Tag Archives: strategic philanthropy

Nonprofit Recession Survival Guide to Getting Donations

First the markets, then Madoff, now the Obama administration is proposing reductions in the charitable tax deduction for your biggest donors. What else could possibly go wrong? Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the snow day and nobody came to work. One thing is for certain; raising funds in the current environment is much more difficult that it was last year at this time. Here are some specific suggestions and things to keep in mind as you talk to donors:

Speak the Unspoken Truth
Personally, I like this tactic. Call it like it is. What are the most powerful four words in the English language? “I NEED YOUR HELP”. Talk to your existing donors about what is happening and the state of your organization. Tell them you need help. Let your donors know how the current environment is impacting your organization.

Be Specific With The Ask
This is something that is always a good idea. Even before the mess the last year, donor fatigue was certainly an issue. I believe that in general, nonprofits do a poor job marketing themselves when it comes to being specific about their accomplishments, how donations help, and making specific connections between the ask and the impact. Kiva.org is the opposite of everything I just said. Their supporters choose the cause (lending to a specific entrepreneur who needs a loan), and Kiva reports back on the status of the loan from the individual it was given to. It’s a terrific example of the donor getting involved directly with the cause that they support. Strategic, venture, or tactical philanthropy; call it what you want, people have been demanding more accountability in recent years. This trend towards greater accountability and transparency is only likely going to increase. Help your donors go from a “spray and pray” approach go giving, to being focused and knowing exactly what they are giving to.

Create A Donor Adviser Panel
Invite your top donors into a room for a “Manhattan Project” style round table. The objective of the group is not to gang up on them and tell them how badly you need their money, but to come together and brainstorm new ideas for raising funds. Let them know how much you have appreciated their past support and you are offering them a “no money required” way to help make a huge difference with the organization. Ally you want is their input. Not only will they feel appreciated, do you think there might be a possibility they could cough up a little extra after sitting in on that? If I were a betting man, I’d say your odds are pretty good. That’s not the objective though. Remember that. You are after their ideas and things you are not thinking about right now.

Address Financial Fear
Your donors are shell shocked with what’s going on in the markets now. Everyone is. Do you want to be someone’s hero? Address this head on. This is the one I think that nonprofits have traditionally been the most uncomfortable with. Even large organizations that have planned giving departments have struggled with “the line of control” that exists between donors and their professional advisory team. While planned giving folks want to “get that seat at the table”, and be INVOLVED in the conversation with the financial adviser, attorney, or CPA at the time giving decisions are being made, often they are not. Understand that there is a line, and there should be. Generally speaking, the unspoken truth is that donors know that planned giving officers have one motive, to get money for their organization. This is nothing new though, so what?

The real opportunity to be a hero here is to talk about some of the things that donors are afraid of now and things that they can do to feel more financially secure. The number one concern of the wealthy is that they will lose what they have. While this has always been the biggest concern, the fear is now being realized. Understand that unless your donors feel financially secure, they will likely not give at the levels they had given previously. You cannot help them feel more secure, but you can make recommendations that will. One of the things that’s at the top of the list is recognizing that donors and high net worth clients traditionally have had multiple advisers giving them advice. Their accountant is discussing their returns, their attorney discusses their will (or might not have in a while), and their “financial adviser” is talking only about their investments. Most people have no idea who they should be talking to about the big picture and their ability to achieve what’s important to them.  No wonder you have such a hard time getting a seat at the table, that’s because there usually IS NO table. The advice your donors receive is sporadic and fragmented in professional silos and generally NOBODY is discussing the big picture! Markets aside, the tax changes occurring are faster than the drop in their portfolio value and now is a good time for them to be meeting with their team to reassess where they are and reevaluate their goals.

The key to success lies in your ability to have a trusted relationship with your donor, understand what attracted them to you, what inspires them, what they are afraid of, and how to connect them with the appropriate resources who can help them achieve everything that’s important to them. To the extent you make yourself a master networker and not make it about you and your cause, you’ll be a hero. Ask your donors, “How can I help, YOU?”

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Filed under Current Events, ECONOMY, ESTATE PLANNING, Financial Life Planning, FINANCIAL PLANNING, INVESTING, NON-PROFIT & CHARITY, TAX, venture philanthropy

Tune In To Hear Me Interviewed On The “E-Factor”- Tuesday, March 18th, Noon Eastern Time

I’m about to be interviewed on the E-Factor. I invite you to listen in and be part of it! The date will be next Tuesday, March 18th, at noon, Eastern Time (11:00 AM Central, 10:00 AM Mountain, 9:00 AM Pacific). Read below to find out more.

E-Factor is the popular bi-weekly, 60-minute conference call show, which explores the mindset of success, and the people who make success a reality. These are ordinary people from all walks of life, who do extraordinary things. They have become masters at who they are, what they do, and on this show, these remarkable people share their inspirational stories and secrets to help you create success in your own life.

E is for energy – the Energy of Success.

NEXT ON THE E-FACTOR: TUESDAY, MARCH 18TH

Personal Wealth: (an interview with Personal Chief Financial Officer and Coach, Rich Krasney)

For some, insight comes from overcoming a tragedy, or some other monumental life event that causes them to see life differently than they had before. For Rich Krasney, it came from reading a book.

About a year ago, this Personal Chief Financial Officer and Coach for a select group of business owners and entrepreneurs read Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich”, and experienced an “Aha” moment, seeing his life purpose clearly for the first time. 

He realized that money is simply a means to an end, and as a result he now delivers his message of “How Money Can Buy Happiness: Balancing Life and Wealth” to audiences (including the Napoleon Hill Foundation, itself). Additionally, Rich is currently in the midst of developing “A Work in Progress”, a documentary exploring how one person can make a difference, and the creation of a new charity.

Dial in to the E-Factor on Tuesday, March 18th to hear why Rich now sees inspirational messages everywhere, and how in being of earnest service to others, you best serve yourself. 

Go to http://www.the-efactor.com/ to register for the call!

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Arthur Brooks “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism”

Talking politics and religion can be a lethal mix so I’ll tread carefully here. When I make conclusions about things (especially when it comes to religion and politics), I try and be particularly careful to point out when i’m injecting opinion versus stating facts on things. Arthur Brooks’s book, “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism” is a book that states the FACTS about who gives and who doesn’t in America. The findings detailed in the book were quite surprising to me, and to Arthur Brooks himself, as he states in the book. This book was the focus of an ABC News 20/20 report entitled “Cheap in America” Who Gives and Who Dosen’t” 

A common perception is that liberals and Democrats are more “socially concerned” than conservative Republicans, and one might make the natural leap that because of this, they are more likely to be charitable. According to the research that Arthur Brooks conduced though, it’s exactly the opposite. How could that be? That’s impossible!

Brooks himself thought there might be an error in the numbers so he rechecked them. There was no denying the facts. Conservative Republicans, (who some argue would fire their grandmother to improve profitability) are statistically more charitable (more than 30% more charitable) compared to their “socially concerned” liberal democratic friends. Don’t shoot the messenger if you don’t like this, read the book and see the statistics for yourself. Just the facts here…

So how could this be you are asking yourself? Well the findings point right to the heart of the perceptions that “secular liberal democrats are more socially concerned than religious conservative republicans”. It turns out that the secular liberals (the Democrats) belive that it’s the job of the government to take care of the poor (no surprise here yet) and are more in favor of “income redistribution”, taxing and redistributing resources from those who have money to those who are poor. Socially leaning political views have actually taken the place of their charitable contributions. Brooks’s research shows that regardless of which political party was actually in office or how effective politicians were in their policies toward the poor, that the religious conservative Republicans consistently gave more than their secular liberal Democrat counterparts.

Brooks is careful to point out that there are many examples of charitable liberal democrats and non-charitable conservative republicans, however the research clearly demonstrated wide and across the board differences in giving patterns along political party lines. That’s not the only thing. Brooks points out that among the both the Republican and Democratic parties, people who are religious tend to give much larger amounts to charity, giving significantly larger amounts to  both religious and non-religious organizations compared to people who were secular non-religious. Among all religious people, Republican conservatives still give a statistically significant greater proportion than Democratic liberals.

Brooks notes that “secular liberals” and “religious conseratives” are increasingly voting along political party lines, with religious conservatives tending to align with the Republican Party and secular liberals favoring the Democratic Party. The smaller groups that cross party lines, the “religious liberals” and “secular conservatives” both represent a shrinking percentage of of their respective political parties’ makeup. If this trend continues, these groups may find that their views are at odds with those of greater majority of their political party.

What’s clear are the numbers. Arthur Brooks says that these findings should be a wake up call to to the Democratic party and to secular liberals. The nunbers show that the charitable giving trends diving political parties are increasing. The message:  All are apparently not equal when it comes to being giving.

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the findings, “Who Really Cares” is an entertaining read that will be sure to hold your attention and may change your perceptions.

Click here for video clip from “Cheap in America”

Next time…How giving makes you happy…

Who Really Cares

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