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      Are Community Foundations Driving Radical Collaboration?

      By Annie Rhodes, Director of Foundation Strategy at Blackbaud.

      Let’s get right to it: community foundations are the center of the universe for philanthropy in their communities.

      Who is better placed to enhance local vibrancy and alleviate social issues in our communities? Who is better positioned to align donor resources with community needs? Who is more intimately aware of the nuances and needs in our communities? Nobody. Community foundations truly hold a unique position to make a difference for the people and places they serve.

      But with that unique position comes a responsibility to connect the dots across the various groups and individuals who can effectively collaborate to create change. Community foundations that can truly embrace collaboration may see the strongest results of their efforts.

      What does it look like when a community foundation embraces collaboration?

      1. You attract new donors and increase community engagement.

      Collaboration is tough if you’re all alone. Collaborative community foundations recognize that it has to start with attracting donors and potential partners with the right first impression. Websites, landing pages, email communications – any part of your digital world – needs to convey the right message from the get-go to elicit a feeling of, ‘I trust that this organization can truly help my community.’ It’s important to pull people in with a sense that they’ve found the right partner for change. To truly embrace collaboration and see the benefits it can bring, you’ll need to make sure you have the systems and tools in place ahead of time.

      2. You keep people engaged with knowledge and storytelling.

      Once someone is engaged, how do you keep them engaged? Community foundations have an opportunity to use their unique position to share community insights with donors and other collaborators – insights that people won’t be able to get anywhere else in quite the same way. To build these insights, you’ll need to absorb data and perspectives from a variety of sources, and you’ll need to nurture relationships to keep those lines of communication open. When you embrace collaboration in building insights, you simultaneously cement your position as a knowledgeable resource and give people a sense that they are invested in the community impact story they are helping to build.

      3. You know collaboration can take many forms.

      The word “collaboration” gets thrown around so much, and the term can mean many things and take many forms. In one scenario, collaboration may look like a community foundation bringing key donors to a literal table to discuss community issues and the foundation’s vision for the future, with a dialog about how to co-create that future. In another scenario, like with the Community Foundation of Boone County in Indiana, collaboration could look like a multi-sector partnership with various viewpoints and sets of resources combining to enhance the vibrancy of places around the community. In another scenario, collaboration could mean investing in knowledge sharing with other organizations tackling similar community-based issues halfway across the country.

      4. You start to rethink the idea of competition.

      By nature, community foundations operate similar to a business – only instead of attracting and expanding a customer base, you’re focused on donors. So, it isn’t surprising that there is a sense of competition among community foundations for donor attention and dollars. But we are seeing some radically collaborative community foundations rethinking the idea of competition and viewing other community foundations as potential collaborators to create shared outcomes. As one example, we see the Silicon Valley Community Foundation trailblazing in this area, pulling together different community foundations as well as other types of organizations and individuals to achieve results.

      With the magnitude and complexity of social issues facing our communities expanding and changing every day, collaborative community foundations may hold the key to making a major difference.

      Article originally appeared on on October 4.

      How to find a job with purpose – Cosmopolitan Magazine

      Long hours on your feed. Meeting after meeting. Work can be beyond draining when you don’t feel like your job truly matters. That may be why nearly 75 percent of people covet positions that not only pay the bills but also deliver a sense of purpose, according to a recent LinkedIn sand Imperative survey. Luckily, more companies are realizing that doing good can be (very!) good for business, and almost anyone can now score more meaningful employment. Step one: Soak up this wisdom from five masters of rewarding work.

      Get involved from 5 to 9

      If you already love—or just need to keep—your job, here’s how to find meaning off the clock.

      1. Figure out what fits into your life.  

      “Volunteering takes time. Do you have enough to help out at your local hospital? To paint schools? Search for opportunities. If you can’t participate in ongoing projects, jump into one-time events like a climate-change march or breast-cancer walk.”  — Susan McPherson, founder and CEO of communications consultancy McPherson Strategies

      2. Join a big squad.

      “Last October, I teamed up with thousands of women for an online fundraising adventure called If Girls Ran the World. We ran, tracked our miles, and fundraised. As a group we collected more than $135,000 for organizations like Women’s Refugee Commission, a nonprofit that helps displaced women and children.” — Catherine LaCour, senior vice president of global marketing at Blackbaud, a social good cloud-software company.

      3. Ask how you can help. 

      “Go out and actually talk to the people you want to support. If that’s low-income students, for example, ask their teachers how you can provide them with the tools they need to succeed.” — Michele Sullivan, president of the Caterpillar Foundation, which champions programs that help alleviate global poverty.

      Article originally appeared in Cosmopolitan Magazine October 2017 print issue.

      Millennials Are Causing Change With Social Responsibility – Forbes

      Article originally published on by contributing writer Wes Gay on August 11, 2017

      Millennials are an idealistic, altruistic generation.

      This generation is passionate about social causes that benefit the greater good, whether it’s a nonprofit charity or an altruistic company like TOMS. One recent study found the average millennial gives nearly $600 per year to charitable causes. While this is lower than older generations, millennials are battling student loan debt, stagnant salaries, and a rising cost of living.

      As a whole, millennials tend to be generous with their time, money, and influence. They freely use their social media platforms to raise awareness and money for causes important to them. The nonprofit charity: water, for example, found fundraising success by enabling people to use social media outlets to raise money.

      How do these trends impact the modern workplace? I’ve written beforeon the topic of volunteering programs in companies. Many of the top companies in the world create dynamic programs designed to engage millennials’ desire to do good in the world.

      As corporate social responsibility programs expand, they are experiencing an interesting shift. Instead of focusing on the company, brands are now shifting the focus onto the individuals within the company. In other words, company executives are taking the lead from their employees when it comes to building and expanding a social responsibility program.

      Focus on the individual

      “People bring their whole selves to work,” says Rachel Hutchisson, vice president of corporate citizenship & philanthropy at Blackbaud, a leading technology company that provides solutions to the philanthropic community. She is responsible for expanding the corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts of its 3,000 associates, which drives her to survey the changing landscape of CSR.

      Hutchisson senses a shift away from focusing on companies, instead highlighting the unique values of the individual. “Companies following this trend are beginning to look beyond their corporate imperatives with the understanding that their employees’ purpose — and their community’s social good needs — play into CSR.”

      This concept is especially poignant among millennials. As the largest and most targeted generation in history, millennials place a high value on being seen as individuals. Many millennials are increasingly frustrated with the sweeping generalizations made online and at work. Companies who want a CSR program that engages this generation will start by asking what they value most in terms of service and giving back.

      Don’t build around company pillars

      Some companies build programs around specific causes supported by the company. They may limit their employees to support or contribute to those organizations, restricting the opportunity for employees to donate to causes passionate to them.

      On the surface, this seems like a good idea. Companies support causes and even match donations as part of an overall brand message. But that mistakenly presumes charitable decisions are transactional, not personal.

      “A company driven by the values of their employees would, instead, take a very open approach, allowing the individual to choose what cause matters,” notes Hutchisson. “The belief that philanthropy is personal is at the heart of an employee-centric approach to CSR.”

      Tell stories often

      Every day I help companies discover clarity in their marketing by using the principles of storytelling. People are captivated by a compelling story, whether it’s in a movie, marketing, or a company program.

      Sharing stories of success is a critical way companies can increase the buy-in and overall effectiveness of social responsibility programs. “Companies should understand that there is rarely anything more motivating than for their people to hear about what peers are accomplishing,” notes Hutchisson. “Telling stories of one’s own people builds pride in the brand.”

      Companies also need to share the stories of the impact created by their work. Hutchisson recommends using the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals to show how their work makes a lasting impact.

      Let data drive decisions

      Companies are accustomed to reviewing data for things like marketing campaigns, sales strategies, and corporate initiatives to ensure they achieve key objectives and help increase revenue. Reviewing data to make better decisions also involves millennials and corporate responsibility.

      “Social responsibility and HR should work together using data gained from engagement and volunteerism surveys — to determine what programs are most compelling for each audience,” says Hutchisson.

      In the race to find and keep the best millennial talent, companies look for strategic advantages in order to win. Regular evaluation of the data enables companies to improve with recruitment and retention, allowing them to make the company better by keeping people who take pride in the brand.

      2017 Review of Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT Nonprofit Accounting Software

      2017 Rating: 5 Stars

      Financial Edge NXT from Blackbaud is best suited for mid-sized nonprofit organizations as well as government entities and NGO’s. Financial Edge is a 100 percent cloud-based application that can also be used from a smart phone or tablet.

      Financial Edge NXT offers a completely custom account structure, so users can create the chart of accounts that best suits their needs. Users can use the default structure or add additional segments as desired, with the ability to adjust segment length if desired. The default chart of accounts requires the use of two segments, but can handle up to ten segments in total, with a total length of 30 characters.

      Financial Edge handles a variety of transaction types, including all GL related activity including journal entries, AP and AR management, project, and grant and endowment management, consolidation management. Users can also create recurring invoices, process credit memos, create invoices, post charges, payments, and donations, and process purchase orders.

      Financial Edge NXT offers a standard Budget Management module, along with Advanced Budget Management. Users can create current year budgets, as well as budgets for any fiscal year. Users can also create multi-year future budgets, and users can easily lock created budgets to avoid any changes. Budgets can be created using multiple methods, including regular data entry, equal distribution across budget periods, or distributing budget totals by percentage. Users can also easily copy budgets from one year to another, making edits as needed. The Advanced Budget Management module offers additional budgeting capabilities such as the ability to create cross-fiscal year budgets. The product also offers the ability to create what-if scenarios when data is entered, to see how any transaction can affect the budget.

      Donation tracking can be handled through Blackbaud’s Raisers Edge donor management module. Available separately from Financial Edge NXT, Raisers Edge integrates with Financial Edge, allowing nonprofits to easily manage all donor activities including donations, campaigns, gift and pledge tracking, and even wealth screen activities.

      Financial Edge NXT offers Project, Grant and Endowment Management, allowing users to easily track all grant or project related activity at a separate level. Users can also create budgets at the program level, and can easily access fund balances for each project or grant. The application also contains self-balancing fund capability to ensure that all funds remain balanced. An Allocation Management module handles both direct and indirect allocations as well as reallocations.

      Financial Edge NXT offers multi-level security, with administrators able to assign system access by group or by individual, with security access assigned to individual projects, accounts and even reports.

      Financial Edge NXT offers users excellent reporting capabilities, with a variety of report templates included in the product. All reports are customizable, and the product offers additional reporting tools such as pivot reports, dashboards, and the visual chart organizer. Financial Edge NXT also offers excellent financial reporting, with the ability to create consolidated reports that cross a variety of funds. Users can opt to use Crystal Reports to create from-scratch custom reports if desired. Financial Edge NXT also creates nonprofit specific reports including FASB 117 and GASB 34. All reports can be exported to Microsoft Excel and Word or saved as a PDF.

      Financial Edge NXT offers an extensive selection of completely integrated modules which include GL, Project, Grant & Endowment Management, Budget Management, Reports, Allocation Management, Consolidation Management, Fixed Assets, Advanced Budget Management, F9 Reporting, AP, AR, Accounting Queue, WebInvoicing and Web Purchasing, Accounting Forms, Payroll, Point of Sale, Cash Management, Cash Receipts, and Purchase Orders. Application Programming Interface (API) capability is available in Financial Edge NXT as well, boosting the product’s capability to integrate with a variety of third-party applications. In addition, integration with other Blackbaud applications extends system functionality considerably.

      The Blackbaud Support website offers a variety of support tools including access to the Blackbaud Knowledgebase, How-To Documentation, the Blackbaud Community, which is a user’s forum, and FAQ’s. Users can also download any software upgrades from the Blackbaud website, as well as manage any current subscriptions. The Contact Us option provides users with a quick way to access product support, along with chat or tweet support options. A toll-free number is available to access support during regular business hours. A variety of tutorials are available for users to access, and both eLearning and onsite training options are available, as are on-demand videos and online classes

      Financial Edge NXT from Blackbaud is optimally designed for mid-sized nonprofit organizations and government entities. A scalable, completely integrated product, integration with a variety of Blackbaud tools and applications increased program functionality considerably. Those interested in Financial Edge NXT should request a product demo and follow-up with Blackbaud to obtain a custom quote for their organization.

      2017 Rating: 5 Stars

      Article originally published by CPA Practice Advisor on July 20, 2017

      45 hospital and healthcare executives outline the hospital of the future

      One hundred years from now, hospitals will be nearly unrecognizable as care moves to the outpatient setting and organizations integrate artificial intelligence, telemedicine and other IT applications to care for patients outside the walls of their institution.

      Forty-five healthcare executives, including five from hospital C-suites, describe the key trends disrupting the traditional hospital and how institutions can prepare for the future. Regardless of perspective, the key trends arising in their responses time and again include:

      • Reserving hospitals for truly acute care patients
      • Monitoring patients at home with telemedicine applications
      • Retail clinics and the rise of consumerism
      • Designing the process for enhanced patient experience
      • Collaboration between all stakeholders to improve health

      Here is what 45 healthcare executives had to say about the hospital of the future. Responses are organized by category — hospital CEOs and executives, physicians, health IT leaders, consultants and healthcare firms and organizations — and in alphabetical order within each category.

      Health IT leaders

      President of Blackbaud Healthcare (Charleston, S.C.): “The hospital of the future is a place that is completely designed around the individual and the preferences of healthcare consumers. Successful healthcare organizations of the future will tailor service delivery models, patient engagement, brand strategies and philanthropic support efforts based on prescriptive and predictive analytics that tell them who key consumers and supporters are as well as how to reach them and how to keep them engaged. This focus on the individual creates an environment that coincides with the individual needs and behaviors of potential consumers, current patients and donors. Healthcare organizations that thrive will know everything about their market — not only as an aggregate group but down to the individual as well.

      Understanding all social, demographic, geographic and behavioral risk factors round out the complete picture of buying preferences and overall health. The hospitals of the future will capitalize on this information and create targeted engagement strategies that maximize these consumer analytics on an ongoing basis.”

      Excerpt originally featured in an article written by Laura Dyrda and published by Becker’s Hospital Review on July 17, 2017. Read the full article at

      Donations Grew 1.4% to $390 Billion in 2016, Says ‘Giving USA’

      Environmental and conservation causes, the arts, and international aid were among the strongest draws for donor dollars last year, according to the latest “Giving USA” review.

      Charitable giving hit a record high for the third straight year in 2016, reaching $390.1 billion, according to “Giving USA,” an annual study that estimates American philanthropy. However, donations rose at a slower rate than in recent years — 1.4 percent — as key economic indicators grew modestly and a divisive election season sowed uncertainty.

      Giving from living individuals, which for years has made up more than 70 percent of donations, rose to $281.9 billion, a 2.6 increase from 2015. That growth rate, though modest compared to recent years, helped offset a 10 percent loss in giving from bequests, which totaled $30.4 billion last year.

      Foundation and corporate giving saw modest gains, with each increasing by a little more than 2 percent, to $59.3 billion and $18.6 billion, respectively.

      Giving by foundations is the highest it’s been, according to the report, even after adjusting for inflation, but companies have yet to reach a prerecession high of $18.7 billion in donations, set in 2005. That might be explained by a shift in thinking about corporate philanthropy, said Una Osili, director of research at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, which conducted the study for the Giving Institute.

      In their philanthropy plans, some companies have focused more heavily on sponsorships, cause marketing, and volunteering opportunities for employees, which aren’t captured in “Giving USA” data, Ms. Osili said.

      Slow Growth

      Giving appears to have been affected by slower growth in key metrics like disposable income and personal consumption that are closely linked to philanthropy. Stock-market performance was strong in the final weeks of 2016, but market results were more mixed the rest of the year, which may have also reined in donors.

      Last year “didn’t look like such a robust year” for economic measures tied to giving, Ms. Osili said.

      Political and economic uncertainly may have also influenced giving in a year marked by a raucous U.S. election campaign and disruptive world events like Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. Still, Ms. Osili said it’s hard to know exactly what impact the elections or any one event had on giving.

      Total giving represented 2.1 percent of gross domestic product last year, the same proportion as the previous two years but slightly above the 1.9 percent average for the past 40 years.

      The overall growth rate in “Giving USA” is close to a February 2017 estimate by fundraising-software company Blackbaud, which reported that giving grew 1 percent last year.

      Read the full article

      Giving USA Reports On 2016 Giving

      Originally appeared in The AgitatorTom Beldford

      Giving USA has released its annual study on giving, reporting that for 2016 all giving rose to $390.1 billion, or 1.4% over 2015 (inflation adjusted). That represents 2.1% of gross domestic product, slightly above the 1.9% average of the past 40 years. Here’s the giving by source:

      And here’s the giving by sector:

      I have to believe the strong growth for environment and animal welfare is ‘thanks’ to Donald Trump’s emergence as a genuine contender and eventual election last year (seems so long ago!).

      I note that giving from ‘living individuals’ rose 2.6% over 2015, while giving from bequests declined 10%. What happened to that giant wealth transfer fundraisers were expecting?

      Longer living Seniors and Boomers? I can see that possibly delaying bequests. But a 10% decline? I suspect fundraisers simply aren’t giving sufficient focus to planned giving. Recall last week I reported the Bloomerang finding that only 28% of the 600 nonprofits they surveyed made donors aware in the previous quarter of planned giving opportunities.

      Time to rethink your commitment to soliciting bequests?


      P.S. Giving USA is a project of The Giving Institute and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Blackbaud’s Steve MacLaughlin describes the annual report in this video. And you can order here, including a free executive summary.

      Read the full article

      How to Build a Stronger Nonprofit Marketing Plan to Reach More Donors

      Originally appeared on Software Advice; Andrew Friedenthal

      Andrew Friedenthal, market analyst for the technology reviews company Software Advice: “I’m relatively new to writing about the nonprofit field, so I needed to talk to an expert in order to create this article about nonprofit marketing. That’s where Blackbaud and Catherine LaCour came in. As a major vendor in the field of charity-focused software, Blackbaud is an amazing resource for nonprofit workers, with an emphasis on seeing that their software contributes to the larger social good. As the head of the Blackbaud Institute for Philanthropic Impact, an initiative that sets Blackbuad apart from other similar vendors, Catherine was able to speak to the specific challenges faced by nonprofit marketing teams. Her insight was crucial for helping me understand how marketing functions in the charitable world, and how much it relies on telling potential donors about a nonprofits’ success stories (how money raised goes to doing good in the world). This was an important piece of advice for the article that helped shape and strengthen its final form.”


      Most people working in the nonprofit field aren’t in it for the money. Instead, they’ve given their time and energy over to helping make the world a better place.

      Unfortunately, changing the world doesn’t come cheap.

      That’s why nonprofit organizations need to be able to raise money from donors, so that they can keep their doors open and continue their charitable missions.

      That’s easier said than done, though. It takes careful planning, a clearly defined mission and the ability to make the case for your cause to a wide variety of people.

      Oh, and it requires one more thing—marketing. Many nonprofits don’t have the ability to hire a professional marketing department, though, and may find the task to be difficult or overwhelming.

      Marketing ain’t easy
      This article will help lighten that burden by giving you tips on how to create a solid nonprofit marketing plan that will earn your organization more donors.

      Tell Your Story

      The key to successful marketing is the art of storytelling. The most successful brands in the world all have a story inherently associated with them—Apple represents a story of progress and innovation, Disney is a story of family entertainment, Nike a story of athletic achievement etc.

      Fortunately for nonprofits, this is one place where they actually have an advantage over for-profit businesses. Even the most die-hard fans of Apple, Disney and Nike recognize that the companies are in business to make money.

      Nonprofits are in the business of doing good in the world, and can tell a story that will resonate with potential donors on a deep, emotional level.

      Catherine LaCour, senior vice president of marketing at charity-focused software vendor Blackbaud and head of the Blackbaud Institute for Philanthropic Impact, advises that you:

      “Inspire your audience through stories of your mission in action—tell them about the child who didn’t go hungry because s/he got a meal, the person who had a bed to sleep in for a night, the patient who received life-saving care, etc.”


      You can then use these stories to raise money from donors: “Stories will connect potential donors with your mission,” she says. “They will clearly show how the money and their efforts, are being used to make that impact.”

      It’s much easier to ask for money when you can demonstrate, through storytelling, how that money will be put to use to better the world.

      According to Brian Sooy, president of marketing strategy company Aespire, when reaching out to a potential donor you need to consider “that person, the change you’re asking them to make and the promise you’re making to them.”

      “Inspire them, engage them, give them a story worth sharing,” he says. “Tell them why you need them to be part of the solution, and be grateful when they are.”



       However, Trey Gordner, founder of digital marketing firm Koios, warns that you also need to tailor that story to multiple audiences: “Most nonprofits have at least three audiences: program participants, donors and volunteers.”

      “Each of them are coming to your organization for a different reason,” he says. “It’s important to understand how people find out about you, what they want to know about you and what would prompt them to get involved.”

      Of course, once you’ve crafted your story, you need to think about the next step—where to tell it.

      Master Social Media and Analytics

      The biggest marketing challenge faced by nonprofits is a lack of resources. Fortunately, in today’s world, successful marketing doesn’t require you to buy an ad during the Super Bowl. Even the smallest nonprofit has free access to Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms.

      Indeed, according to LaCour, “With social media, everyone has the chance to potentially go viral—no matter their size.”

      Sharing your story via social media gives you an opportunity to go as viral as much as bigger organizations.

      However, a social media strategy alone doesn’t give you the necessary insight to further refine your story and reach out to your specific target audiences. For that, you need to analyze your data, a task that you may need inexpensive marketing software to help you accomplish.



      As LaCour notes, “Data shapes our world, how we perceive it, and the way we interact with it. Data connects us all. That’s why it’s more important than ever that nonprofits use smart data to better engage with their supporters.”

      You need to be able to analyze your data to know what kinds of social media posts and email communications are successfully resonating with your audiences and donors.

      However, this doesn’t require a huge investment of time or money, and can allow you to refine your marketing campaigns in a way that makes a significant impact on your donations.

      Nonprofits need to utilize tactics like this, which enable them to do more with less. Fortunately, the digital era makes that easier than ever.

      Don’t Be Intimidated by Limited Resources

      There are certain forms of marketing (such as inbound content marketing) that require a dedicated team or department. On a small budget, and without a marketing department, you aren’t going to be able to successfully accomplish these types of campaigns.

      However, there are ways for nonprofits to succeed despite having limited money and few marketing resources. Let’s look at the common sources of intimidation for nonprofits:

      Lack of money: Although you may not have a lot of money to spend on advertising, many companies provide free or cheap opportunities for nonprofits to get their message out.

      As Trey Gordner notes, “The most generous of these is Google Ad Grants. Google provides $10,000 per month of in-kind advertising to 501(c)(3) organizations. That’s more than all but the biggest businesses spend, and you can use it to pop up as the first result for almost any search you want.”

      No marketing department: Just because you don’t have a department full of content creators doesn’t mean that you can’t create simple marketing campaigns that engage donors. In addition to social media, you should have a regular email newsletter that will engage readers without constantly begging for money.

      Ed Brancheau, CEO of Goozleology Digital Marketing, recommends “focusing on getting site visitors to sign up for newsletters or events. Don’t ask them for donations right away. Generally, every newsletter subscriber is worth $17 per year when done correctly.”


      An example of a scholarship fund marketing email from Luminate Online Marketing

      As a nonprofit, you’re also eligible for a number of discounts on software so that you can afford the tools that will help you shape your story, get that story out to the world and analyze your successes so you can refine your message in the future.

      Next Steps

      Now that you know more about the kind of marketing you need to be doing, and how software can help you, here’s some next steps to consider:

      • Email me at for more information. I’m happy to help you figure out what your own nonprofit marketing needs might be and to connect you to one of our software advisors for a free, no-obligation consultation

      The Good and Bad News about Giving in the USA

      Article originally appeared on The HuffPost; Steve MacLaughlin

      Giving USA is the longest-running report of charitable giving in the United States and has been an important tool for nonprofit professionals to understand what is happening across the sector. The latest Giving USA report sheds light on philanthropy trends in the US from 2016. There is a mix of good and bad news in the report that is worth examining further.


      First, let’s review some of the good news from Giving USA. The report estimates that total charitable giving in the United States was $390.05 billion. That was an inflation adjusted increase of 1.4% compared to 2015 and this increase aligns with Blackbaud’s Charitable Giving Report estimate of a 1% increase in giving.

      Giving by individuals represented 72% of all charitable giving and increased roughly 2.6% compared to 2015. The report also notes that giving by corporations grew 2.3% and foundation giving increased 2.2%, when both are adjusted for inflation.

      Giving USA also estimates giving across nine different categories of recipient organizations. For just the sixth time in the last 40 years, every single sub-sector had an increase in year-over-year giving. Environment and Animal Welfare organizations led the way with a 5.8% increase in charitable giving.


      There is also some bad news for fundraising addressed in the latest Giving USA findings. For starters, while giving by individuals, foundations, and corporations increased, there was a significant decline in bequests. In 2016, there was a 10.1% drop in estate giving following many years of very large growth trends. In prior years, significant increases in bequests helped to boost overall giving.

      While nonprofit organizations across nine categories each experienced positive growth in 2016, the overall growth trend was an anemic 1.4%. Religious organizations represent 32% of all giving, the largest of any sub-sector, but their giving only grew by 1.8%. Giving to Educational institutions only grew by 2.3% compared to two consecutive years of more than 8% growth. What does this trend mean for the billion dollar capital campaigns and education’s philanthropic arms race we’ve witnessed in the past few years?

      Yes, there are more encouraging growth trends happening with environment and animal welfare, arts and culture, and international affairs nonprofits. But keep in mind that more money is given to education than all three of those sub-sectors combined. Nearly 77% of all charitable giving goes to religious, education, human services, foundations, and health organizations in the United States. That means all other groups are raising money from a smaller portion of the available fundraising pie.

      Let’s forgo a discussion about the relationship between giving and gross domestic product. (It was 2.1% in 2016 — largely unchanged for decades now.) The more troubling statistic buried in the appendices of the Giving USA report is that individual giving as a percentage of disposable personal income has also been stuck at 2% for 40 years. When the mega gifts are set aside, a tremendous amount of giving is directly tied to disposable income.

      The other curious finding by Giving USA was that individual-to-individual giving dropped 3.7% in 2016. The current “crowdfunding” craze currently captivating constituents commonly takes the form of individual-to-individual giving. Has the bubble burst on crowdfunding? Probably not and it is worth mentioning that crowdfunding isn’t new. There are examples of crowdfunding campaigns from 1914, long before the Internet was invented.


      The state of fundraising has more questions than answers at the moment. Why is the growth rate in giving slowing despite a strong domestic economy and low unemployment rates? Does the increase in size and influence of donor advised funds help or harm the nonprofit sector? What happened to the promises of a giant generational wealth transfer that was predicted over a decade ago? What do proposed changes in government funding and policies mean for nonprofit organizations over the next year? What role does the massive student debt problem having on Millennials and their charitable giving? Will funding shift to social good organizations that do not rely on having a 501c3 tax status? We may not like the answers to some of these questions.

      The data tells us that over the past decade there has been an overall decline in donors — both new and existing. We know that poor donor retention rates are a leading indicator of overall giving declines. Social media is not a savior and donor stewardship cannot be substituted. Outcomes need to be emphasized more by nonprofits than just outputs.

      But we also know that some nonprofits are taking more risks, engaging supporters in new ways, and using more science to aid the art of fundraising. Not all nonprofits performance is a regression to the mean. The bright spots in the nonprofit sector are likely to teach us more than what’s not working. The future of fundraising will require risk, innovation, and a drive to move beyond the status quo.

      HR professionals talk value of company culture, recruitment

      Peggy Frazier heads recruiting for Blackbaud, a Daniel Island-based tech firm whose software focuses on the nonprofit and education sectors. A few years ago, she was the only baby boomer among her millennial-filled team.

      “I had to quickly learn how to work with them,” Frazier said.

      Frazier said many recruiters complain that millennials are spoiled, entitled and demanding; others say they are tired of talking about this generation altogether. She said the mindset of not wanting to focus on millennials misses the point and, eventually, will hinder recruitment efforts.

      Millennials — those born between 1980 and 2000 — will account for 50% of the workforce by 2020 and 75% by 2030. Frazier said every company needs to figure out how best to attract and work with millennials to excel in the coming years.

      “They are the generation of ‘why.’ Purpose is important. … It’s going to be so important that you know how to attract these millennials to your organization versus all the others that are going to be wanting them as well,” said Frazier, Blackbaud’s vice president of global talent acquisition.

      Frazier advocated for explaining the purpose behind a job or project to millennial employees. She said a company could put up a job post explaining that they need someone to lay bricks, or it could post one saying they need someone to help build a cathedral.

      “That’s the purpose,” she said. “That’s what you’re trying to drive and that’s what’s going to help you attract the talent that you need to have your company be successful.”

      Frazier said millennials also expect to have access to a company’s top leaders and flexibility in the workplace.

      “They want to be able to work from anywhere, at any time that they want, so flexible work arrangements are important; and they don’t want their personal life to be segmented from their work life. … Change how you engage and make sure you have your benefits to support it,” Frazier said.

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