Posts tagged ‘potential’

October 5, 2012

Impact of Nonprofit Sector: More than Most People Think

Do you know the impact of your nonprofit organization?

Chances are, I probably got you thinking about the people your organization benefits, its core mission.

The public recognizes that reputable nonprofit organizations benefit the people they serve. However, people tend not to think beyond that impact. Even among nonprofit professionals, maybe even you, the focus tends to be on those served directly.

However, nonprofit organizations have a far broader impact. Yes, hospitals heal patients; universities educate students; symphony orchestras entertain audiences; museums expand our minds; disease research foundations seek cures. But, beyond their core missions, nonprofit organizations do much more for society.

Despite being tax exempt, nonprofit organizations generate tax revenue. They employ people, and those people pay income taxes and sales taxes. They help support local businesses such as furniture retailers, office supply stores, restaurants, hotels, and many others. Those businesses, in turn, pay taxes and employ staff.

Simply put, nonprofit organizations have a profound economic ripple effect. Their benefit to society goes far beyond those they serve.

Recently, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance sought to quantify the economic impact of the arts and cultural nonprofit organizations in the Philadelphia area. The result of GPCA’s effort is the report The Arts, Culture and Economic Prosperity in Greater Philadelphia. 

Generating 44,000 full-time equivalent jobs, Philadelphia’s arts and culture sector has a profound $3.3 billion impact on the region’s economy including $1 billion to local residents in the form of paychecks and household income and $169 million in tax revenues for state and local governments, according to the research report.

The report also compares Philadelphia against 181 other cities, regions and communities to show how Philadelphia and its cultural community stack up against the rest of the country. Among participating regions, Southeastern Pennsylvania’s cultural sector ranks first in job creation, accounting for 11 jobs per thousand residents, nearly double the national average.

GPCA says that key findings in the report are:

read more »

August 3, 2012

New Economic Data Suggest Continued Fundraising Challenges. What Can You Do?

Based on the latest economic data, nonprofit organizations in the USA should not expect significant growth in philanthropy through at least 2013. Fortunately, there are at least 10 things you can do to help your nonprofit weather the storm.

Historically, philanthropy in the USA has been approximately two percent of Gross Domestic Product. While this is not necessarily a cause-and-effect relationship, the correlation is consistent. Therefore, with slow economic growth, we will likely see slow philanthropic growth.

In 2011, the US experienced an annual GDP growth rate of 1.8 percent. That same year, overall giving rose by 4.0 percent in current dollars or 0.9 percent in inflation adjusted dollars, according to Giving USA 2012.

In the first quarter of 2012, the US economy grew at a rate of 2.0 percent. In the second quarter of 2012, US economic growth slowed to just 1.5 percent. Most economists agree that a growth rate of 2.0 percent or less is insufficient to lower the unemployment rate, now at 8.2 percent. Looking ahead to 2013, the Federal Reserve forecasts a growth rate of 2.5 percent, still modest.

For the nonprofit sector, the GDP numbers mean the sector can expect philanthropy to grow in 2012 at a similar rate to 2011. Growth in 2013 will likely not be much better.

Despite my lack luster predictions for the nonprofit sector, I do believe there are at least 10 things that individual organizations can do to stimulate increased giving. If you implement just some of these ideas, your organization will likely achieve above average fundraising results:

1. Hug your donors. Ok, maybe not literally. But, you do need to let your donors know you love and appreciate them, now more than ever. Do you quickly acknowledge gifts? You should do so within 48 hours. Do you effectively thank donors? You should do so in at least seven different ways. Your thank you letters should be reviewed to ensure they are heartfelt, meaningful, and effective. Have board members call donors to thank them.

2. Tell donors about the impact of their gift. Donors want to know that their giving is making a difference. If their giving isn’t making a difference or they aren’t sure, they’re more likely to give elsewhere. So, report to your donors. Tell them what their giving is achieving and that their support is being used efficiently.

3. Start a new recognition program. One small nonprofit organization I know has started a new, special corporate giving club. CEOs of the corporate members are placed on an advisory board, receive special recognition, and are provided with networking opportunities. This new recognition program has already generated over $50,000 and is expected to generate far more. While enhancing existing recognition efforts is beneficial, starting a new recognition program can yield significant results.

read more »

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.

read more »

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  

 

read more »

May 11, 2012

Survey Sounds Alarm Bell for Nonprofit Sector

Over 91 percent of businesses believe they are equally or better equipped than nonprofit organizations to deliver social change, according to a recent survey reported on by Chloe Stothart of Third Sector Online.

That means just nine percent of respondents thought it was somewhat more or much more effective for businesses to donate to charity to achieve social change!

What makes these statistics even more shocking is that all of the 142 survey respondents were businesses with a Corporate Social Responsibility budget. Imagine what the statistics might look like if a more representative sample of the business community were surveyed.

While the survey was conducted in the United Kingdom by YouGovStone for the Social Investment Consultancy, it should strike fear into the hearts of all nonprofit organizations worldwide.

In the United States, corporate giving in 2010 totaled $15.29 billion, five percent of all giving, according to Giving USA 2011. While a comparatively small slice of the overall giving pie, corporate giving is nevertheless significant. And, for some nonprofit organizations, corporate giving plays an even greater role.

Here’s why the nonprofit sector should be alarmed by the survey findings:

 

  • There’s no such thing as “corporate philanthropy.” For a detailed explanation of what I mean by this, read my blog post on the subject. In short, corporations exist to enhance shareholder value, not to engage in purely philanthropic activities. That doesn’t mean businesses don’t give away money. It just means that when a business does give money, it is looking to enhance the company’s value for its shareholders. So, when businesses talk about engaging in efforts for “social change,” they are talking about efforts that will benefit the business and not necessarily society in general. Also, the business community may be overestimating its ability to facilitate social change while underestimating the ability of the charity sector.

 

  • The survey results reveal an underlying mistrust of the nonprofit sector. The business community seems to have the attitude, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” As long as this lack of confidence in the nonprofit sector exists, we can expect corporate giving will not realize its full potential. All donors, whether corporate, individual or foundation, want to know that their funds will be wisely and efficiently used.

 

Jake Hayman, chief executive of the Social Investment Consultancy, believes the survey is reflective of the attitudes held by the broader corporate community. He said that businesses were becoming far more interested in doing good through their own efforts rather than by donating to charity. Hayman says,

There’s been an evolution from wanting to sponsor or outsource the good you do to wanting to run it yourself based on your strengths”

read more »

January 13, 2012

Enter Now to Win a Free Planned-Giving Book

I always find January to be a bit of a let-down. By contrast, December is very festive with Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Festivus, and New Year’s Eve. But January? January is dark, cold, and filled with post-holiday malaise.

So, I thought I would do something to bring a bit of fun into January.

In honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service (January 16), publisher John Wiley & Sons and I will be giving away one free copy of my book, Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing.

MLK Day recognizes the birth of King while encouraging citizen action. Many in the nonprofit sector have embraced this day to promote volunteerism. Since my book helps nonprofit organizations secure much needed resources, I thought a planned-giving book give-away would be just one small thing I could do at this special time of year.

In a moment, I’ll tell you how you can enter to win. First, I want to say that I think planned giving is a very attractive way for individuals to support favorite charities, especially during challenging economic times.

A few years back, I was trying to explain to my oldest, childless aunt what it is I do for a living. I tried explaining planned giving. Grasping what I was saying, she asked, “Why on Earth would someone give to a charity after they’re dead?” I asked her, “What charities do you support now?” Among the organizations she supports is an animal welfare group. I then asked, “Who’s going to take care of the little puppies and kittens after you’re no longer here to keep writing checks?” Her eyes widened and, in that moment, I think I might have lost my inheritance.

Planned giving allows people to continue to support organizations they are passionate about after they are no longer here to keep writing checks. In addition, planned giving may help donors lower their taxes, pass money and property on to heirs in an efficient way, generate an income, or provide major gifts to organizations without making any sacrifice during their lifetime. All of these benefits of planned giving are magnified during challenging economic times.

For these reasons, among others, I strongly believe that now is a great time to talk with people about gift planning. Today, given economic uncertainty, individuals might be uncomfortable making a significant financial gift out of current cash. However, those same individuals might be perfectly willing to provide some type of deferred contribution or life-income gift.

Only 22 percent of Americans over the age of 30 say they have been approached by a nonprofit organization to consider a planned gift, according to a survey by the Stelter Company. Imagine how much more revenue would be generated if more nonprofit organizations asked more people for a planned gift.

Now, let me tell you how to enter the book give-away.

For your chance to win a free copy of Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing, simply comment below.

read more »

September 16, 2011

Charitable Gift Annuities: How Much Are You Leaving on the Table?

Does your nonprofit organization already offer donors the opportunity to give through Charitable Gift Annuities? If so, is your organization realizing its full CGA potential or are you leaving a lot of money on the table? If you’re currently not offering CGAs, is your organization’s CGA potential sufficient to justify making this giving instrument available to donors and prospective donors?

In my book, Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing, I wanted to help development professionals answer those questions. So, I developed a “CGA Potential Worksheet” after getting some terrific insight from the legendary Frank Minton, Senior Advisor at PG Calc and former Board Chair of the American Council on Gift Annuities. In a previous post, I shared my “Charitable Bequest Potential Worksheet.” In this post, I’ll share my “CGA Potential Worksheet” with you.

First, let me very briefly explain what a CGA is. A CGA is a gift planning instrument that allows older donors to make a current gift to a nonprofit organization and, in return, receive an income for life and a tax deduction on a portion of the gift.

While an initiative to secure CGAs will enjoy greater success or less success from time to time depending on a number of variables including the state of the economy and interest rates, we can estimate what an organization’s potential is over time. To truly project how much a CGA initiative can produce, one must understand as many of the variables as possible including the nature of the prospect pool, the wealth of prospects, the age of prospects, the passion of prospects, the history of the organization, past service performance, the purpose of the fundraising effort, the nature of the cause, the community, past philanthropic performance, the marketing effort, and so on. Collectively, this makes it difficult to forecast actual results. However, one can fairly easily gauge an organization’s estimated potential given a mythical, ideal set of circumstances. The following worksheet is meant to provide development professionals with an understanding of the broad potential impact of a CGA initiative for their organizations.

While this is not a scientific forecasting tool, it can nevertheless help with forecasting by outlining aspirational targets. This worksheet looks at one of the most common, easy-to-market types of planned gifts.

read more »

August 5, 2011

You’ll Only Hit What You Aim At. So, Aim High!

My post this week is very personal. It is about my friend Gene Cavanaugh, a cabaret singer and philanthropist, who passed away on July 25, 2011. Because Gene’s story contains three valuable lessons for us all, I thought I would share it with you.

Gene Cavanaugh

For over 40 years Gene was a sales manager and audio consultant for the Record Shop, an electronics store in New Jersey. He retired three weeks before his passing at age 63. However, about 15 years ago, Gene made a long-held dream come true by launching his second career as a cabaret singer. He called it his “Midlife Musical Crisis.” Gene’s show featured classic, popular standards focusing on the themes of romance and maturity. His initial success led to regular engagements throughout the greater Philadelphia region. And, five years ago, Gene made his successful debut at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Because Gene had a bighearted spirit, he regularly donated his talents to charity, including singing at annual fundraisers for the Mazzoni Center and Dignity Philadelphia.

So, what can we learn from this modest, though generous and talented, man who was taken too soon?

“In the long-run, men hit only what they aim at.” — Henry David Thoreau

Gene was an insecure man. But, he had a dream. As he approached his 50th birthday, he decided to take the plunge. He set goals for himself. He targeted where he wanted to perform and how frequently. He set a goal to attract sell-out crowds. And, he set an almost unimaginable goal for himself, a guy from Philly who managed an electronics store: He would play Carnegie Hall in New York City. Gene realized his goals by first articulating them and then doing the work necessary to achieve them.

Whether in our own careers or for our organizations, we must set goals to be successful. We need to set goals for where we want to be in the near, mid, and long-term. Then, we need to map-out what we must do to achieve the goals. We may not always succeed, but the surest way to fail is to not set any goals or to not take the necessary steps to accomplish them.

“Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it.” — Mark Twain

I always enjoyed Gene’s performances. He had a powerful, clear voice. He had a passion for the music. He also had vast knowledge of the songs of Broadway. One of Gene’s favorite things to do was to sing well-known songs from, and share tidbits about, little-known Broadway musicals. Yet, despite his enormous talent and terrific repertoire, Gene was always a nervous wreck before his performances. And, not just immediately before performances. He would worry for weeks leading up to his gigs. Would people come? He always sold out. Would he have a cold? He sometimes did, but it didn’t matter. Would the audience like his song selection? They always did. Would he be in good voice? Even at his worst, he was always enormously entertaining.

Despite his pre-show anxiety, Gene never missed a performance. The opportunity for him to realize his dream every time he stepped to the microphone was enough for him to muster courage, overcome his insecurities, and seize the moment.

In our lives, we have to stop listening to the voices around us and in our own heads that say, “It can’t be done.” Or, “You’re not good enough.” Instead, we need to confront our fears and move forward toward achieving our goals. We need to have courage.

“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

Gene was a very giving man. While never wealthy, he was nevertheless a philanthropist, a man who truly loved humanity. He gave money, his time, his talent. He gave to charities, his multitude of friends, his family. In return, Gene was loved by many who will carry his memory with them.

When we give, we get so much more in return. Because of what we, who work in the nonprofit world, do for a living, it’s easy for us to get lost in the numbers. But, we need to remember that when we work to make the world a better place, when we give of ourselves, we enrich our own lives as well.

I will miss my friend even though a part of him will always be with me.

If there is a heavenly choir, then I know that Gene will be singing with the angels.

That’s what Michael Rosen Says… What do you say?

March 3, 2011

How Much Could Your Planned Giving Program be Worth?

If your organization already has a gift planning program, is it worth investing more money to promote it?

If your organization is contemplating starting a gift planning program, will it really be worthwhile to do?

In my book, Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing, I wanted to help development professionals answer those questions. So, I developed a worksheet that looks at the most common planned gift instrument: charitable bequests. Of course, bequests are just one facet of a planned giving program. Charitable gift annuities, trusts and, some would even say, gifts of stock can also be part of a robust planned giving program. However, since most planned gifts will be in the form of bequests let’s look more closely at what your organization’s potential is for this type of gift.

To truly project how much a planned giving program can produce, one must understand as many of the variables as possible including the nature of the prospect pool, the wealth of prospects, the passion of prospects, the history of the organization, past service performance, the purpose of the fundraising effort, the nature of the cause, the community, past philanthropic performance, the marketing effort, and so on. Collectively, this makes it difficult to forecast planned giving results. However, one can fairly easy gauge an organization’s potential given a mythical, ideal set of circumstances. The following worksheet is meant to provide development professionals with an understanding of the broad potential impact of planned giving for their organizations.

While this is not a scientific forecasting tool and while the worksheet only addresses one type of gift, it can still help with forecasting by outlining aspirational targets. This worksheet looks at the most common, easy-to-market type of planned gift while my book also includes a worksheet for projecting charitable gift annuity potential.

read more »

%d bloggers like this: