JGA Blog

Five Questions a Feasibility Study Should Answer

October 02, 2017

by Angela White

Some time ago, I recorded a short video interview on why we advocate feasibility studies at JGA, and I find that those reasons continue to hold true.

A feasibility study provides vital answers to help an organization create and run a successful fundraising campaign. By conducting a feasibility study, an organization can receive a third-party perspective on the organization's upcoming campaign or project.

Here are some questions a good feasibility study should help you answer.

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Important Considerations for Establishing Major Gift Metrics

September 19, 2017

Fundraising success is increasingly a vital component of an organization’s ability to fulfill its mission.  Campaigns have increased in prevalence and frequency and often are dependent upon 90% of the dollars being contributed by 10% of the donors.  (In higher education, this can reach 95% of the dollars from 5% of the donors, a threshold nearly unheard of 15 years ago.) This leads many organizations to rely upon major gift fundraising at all times, rather than merely for special projects of need.

At the same time, it has become more common for boardmembers to have backgrounds in businesses that foster a sales culture and therefore look for data-driven accountability from the nonprofits they support.  How can we modernize our approach to goal-setting and accountability without sacrificing what makes philanthropy so different from sales transactions?

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Giving USA 2017: Implications for Healthcare

August 29, 2017

Giving USA is a valuable resource for nonprofits, providing not only a snapshot on giving for the last year, but additional insight into longitudinal trends and sector-specific giving. We've taken a look at implications for higher education nonprofits a few weeks ago and now would like to share with you some insights on trends uncovered in the data on healthcare philanthropy.

 

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Giving USA 2017: Implications for Higher Education

June 28, 2017

We've had a couple of weeks now to absorb the data on 2016 charitable giving provided by the release of the Giving USA 2017 report Now, we'd like to share a look at the implications of the data for those fundraisers involved in higher education advancement.

Total Giving

To recap, according to Giving USA 2017: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2016, total charitable giving in the United States grew by 2.7 percent to $390.05 billion in 2016. 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.

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Attracting and Retaining Good Fundraising Talent

June 19, 2017

The foundation of a strong fundraising program is built on relationships. When your organization has a talented and dedicated staff, you have the key elements to form relationships with your donors. What can we do to ensure we’re attracting and retaining our most valuable asset – people – while growing a strong culture of philanthropy?

What does the data show us about the current landscape of hiring development staff?

Recent research shows that the fundraising profession has a high turnover in staff positions and a dearth of qualified candidates to fill the void. Working with our clients, we hear stories of vacancies, long searches, and short stays.

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Giving USA Indicates Growth in Philanthropy Across All Nonprofit Sectors

June 13, 2017

Giving USA released its annual estimates of U.S. charitable giving today for 2016, and the results show overall growth during a presidential election year filled with national tumult and impending policy changes. Giving USA 2017: The Annual Report on Philanthropy reports that total giving in our nation reached $390.05 billion in 2016, an increase of 2.7 percent over 2015. This total is the highest since Giving USA began tracking this data 40 years ago.

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How Does Your Fundraising Measure Up? Improve Performance with a Development Audit

May 23, 2017

A development audit is a great “barometer” to measure the capabilities of your development office and to establish goals and strategies for future success. This internal assessment is a rare opportunity to get a fresh perspective on a strong development program and can allow you to pause and take stock of how things are going and what resources may be needed to move forward and produce even better results. Development audits can also help solidify an organization’s philanthropic focus by ensuring board, staff, and all areas of the organization are working together and embrace a unified culture of philanthropy. Often, organizations seek such an assessment of internal readiness in preparation for a new campaign or as a strategic planning process begins.

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Teaching Our Children to Give: Passing Down Our Philanthropic Values to Gen Z

March 30, 2017

“Why don’t we give money to the Church any more, mom?,” was the question from my then ten-year-old son one Sunday morning. I realized that he had stopped seeing my husband and me put the envelope in the collection basket, as we had done for as long as he could remember.

Well, of course we had not stopped giving to our Church but rather had moved to a more convenient and consistent method of giving that was encouraged by our parish…. online giving. Online giving ensures a weekly collection regardless of travel or forgetting the envelope at home, yet it takes away a very important symbol of giving: the physical habit of placing the envelope in the basket for all to see.

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Developing Your Fundraising ‘Swing’: Lessons Learned from Rowing

March 16, 2017

 

“When you get the rhythm in an eight, it’s pure pleasure to be in it.  It’s not hard work when the rhythm comes – that ‘swing’ as they call it. I’ve heard men shriek out with delight when that swing came in an eight; it’s a thing they’ll never forget as long as they live.”

 - George Yeoman Pocock, as quoted in The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown

The book, and accompanying note, arrived shortly before Thanksgiving. It came from a chief advancement officer to express gratitude for being part of the leadership team of a successful campaign and to bring closure to the work of that team. 

I expected it to be a book about leadership or vision or philanthropy, but I was wrong. It was a book about rowing! It was The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown, a #1 New York Times bestseller about the crew of working class boys from the University of Washington (UW) who, against all odds, competed for the eight-oar gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

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Understanding Baby Boomer Donors and their Giving Preferences

March 10, 2017

We now have 5 generations of donors, workers, and volunteers in the philanthropic marketplace:

  1. Gen Z (born after 1995)
  2. Millennials (1981 – 1995)
  3. Gen-X (1965 – 1980)
  4. Boomers (1946 – 1964) 
  5. Silent/Greats (born before 1946) 

Increased life expectancy, better healthcare, and delayed retirement all contribute to this unprecedented generational diversity.

Why should development professionals pay attention to generational diversity in the philanthropic marketplace? Each generation is influenced by their own economic, social, political, and environmental dynamics as well as collective experiences and different worldviews. These factors inform philanthropic behavior and generational giving preferences and have implications on how we as development professionals build relationships with donors.

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