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November 2010 (5 posts)

Getting Ready for End of Year Giving
November 17, 2010

Personally, it's hard for me to start seriously thinking about the holidays before Thanksgiving rolls around, but the reality is that you need to get started now if you want to take advantage of the higher levels of giving that usually occur at the end of the year. One survey shows that most Americans plan to give as much or more to charity in the final three months of the year compared to the same period in previous years, and with other sources of funding still recovering it is important to engage as many of these potential donors as possible. Here are some resources from around the web to get you started:

- Future Fundraising Now blogger Jeff Brooks has a podcast with some practical tips for fundraising that can "make the most of the generosity your donors feel as the year comes to an end." 

- The holidays can also be a good time to take advantage of corporate partnerships, as companies look to give back to their communities. This Philanthropy Journal article gives some tips about approach and working with corporations to create holiday giving partnerships. "Doing your research" is first on the list, so log on to FDO now and check out some of the corporations that are operating in your area or may be interested in the work of your organization.

- Nonprofit Tech 2.0 blogger Heather Mansfield shares her list of "holiday gift programs that benefit nonprofits and make the world a better place." Besides giving you some gift ideas as you begin to check off your list, hopefully they'll also prompt some ideas about whether your own organization could implement similar gift programs. It's never to early to try to make next year's list!

Free Shipping in November on Foundations Today Series
November 15, 2010

This November, the Foundation Center is offering free shipping on the 2010 edition of our Foundations Today Series when you order online. This three-part research series contains the latest facts and figures on foundation growth and giving trends, including key statistics on foundation assets and grants awarded. The series includes:

Ft_series_sm Foundation Giving Trends: Update on Funding Priorities
(June 2010)
Examines 2008 grantmaking patterns of a sample of more than 1,000 larger U.S. foundations, and compares current giving priorities with trends since 1980.

Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates: Current Outlook
(April 2010)
Provides a first look at estimates of foundation giving for 2009 and final statistics on actual giving and assets for 2008, as well as lists of top funders.

Foundation Yearbook: Facts and Figures on Private and Community Foundations
(November 2010)
Documents the growth in number, giving, and assets of all active U.S. foundations from 1977 through 2008.

Visit the Marketplace section of our web site for more information on these and other Foundation Center publications. The 2010 Foundations Today Series set is available for just $95 with free shipping online. Order today >>

All About Annual Reports
November 11, 2010

(from Philanthropy Front and Center-Atlanta by Foundation Center-Atlanta)

I recently had the opportunity to sit in on a webinar offered through Nonprofit 101: All About Annual Reports. An initiative of the Livingston, Graham & Martin philanthropy consulting group,
Nonprofit 101 provides workshops and webinars designed to help beginning nonprofit professionals develop the skills necessary to build effective nonprofit organizations and programs.

Annual reports The webinar included strategies and helpful tips for nonprofit organizations on preparing and distributing annual reports. While nonprofit organizations are not required to issue annual reports, such publications can be an effective tool for engaging the public and building relationships within the community. An annual report can be a vehicle for sharing goals and outcomes of your programs, demonstrating transparency and accountability for donors and other stakeholders, and for telling the story of your nonprofit.

Recommendations from the webinar included:

  • Appoint a project leader to oversee the process from start to finish and to coordinate the contributions of different staff members.

  • Create a timeline for information gathering and publication of the report and be sure to adhere to it.

  • Review samples of annual reports from other nonprofits and for-profit corporations. Take note of format, content, organization, and style in others' annual reports and brainstorm ideas for your own publication. Visit our PubHub repository for examples of annual reports issued by foundations, or see the resources below.

  • Supplement facts and figures with stories about the organization's programs or those individuals you have served throughout the year.

  • Make sure the report has a consistent voice. Have one person write the narrative or designate a single editor to revise and edit the final draft of the report.

  • Keep it authentic. Use actual photos of staff at work or in the field rather than generic stock images.

  • Segment audiences to determine who receives a print copy of the report, an electronic copy, or simple notification of its release.

For more resources on this topic, including links to sample annual reports, see our Knowledge Base article, Where can I learn more about making a nonprofit annual report?

For a listing of related books and articles in our library collection, search the Catalog of Nonprofit Literature for the subjects Annual reports or Nonprofit organizations--communications. Recommended sources include:

Hochstadt, Zach;  Winton, Jennie. "Creating effective annual reports". Grassroots Fundraising Journal. Vol. 28 (Sept-Oct 2009) p. 2-5.

Taylor, Caroline. Publishing the Nonprofit Annual Report: Tips, Traps, and Tricks of the Trade. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2002.

Leroux Miller, Kivi. The Nonprofit Marketing Guide: High-Impact, Low-Cost Ways to Build Support for Your Good Cause. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2010.

Stephen Sherman, Reference Librarian, Foundation Center-Atlanta

New Corporate Philanthropy Data
November 09, 2010

(from Philanthropy Front and Center - New York)

GIN_2010EditionThe Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), the membership organization of CEO and chairpersons focused on corporate philanthropy, issued findings from its 2009 Corporate Giving Standard annual philanthropy survey. Giving in Numbers: Trends in Corporate Giving (2010 edition) analyzes the responses of 171 leading U.S. companies, including more than 60 listed on Fortune magazine's list of top 100 companies.

Giving by Companies

Median total giving:

  • 2008 = $30.08 million
  • 2009 = $26.30 million

Change in total giving from 2008 to 2009:

  • 36% of companies increased total giving
  • 5% of companies remained flat
  • 59% of companies decreased total giving

Size of changes to giving:

  • From 2008 to 2009, 40% of companies decreased giving by 10% or more.
  • From 2007 to 2008, only 24% of companies decreased giving by 10% or more.
  • From 2008 to 2009, 5% of companies experienced no changes in giving levels
  • From 2007 to 2008, 17% of companies experienced no changes in giving levels.

Though more than half of companies gave less, aggregate giving was higher in 2009 than in 2008 by 7%. This increase in aggregate giving was a result of two trends in 2009: 1) Pharmaceutical companies increased in-kind contributions of medicine through Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs); and 2) Corporate mergers and acquisitions resulted in combined corporate giving that exceeded the individual companies’ giving levels.

Corporate Giving Strategies
Confronting company-wide spending cuts and foundation endowment losses, corporate funders were forced to make choices:

  • Organizations and programs meeting basic needs in health, human services, and community economic development, received an increase in corporate funding support.
  • As stated above, drug manufacturers increased donations of medicines to cover the uninsured, recently unemployed individuals, and others.
  • Companies looked to increase opportunities for employees to volunteer and offer pro bono services. Over the past three years, the percentage of companies offering paid-release time for employees to volunteer increased by almost 20%, and the number of companies offering pro bono services continues to grow.
  • Companies experienced an increase in their employees' participation in matching-gifts programs and some raised their dollar limits, which allowed employees to donate a greater amount to be matched by companies.

The 2010 Edition of Giving in Numbers offers comparisons of CECP’s data sources and methodology to that of Giving USA, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, and the Foundation Center's research. In addition, look for information about how corporations leverage their connections to consumers, suppliers, and employees to further help in nonprofit fundraising efforts. And important for nonprofit organizations and corporate grantmakers alike, the report analyzes giving priorities by industry (p. 27); giving internationally (pp. 28-29); and giving by gender and ethnicity (p. 30). CECP makes the complete report, as well as a 7-page summary, available online.

Interested in pursuing corporate funding and other means of support from corporations? Learn about the strategies you can employ in our Introduction to Corporate Giving class. We offer it as a:

Individual Donor Fundraising Trends
November 03, 2010

Although Foundation Directory Online is the go-to resource for foundation funding, a successful fundraising strategy for any organization is composed of a diverse set of revenue sources. A number of recent surveys about fundraising from individual donors have been floating around the philanthropic blogosphere lately and are worth mentioning. 

Some of the findings from a recent Blackbaud survey are expected: direct mail, one-on-one solicitation of donors, and special events are seen as the top drivers of donations to organizations. The good news is that the respondents (1,245 individuals representing nonprofit organizations) also expected the revenue generated from these sources to increase in 2010 compared to 2009.

Perhaps more intriguing is this Dunham and Company survey, which investigates the relationship between direct mail and online giving. Just a few of the interesting findings:

  • 14% of respondents stated that they gave online as a result of direct mail, compared to only 6% of those who gave after receiving an e-mail
  • As expected, most younger donors are giving online as a response to direct mail, but 1 in 4 baby boomers are as well
  • 15% of respondents said their online gift was prompted by being asked to give by someone through a social media site. This number jumped to 24% for donors under the age of 40.

The Blackbaud survey also found that overall revenue from online giving during the last three month period ending in August is up by 20.4% from the same period last year. However, its respondents also reported that e-mail was the top driver of online donations last year, followed by direct mail. Though this initially seems to contradict the findings of the other survey, it is important to keep in mind that one surveyed nonprofit organizations, while the other surveyed individual donors, and neither were completely comprehensive in their scope.

Yet another survey found that women are generally more charitable than men — with a few exceptions, women at almost all income levels were more likely to give and to give more than men. These findings have already spurred conversation on why this may (or may not) be important. Additional results detailing what types of organizations women gave to are due out in December or January.

Not all of these findings are entirely surprising, but they further illustrate the need to constantly re-evaluate your fundraising strategy, critically looking at what is and isn't working. For more resources on fundraising planning, be sure to visit GrantSpace, where you can find podcasts, webinars, answers to frequently asked questions, and much more!