What Giving USA Says About Giving to Your Organization
Giving USA also reminds us that volunteering is a direct indicator of a person's propensity to donate. So when you engage corporations and they provide employees to provide hands-on help, make it meaningful. Your next donor may be the person cleaning your warehouse or reading to the children you serve.
Time to go back to school
Well, you really don't have to sign up for a course at your local college, but there are some important lessons we can learn from their fundraising characteristics. John Lippincott, president of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), was one of the panelists on the annual Giving USA webinar. When asked why he felt educational institutions were continuing to do well with their fundraising efforts, he noted three things:
- Colleges and universities promise long-term results.
- They offer multiple points of connection (i.e., music, science, literature, etc.).
- Educational institutions tend to have highly professional fundraising programs.
There are good lessons here for all of us. How can we package our program so it emphasizes both long-term change and immediate impact? Are there multiple ways a potential donor can connect, or are we offering "one size fits all"? And are we as fundraisers continually learning and developing our own skills, even if our company can't (or won't) cover the cost? (This isn't a suggestion you "go broke." There are many free resources that require only your time.) Talk to fellow fundraisers with more experience and seek their insight; it's both good for your career development and a great way to network.
To close, here are a few miscellaneous messages from the Giving USA presentation:
- Eighty percent of giving from individuals comes from those who itemize on their taxes.
- Planned giving is like exercise. You won't see results right away; results happen over time.
- Pledges (of significant size for capital campaigns, for example) currently often extend beyond the typical five-year limit due to economic uncertainty.
- Finally, the last note I made during the presentation (and I'm sorry I didn't write down who said it) is central to making sure your piece of the income reported in Giving USA grows: Focus on making the goals and aspirations of individual donors come true instead of focusing on realizing the goals of your organization.
Wise advice for all of us — old dogs, those of you new to fundraising and everyone in between.
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.