conducted by Daniel Rondeau and John List in 2008, Matching and Challenge Gifts to Charity:  Evidence from Laboratory and Natural Field Experiments, revealed that challenge gifts attracted 23% more donors and increased total dollar contributions 18%. 

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A Quarter-Century Empowering Nonprofits

April 01, 2019

At Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates, we are a philanthropic consulting firm that takes our vision quite seriously:

“JGA strengthens the field of philanthropy and empowers not-for-profit organizations to make the world a better place.”

It’s been that way since 1994, when Don Johnson and Ted Grossnickle had a vision for a distinctly different consulting firm. From the beginning, JGA was intended to be a high-quality, personalized, deeply strategic consulting practice for nonprofits. JGA would be the firm that would think intuitively about a client situation. If needed, a consultant would take extra time to do the job right. JGA would under-promise and over-deliver. And, consequently, through good service to the nonprofit community, JGA would have a positive impact in making the world a better place – living out our vision. 

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Honoring a Leader in our Profession

March 26, 2019

On April 2nd in San Antonio, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) will honor Dr. Paul Pribbenow, PH.D., CFRE,  as Outstanding Fundraising Professional for 2019 at the International Conference on Fundraising.

This is one of those occasions when a “blog” just doesn’t provide enough space to say why this is such a great honor and why it’s so appropriate. The Outstanding Fundraising Professional award is the highest honor that AFP bestows upon one of its members, recognizing effective, creative and stimulating leadership, as well as the practice and promotion of ethical fundraising.

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Required Reading for Running a Campaign

January 17, 2019

Thoughtful planning for a campaign is more important than it has ever been. The pressure to meet increasingly high expectations is real, establishing ambitious but realistic goals is more critical than ever, and yet resources to do so are seriously constrained or questioned.

Recently, Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates (JGA) partnered with the Chronicle of Philanthropy to provide a curated collection of Chronicle articles and JGA insights on capital campaigns. While capital campaigns were historically the province of large charities and major institutions like universities and hospitals, in recent years they’ve become increasingly common among nonprofits of all sizes. In this collection of articles produced by Chronicle Intelligence, a division of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, we show you how to help your organization plan, market, and complete a successful capital campaign.

 If you believe a campaign is in your future, think about how well your organization can answer these key questions:

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Top 5 Things for Nonprofits to Know in 2019 About Tax Law Changes

January 02, 2019

In December 2017, Congress passed and the president signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which contained what many describe as the most significant changes to the tax code since 1986.  During 2018, we received many questions from our nonprofit clients about the implications of these changes for their donors. 

1. What is the most significant tax law change that could affect the short-term philanthropic planning of our donors and, therefore, our annual giving program? 

The 2017 tax law change nearly doubled the standard deduction for individuals (from $6,350 to $12,000 and from $12,700 to $24,000 for married couples filing jointly). This means that fewer taxpayers will claim itemized deductions. Research has shown that those donors who claim itemized deductions are more likely to give consistently (should we say that this may be correlation rather than causation). In the recent past, approximately 30% of taxpayers have claimed itemized deductions. As a result of the tax law change, it is estimated that approximately 15% to 20% of taxpayers will continue to itemize their deductions.

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Need to Expand Your Donor Base? Start from within and work outward

December 20, 2018

Over the years, we have all seen gimmicks promising to be the “silver bullet” in fundraising. However, there are no new quick solutions to solve your fundraising problems. Successful fundraising takes the right blend of art and science that matures over time with persistence and planning. In short, it’s matching the right person with the right cause and then growing that relationship. 

Organization’s are often looking for a “quick fix” to expand their donor base and grow their pipeline of future donors. A question we get often at JGA is “What can we do to grow the number of donors and prospects to the organization?”

I usually answer that question by stressing that an organization’s best donors and prospects are likely already in their database. You should maximize every opportunity to grow relationships with those people first! So, who are they and how do you identify them?

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Giving USA 2018: Implications for Human Services Nonprofits

December 05, 2018

According to Giving USA 2018: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2017, total charitable giving in the United States grew by 5.2 percent to $410.02 billion in 2017. This marks the highest total amount given in the 40 years Giving USA has tracked this data, both in current dollars and when adjusted for inflation.

What this Means for Human Services Organizations:

Giving USA estimates that giving to human services organizations increased 5.1 percent in 2017, to $50.06 billion. This record total amounted to 12 percent of total giving across subsectors, behind only religion and education.

Sixteen natural disasters during 2017—at a cost of at least $1 billion apiece—prompted a widespread outpouring of donations to human services organizations. Some innovative organizations employed new avenues of getting aid to victims, including direct cash giving and crowdfunding options.

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High Net Worth Donors Have Increased Giving Amounts Since 2015

October 25, 2018

JGA is pleased to share with you news about the latest study on trends in high net worth philanthropy from U.S. Trust and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. We were honored to host a webinar shortly after the release to discuss the report in detail with Dr. Una Osili, the report's author at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and William Jarvis, with U.S. Trust, Bank of America's Private Wealth Management.

The 2018 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy, published by U.S. Trust in partnership with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, finds that wealthy Americans continue to be generous with their time and money, increasing the amount they gave on average to charitable causes and organizations in 2017, including giving in the wake of natural disasters. The biennial study shows that 90 percent of high net worth (HNW) households gave to charity last year, and 48 percent volunteered time to nonprofit organizations and causes.

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How to Use Prospect Research in Your Major Gift Fundraising

October 16, 2018

By Sarah Tedesco, Executive Vice President, DonorSearch

Major gift fundraising is an important part of any nonprofit’s long-term strategy. We all know the 80/20 rule: 80% of your nonprofit’s donations come from 20% of its supporters. For many organizations, this has now become the 90/20 rule. But, finding enough people with the capacity to give major gifts and a connection to your organization can complicate this ratio.

With smarter prospect research, your major gifts officer has a better chance of securing those all-important donations with maximum efficiency.

Prospect research is looking at publicly available information to determine who in your community might be willing and able to give major gifts to your nonprofit. Some commonly considered data points include both wealth indicators and previous philanthropic behavior.

So how can your team best combine the insights of prospect research with your major gifts fundraising strategy? Our five best tips are:

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