JGA Blog

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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Good Stewardship is the Key to Donor Retention

January 31, 2018

Have you looked at your overall and new donor retention rates lately? If your organization is like most other nonprofit organizations, there is ample room for improvement.  According to the 2017 Association of Fundraising Professionals’ (AFP) 2017 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report, the average overall donor retention rate for the nearly 11,000 nonprofits participating in the study was 45%. The average new donor retention rate was 23%. 

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As noted in the AFP report, for the past 10 years, the average overall donor retention rate has been less than 50%.

How can your organization move the needle on donor retention?  A good place to start is with donor stewardship.

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Understanding the Tax Law Changes and the Implications for Charitable Giving

January 03, 2018

by Angela E. White, CFRE and John T. Keith, J.D.

Happy New Year from JGA! As we ring in 2018, the biggest change in the philanthropic marketplace will be questions about the impact of the new tax law changes.

The much-discussed bill is the most significant change to our tax code since 1986. It will take several months for these changes to be implemented, particularly the changes to payroll systems and withholdings, etc. For example, the entire system of claiming personal exemptions on the W-4 will be gone. It seems reasonable to assume that all workers will need new W-4s based on a newly designed form, unless the IRS allows some form of automatic conversion, which is unclear at this moment.

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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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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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Donor Data: 4 Strategies to Maximize Your Fundraising

January 17, 2017

 

Data-driven fundraising is a vital tool that can help you maximize your development efforts. JGA asked Bill Tedesco with DonorSearch to share tips on using insights from your donor data to help you reach your donors effectively and efficiently.

Using your donor data is especially important for building relationships with major donor prospects. Don’t waste resources sending appeals that donors won’t respond to. Instead, use these 4 strategies to maximize your fundraising with donor data:

1. Identify major donors.

2. Establish your appeal strategies.

3. Send effective appeals.

4. Create your stewardship plan.

 

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3 Philanthropic Trends Driving Fundraising in 2017

January 12, 2017

We are off and running into 2017!  After a fall that was focused on the US Presidential election, the 2016 year-end season of giving seemed like a wonderful opportunity to focus on helping others, thanking donors for their generosity, and looking ahead to 2017.

As I look ahead, I believe that these are the 3 philanthropic trends that will underpin our fundraising landscape in 2017:

  1. Advocacy – As our nonprofits work with their newly elected officials, a focus on advocacy will emerge as more important than ever.  How do we communicate the role of advocacy to our donors and ask them to invest in advocacy? The Council of Nonprofits outlines the need for heightened advocacy and the
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Year-End Giving and the Election's Impact on Fundraising

November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving is upon us. Is it possible that 2017 is already on the horizon? As we all know, there are twelve months in the year but, when it comes to fundraising, those twelve months are not equal. Is your organization ready for year end? Have you considered the implications of the presidential election upon the financial and philanthropic planning decisions that might be considered by your top donors and their advisors between now and December 31st?

Year-end is prime time for charitable gifts from individuals

For most charitable organizations, the period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve is by far the most significant in terms of gift transactions and gift revenue from individuals. Some organizations receive more than 40% of their annual gift revenue during this 5- or 6-week period. Many annual giving donors delay their charitable decision-making until the year-end period. For many

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Giving USA 2016: Fundraising Implications for Giving to Religion

November 10, 2016

According to Giving USA 2016, total charitable giving in the United States grew by 4.1 percent to $373.25 billion in 2015. This marks the highest total amount given in the 40 years Giving USA has tracked this data, both in current dollars and adjusted for inflation.

A few weeks ago we looked at the implications for higher education and healthcare organizations from the Giving USA data. This week we will focus in on the faith-based sector and look at the implications of this latest data on giving to religion.

 What this Means for Religious Organizations:

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High Net Worth Donors and Their Impact on Major Gift Fundraising

November 01, 2016

 

Major gift donors are crucial for the ongoing sustainability of your nonprofit’s mission. In fact, high net worth donors often provide as much as 94% of the funds for nonprofit campaign initiatives. So, it is important that we understand their giving patterns, preferences, and motivations.

The 2016 U.S. Trust® Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy released this week is the sixth edition of the biennial study, researched by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and provides nonprofits with valuable insights on this important donor demographic. The report surveyed 1,435 U.S. households with a net worth of $1 million or more (excluding the value of their primary home) and/or an annual household income of $200,000 or more.

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