JGA Blog listing page

Crafting a Development Plan to Guide Your Fundraising Activities

May 26, 2022

Do you and your board have a clear sense of your fundraising activities for the next 12 months? Does that plan include clear goals that tie into your organization’s strategic plan? In a perfect world the answer would be yes, of course!

But we all know that when things get busy, the development plan can sometimes be put by the wayside. It’s easy to get distracted when new ideas come along or funding requests change. Sometimes we just dig into the work, without taking the time to thoroughly plan.

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Considering a Fundraising Campaign? Key Steps to Ensure You Are Ready

April 14, 2022

Many organizations are considering launching a campaign in 2022. Is your organization one of them?

An important undertaking like a campaign shouldn’t be entered into lightly. How do you know if your organization is truly ready to take this important step to fund the future aspirations of your nonprofit? Here are some key steps to be thinking about as you are moving into campaign planning.

It’s helpful to assess both your internal readiness as an organization to successfully execute a campaign and externally the receptiveness of the potential donor base to your campaign. Both aspects are critical to the success of the campaign. The goal in your planning phase is to ensure the internal readiness and external capacity are in alignment or you have a clear line of site on what needs to be addressed as campaign planning and the early phases of the campaign move forward.

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How To Use Prospect Research in Your Major Gift Fundraising

March 23, 2022

Major gifts are crucial for driving your nonprofit’s mission forward. With the help of these generous donors, you can launch large initiatives, expand your team, or even build new facilities. However, identifying potential major donors is a significant challenge facing nonprofits. So how can you improve your identification process and begin forming connections with major supporters?

The answer: prospect research.

By using publicly available information, prospect research can help you determine who in your constituency may be willing and able to give major gifts to your nonprofit. Commonly considered data points include both wealth indicators and previous philanthropic behavior. With smarter prospect research strategies, your major gifts officer has a better chance of securing those all-important donations with maximum efficiency.

Prospect research offers several valuable insights that can help you identify future major donors. In this guide, JGA asked Bill Tedesco, Founder & CEO of DonorSearch, to share his top five tips for using prospect research in your major gift fundraising efforts. Here are his strategies:

  1. Let your major gifts officer lead the charge.
  2. Use your research to create an RFM score.
  3. Cultivate prospects with both affinity and capacity.
  4. Supplement wealth/philanthropic indicators with personal information.
  5. Leverage business connections for corporate matching gifts.
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Higher Education Institutions: Trends & Analysis from Giving USA 2021

February 17, 2022


Giving USA 2021: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for 2020, the annual estimates of charitable giving for 2020 by Giving USA Foundation, found that giving reached more than $471 billion—with education reaching $71.34 billion in total contributions—the highest totals in history for both.

Key trends in giving to education in 2020 included:

  • Giving from individuals—the largest source, totaling 69% of all 2020 contributions—increased from 2019. The increase was tied largely to the continued outsized impact of megagifts and giving to donor-advised funds (DAFs). Other giving sources were foundations (19%), bequests (9%), and corporations (4%). Giving USA does not track giving by source specifically to education, which includes higher and secondary education institutions and organizations supporting student success. However, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) reported that 2020 fiscal year giving included 22.3% by alumni and 17.4% by non-alumni (totaling 39.7% by individuals), 33.2% by corporations, 13.6% by other—which includes DAFs—and 13.4% by corporations. Individuals influence many sources of giving to education through family foundations, DAFs, bequest gifts, and family-owned businesses.
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3 Philanthropic Trends to Watch in 2022: Giving and Connecting

January 06, 2022

Well, here we are – kicking off 2022 feeling uncertain about the world around us and the ongoing impact of the pandemic. Amidst this uncertainty, we look ahead with hope for a healthy and prosperous new year for those who share their generosity and those who receive. For those of us who have the privilege of working with both those who give and those who receive, here are a few trends to watch for in 2022.

1. Leadership gifts will continue to drive giving. In the most recent 2021 Bank of America Study of Philanthropy: Charitable Giving by Affluent Households, 26% of affluent individuals reported increasing their giving in response to the pandemic to help with direct services to those in need. In addition, the majority of households reported no change in their charitable giving with 15.5% indicating that their giving increased and 21.5% saying they decreased their giving. Looking ahead, while we cannot predict future giving, 74% of affluent households indicated they would not change their long-term philanthropic priorities, 20% expect their charitable giving to be more directed to specific issues, while 5% expect to be less restrictive in their giving. More affluent households created a charitable provision in their will (13% in 2017 vs. 17% in 2020) and more utilized a donor advised fund (5% in 2013 vs. 7% in 2018).

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The Generosity Commission to Explore “Reimagination” of Philanthropy

November 10, 2021

From the earliest days of our nation, people saw needs and helped each other. In many cases it was the only way to survive – and as our subsequent history has proven – Americans are not only generous to and with each other, but that impulse has become a key characteristic of who we are and how we think of our society. Giving and volunteering make things happen in our lives that are simply not possible through other means.

The world is changing rapidly. The last time there was research-backed national conversation about giving and volunteering was in the 1970s with the Filer Commission. At that time, giving totaled roughly $25 billion, there was no internet, and perhaps 10% of leaders in the nonprofit sector were women.

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Stakeholder Feedback: The Key to Smart Decision-Making

October 27, 2021

Now more than ever due to the pandemic, nonprofits are faced with many questions about how to adapt and revise their services and extend their outreach to donors and constituents.

Taking the time to solicit feedback from stakeholders can help your organization be thoughtful and strategic as you make these decisions. This feedback can:

  • Help take the guesswork out of decision-making.
  • Impact your strategies for current and potential clients, audience members, program participants, donors, and partners.
  • Help you answer questions, understand real and perceived barriers, hear from new and underrepresented voices, and hone efforts around philanthropic support, services, inclusion, perceptions, and brand messaging and communications.
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5 Key Steps to Building a Culture of Philanthropy

September 30, 2021

Building a culture of philanthropy: it probably sounds like a dream—but kind of hard to achieve.

We had the opportunity recently to discuss this topic on a webinar with Danielle Shockey, CEO of Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, where she shared insights from her work growing a culture of philanthropy among the staff and volunteers at her organization. I’m excited to share some of the main points from our discussion.

What is a culture of philanthropy? We define it as: “One in which everyone—board, all staff, and the CEO— has a part to play in raising resources for the organization.”

The key driver behind a culture of philanthropy is the relationship—not just money.

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Strategic Planning During Uncertain Times

September 15, 2021

At its core, thoughtful, regular strategic planning is essential to nonprofit organizations. Successful mission delivery and fulfillment, organizational growth and expansion, and a solid financial footing all depend on your organization’s commitment to establishing a shared vision for the future and identifying the specific strategies and action steps needed to realize that vision.

Together, our global family, experienced something we never could have imagined during the COVID-19 pandemic. And, with the Delta variant of the virus raging across our country and world, it’s hard to predict when the pandemic will be behind us. 

We know most nonprofit organizations experienced some disruption caused by the pandemic, and in these times, the work of the social sector is even more critically important. Organizations serving the greater good must continue to clarify the purpose and aim of their work as well as planning for their futures.

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Donor Engagement and Retention Techniques to Solidify Relationships

August 11, 2021

While we need to work to engage all of our donors, many nonprofits have experienced the benefit of an influx of new donors in response to the pandemic’s challenges. What can you do to engage and retain these new donors as well as deepen your relationships with your existing donor pool?

Donor Engagement

While we are operating in unusual times, you do not want to throw out your tried-and-true ways of engaging and stewarding your donors. But, you might consider adding the following strategies as well.

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