Wealth Data: 5 Ways to Learn More About Your Prospect’s Capacity to Give

By Jill McCarville, VP Marketing, iWave

Mo’ money, Mo’ problems major gifts. Some of the most important information you will find on your prospective major gift donors is with regards to their wealth. Follow along with this scenario: your promising new prospect lives in a 7-bedroom house in Texas, has a beach condo in Malibu, annually gives gifts of at least $50,000 to Human Services causes and sits on two boards. This is great, but there may still be wealth indicators that you do not know. What do you know about their securities ownership? Do they have other assets? What is their annual income? These are a few of the questions that researching your prospect’s wealth portfolio can answer.

Wealth data is a primary driver behind your prospect’s ability to give, which makes it a critical component in prospect research. However, nonprofits tend to fall into two camps with regards to their opinion on the importance of wealth data.

Camp #1: It doesn’t matter how much money they have if they’re not philanthropic.

Camp #2: Wealth is all that matters. As long as they have wealth, we can make them passionate about our cause.

Regardless of what camp your organization falls into, all fundraising professionals should be slightly wary of wealth information. You can only find out as much about a prospect’s wealth as is publicly available. And the wealthier an individual is, the more likely they are to find creative ways to disperse their wealth, through financial instruments like LLCs and trusts. As Helen Brown explains in this post, “Evidence suggests that for some prospects publicly-identifiable wealth only comprises a tiny fraction of net worth since so much of their wealth is private. For others, identifiable wealth well over-inflates net worth since it ignores the liabilities on a household’s balance sheet.”

So, wealth data isn’t the be-all and end-all, but it is an excellent baseline indicator that your prospect may have the capacity to donate a major gift. So how do you determine just how wealthy your prospect or donor is? We put together five expert research tips to help you get started.

1. Look for their stock holdings and transactions through SEC Filings

SEC Filings provide excellent insight into your prospect’s liquidity and thus allow you to make more timely asks. They are publicly available through the US Securities and Exchange Commission in the US or SEDAR in Canada, and detail insider transactions and security ownership. If your prospect research tool, like iWave, provides a database like Thomson Reuters for scanning SEC filings, you can use it to quickly search insider transactions and security ownership by individuals, companies, or alumni. You may even be able to set alerts that will notify you of your prospect’s wealth-creating events such as acquiring and disposing of stock.

2. Look for evidences of wealth

As mentioned above, wealthy individuals may have tactful ways of distributing their wealth. However, there are some wealth indicators that are typically associated with high net worth individuals:

  • Does the individual work in a profession typically associated with high net worth? For example: a C-level executive, doctor, lawyer, pilot, real estate investor, etc.
  • Does the individual have a certain level of liquid assets? For example: stocks and marketable securities, government bonds, mutual funds, etc.
  • Does the individual own certain assets associated with wealth? For example: yachts, aircrafts, luxury cars, etc.
  • Is the person a specialized investor? For example: an accredited investor or an angel investor.

There are multiple ways to find this information but the fastest way is through a specialized database such as Prospects of Wealth from Larkspur Data.

3. Look for wealth acquired through financial compensation

Going back to basics, you can look for wealth that is acquired through employment or a board membership with a wealthy company. This information can often be found with some skilled digging online, or databases such as Thomson Reuters or DatabaseUSA will compile it for you in one place. Specialized databases like Larkspurs Data’s Prospect of Wealth may also assign individuals a wealth score based on their title, length of employment, company revenue, cash compensation, or stock information, if they are employed at a publicly-traded company.

4. Determine an individual’s baseline capacity rating

The primary reason a researcher or major gift officer tries to gain insight into a prospect’s wealth is so they can use that to determine an ask amount or an estimated capacity range. Listed below are a few industry standards for using wealth data points to determine a capacity rating.

  • Capacity as a percentage of estimated net worth: Estimated net worth x 5%
  • Annual income represents 10% of net worth: Annual income x 10%
  • Real estate represents 20-25% of an individual’s net worth: Value of primary residence + value of additional properties/20-25% x 5%. More here.
  • Stock holdings represent 30-35% of an individual’s net worth: Current estimated holdings/30-35% x 5%

5. Look at their real estate holdings, charitable giving information, and foundation affiliations

Let’s talk about what are arguably the most important wealth indicators; real estate holdings, philanthropic information, and foundation affiliations. Without these three sources of information, a prospect’s wealth picture will never be complete.

  • Real estate holdings, especially additional properties, indicate an individual’s wealth and help determine capacity.
  • Charitable gift size helps determine if the individual has a history of donating major gifts.
  • Foundation Affiliations are often overlooked in their importance of finding wealth capacity. If someone sits on multiple foundation boards, they may have wealth to give. This is especially true if the individual sits on the board of a family foundation. If this is the case, not only do they likely have wealth, they have also set up a way for them to distribute that wealth to certain causes.

Now that you have some tips on what to look for to understand the capacity and lifestyle of your prospective donors, you may be thinking; how? Wealth screening is an incredible way to get to know a large number of your donors, almost instantly. Screening enables development departments to segment hundreds or thousands of individuals into a prioritized list of prospects, sorted by greatest capacity and inclination to donate a major gift to your organization.

There you have it. Wealth insights are very important to understanding full picture of your prospective donors. These 5 tips along with the right wealth screening tool should help you start determining whether your prospect has wealth to give.

Click here to download our Prospect Research with a Purpose eBook, which is full of more great tips!


Communicate the Transformative Impact with Social Return on Investment

By Richard Tollefson, Founder and President, & Michal Tyra, Director of Client and Community Engagement, The Phoenix Philanthropy Group

For nonprofits, communicating impact and value is crucial. While most businesses answer to a select group of owners, investors and shareholders, nonprofits must justify their existence and performance to a wide range of stakeholders. Donors, program partners, volunteers, board members, legislators, clients and local leaders all want constant assurances that their time, money and influence are being well spent. Organizations that fail to do this effectively may soon find themselves falling behind.

Effectively assessing and communicating why the organization and its programs matter, though, can be tricky. The age of increasing donor sophistication requires that nonprofits do more than simply share heartwarming stories about their clients. Even traditional quantitative tools such as cost-benefit analyses fall short in their ability to look beyond immediate direct and indirect impact.

A new approach, however, has recently started to gain traction. A Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis offers nonprofits the potential to look beyond the standard impact metrics to the value of the outcomes of its services. Put more simply, while most impact reports or “stories of change” generally refer to inputs (resources devoted to a program) and outputs (things the program produces), SROI can measure the outcomes (things that are different because that program exists).

Recently, a partnership of local stakeholders, led by the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, with research conducted by the L. William Seidman Research Institute and support from the Arizona Community Foundation, J.R. Hollon & Associates, InMedia Company, The Phoenix Philanthropy Group and Salt River Project, ambitiously attempted to determine the SROI for Arizona’s nonprofit sector as whole. Laurel Kimball, Ph.D., the study’s project manager, says the aim is really to determine, “What difference do nonprofits make? If 20 teenagers, for example, go to college rather than to prison as a result of a nonprofit’s program, what is the economic value to our state?”

The study surveyed more than 4,000 nonprofits about their programs and services to determine the SROI for each organization and then aggregate this data for Arizona as a whole. While the study was partially stymied by insufficient survey responses and available data, those organizations that were able to provide complete responses offered a glimpse into the powerful potential of SROI.

One of the most compelling examples is that of Boys & Girls Club of Central Phoenix. While it’s simple to measure its inputs ($11.1 million, 236 staff and 823 volunteers, 13 venues) and outputs ($14.1 million in direct impact to 11,000 young people from 4,155 households), if we go one step further and measure outcomes in just the one area of increased parental productivity, the impact figure jumps to $126 million.

A shocking difference, yes? And this isn’t some fancy accounting trick. It’s simply looking at impact from a more comprehensive point of view. Imagine being able to take that kind of data into a solicitation with a prospective donor. Or using it to reengage current supporters at a higher level. It could have a transformative effect.

So, is SROI worth the time? Though the process can be a bit complicated, we definitely believe the benefits are worth the trouble. According to Beyond the Bottom Line: The Economic and Social Value of Arizona Nonprofits (available at aznonprofitvalue.org), here’s why:

To keep the organization’s focus on the issues it seeks to address. Calculating SROI is similar to strategic planning. It’s about looking expansively at the organization’s programs and who they affect, beyond the nuts and bolts to the ripples that extend far beyond the immediate line of sight. Looking downstream helps those involved to visualize the big picture and consider how every action their organization takes touches each stakeholder along the way.

To evaluate with data the effectiveness of a particular program or service. To develop a proper SROI analysis, the organization needs to evaluate each of its programs and services individually — establishing a list of the affected stakeholders and translating those effects into a monetary value. This provides a crystal-clear insight into each program’s impact and effectiveness. It can demonstrate which programs help achieve the overall mission and which do not.

To create a common language for discussions with business leaders and funders. Anyone who’s ever met with a potential corporate funder has probably noticed their priorities and concerns were a bit different from the standard donor. They were likely less interested with anecdotal evidence and more concerned with hard numbers. Because SROI was designed to be an evolved version of the standard corporate cost-benefit analysis, all partners and funders will appreciate the process and its results.

To demonstrate to donors that there is a social return on their investment. In the past, institutional or geographic loyalty made it simpler to attract and retain local funders; however, donors today want to find the programs that offer the best impact in the areas they are passionate about — no matter where they are located. This means more competition for funding and, consequently, more sophisticated stories of change. SROI can help the organization stand out from the crowd.

Intrigued by the possibilities of SROI?

There are several resources available to help get started. The Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits is committed to strengthening the local nonprofit community by helping organizations demonstrate their full impact. Alliance CEO Kristen Merrifield indicated they are developing the “technical training and assistance to help more organizations understand how and what to measure, and to also explore what resources are already in existence that could lend themselves to this work.”

Richard Tollefson is founder and president, and Michal Tyra is director of Client and Community Engagement at The Phoenix Philanthropy Group, an Arizona-based international consulting firm serving nonprofit organizations as well as institutional and individual philanthropists.

 


Employee Choice Plays an Increasingly Large Role in Workplace Giving and Corporate Social Responsibility Efforts, New Study Finds

Evolution of Workplace Giving Special Report

Special Report from Giving USA Foundation and Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy explores how workplace giving is changing

CHICAGO [November 5, 2018]—Changes to the workforce and new attitudes toward work are affecting workplace giving, and philanthropy is increasingly important to employees, employers, and nonprofits, according to a new report released today by Giving USA Foundation and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI.

The Giving USA Special Report on the Evolution of Workplace Giving  finds that employees increasingly want a choice in how their employer gives back, and for their employer to give to a charity of the employee’s choice. This is similar to trends among nonprofit donors overall, who want more information about their donation’s impact and more choice over how it is used. The landscape of workplace giving campaigns has radically expanded to include a wide range of activities, from skilled volunteer opportunities and matching gifts to more traditional federated campaigns such as United Way and the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC).

This special report is a publication of Giving USA Foundation, written and researched by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, with support from Deloitte. Distilling academic research and information from a variety of sources, it provides insights that corporations, employees and nonprofits can implement to strengthen their corporate culture and their community. It presents key findings about corporate social responsibility (CSR) and summarizes previous research about who gives to workplace campaigns.

Among the findings:

  • Employee choice is key. Employees want to use their talents, skills and time on a cause that they find personally meaningful. Employees also respond well when employers match time, donations or other resources to causes that the employee has chosen.
  • Engaged employees are more generous in workplace giving campaigns. Employees who are involved with an employer’s CSR efforts (or otherwise feel loyalty to their employer) tend to give more to workplace giving campaigns. Therefore, it is important that companies educate their employees about opportunities to get involved and keep in touch with employees about the outcomes of ongoing CSR efforts.
  • Nonprofits should seek out longer-term volunteer opportunities with employee groups that fit with their needs, capacity and long-term goals. While volunteering is a common form of CSR, nonprofit organizations should be aware of potential costs, such as for developing new programs or hiring more staff to accommodate large volunteer groups. Nonprofits should not only seek strategic partnerships that benefit the nonprofit, but the corporate volunteer group as well for best results.

“This report underscores the importance of the partnership between nonprofits and corporations,” said Rick Dunham, chair of Giving USA Foundation. “These findings emphasize to companies, fundraising professionals and nonprofits that effective communication, through a wide range of platforms, empowers employees to become donors and advocates for their causes in and through their workplaces, which is not only advantageous for the nonprofit, but for the corporation as well.”

Another theme that emerges throughout the new report is the increased prevalence of technology in the workplace and in workplace giving. For example, employees have come to expect options for how they make their gifts (e.g., payroll deduction, online platforms, etc.). Indeed, the majority of workplace giving now takes place online. While this can be considered a positive development for giving, the proliferation of technology also presents the challenge of how to engage remote workers, who may not be physically present in an office environment, in the company’s CSR initiatives.

Workplace giving is a key aspect of corporations’ giving. Total giving by corporations, including workplace giving, reached the highest inflation-adjusted level ever in 2017 at an estimated $20.77 billion, an increase of 8.0 percent in current dollars (5.7 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars), according to Giving USA’s Annual Report on Philanthropy for that year.

To examine the current state of workplace giving, the report draws on three case studies that illustrate best practices for employee engagement and workplace giving campaigns in action. The first two case studies examine best practices for employers, while the third demonstrates how nonprofits can forge meaningful corporate partnerships and promote workplace giving campaigns.

“We know that workplace giving today reflects the changing nature of work, the role of technology, and the attitudes and aspirations employees bring to the workplace. As a consequence, workplace giving campaigns offer an exciting opportunity,” said Una Osili, Ph.D., associate dean for research and international programs at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “This report makes it possible for stakeholders to apply what we already know and look to new areas of research, such as how employers can better engage diverse employees in workplace giving campaigns.”

The report highlights areas of opportunity for companies of all sizes, from finding nonprofit partners that are a good match for the skill set and size of a corporate volunteer group, to communicating effectively with employees about ongoing CSR efforts.

Finally, the report confirms that workplace giving and CSR efforts are on track to keep growing in the future. Increasingly, CSR is a factor that prospective employees, consumers and even investors consider before becoming involved with a company. Given this increased focus on CSR, workplace giving campaigns have the potential to be powerful tools to engage employees and allow companies to work in tandem with nonprofit organizations toward social good, the report finds.

Expert Panelists to Discuss Special Report during Free Live Webcast on November 7

On Wednesday, November 7 at 12pm ET, join Giving USA Foundation and The Giving Institute to explore the research and trends highlighted in Giving USA’s Special Report, “The Evolution of Workplace Giving.” Panelists are:

  • Una Osili, Associate Dean for Research and International Programs, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
  • Laura Coy, Director of Philanthropy Strategy at William Blair
  • Katie O’Brien-Jensen, Sr. Leader of Community Affairs at ITW

This event is moderated by Rick Dunham, CEO of Dunham+Company and Chair, Giving USA Foundation.

Register for this free event here.

Read the Full Report

The Giving USA Special Report on the Evolution of Workplace Giving is now available at www.GivingUSA.org as a digital download ($24.95) or 50-page paperback book ($29.95).

About The Giving USA Foundation

Advancing the research, education and public understanding of philanthropy is the mission of Giving USA Foundation, founded in 1985 by The Giving Institute. Headquartered in Chicago, the Foundation publishes data and trends about charitable giving through its seminal publication, Giving USA, and quarterly reports on topics related to philanthropy. Published since 1956, Giving USA is the longest running, most comprehensive report on philanthropy in America. Giving USA 2018: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2017 is available now at www.GivingUSA.org. Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018 will be available on June 18, 2019.

About the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI is dedicated to improving philanthropy to improve the world by training and empowering students and professionals to be innovators and leaders who create positive and lasting change. The school offers a comprehensive approach to philanthropy through its academic, research and international programs and through The Fund Raising School, the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, the Mays Family Institute on Diverse Philanthropy and the Women’s Philanthropy Institute. Follow us on Twitter @IUPhilanthropy and “Like” us on Facebook.

 

Contact:
FOR the FOUNDATION:
Casey Blickenstaff, 312-558-1770, ext. 153
cblickenstaff@pcipr.com.

 FOR the SCHOOL:
Adriene Davis Kalugyer, 317-278-8972
adrldavi@iupui.edu


Donor Management: 7 Strategies to Segment Your Lists

 

By Joe Klimek, CEO, SofTrek, developer of ClearView CRM fundraising software

Nonprofit giving has been trending up for a while now, finally crossing the $400 Billion mark1 in 2018,and we’re all celebrating because of it. But these positive growth patterns are not a reason to let your fundraising and communication strategies stagnate.

To help your nonprofit continue to grow and thrive in the coming seasons, revitalize your donor segmentation strategies and reach your constituents more effectively.

To segment your donor lists and build stronger connections, try dividing your lists by these techniques:

  1. Preferred communication method.
  2. Event attendance.
  3. Recurring donations.
  4. Age brackets.
  5. Volunteer history.
  6. Giving capacity.
  7. Matching gift eligibility.

Segmenting your donors allows you to send more personal communications, which in turn strengthens their connection to your organization. Philanthropy today relies on genuine and sustained relationships, so read on to learn how to help your nonprofit build those bridges.

Preferred communication method.

Proving to your community that you listen and respond to them is the key to building a strong foundation, and reaching out to them is important for every aspect of your nonprofit’s communication strategy!

Therefore, the first thing you should know about your donors is how they prefer to communicate. When you split your donor population by their preferred communication method, you can save time and money by identifying wasteful communication attempts.

Some common ways to communicate include:

  • Direct mail.
  • Phone calls.
  • Emails.
  • Text messages.

When planning your next marketing campaign, take into account how your donors wish to receive information from your nonprofit. There are two ways to determine someone’s preferred method of communication. The first is to analyze which of your communication attempts spurred them to action. Did they donate after you spoke on the phone? Do they frequently open your emails?

The second is to just ask them! Don’t be afraid to talk to donors directly about their preferences. They’ll appreciate the effort that your nonprofit is making to reach out to them. This is a great question to include when you create and send your next donor survey.

This information, along with everything else you know about a donor, should be kept in your donor database.2

Event attendance.

Another way to segment your donor lists and target them with the most appropriate information for their interests is by event attendance.

Some donors, no matter how long they’ve donated to your organization or how much they support your mission, will never attend one of your events. And that’s okay! But you should keep that in mind for deciding who to send fancy cardstock invitations to.

Consider your list of dedicated event attendees3, and then boost their engagement with some of the following ideas for your next event:

  • Upgrade them to VIP status for your next event.
  • Offer them a plus-one when they purchase their ticket.
  • Send them a nice invitation through the mail.
  • Show that you’ve been paying attention, and send them a thank-you note for their ongoing support.

Your event attendees have demonstrated ongoing support for your organization through their presence, so get them more involved by using their attendance habits as a launchpad.

Recurring donations.

Another valuable segment of your donor population to understand and communicate with are those who give recurring donations.

Whether someone gives a mid-sized to major gift once a year4 or donates $5 to your cause monthly, they are committed to your mission and your nonprofit’s ongoing success.

These donors are the key to your nonprofit’s annual revenue and a vital part of your community.

If you segment by who your recurring gift donors are, you’ll find yourself with a list of people who have seen your nonprofit grow and are committed to helping it continue helping your community. Reach out to these donors with the following strategies:

  • Ask them to consider doubling their donation for the duration of a campaign that aligns with their interests.
  • Ask them to increase their donation amount a little during a capital campaign or similar large fundraising effort.
  • Hold a thank-you event for them specifically, so they know that you see and appreciate what they do for your nonprofit.

You might find that someone giving a mid-level gift regularly has actually contributed the equivalent of a major gift and should thus be treated like a major donor.5

When your nonprofit acknowledges and thanks recurring donors in different ways every once in a while, it keeps those recurring gift donors appreciative of your nonprofit’s efforts as well as encourages them to stay or become more involved.

Age brackets.

While every generation has proven as they come of age that they are just as philanthropically minded as the last, they tend to have different priorities and interests than one another.

The most common way to divide your donor population by age is by the traditionally accepted generation breaks:

  • Baby Boomers (1946-1964)
  • Generation X (1965-1976)
  • Millennials or Generation Y (1977-1995)
  • Generation Z or Centennials (1996-today)

While Generation Z is still young (the oldest of them are just now starting careers), they are philanthropically inclined like those before and are valuable supporters and volunteers.

Consider some general trends about these different generations6 when segmenting your lists for communication.

For example, Baby Boomers, who grew up without cell phones or the Internet, might appreciate a phone call or a direct mail solicitation more than a Gen-Xer, who might prefer an email.

While there are exceptions to every rule, especially when it comes to generalizing different generations, do your best to communicate in ways that people will be most comfortable with.

Volunteer history.

Many people consider giving their time just as valuable as giving money. And it’s true! Nonprofits rely on the work that volunteers do to keep their worlds turning.

Segment your donor and community data7 by volunteering history, and you might be surprised by what you might find.

  • Are some of your major donors also volunteers?
  • Are there recurring donation givers that are also giving their time regularly?
  • Do families volunteer together?

Analyzing your volunteer data, and then targeting them with marketing materials that are specifically designed for them, is a surefire way to ensure that they feel appreciated as well as want to stay involved with your organization.

A strong volunteer history is an indicator that someone cares enough about your organization to give their time and energy to it, so offer them multiple ways to give back that are related to how they like to help.

Giving capacity.

This segmentation strategy might require more research than some of the others, but it will be worth it in the end. Prospect and donor research8 is a strategy in which your team analyzes publicly available information to determine a donor’s affinity and capacity for giving.

If they’re a donor for your organization, they’ve already proven their affinity, or willingness, to give philanthropically. But what about their capacity?

You can learn about a donor’s capacity for giving by looking up common wealth indicators, such as:

  • Home ownership.
  • Car, boat, or plane ownership.
  • SEC holdings.

These possessions indicate that someone has a large disposable income and is willing to use that money for things that they value. Segmenting your donors by this information requires a customized system9, but the end result is worth it.

If you learn donors’ capacity for giving, and then segment your donor population by that capacity, you suddenly have gained a new list of people to solicit for mid-sized or major gifts.

And because they’ve already proven that they care about your nonprofit, you don’t have to worry about barking up the wrong tree.

Matching gift eligibility.

Whether you already knew this information or whether you learned it through conducting donor research, it’s an incredibly useful way to segment your database: donors’ employment information.

Is your nonprofit actively pursuing matching gifts? If not, segment your population by employer and see if there are large groups who work for companies with matching gift programs.10

A matching gift program is a policy through which an employer gives a matching donation to a nonprofit that one of their employees has donated to, after that employee submits a matching gift request.

It’s free money for your nonprofit, and it doesn’t cost your donors anything, so why don’t more people take advantage of it? The issue is that many people don’t know about it.

Once you know that your nonprofit has a population of matching gift eligible donors, try some of the following strategies to make the most of the situation:

  • Host a matching gift drive, where donors who have already given submit a matching gift request on behalf of your nonprofit.
  • Distribute educational information about matching gift programs to those who work for companies with matching gift programs.
  • Ask those who have contributed matching gifts to talk to their coworkers about also donating, and then submitting a matching gift request.

With matching gift submissions, your nonprofit gets more money to support your cause, and donors get to feel good about helping your nonprofit even more without having to dig deeper into their own pockets!


When you use your donor management software to the best of your abilities and segment your donors for strategic communications, everyone in your community wins. Your nonprofit benefits from improved donor relationships, and your donors get more of what they like about your nonprofit.

For more information on making the most of your donor data, check out some of our favorite resources:

  1. https://givingusa.org/giving-usa-2018-americans-gave-410-02-billion-to-charity-in-2017-crossing-the-400-billion-mark-for-the-first-time/
  2. https://www.softrek.com/fundraising-software/donor-database-management
  3. https://www.givinginstitute.org/news/403901/6-Facts-to-Learn-About-Your-Fundraising-Event-Attendees.htm
  4. https://www.givinginstitute.org/news/417815/Next-Level-Donors-Three-Strategies-to-Inspire-Annual-Donors-to-Give-More.htm
  5. https://www.softrek.com/support-resources/clearview-crm-blog/300-major-gifts
  6. https://www.givinginstitute.org/news/370960/Transitioning-Donors-Next-Gen-and-Baby-Boomers-Intersecting-LanesSame-Destination.htm
  7. https://www.givinginstitute.org/news/336543/Maximize-Your-Donor-Data-5-Sensational-Strategies.htm
  8. https://www.donorly.com/thedonorlyblog/donor-research-guide
  9. https://www.softrek.com/fundraising-software/systems-customization
  10. https://www.360matchpro.com/matching-gifts/

Live Webcast: The Evolution of Workplace Giving

LIVE WEBCAST: The Evolution of Workplace Giving
November 7
12:00 – 1:00PM ET (11:00am-12:00PM CT)
Price: Complimentary

Register here 

Join Giving USA Foundation and The Giving Institute as experts explore the research and trends in workplace giving as revealed in Giving USA’s latest Special Report, “The Evolution of Workplace Giving.”

Giving USA’s special report on Workplace Giving shares data on how employee giving has been evolving, including:

  • How employee giving reflects the attitudes of employees toward their employer
  • The level of access employees are given with the organizations they are benefiting through workplace giving
  • How the decisions are made about the recipients of workplace campaigns
  • What employees are demanding and how companies are delivering to meet the changing needs for a win-win-win for the employee, company and non-profit organization
  • The impact of workplace giving on employee retention and profitability when corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts extend beyond workplace giving to overall business strategy, investments and governance

As workplace giving continues to evolve and change, it is vital for fundraisers, practitioners, and scholars to understand the changing business environment and the possibilities for workplace giving in the future.

Panelists:

Una Osili, Professor of Economics and Associate Dean for Research and International Programs, Indiana University, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
Laura Coy, Director of Philanthropy Strategy at William Blair
Katie O’Brien-Jensen, Sr. Leader of Community Affairs at ITW

Moderator:

Rick Dunham, CEO of Dunham+Company and Chair, Giving USA Foundation

Register here


Four Keys to Nonprofit Success

By Bill Jacobs, Founder & Managing Partner AnalyticalOnes

I’ve recently read Cecile Richard’s new book, Make Trouble. She offers some simple but great advice for anyone working to start any organization, but I think it’s particularly appropriate for nonprofit organizations.

Ms. Richard’s points are:

1. Set concrete goals that can be achieved

Too often in nonprofit circles, missions and goals are filled with goals of “transforming lives” or “giving hope.” While these aspirational goals are inspiring, they aren’t concrete. Concrete goals are SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-sensitive).

2. Be willing to ask for money

You’d think this would be a no-brainer in the nonprofit world, but it is amazing how often we hear about Executive Directors or Board members who are scared to ask for money. I love Richard’s approach to fundraising, that will alleviate some of those fears: “If you ask for money, you will get advice. If you ask for advice you will get money.” This is so simple, but it is critical. Engaging people beyond their pocketbook is the key to getting into their pocketbook.

3. Take big risks

Anyone who has started an organization knows, rightly or wrongly, they ultimately own all of the successes, and of all the failures. So you may as well think big.

4. Master organizational rules

Make sure everyone has a voice in every meeting, and make sure they have a specific action item when they leave. And the “small” stuff isn’t small at all (name tags, food, start on-time, end on-time) and most importantly – have fun.

Richards’ main advice is to get involved in this issues that you care about. And if one uses the guidelines above and focuses on the fight and not the outcome, activism can be a very rewarding way of life.


How To Use Data To Manage Your Nonprofit

Operate more like a business while staying true to your organization’s mission

Some people don’t like to think about running their nonprofit like a business. Nonprofits are different, after all, they have no shareholders and are not ‘supposed’ to make a profit. But when it comes to managing nonprofit finances, the most successful nonprofits focus on key financial metrics just like the most successful for-profit businesses.

Much of a nonprofit’s revenue stream relies on the ability of staff members to capture the hearts and minds of donors. And although fundraisers might not consider themselves in sales, their goal is the same: to make a personal connection that motivates people to support your organization.

Just like a business, the success of your organization depends on generating revenue, so consider taking financial management ideas from their for-profit peers. This e-book will highlight 3 ways to do just that:

  • Key performance metrics every nonprofit should use
  • 7 reports to help you grow your nonprofit’s financial success
  • Using the right tools for the right job: accounting software vs fundraising software

2 Essential Business Metrics Your Nonprofit Should Know

Managing for a Surplus (“Net Profit Margin”)

Calculate this metric by dividing your net profit by your total revenue. It tells you the percentage of your revenue that is a surplus. If you’re running a deficit, meaning you are spending more money than you’re bringing in, you won’t be able to support your mission. You can use the net profit margin percent to help plan future initiatives and set goals for the organization.

Pledge Collection (“Aging Accounts Receivable”)

In the nonprofit world, this calculation indicates how well you’re doing at collecting donations. Getting a pledge is the first step, but collecting is just as important. Automatic pledge collection can help reduce the amount of donations that get written-off if your nonprofit is unable to collect.

Performance Metrics for Every Type of Fundraising Initiative

Financial transparency is a big issue these days. Charities are required to report what percent of donations support their mission vs. the amount of donation dollars they use to pay for staff salaries and other administrative expenses. Many donors decide whether to donate to a charity based on that information.

Also, different types of nonprofits need to focus on specific metrics to meet their unique needs. Here’s a breakdown of metrics you might want to consider monitoring, depending upon your organization’s fundraising objectives.

Fundraising

  • Growth in the number of donors, including major donors
  • Average donation per donor
  • Number of new and lapsed donors
  • Number of upgraded donors- those who gave more than last year
  • Number of downgraded donors
  • Lifetime value of a donor
  • Donor retention and attrition percentages

Special Events

  • Special event revenue
  • Number of attendees
  • Average revenue per attendee
  • Average cost per attendee
  • Number of new, retained, and lapsed sponsors
  • ROI of each event

Membership-Related Revenue

  • Number of new, retained, and lapsed members
  • Member retention
  • Average sales per publication
  • Number of members and conference attendees

Cultural Events Such as Museums and Performing Arts

  • Number of visitors and ticket sales
  • Number of memberships, including new members and retention
  • Average ancillary sales per visitor or attendee
  • Event Feedback

Alumni Engagement

  • Enrollment
  • Retention of students
  • Graduation rates
  • Student to faculty ratios

Some of these metrics may seem obvious. Of course you know how many people attended your last event. But think about your reporting structure. Are you able to generate a report that shows not only the number of attendees, but the average revenue per attendee? Maybe you track the average donation per donor. Determine if you have a report that shows that information over time, allowing you to track seasonal variances.

You undoubtedly have a great deal of information about the operation of your nonprofit. The key is to think about running your nonprofit like a business. When you do that, you’ll find that you can analyze the information you have in different ways, providing even more insight that can help your nonprofit succeed.

Let the Data Talk to You: 7 Reports You Should be Monitoring Regularly

Contributed by Sandy Rees, CFRE

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. The trick is to measure things that matter.

What really matters? What are the things that will help drive your fundraising forward?

Here are 7 reports you should be running at least monthly and monitoring the results, so you can tweak your fundraising plan accordingly, and stay on track to fully funding your nonprofit’s good work.

1. New Donor Report

Your donor base is the lifeblood of your fundraising program. Set a goal for the number of new donors you need during the year, then break it down into monthly goals. Watch not only the number of donors, but where they’re coming from so you know which marketing and outreach efforts are really paying off.

2. Lapsed Donor Report

In addition to watching the number of new donors coming in, be sure to monitor the number who are leaking out the other end. Minimizing the number of lapsed donors will mean fewer new donors are needed. Prevent the lapse in the first place with a Lapsed Donor Renewal campaign.

3. Donor Retention

Keep a close eye on the number of donors that are giving from one year to the next. The more detailed this report is, the better. As you review the data, look for trends. Are there groups of donors that seem to give at the same time each year? Or maybe in response to an appeal? The more you can learn from your data, the better job you can do raising money.

4. Total Revenue by Solicitation

Think of everything you do as a solicitation, or campaign. You have a grant solicitation, an appeal solicitation, an event solicitation, etc. Then measure revenue by solicitation. Each month, have a close look at your goals to see if they’re on track. It’s easier to make adjustments as you go than to get to the end of the fiscal year and try to fix a derailed train.

5. Monthly Donors

Check on your monthly donors each month to make sure they’re all giving. Think of their donations as pledge payments (because that’s what they are). Pull the report each month and call any donors who are a couple of months behind. It’s the best way to keep your monthly revenue stabilized and flowing in.

6. Top Donors

Each month, ask your donor software to show you who your top 10 donors are. Are there any names on the list that surprise you? Do you need to take steps to love on them this month? What seems to be motivating them to give? Let the data talk to you.

7. Volunteer Hours

Most nonprofits can’t run without volunteers, and measuring the number of volunteer hours not only tells you the amount of time people are giving, but also gives you an idea of what it would cost if you had to pay for a staff person(s) to cover those tasks. Plus, many donors like knowing that you’re using lots of volunteers to get deliver services.

The right tools for the job

A business uses a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to manage its relationships and contacts with its customers. A nonprofit uses a similar tool, often called a Donor Management System, Constituent Management Software, or simply, Fundraising Software.

Fundraising software allows you to manage and analyze data for all of your constituents (donors, volunteers, board members, event attendees, etc.) in a single, unified database. It’s more than just managing the numbers – it’s about managing the relationships.

With fundraising software, you can track the type of relationships your constituents have to particular organizations, as well as the relationships they may have with one another. For instance, your database is likely to include members of the same family and organizations that employ many of your constituents.

Fundraising software helps you reach the right people with the right message. From generating targeted solicitations to keeping notes on potential major donors, good fundraising software provides the tools for communicating, tracking, and managing your campaigns and results.

Remember, the number one reason why people give money is because they are asked. If you don’t have the right tools to track your constituents, you won’t raise more money because you won’t ask the right people. Focused solicitations get better results!

The Difference Between Accounting Software and Fundraising Software

Accounting software and fundraising software each serve their own function in the organization. In the hopes of saving money and trying to make things easier, many nonprofits try to use their accounting software like QuickBooks to manage their fundraising needs. And while some accounting products offer some surface-level fundraising tracking, that’s like trying to dig a hole with a hammer – it’s the wrong tool for the job!

Fundraising software is designed to:

  • Allow nonprofits to track and manage relationships with donors and other constituents
  • Keep gift records to ensure donors are thanked, receipted, and credited appropriately
  • Encourage and enable nonprofits to boost retention with tools that increase and maintain donor engagement

Accounting software is designed to:

  • Manage financial records in a manner that follows the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles
  • Simplify important financial tasks such as: accounts payable, purchase orders, accounts receivable, payroll and inventory

Accounting software should complement the development and relationship management functions that your fundraising software helps you accomplish. Your accounting package can help with bookkeeping, financial statements, payroll, expense management, and tracking non-donor revenue. All you need is a good interface between the two so the development staff can work with the accounting team more efficiently. Many of the better fundraising software systems offer these interfaces.

Takeaways

The best businesses focus like a hawk on key performance metrics so that they’re constantly improving efficiency and increasing profits. Adopting the same techniques will mean more money for your organization, which will help you achieve even more and attract new donors.

The people who care about your mission will want to give to those that use their money most efficiently and effectively. And the best ways to do that is to have the right tools for the job, such as fundraising software for development that interfaces with accounting software. Combined, these tools can help you easily and efficiently track the key metrics and reports you need to measure your success. The more you measure and adapt, the more you’ll be able to grow.

For more great ideas and inspiration to help your organization grow, please visit the DonorPerfect Resources Library.


Important Considerations for Establishing Major Gift Metrics

By John T. Keith, J.D., Consultant, Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates

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 board members 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?

The art of fundraising focuses on fostering support for your mission by developing relationships with donors and aligning their philanthropic goals with organizational needs. Yet, in philanthropy it is important that we focus on both the art and science of fundraising by tracking the metrics behind those relationships.

Here are a few things to consider as you explore incorporating metrics into your major gift program.

Determine the purpose of your metrics

First things first.  Do you intend to set minimum standards for major gift officers below which they will be considered to have failed?  Or, do you intend to use the metrics as a way to set a higher bar that helps to identify the top performers?  In other words, are these metrics meant to be a carrot or a stick?  Although I would typically recommend an environment based on positive reinforcement, there are some organizations that might benefit from setting a clear standard of minimum performance. What is most important is that everyone understands this context in advance and that the metrics are designed to fit their stated purpose.

Make metrics realistic

Several years ago, I participated in a survey of frontline fundraisers who worked at a few dozen large colleges and universities.  At the conclusion of the study, the results were shared with those of us who participated.  Each college or university had a slightly different target for substantive contact/personal visit metrics.  Yet, according to the survey results, each university had zero frontline fundraisers who actually met the stated standard.  Is it possible that all of the fundraisers at all of these universities were failures?  I don’t think so.  My personal observation is that there was a disconnect between the perception of fundraising activities by senior leaders/board members of these institutions and the realities of the work. The goals were more likely to have been set in the context of the former rather than the latter.  Would we permit campaign goals to be determined this way?  Hopefully not!  Make sure your metrics are reasonable and strategic, not “impressive.”

One size does not fit all

Determining appropriate goals for a major gift officer must be calibrated to the specific work of that officer.  Is the fundraiser a new hire who is to build a new portfolio of relationships for the organization?  Has the officer inherited an existing portfolio of well-cultivated relationships?  Or, has the MGO been with the organization for several years and already developed a number of strong relationships?  Is the fundraiser a Director of Development with program and/or staff management responsibilities or is she focusing entirely on major gift donor and prospect relationships?

Setting the exact same metrics for each major gift officer is rarely appropriate.  For an officer who will build a new portfolio, place greater emphasis in the first year on the goal for personal visits and minimize (or eliminate) the goals for proposals and dollars raised.  In that officer’s second and third years with an established portfolio of relationships, then it is more appropriate to incorporate goals related to proposals and dollars.

Some organizations, particularly those with larger teams of frontline fundraisers, manage these differences by using an adjustable scorecard.  For example, each officer has a goal of “scoring” 50 points in the fiscal year but the mixture of points earned for different tasks is weighted differently depending on context.

Metrics do not equal management

Metrics can and should be a useful tool for managing and evaluating a major gift program.  However, having metrics in place should be a beginning and not an end.  As the term “metrics” has become increasingly common  in the nonprofit sector over the past decade, its usage has in some cases become a synonym for “management”.  It isn’t.  Those who are supervising major gift officers often also have their own portfolios of major gift relationships to manage.  Perhaps they achieved the management position specifically because they have been successful fundraisers and have little management experience.  For some it may be difficult to resist the temptation to remain externally focused and they therefore rely on the metrics to take care of everything else.

To maximize the performance of the team and each individual, it is crucial to maintain regular communication about each fundraiser’s portfolio, specific prospect situations/challenges, and progress toward annual goals. Metrics should not be subjected to an annual check-up like a wellness exam, they need to be frequently revisited and reviewed.

Avoid unintended consequences

If metrics aren’t set correctly, there can be unintended consequences. For instance, as the fiscal year draws to a close, it is possible that a major gift officer who has had a successful year and has already met his or her goals might perceive an incentive to defer certain donor conversations to enhance performance in the next fiscal year.

Having goals and a culture of accountability should not mean that an organization has abandoned donor-centered fundraising that is based on relationship-building activities.  An organization should not want its major gift officers to feel an incentive to “shotgun” proposals at prospects when it is too early and also should not want to encourage delay.  The only way to ensure there is no misunderstanding on these points is to have frequent and honest communication between officer and supervisor about the officer’s pipeline and top prospects.  An officer should feel comfortable raising this issue and the organization should be flexible enough with the metrics to allow a gift to occur naturally. In this example, if it is happening near the end of a fiscal year, perhaps allow it to be measured in the following year.  If this happens with regularity rather than as an exception, then the goal may be set a little too low.  Either way, communication is the key.

If you’d like to learn more about establishing major gift metrics and explore best practices, I encourage you to watch a recording of our recent webinar for an in-depth discussion on the subject.

And, here are some additional resources on major gifts you may find useful: