JGA Blog

Raising Funds in a Crisis: Connect and Tell Your Story

May 28, 2020

You need to draft an appeal to your annual donors and prospects in the middle of this COVID-19 global pandemic, but you are worried your donors have a lot of other things on their mind right now (just like you do). How can they possibly think about giving when they are faced with challenges, concerns, and uncertainty? Yet, your donors are generous, and your mission relies on gaining their support—points that affirm now is not the time to stop fundraising.

In today’s headlines, stories of giving and volunteering win our hearts and attention. Philanthropy and the spirit behind it are bringing us together now, as much as ever. People are responding to positivity and calls to do and help. So, they are ready respond to your appeal for support—but, you must first connect with them.

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Philanthropy’s Role in Reopening Your Doors After COVID-19

May 20, 2020

What role will philanthropy play as your organization prepares to welcome students back to campus, host performances, open the doors to your museum or resume in-person gatherings at your place of worship?

If you have ventured out of the house, you have seen the modifications that businesses are making to welcome customers back – plexiglass at checkout counters and drive-through windows, signage to accommodate social distancing in lines and many other modifications.

Each of you needs to develop and implement plans to help protect your stakeholders as you re-open your doors.

The timeframe and requirements for each of you to resume operations will vary drastically based on location, size of the groups, type of activities and the demographics of your constituency. But, no matter the differences, much planning will be required. Have you considered how philanthropy can be a part of your re-opening plans?

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COVID-19: Historical Giving Data and What to Do Today

March 23, 2020

A week ago Friday, I posted my first blog about COVID-19 and the impact it might have on nonprofit  philanthropy. A lot has changed in the past week – seemingly by the hour.  As you continue to navigate these complex waters, let’s first take a look at some historical data to see how philanthropy weathered the storm of other crises. 

The Data

Unfortunately, there is no philanthropic data from the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, so we have to look at the next most relevant set of data. The research from Giving USA and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy help us understand how donors behave during a time of crisis and also during an economic downturn.

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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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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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