JGA Blog

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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Giving USA 2018:   Implications for Religion

October 04, 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 Religious Organizations:

Giving to religion continues to capture the largest percentage of philanthropic dollars (31%) of all subsectors by far, despite having the slowest positive growth rate at 2.9 percent in 2017. This is a continuing pattern of slow growth over the past several years. With total giving of $127.37 billion last year, charitable giving to faith-based organizations continues to grow overall, despite a national trend of decreasing affiliation with and attendance at religious institutions. Among the major Protestant denominations and Catholic and Jewish faith traditions, all have experienced the downward trend in affiliation and attendance. Interestingly, research shows that any form of religious affiliation increases an individual’s average annual charitable contributions overall.

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Missed Connection: 6 common nonprofit communication failures

September 20, 2018

Guest Blogger:   John Thomas, Writer/Strategist, JTPR, Inc.

Nonprofit organizations do amazing things. Things like curing diseases … feeding people … making art accessible to the masses … helping communities come together and fight injustice. 

Unfortunately, some organizations that do those amazing things wither and die, not because they fail to perform, but because they fail to get their messages out to the people they need to receive them. Whether they’re trying to raise money or engage people in their mission, they fail to connect with the right people.

As you consider that statement, note what I didn’t say: I didn’t say these lost organizations didn’t send messages. They probably sent a lot of messages. But they didn’t send them effectively.

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Giving USA 2018: Implications for Healthcare

September 06, 2018

Total Giving

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.

With this milestone year, U.S. giving continues a steady growth trend over the past eight years, indicating a positive climate for philanthropy. Giving to every category of recipient organizations increased when measured in current dollars, except for international affairs, which dropped by 4.4 percent. Four subsectors (foundations; arts, culture and humanities; public-society benefit; and health) saw significant growth of 7 percent or more, with foundations leading the way with an impressive 15.5 percent growth over 2016. 

What this Means for Health Organizations:

Giving to health increased by 7.3% in 2017, with a total of $38.27 billion—the highest amount the subsector has ever received in both current and inflation-adjusted terms, surpassing the previous year’s high of $33.14 billion. Growth for health organizations has increased for the past six years, at an average of 7.9 percent from 2013 – 2017. This growth rate well exceeds the growth rate of 4.3 percent in total giving across all subsectors for the same period.

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EXPLORING THE Evolution of WORKPLACE PHILANTHROPY

August 22, 2018

JGA once again is pleased to sponsor the Kindelsperger Forum on Wednesday, September 5th.  The Forum honors our late colleague Kris Kindelsperger and aims to bring new ideas to the practice of our common work in philanthropy. This year, we will explore the rapidly changing environment of workplace giving and what it means for nonprofits.

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Defining Campaign Success: Using a campaign to grow major gift donors

August 14, 2018

Like many others, I began my career in fundraising by attending the Principles and Techniques of Fundraising class at The Fund Raising School at Indiana University’s Lilly School of Philanthropy. As a new member of the development team at the Indiana University Foundation more than 20 years ago, I learned that, typically, an organization could anticipate that 80% of the dollars raised in a fundraising campaign would come from 20% of the campaign donors. The so-called 80/20 rule.

Much has changed in the last twenty years. Mirroring, or perhaps in response to, the changing landscape of wealth distribution in our society, fundraising campaigns have more significant dollar goals that rely on fewer and fewer donors in order to achieve success. Campaigns are now typically based upon the projection that 90% of the dollars will come from 10% of the campaign donors. In some corners of the nonprofit sector, notably higher education, successful campaigns may have 95% or more of the dollars contributed from as few as 5% of the campaign donors.

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Giving USA 2018: Implications for Higher Ed

July 20, 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.

With this milestone year, U.S. giving continues a steady growth trend over the past eight years, indicating a positive climate for philanthropy. Giving to every category of recipient organizations increased when measured in current dollars, except for international affairs, which dropped by 4.4 percent. 

What this Means for Colleges and Universities:

Giving USA estimates that giving to education organizations (of which giving to higher education typically accounts for about 70 percent of the total) increased 6.2 percent in 2017 to $58.9 billion. The Council for Aid to Education’s Voluntary Support of Education (VSE) survey shows that individual giving (alumni and non-alumni) to higher education increased by 6.3 percent, a strong rebound from 2016, with alumni contributions growing by a significant 14.5 percent, foundations by 5.5 percent, and corporations holding steady at the 2016 level.

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Getting the Most Out of Board Retreats: 7 Best Practices

June 28, 2018

Nonprofit Board retreats can be a productive tool to get key volunteers and staff on the same page. It’s an opportunity to devote a significant amount of time solely to an important topic or agenda item, without interrupting the normal business of a standing board meeting.

We recommend setting aside time for you and your organization’s leadership to focus on important issues. Board retreats can also be an effective tool for building camaraderie and collaboration among board members. According to the BoardSource Leading with Intent: 2017 National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices, 42 percent of nonprofit boards hold annual retreats for their board members. The report indicates that providing this type of social time can be impactful when it comes to increasing the level of satisfaction board members feel with their board service. CEO’s of boards which held annual retreats were more likely to report their board worked as a collaborative team and that their board members were eager to serve the maximum number of terms on the board.  

As for planning a retreat and the topics that need to be covered, there are several considerations that should influence your thinking:  

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Giving USA Reports U.S. Giving Tops $400 Billion in 2017

June 12, 2018

Giving USA released its annual estimates of U.S. charitable giving today, and the results show impressive growth despite a shifting national landscape. Giving USA 2018: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2017 reports that total charitable giving in our nation reached $410.02 billion in 2017, an increase of 5.2 percent over 2016. This total breaks the lofty $400 billion mark and is the highest in the history of Giving USA, which began tracking this data more than 40 years ago.

Published by Giving USA Foundation, a public service initiative of The Giving Institute, Giving USA is the longest running and most comprehensive report of its kind in America. It is researched and created by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

All but one of the nine major categories of charitable organizations realized growth in giving. (International affairs saw a decrease of 4.4%.) Amid new national leadership, numerous national disasters, and the uncertain impact of tax law changes in December, Americans gave. This positive growth trend was fueled by a strong economy and an increase in personal consumption (4.5%)—the strongest indicator of individual giving.

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Giving Trends in America Highlight Need for National Conversation

June 06, 2018

This is the time of year when some attention gets focused on giving in America. The Giving USA Foundation will release next week its report on the latest facts and trends. JGA is a member of Giving USA and the Giving Institute and we are pleased to help promote awareness of the upcoming report. 

As we do so this year, we should pay special attention to the trend lines – and what they mean not only for giving and volunteering but for our nation. From my perspective, there are mixed signs – and some real concern.

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