As of October 13, 2017
As promised, here is installment #3 from PSI, catching you up on a few select items about our work and clients, and also updating you on some interesting happenings in the world of philanthropy and fundraising.
The annual tradition of a President’s Dinner is coming soon, on the evening of October 29. This year’s featured speaker will be the Dean of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Dr. Amir Pasic. Our theme is one that concerns all of us who do fundraising—the better the organizational context, the better success we have with fundraising. We will also feature a short video of leading professionals speaking about this topic and how they have addressed it. Watch for it on this website after the dinner. Please urge your Conference and Union presidents to come, along with other leaders with whom you interact.
Coming soon—a survey about how you wish to receive PSI news! Please fill it out when you receive it so we know how best to serve you!
Remember the Bible text you probably memorized as a child, or at some point in your life you learned this key text… “It’s more blessed to give than to receive!” Well, we give credence to this thought because we believe in the Bible, but now we also have secular research backing this up!! If interested, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you some references you can use.
Academies continue to grow in fundraising and make headway—yes, I’m repeating this sentence from last time, but it’s worth repeating!! Please remember and also share this information that PSI has many resources that can help, including a new planning form, as well as our handbook, Successful Fundraising, and countless other materials. We also come on-site to help you! Share and spread the news that we are ready and able to help academies move ahead!
Here is a sobering bit of news– CHRONICLE OF PHILANTHROPY DAILY UPDATE
OCTOBER 03, 2017 Fewer Americans Find Room in Their Budgets for Charity, Chronicle Data Show. If you don’t receive the Chronicle, ask us for info about this piece.
Featuring one of PSI’s consultants this month—our special consultants help meet the many and growing requests for PSI’s help, and we’re fortunate to have them on our team for special gigs and assistance.
Dr. Dennis Carlson is a fundraising and leadership consultant for non-profits, focusing largely on Seventh-day Adventist entities such as local churches. His experience in philanthropy includes four years as Vice President for Advancement at Walla Walla University and various fundraising initiatives within the church context during his years as a pastor and church leader. He served as Vice President for Administration in both the Washington and Upper Columbia Conferences and as President of the Minnesota Conference and the Mid-American Union Conference. He was chair of the board of Philanthropic Services for Institutions (PSI) during his time as Assistant to the President for Administration at the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. He also served on the Advisory Committee for PSI. He earned a B.A. in Theology from Columbia Union College (Now Washington Adventist University) and a Master of Divinity degree from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University. He earned a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Northwest Theological Union.
Until next time!
Beginning this month, PSI staff and I will use this column for a biweekly update of:
- news in our fundraising, philanthropy and nonprofit professions,
- updates of exciting events at PSI,
- special information about clients, and
- miscellaneous interesting “stuff” in our world.
There is a new editor at the AFP Advancing Philanthropy journal and she is really putting the emphasis on productive and ethical practice. A recent article discussed how to develop or improve a culture for philanthropy in your organizations. If you’re not a member, write me and I’ll send you a link or a scanned copy.
Academies are doing it! In spite of some negative news that circulates in the field, there are stellar academies who are doing fundraising successfully. Some have been doing it for some time, some are new, some have used PSI’s assistance, others have moved ahead on their own. A select group came together in April to share their strategies and to discuss what’s going on as well as the possibilities. There are already some results of this highly productive meeting already. Write me for a copy of the fundraising implementing and tracking form, designed especially for academies but adaptable to most organizations. Those who met at PSI were:
Shenandoah Valley Academy
Shenandoah Valley Academy
Director of Development & Alumni Relations
Mount Ellis Academy
Loma Linda Academy
Director of Advancement
Loma Linda Academy
Director of Development
Greater Miami Adventist Academy
Greater Miami Adventist Academy
Forest Lake Academy
Forest Lake Academy
Vice President of Education
Potomac Conference of SDA
Superintendent of Education
Arizona Conference of SDA
Social media never ceases to be a topic of interest, high demand, and utility. We were fortunate to host Nathan Hand, a faculty member at The Fund Raising School, who gave an outstanding webinar on the topic. If you weren’t able to attend, or didn’t hear about it for some reason, you can access this on our website. Write Mark Lindemann for assistance: email@example.com
Sometimes we forget what resources are right at our fingertips. You have many such resources available at PSI! Check out the library list of books you can borrow! These have recently been culled and updated due to the NAD move to a new building. We’re also fortunate to be able to subscribe to the leading journals and we save the scan the best items, from how-to to news in our profession. We’re happy to share these with you. If you need any info write me or the general help line at PSI and we will save you some time and effort.
Until next time! Always wishing you well,
Most fundraising professionals and many nonprofit personnel are familiar with the newspaper, Nonprofit Times, which is available as both hard-copy and on-line (www.thenonprofittimes.com). However, they may not be as aware of Exempt: The Financial Magazine for Nonprofits (www.exemptmagazine.com). It is published six times annually by Nonprofit Times.
In the November/December issue of 2016, the lead article discussed “Five Things That are Making Regulators Buzz.” Written by Tracy L. Boak and Karen I. Wu, the article acknowledges that legal issues and compliance regulations are perpetual operations concerns, but they consider five to be of greatest interest to regulators, and therefore perhaps present the greatest challenges to nonprofit leadership.
First is the failure of boards to properly implement governance and compliance regulations, such as matters of conflicts of interest. Second is inadequate scrutiny of fundraising and overhead costs, such as high costs of hiring a fundraising professional and misrepresentation of how much is actually spent on the program versus the costs to bring in the donated funds. Third is the matter of restricted funds and donor expectations. Fourth are the complex issues of the use of technology in fundraising; these raise many questions, from legal matters to use of donor data that is collected. Finally are the considerations of social impact efforts, such as income-producing ventures rather than donations. This, perhaps, is the one that will bear consideration for some time to come, due to the vast changes that occur in this arena.
Understanding the viewpoint of what is significant in terms of regulations of nonprofits isn’t necessarily an easy matter but is vital for ethical and credible organizations that are accountable to their donors and the public. Exempt makes that challenging task easier for the busy nonprofit and fundraising professional.
One of the influential and significant organizations in our field is the Urban Institute, which houses the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy. Based in Washington, DC (see www.urban.org), the Center, long led by Dr. Elizabeth Boris and currently by Sarah Rosen Wartell, published in late 2016 a most significant report—State Regulation and Enforcement in the Charitable Sector. PSI sometimes fields questions about regulations, which can be challenging to track and at times understand, so this document is of great value in ensuring NAD organizations are in compliance.
The study is the first systematic analysis of state-level oversight and regulation of charities in the U.S. and was done in collaboration with Columbia Law School and consists of three components. The first is a legal analysis of laws in the 56 U.S. jurisdictions. The second is a survey of the state and territory offices charged with oversight, regulatory and enforcement authority. Interviews with about two-thirds of the officials at these organizations comprise the third section.
A few highlights of the report, which is available on-line, are the following:
- No single state law regarding charities exists; the laws are complex and cover many areas.
- Organization and staffing of the offices also varies.
- Most registration oversight is with the state attorneys’ general offices, followed by secretary of state offices, as well as other entities listed in the report.
- Uniformity is encouraged among states.
- Fundraising abuses, trust enforcement, and governance are the three most common areas of activities.
While the report is complex and cerebral, the astute fundraising professional would benefit from a perusal to at least develop an acquaintance of the basic information it presents, and to have this resource on hand for referral.
In the library
Nonprofit Excellence in Fundraising
Built upon the success of the best-selling “Nonprofit Management 101,” this easy to digest book provides practical, comprehensive guidance for nonprofit fundraising around the globe. With tips and tools, expert advice, and real-world insights from almost fifty industry leaders, this robust resource addresses the entire spectrum of fundraising for nonprofits, including: Planning, hiring, and tracking progress Individual donors, major gifts, events, and direct mail Board and volunteer engagement Foundation and government grants Corporate partnerships Online and email fundraising.
Advice from the Expert
Should we pursue a planned gift or a current gift?
The correct answer to the above question is BOTH. A trend among nonprofits is to combine responsibility for securing major gifts and planned giving into one position. Recently, I was speaking at a conference and took the opportunity to sit in on another presenter’s session. He asked how many fundraisers were wearing two hats—responsible for both major and planned gifts. The hands of most attendees immediately shot up.
On the negative side: This dual responsibility often results in a concerted effort toward current gifts to the detriment of future gifts. The tendency is to go after the major gift as a first priority and the planned gift as a distant-second option because of 1) the demand for current gifts and 2) often performance metrics only rewards fundraisers for current gifts.
On the positive side: Wearing two hats actually puts fundraisers in the position of soliciting blended gifts—a mix of current and future gifts. By incorporating deferred gifts and current gifts into blended-gift decisions, the overall solicitation process addresses the two big donor questions. Do I have enough to live on for the rest of my life? What should I give to my children?
I’m bewildered sometimes at things I hear from institutional executives about their focus on current gifts (generally gifts from discretionary income) and the lack of focus on gifts from net worth.
As powerful as a long-term fund-development strategy can be in creating organizational momentum, the reverse is equally true with a shortsighted strategy. In other words, the approach that has the potential of directly addressing donor anxieties is abandoned for a strategy that often increases it—that is, soliciting only current gifts from discretionary income.
THE BIG IMPORTANT POINT
We talk through these two big questions each year with thousands of donors in our estate planning discussions. We approach both questions from a position of disinterested benevolence—that is, we’re not soliciting for the organization but focusing exclusively on donor needs and desires, as well as giving objectives. Since we have no other agenda, they tend to unload anxieties about family and finances, as well as their anxieties about the nonprofits they support.
Here’s the big point: Donors discuss their deep personal concerns and anxieties with me on a regular basis, even donors I’ve only known for a short time. That’s not because I’m very smart or have an engaging personality. It’s primarily because 1) I talk to them about future gifts, 2) I’m very attentive to their anxieties, and 3) I focus exclusively on their interests. This is not rocket science. It’s something any officer with the dual responsibilities for both planned giving and major gifts can do with a blended-gifts approach.
Getting to know your donors, focusing on their needs, and understanding their concerns all happens naturally in discussions about future-gift commitments. By scaling back on long-term planned giving initiatives, organizations, in effect, scale back on the opportunities for the deepest personal conversations with their donors.
Eddie Thompson, Ed.D., Founder and CEO of Thompson & Associates, the nation’s premier charitable estate planning firm, brings over 35 years of planning experience to the leadership of his company established in 1996. Eddie has planned over 3,200 estates ranging from $2,700 to almost a billion dollars.
Today, this innovative and proven process is engaging organizations and their donors nationwide. The Thompson & Associates’ team, consisting of over 45 attorneys and experienced professionals, help individuals and families plan to pass their estate assets to their family and to the organizations they support in a manner consistent with their values and objectives. This proven process delivers unprecedented results for donors, their families and nonprofit organizations. This unique process resulted in the successful completion of estate plans that directed several billion dollars to charities and billions more to families.
Copyright 2017, R. Edward Thompson
Career information for fundraising professionals and practitioners
Last month we met George and his dilemma at Global Works, where his colleagues were happily entrenched in a world…