Archive for June, 2012

June 29, 2012

Salvation Army Official Says Gays Deserve Death

Major Andrew Craibe, The Salvation Army’s Territorial Media Relations Director for the Southern Territory in Victoria Australia, went on an Australian radio show recently to push back against a boycott movement. Instead, he likely galvanized it.

Darren Hayes, former lead singer of the Australian pop group Savage Garden, is openly gay. He’s also deeply offended by what he sees as The Salvation Army’s anti-gay beliefs and opposition to gay marriage. He’s channeled his anger into a boycott movement to encourage people not to give to The Salvation Army and, instead, give to more accepting organizations working in the community.

As the boycott movement garnered publicity, Major Craibe appeared on Serena Ryan and Pete Dillon’s radio show, Salt and Pepper, to discuss The Salvation Army’s official position on homosexuality and whether it’s evolved over time. Ryan and Dillon are openly members of the LGBT community.

Unfortunately for The Salvation Army, Major Craibe was woefully unprepared for the interview. Here’s one brief exchange:

Ryan: According to The Salvation Army, [gay people] deserve death. How do you respond to that, as part of your doctrine?

Craibe:  Well, that’s a part of our belief system.

Ryan: So we should die?

Craibe: You know, we have an alignment to the Scriptures, but that’s our belief.

Ryan: Wow. So we should die.”

You can listen to the full interview and read the take that The Atlantic took on the story by going HERE. 

Recognizing that Craibe blew it big time, The Salvation Army in the Australian Eastern Territory issued a statement, an unbelievably awkward one to have to issue,  assuring the public that the organization does not believe that members of the LGBT community should be put to death:

The Salvation Army believes in the sanctity of all human life and believes it would be inconsistent with Christian teaching to call for anyone to be put to death. We consider every person to be of infinite value, and each life a gift from God to be cherished, nurtured and preserved.”

The official statement included the following apology:

The Salvation Army sincerely apologises to all members of the GLBT community and to all our clients, employees, volunteers and those who are part of our faith communities for the offence caused by this miscommunication.”

Within days of the radio interview, the controversy it created found its way to the United States. On June 25, The Salvation Army USA issued the following statement:

The Salvation Army in the United States fully and emphatically rejects the statements made by the media director of The Salvation Army Australia Southern Territory regarding the LGBT community. The Salvation Army opposes any discrimination, marginalization or persecution of any person. There is no scriptural support for demeaning or mistreating anyone for any reason including his or her sexual orientation. We stand firmly upon our mission to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.

The Salvation Army in Australia has also rejected the opinions stated and provided additional information which you can view here.

We deeply apologize for the hurt that these statements have caused.”

While The Salvation Army USA’s statement strikes all the right notes, it did not quite sync with the follow-up statement coming out of Australia. The Australian statement also said that “all sin leads to spiritual death (separation from God).” This was in the context of explaining the inclusion in the organization’s handbook of text from Romans 1:18-32. The passage from Romans outlines a number of sinful behaviors, including homosexuality, and states, “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death…”

Ok. I thought I understood The Salvation Army’s position: Members of the LGBT community should not be put to death. However, they are spiritually dead until they repent and seek forgiveness for their sins.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t convinced that that was so much better than the position that Craibe originally shared. And, I wasn’t sure where The Salvation Army USA stood on that fine point. So, I asked.

June 25, 2012

Special Report Update: Former Penn State University Coach Convicted of Sex Abuse

[Publisher's Note: “Special Reports” are posted from time-to-time as a benefit for subscribers and frequent visitors to this blog. “Special Reports” are not widely promoted. To be notified of all new posts, including "Special Reports," please take a moment to subscribe in the right-hand column.]

 

Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State University football defensive coordinator, has been convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15 year period.  A jury found Sandusky guilty on 45 of 48 accounts. Following the verdict, Sandusky was ordered to jail where he will await sentencing, likely within 90 days. He faces the possibility of life in prison.

Even with the jury’s verdict, the story is not over. Former Penn State officials Tim Curley and Gary Schultz still face perjury charges related to an alleged cover-up of one of Sandusky’s abuse victims. At least one news report asserts that Penn State is encouraging Sandusky’s victims to come forward and settle any potential lawsuits privately. And, an artist has replaced an image of Sandusky on a State College, PA mural with the image of poet who speaks out against sexual abuse.

June 22, 2012

Giving USA 2012 Released, Donations Up Slightly

Total philanthropic giving in 2011 was $298.42 billion, up from a revised estimate of $286.91 billion for 2010.

That’s the finding presented in Giving USA 2012, the report just released by The Giving USA Foundation and its research partner, the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy.

While the uptick of 4.0 percent in giving in current dollars is positive news, it represents an increase of just 0.9 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars. At this rate of growth, it will take more than a decade for giving to return to its pre-recession 2007 level, according to Patrick M. Rooney, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Center on Philanthropy. Rooney was in Philadelphia to present the major findings of the report. Rooney stated:

The estimates for giving in 2011 are encouraging, but they demonstrate that charities still face ongoing challenges. In the past two years, charitable giving has experienced its second slowest recovery following any recession since 1971.”

Giving in 2012 and 2013 is likely to experience the same slow growth as we saw in 2011. On the same day that Rooney was in Philadelphia, the U.S. Federal Reserve issued its multi-year forecast of change in Gross Domestic Product. The Fed projects GDP will continue to grow at a modest rate. For 2012, the projected GDP growth rate is 2.2 percent. For 2013, the Fed projects GDP growth of 2.5 percent. This is important news for all Americans, particularly those in the nonprofit sector.

In 2011, giving was 2 percent of GDP. Since giving has been tracked, philanthropy has always been about 2 percent of GDP. If this correlation rate continues, the nonprofit sector can expect continued slow growth in philanthropy in 2012 and 2013 as GDP is projected to grow only modestly.

Once again, the majority of philanthropic dollars came from Individuals, who accounted for 73 percent of total giving, the same percentage as the prior year. If Bequest and Family Foundation giving is included, the percentage would be 88 percent.

Individual giving as a percentage of disposable personal income remained at 1.9 percent in 2011, the same as in 2009 and 2010; this is far below the high of 2.4 percent achieved in 2005.

The report estimates estate giving at $24.41 billion in 2011, a 12.2 percent increase over 2010 (8.8 percent increase in inflation-adjusted dollars). Bequest giving represented 8 percent of total giving. Two-thirds of Americans with a will have included a charitable bequest provision, according to Robert I. Evans, Founder and Managing Director of EHL Consulting Group, who co-presented with Rooney. Fluctuations in bequest giving in recent years are primarily due to the major changes in real estate and stock portfolio values. Rooney also observed that the 300 wealthiest deceased individuals determine whether bequest giving goes up or down.

June 20, 2012

Special Report: Indiana University Creating School of Philanthropy

[Publisher's Note: “Special Reports” are posted from time-to-time as a benefit for subscribers and frequent visitors to this blog. “Special Reports” are not widely promoted. To be notified of all new posts, including "Special Reports," please take a moment to subscribe in the right-hand column.]

 

Indiana University, home of the internationally respected Center on Philanthropy, is in the process of creating a School of Philanthropy that will grant undergraduate and graduate degrees.

In his September 2011 State of the University Address: Defining the 21st Century Public University, Michael A. McRobbie, President of Indiana University, said, “Based on our internationally acclaimed Center on Philanthropy, we are also moving to establish a full-fledged School of Philanthropy.”

In May 2012, the University granted Bachelor of Arts degrees in Philanthropic Studies to five students. These are believed to be the first-ever undergraduate degrees presented for Philanthropic Studies. The Philanthropic Studies program is, in part, now part of the nonprofit management program in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. The University Trustees are currently looking at how to transition the Philanthropic Studies program to its own school.

June 15, 2012

The Nonprofit Sector Has Lost a Good Friend

The nonprofit sector lost an ardent supporter, and my wife and I lost a very close friend on June 6, 2012.

Lisa Halterman (1954-2012)

Lisa Maxine Reisman Halterman touched countless lives. We are all better off for the time she was with us, which was far too brief. Even if you never knew Lisa, she has improved your world in immeasurable ways. Think of a pebble tossed into a still pond causing ripples to expand outward. The impact of Lisa’s philanthropy rippled outward as well.

Lisa was involved with and supported a variety of organizations including the Please Touch Museum, the Rittenhouse Square Flower Market, the Curtis Institute of Music, the Rosenbach Museum, the Philadelphia Film Festival, the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance, and the Philadelphia Area Repertory Theatre. She even hosted a special reception to benefit the Association of Fundraising Professionals Political Action Committee.

Though very different from each other, these organizations all enhance the quality of the lives of those they serve and, as a result, enable or inspire those individuals to improve the lives of others. The ripple effect.

Lisa’s philanthropy was generous. Parenthetically, and sadly, not a single nonprofit organization seriously approached her for a planned gift.

Only 22 percent of Americans over the age of 30 say they have been asked to consider a planned gift, according to a report from The Stelter Company. So, I’m not exactly surprised that Lisa was never asked. I just wonder how many other lost opportunities there are every single day? How many people are in your database that should be asked for a planned gift that you just haven’t gotten around to asking?

June 9, 2012

How Much is a Bequest Commitment Worth?

A charitable bequest commitment has tremendous value for the organization receiving it. The value may be even greater than you realize. Bequest commitments are valuable in three important ways:

 

1.  Future Money

For donors, a charitable bequest commitment is an easy painless way to give. It’s a way even middle-class donors can be “major donors.” While most people cannot afford to make a huge cash gift to a nonprofit they love, most can make substantial gifts upon death. This is particularly important during economic hard or uncertain times. A bequest commitment allows donors to show their significant support for their favorite charities without having to deplete current cash resources.

For nonprofit organizations, bequests allow more money to flow into the organization than would otherwise be the case. And, the organization will not even necessarily need to wait decades for the donor to die and for the gift to be realized. Depending on the age and health of the donor, the bequest gift might be realized in a surprisingly short time period.

Many people have tried to estimate the value of the average bequest gift in the US. I’ve seen a range of numbers used. The consensus figure I used in my book, Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing, is $35,000. However, that’s not a particularly useful figure since there is such a massive range in the size of actual bequest gifts that individuals make.

So, researcher Russell N. James, III, JD, PhD, CFP®, Director of Graduate Studies in Charitable Planning at Texas Tech University, looked at how bequest giving compares with annual giving. In his AFP International Conference presentation, “The Presence and Timing of Charitable Estate Planning: New Research Findings,” James revealed the following about Americans over the age of 50:

 

 Total Estate Value

Annual Giving Multiple  

 < $100,000

0.15  

 $100,000 – < $500,000

1.89  

 $500,000 – < $1,000,000

3.73  

 $1,000,000 – < $5,000,000

8.12  

 $5,000,000+

11.65  

 TOTAL

5.07  

 

June 1, 2012

Problems: What Separates the Good Guys from the Bad?

I have some bad news for you. At some point, your organization is going to stumble. It’s going to mess up. Hopefully, mistakes will happen infrequently. But, happen they will.

What separates the good organizations from the bad is not which ones can be perfect. Perfection is impossible. Nevertheless, some managers continue to expect perfection of themselves and their colleagues. This may stem from a perfectionist personality or, perhaps, a misunderstanding of the principles of Total Quality Management 

Developed by W. Edwards Deming and others, TQM is a management philosophy and process that, when applied to the nonprofit world, involves all staff, volunteers, vendors, service recipients, and donors in the enhancement and maintenance of quality of products, services, and processes. In short, TQM is about continually striving for improvement rather than attaining perfection.

If one desires perfection, he or she will likely become quickly frustrated by problems and even sweep them under the rug. By contrast, those who embrace the idea of working for continual improvement will welcome problems as an opportunity to enhance products, services, and processes.

So, when it comes to problems or mistakes, what separates the good organizations from the bad is how the organization deals with them. Is the organization combative or defensive? Or, does the organization welcome feedback and challenges as an opportunity to improve?

This should come as no surprise to you: Those organizations that meet the latter description are more likely to provide better products and service, and they are more likely to have happy, generous volunteers and donors.

So, how can you deal most effectively with a problem or mistake?

Step 1–Understand It:

You can’t solve a problem or fix a mistake if don’t know about or don’t understand it. So, if someone tells you they have a problem with your organization or that it made a mistake, listen carefully and, then, ask questions.

For example, a donor may call you and say, “Hey, you people misspelled my name in the annual report!” Ok, the mistake is pretty clear. Even so, asking more questions will clarify the problem and, if you confirm the spelling of the person’s name, will help to minimize the risk of making a similar mistake in the future.

In another case, a donor may simply call you and scream, “You people are a pack of idiots!” In that case, the problem or mistake is completely unknown and will require some serious probing.

Remember these helpful tips:

  • When confronted with a problem or mistake, do not react defensively.
  • Do not ignore the problem or mistake.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Ask the questions that will help you understand the issue.
  • Do not be dismissive of someone’s complaint. At the very least, it’s important to the person complaining.

Step Two–Own It!

When you hear about a problem or mistake, own it. Yes, at times, this can be very difficult to do. But, do it.

If it’s your fault (i.e.: you misspelled the donor’s name), apologize. If the situation was truly outside your control (i.e.: an unexpected rainstorm forced the cancelation of an outdoor event), express regret. And, work on dealing with the situation.

I had a guest blogger whose website had a glitch. One of my readers contacted me about not being able to order a book from the site. After making sure I understood the problem, I responded to my reader by expressing regret for the difficulty, recommending a course of action to her, and telling her I would help by contacting the author.

Even though the problem did not involve my company, my website, or my book, I took responsibility for helping. By the way, the author quickly fixed the problem and was grateful to learn about it.

Remember these helpful tips:

  • Be willing to express regret and concern. Be ready to apologize.
  • Never say, “It’s not my job.”
  • Be helpful even if you’re not the source of the problem or mistake.
  • Even if you refer the issue to someone else to address, follow-up to make certain the situation is remedied.

Step 3–Consider Alternative Solutions:

Now, you’re ready to consider the entire range of solutions to the situation. For example, with the website glitch I touched on above, I considered a number of courses of action including:

  1. Simply refer the reader to the author’s contact page.
  2. Tell the reader I would handle it.
  3. Not communicate with the reader, but pass along the information to the author.
  4. Suggest that the reader contact the author directly and express that I would do the same.

By considering all possible courses of action, the best solution will eventually emerge.

Remember these helpful tips:

  • Consider all courses of action. The best solution may not be the first idea you come up with; it might be the 20th.
  • React quickly. Problems do not improve with age.
    read more »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 728 other followers

%d bloggers like this: