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NOT HIGH ENOUGH?
Did you ever hear a Gold Medal Olympic leap described as "hardly any farther than last year"?
That seems to be the attitude of those covering the newest report on American philanthropy.
"Donations Barely Grew at All Last Year," bemoaned the Chronicle of Philanthropy. "Slow fundraising growth in 2011 comes nowhere near to erasing record historic losses-the deepest ever recorded in the report's five decades-caused by the recession."
That's right. Americans could only scrounge together a measly $316.23 billion to give to charity in 2012, according to the latest edition of Giving USA. A 3.5% increase over the previous year. Just 1.5% if adjusted for inflation.
True, we are still 8% off the high water mark of $344.5 billion in estimated private giving reached in 2007. But this is just one of four years we have exceeded $300 billion in private philanthropy in US history. And the second highest total ever as well!
But this type of coverage speaks more to our mood than the reality of giving in America. In fact, looking back just a few years finds a very different view of more modest gains in philanthropy.
For example, after the release of Giving USA in 2003, AFP wrote that "giving in 2003 increased by a relatively robust 2.8 percent from the revised level of $234.09 billion in 2002." They added, "since 2001, total annual giving had grown, on average, by only 0.5 percent each year."
Now private giving has increased $82.14 billion, or 35%, over the previous decade. That should be a cause for celebration, not hand-wringing.
What may be most remarkable about this growth in private philanthropy is that it occurred when the majority of Americans are still clawing their way back from economic catastrophe.
Just look at two important statistics: home values and household income.
The average home sales price in December 2002 was $237,800. In December of 2012 it was just $231,400.
Median household income didn't fare much better. In 2012, the figure was $42,409. In December 2012, it is estimated to have been just about $50,000.
In short, most families aren't earning much more than a decade ago. And their primary asset is worth less in real dollars today than it was a decade ago. But they are giving at near record levels.
So, what is driving this phenomenal growth in giving?
First, the growth in securities values among America's top wealth holders. Second, reinvigorated fundraising programs.
As the Chronicle rightly reports, "donors have made nine gifts of $100-million or more in the first five months of the year...that's already more than the seven gifts of at least $100-million that were made all year in both 2009 and 2010..."
As consultant Michael Rosen notes in "What You Really Need to Know about Giving USA 2013," "Giving by taxpayers who itemize their gifts represented 81% of the total donated by individuals in 2012."
And who is itemizing their taxes? While fewer than 20% of those earning under $50,000 itemize, over 93% of those earning over $200,000 do so.
In short, 82% of the $316 billion in giving comes from individuals earning over $50,000. And, based on everything we see in every single major fundraising drive over the last hundred years, the majority of the dollars come from a small percentage at the very top of the income/wealth ladder.
Why is it so important to restate this obvious fact?
Because many organizations are trying to "make innovations in how they attract gifts and diversify their sources of revenue," according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Or, as they put it more bluntly, "even the most prominent nonprofits aren't relying solely on the very rich to shore up their fortunes."
Fundraising innovation is always a positive development. All offices should be looking into new and better ways of building relationships with both traditional and new audiences. Nonprofits need both broad and deep support.
But make no mistake. The recovery is already here. And it is again being driven by the wealthy, just as it has over the last decade. And arguably over the last century as well.
Their decision to give, however, doesn't just happen of its own accord. It is the direct result of fundraising and the best practices undergirding it. So while charities are right to explore the best ways of working with all Americans, they should be especially aware that the boom in philanthropy continues to be in major gifts.
Taken from the June 19, 2013 Fundraising Digest Weekly e-mail
HAPPY 4th of JULY!
Wishing you a happy Fourth of July as we celebrate our country's Independence.
Every two weeks, I sit down to write a brief introduction to this newsletter. Each time the objective is to tie my section, "A Note from Tim" into fundraising within the animal welfare industry. But this week, I'm going to stray from my usual objective because of the tragedy that occurred just 50-miles up the road from my home.
This past Sunday - less than 48 hour ago - a lightning strike hit the side of a hill in Yarnell, AZ sparking a fast blazing fire that overtook 13-square miles and destroying 50 homes and threatening another 250. A 20-member elite group of firefighters, called "Hotshots" were quickly deployed to help stop the fire from destroying homes, people and pets. (Hotshot crews go through specialized training and are sent in to battle the nation's fiercest wildfires).
It's unclear just exactly how the firefighters became trapped, but 19 of the 20 member Hotshot crew perished in the wildfire. 19 brave men who gave their lives to help others....
I share the names of the 19 men who perished and ask that as you read each one of their names, you offer thanks or a prayer:
Andrew Ashcraft, 29;
Robert Caldwell, 23;
Travis Carder, 31;
Dustin Deford, 24;
Christopher MacKenzie, 30;
Eric Marsh, 43;
Grant McKee, 21;
Sean Misner, 26;
Scott Norris, 28;
Wade Parker, 22;
John Percin, 24;
Anthony Rose, 23;
Jesse Steed, 36;
Joe Thurston, 32;
Travis Turbyfill, 27;
William Warneke, 25;
Clayton Whitted, 28;
Kevin Woyjeck, 21;
Garret Zuppiger, 27.
Animal Shelter Fundraising
TWO NEW WEBINARS ANNOUNCED
Animal Shelter Fundraising is continuing to bring you an entire series of webinars devoted to new shelter campaigns. Our most recent webinar, Capital Campaigns: Funding Your New Animal Shelter was so popular we had to add a second date (and soon we're be adding a third date)!
We are very pleased to announce that we have added two new webinars to this series:
WEBINAR TITLE: Animal Care Flooring - Ensuring Success in Your Capital Improvement
WEBINAR DESCRIPTION: The most common and unfortunately the biggest complaint in new or refurbished facilities are the floors. Too often they are done poorly or incorrectly. The results from improper specification and/or poor installation can cause a host of problems: cross contamination between runs, kennels that don't fit together, cracked floors, poor drainage, and moisture and vapor transmission related finishes that bubble and delaminate. The effect of improper flooring and installation can cause delays in opening and warranty issues that cost you time and money.
This presentation will focus on the most common types of floors as well as the newer alternatives. First and foremost, knowing that you have a sound substrate is critical. We will discuss what to look for, specify and the varying testing methods available. We will provide "how-to" tips on making certain your flooring contractors do a professional job and don't leave you with unanswered warranty claims down the road.
WEBINAR DATE: July 18, 2013 at 3:00 PM EST
WEBINAR PRESENTER: Jeff Adney, Prime Coat Floorings
WEBINAR TITLE: Realizing the True Potential of Our Nations' Animal Shelters
WEBINAR DESCRIPTION: After a decade of planning and designing animal shelters around the country, architect Bill Daggett created shelterplanners.com to provide a unique, affordable way for humane societies and animal control agencies to bring new shelters to fruition. This model based approach literally enables those in need of a new shelter to: save time, save money, save animals.
Beginning with an overview of the current status of the sheltering industry this webinar will focus on the two basic issues that are preventing more rapid absorption of sheltered animals into the homes nearly 17 million folks per year who are looking to add a companion animal to their lives.
With the "problem" identified, a detailed discussion of how to approach the design of a new shelter focuses on maximizing its potential to increase adoptions using real life examples to demonstrate results.
The model based approach is fully illustrated with a slide show demonstrating "shelter growth" over time enabling even smaller, rural organizations the ability to afford a new shelter and the vision to accommodate growth and examples of available "models".
WEBINAR DATE: July 24, 2013 at 3:00 PM EST
WEBINAR PRESENTER: Bill Daggett, Daggett + Grigg Architects
DO YOU NEED GRANT FUNDING?
Foundation grants make up 14% of the average non-profit organization's revenue. If your organization needs funding to support programs or services, Animal Shelter Fundraising can help your organization's grant funding efforts by:
- Researching and developing a list of potential foundation funding sources for your organization's programs and services;
Our grant writing services are available to you for the following fees:
- Write and develop your grant proposals including preparation of accompanying documents, submission and follow-up
$ 999 per month to research grant funders, write, prepare and submit up to three complete proposals per month (month-to-month; no contract).
$ 749 per month to research grant funders, write, prepare and submit up to three complete proposals per month (six-month Contract required).
$ 649 per month to research grant funders, write, prepare and submit up to three complete proposals per month (twelve-month Contract required).
If you need more grant funding,
we can help!
Contact Tim today.
Call Tim at 623.975.1234.
WE JUST MADE FUNDRAISING EASIER
Our new MIDAS TOUCH FUNDRAISING PROGRAM is a turn key direct mail program in which all you do is supply your organization logo and information, along with a pet's photo and short summary, and TA-DA! you have a professionally written and designed campaign ready to mail!
Here's how it works:
- Each month, we will publish a Campaign Brief that provides a summary of that month's campaign theme and objective, which also includes a sample of the campaign's appeal letter, return pledge card, outer envelope and reply envelope (and occasionally an insert piece).
- If you like the campaign theme (i.e. creative and copy), all you do is purchase the print ready files which we will prepare with your organization's logo and address (and other information specific to your group as specified in the Campaign Brief).
- Take your print ready files to your local printer, OR
- You can work with our designated printer* who will handle all aspects of getting your campaign produced and mailed!
IT'S THAT EASY!
Get this month's Campaign Brief
URGENT: SUMMER HEAT
e-mail us now with "Urgent: Summer Heat" in the subject line.
* Postage and production costs are additional costs
Our goal is to help make your business as efficient and profitable as possible. We will work with you to help solve your problems, while understanding that you have limited resources and budget. Upon completion, we will present to you a written assessment of your business and recommendations for improving inefficiencies and cost. Sign up today.
Today we are starting a new two-part series on how to effectively use giving societies and donor clubs at your non-profit. In this article, we're going to look at what these groups are and how they should (and shouldn't) be used. In Part II, we'll look at how to set up successful giving societies at your organization.
What are Giving Societies and Donor Clubs?
Giving societies and donor clubs are groups set up by a non-profit to help cultivate and steward donors, keep them loyal to the organization, and encourage them to give more (and larger) gifts in the future. Generally, non-profits set up various groups at different giving levels, and offer corresponding benefits to group members.
For example, a legal aid society may set up three groups, The Advocates, The Defenders, and The Friends, and offer membership to donors who give at least $25,000, $10,000 and $2,000 respectively. In return, donors get benefits like access to special events, newsletters, lapel pins, etc., with donors at higher levels getting larger benefits.
Please note that we can use the terms "giving society" and "donor club" interchangeably, they both generally refer to the same types of groups.
Giving and benefit levels for donor clubs will vary depending on the organization (e.g. at one organization, a $25,000 donor may qualify as one of the charity's top donors, while at another non-profit that might barely be considered a "major gift"). All non-profits are different.
Types of Societies and Clubs
There are many different types of giving societies that a non-profit can set up, based on its needs. Some of the most common types of groups include:
- Major Donor Groups: Donor clubs focused on major givers
- Mid-Level Donor Groups: Donor clubs focused on mid-level givers
- Minor Donor Groups: Donor clubs focused on small-dollar ($5, $25, $100, etc.) level supporters
- Annual Giving Clubs: Groups comprised of those who make a qualifying-level donation each and every year
- Monthly Giving Clubs: Giving societies centered on those who sign-up for monthly (recurring) credit card giving
- Legacy Societies: Donor club for those who have pledged a bequest or planned gift to the non-profit
- Young Professionals Groups: Focused on those under a certain age who have given a certain amount to the organization
- Affinity Groups: Donor clubs focused on supporters who share one or more "affinities" or traits, such as geographical region, occupation, age, hobby, etc.
Why These Groups Work
Donor clubs and giving societies work to increase donor loyalty and lifetime donor value because they make your donors feel like part of your team. Fundraising is about building relationships with our donors. Giving societies build stronger, deeper relationships with donors because they make your donors feel "special," which they are.
The benefits you offer to your donor club members show them that you appreciate them and that their support matters. Furthermore, the regular communications you send out and events you hold with your society members strengthens that bond and creates the sense that this is "our" organization, one that club members are proud to support and help "lead."
Finally, giving clubs help systematize your donor funnel and provide order to the chaotic world of donor cultivation. Giving clubs with various levels and benefit plans force you to think through the donor experience and place it on a schedule, which helps reduce fundraising stress for staff and donors alike.
The Do's and Don'ts of Giving Societies and Donor Clubs
Now that we know what giving societies and donor clubs are, and why they work, let's briefly look at a few fundamental do's and don'ts for utilizing them at your non-profit:
1. DO treat donor club members as individuals.
While donor clubs are a great way to provide structure to your fundraising efforts, remember that every donor is different and that each will require differing amounts of contact and hand-holding. Don't let donor clubs prevent you from treating your supporters like real, individual people.
2. DON'T take giving society members for granted.
Some non-profits make the mistake of thinking that once someone is a member of a giving club, they will continue to give year in, year out, no matter what you do. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your donors aren't ATMs. They are people. They require relationship-building and stewardship.
3. DO start small...
Many non-profits launching giving societies think they have to have 3, 4, or more clubs / levels right out of the gate. You don't - there's nothing wrong with launching your program with just one group / level. In fact, it is usually the smart way to dip your toes into the water. Consider launching just one group next year, and see where it goes from there.
4. DON'T offer lifetime memberships in your clubs.
A few organizations offer "lifetime membership" options for joining their giving societies (e.g. one non-profit I know has a $5,000+ per year minimum for one of its clubs, but for $50,000 you get lifetime membership). I don't like lifetime memberships because they encourage "one and done" philanthropy, where a person will give once and likely never give again, and will do so in good conscience because they are a lifetime member of your giving club. I much prefer ongoing (and on-growing) relationships with my donors.
Be sure to read Part II in two weeks, when we'll be taking a look at the steps you need to take to successfully launch giving societies and donor clubs at your organization.
This article appeared in The Fundraising Authority's June 14, 2013 e-mail.
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