I spent more than seven great years on the staff at Colgate University and worked closely with alumni as we rolled out new communication strategies, always aimed at building relationships. It’s a proud, passionate and energetic alumni base. Fertile ground for innovation in alumni engagement.
Barring an act of God, the remainder of 2013 represents the best conditions for major and principal gifts fundraising since 2000, if ever! Shout it from the rooftops, be as encouraging in your communications as you can be, and get the heck out of the office to see your investor-potential donors.
Patronage for the arts is not only alive in the U.S., it is growing steadily. The most recent summary of private contributions for the performing arts and other cultural groups reported an increase of 11% since 2010. However, the picture is mixed. It is a challenging period for all charitable organizations that depend on private contributions, including some of our top orchestras, dance companies and opera houses.
A recent conversation with some of my colleagues and clients led me to an interesting realization: The word integration is a sometimes misunderstood word in the nonprofit sector.
It seems that integration is often translated to mean consolidated or merged-under-one-manager. So when a nonprofit organization that, for good reason, has an organizational chart that allows for specialization—particularly in various development functions—the idea of integration is quickly rejected.
In 2002 I presented a workshop at an AFP conference in Boston entitled “Kill All the Gift Clubs.” In 2007 I published Intentional Stewardship in which I was perhaps less hyperbolic, but no less critical of gift clubs. In January 2011 I had an epiphany, and I converted to belief in gift clubs. As a new convert, you can imagine that I am a zealot.
Judith Dobrzynski’s recent opinion piece for the New York Times (“High Culture Goes Hands-On,” Sunday, August 11) put a spotlight on museums and their perceived drift into places for audience engagement and activity at any price. Allegedly, and this is Ms Dobrzynski’s message, in stretching to engage the public at any cost these cultural institutions dishonor their mission and the public trust by which they operate.
When I examined the Giving USA 2013 report, I came away amazed by the resiliency of philanthropic giving to health.
Compared to high marks in 2007, only two charitable subsectors have reached or surpassed their all-time high giving levels (in terms of inflation-adjusted dollars): health ($28.12 billion) and human services ($40.40 billion).
I’ll begin with the big picture revealed in the Giving USA 2013 report. In 2012, the education sector received 14% of charitable contributions. Giving to education over the past 40 years mirrors the rise in GDP and also shows every dip that has occurred. In our data, we see the 1982 recession, the crash in 1987, the 1990-1991 recession, the take off again with the dot-com bubble and the decline with the 2002 bubble burst. And, of course, there’s no mistaking the big dip during the Great Recession.
We seem to be as agonized as Hamlet in our thinking about this paraphrase of his famous quote by way of Shakespeare. On any given day we are sure to read a posting on the ADRP listserv concerning how far down the annual-fund donor pool to go in our listings, online or on paper, or even whether or not to publish names. The underlying question in a post this morning was whether excluding from a listing those donors who gave under $250 a year might discourage them from moving into a major-gifts pipeline.
Donors increasingly want to engage with our organizations in multiple ways. Though development officers may be the main point of contact with supporters, we will develop stronger partnerships if we bring others from within our organization into these relationships. CEO’s and other senior administrators usually expect to be active in advancement. But there are many more resources throughout our organizations who can play a powerful role with donors.