When You Can't Give It Away
A dependable revenue stream that grows—ah, paradise!
Have a fundraising challenge you want to crack? Weary of doing the same old, same old yet hoping for different outcomes? Do you want the over-the-top results that come from superior strategy?
Email me with your particular problem, and I'll arrange a quick consultation offering you a practical solution you can implement. I may even use your situation to share with my readers. Names are changed, of course!
I received a call recently from Alan, who is an attorney with the CAP® certification. Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® is a credential earned by attorneys, accountants, brokers, wealth advisors and planned giving officers.
More and more philanthropists are looking to these professionals to guide them in realizing their philanthropic goals—goals that are tied to their foundational values and beliefs.
Alan related to me the frustration is he is experiencing in working with some of his clients/philanthropists. These are people who want to give money away.
It's not the philanthropists who are driving him to distraction, however. It's some of the nonprofits that he's attempting to work with.
Alan really enjoys his job. He gets to work with some of the most generous, community-minded individuals out there. Listening to him made me a little wistful of my days as a principal gifts officer.
What other opportunity does an average Joe or Jill have to work closely with eminently successful folks who want to make a positive difference in the world?
The obstacle he's encountering is getting the attention of nonprofit leaders to whom he reaches out as potential recipients of his clients' largess.
I listened in almost disbelief as he recounted instance after instance of making contact with charitable organizations whose staff either seemed uninterested or didn't even bother to return his calls.
You read it right.
This can't be same sector that is always bemoaning its impoverished state, I mused.
But it is.
The rock-bottom donor renewal rate comes to mind—but that's a subject for a different time.
The backup plan for more and more philanthropists, according to Alan, is fast becoming the donor-advised fund.
The "donor-advised fund" is a giving vehicle whereby the donor establishes a fund with general giving parameters. The donor receives the tax benefit by releasing control into the hands of a qualified third party, which then dispenses the funds to charitable organizations using the "advise" the donor has set at inception.
These giving instruments have been around a long time—to wit, the longstanding nonprofit community foundations and community chests.
What's relatively new is the entrance of commercial funds to this market. And it's exploding. One such organization is now the third-largest charity in the United States by assets received annually.
My conversation with Alan brought to mind the many I have had in recent years with nonprofit leaders who are not at all keen with the dramatic rise in donor-advised funds.
For Alan, and many of the philanthropists he represents, it's a no-brainer. You want to be charitable but can't find a willing partner? You do the next best thing.
It's certainly not what many would prefer, but it's one way to realize your charitable vision.
I thanked Alan for reaching out. I offered more empathy than counsel.
My counsel goes to the worthy nonprofits, which are seeking to transform lives.
Engage the would-be investors that reach out to you. Return phone calls. Get into serious dialogue. Listen. You may be surprised what you hear.
If you think donors expecting engagement is limited to heavy-hitters, think again. The millennial generation has made engagement and values the two stanzas of its theme song.
Being responsive and accountable to the donors who invest in your organization is fast becoming the single most important factor in fundraising success. Neglect it at your peril.
Let me hear from you. Please share your situation and the challenges you face in developing sustainable revenue streams. Email me (info@TheEightPrinciples.com), and I'll arrange a brief consult providing you with practical guidance. I'll choose some of these thorny obstacles to share, along with my insights, in upcoming columns.
Success is waiting. Go out and achieve it.
Larry believes in the power of relationships and the power of philanthropy to create a better place and transform lives.
Larry is the founder of The Eight Principles. His mission is to give nonprofits and philanthropists alike the opportunity to achieve their shared visions. With more than 25 years of experience in charitable fundraising and philanthropy, Larry knows that financial sustainability and scalability is possible for any nonprofit organization or charitable cause and is dependent on neither size nor resources but instead with the commitment to create a shared vision.
Larry is the author of the award-wining book, "The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising." He is the Association of Fundraising Professionals' 2010 Outstanding Development Executive and has ranked in the Top 15 Fundraising Consultants in the United States by the Wall Street Business Network.
Larry is the creator of the revolutionary online fundraising training platform, The Oracle League.
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