By Gayle Gifford

A Potpourri of Research for Fundraisers

Have you ever thought:

I really want to keep up with the latest research in nonprofit fundraising. But I barely have time to care for all of my donors. I wish someone would just share a list with me.

Well, here’s one I pulled together for fundraisers like you. It ranges from broad studies on the state of fundraising, to more specific research on donors or online giving. Or even how much fundraisers get paid.

Consider it a place to start. And please, I welcome your contributions of research reports that have helped you be more thoughtful about your fundraising.

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Two terrific new books for your nonprofit bookshelf

Check out Gayle’s contribution to two new books recently published for the “In The Trenches” series of CharityChannel Press.
When You and Your Nonprofit Board, edited by Terrie Temkin, arrived in our mailbox, we had to read it from cover to cover. Gayle’s contribution, “You’re Not the Boss of Me: the Board Chair and CEO Relationship,” is one of 46 thoughtful essays by America’s leading writers on nonprofit governance. One reviewer says, You and Your Nonprofit Board reads like a conversation among friends, if all your friends were “brilliant and brimming with ideas.”

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Measuring impact like the Gates – redux

What if instead of talking about evaluation, the conversation shifted to a discussion about learning? I think the negative taste of evaluation that we hold is akin to being graded in school or on our performance evaluation at work … something others do to us rather than for or with us. What nonprofit can afford to risk a failing program? But if learning were tied deeply and honestly to a true desire to do better for the people or community you serve, might your organization be more interested in exploring what impact it was having so that you could do better with the resources you have?

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Verifying tax-deductible contributions – don’t screw it up!

Did you know that communion wine qualifies as “goods or services received” as far as the IRS is concerned? What about “admission to a religious ceremony?” If you are a religious 501(c)(3), the IRS considers admission to a religious ceremony or the receiving of wine or bread in the religious ceremony to be a good or service received. That was news to me! Fortunately, it also considers these to be benefits that don’t reduce the amount of the gift that is tax deductible, but you must include the words that “only intangible religious benefits were received” or you invalidate your donor’s tax deduction. (And, you don’t have to describe what those intangible religious benefits were).

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Who’s on your nonprofit board: Partners, passengers, prisoners, protestors?

Have you heard of the 3 Ps of nonprofit boards?

Neither had I until last week.

I was discussing ideas for an upcoming board retreat with the chair of the board development committee. In describing the ideal board member, this trustee mentioned the 3Ps, something he learned from a colleague in years past.

Now, I had heard of boards described as contributing 3Ts ( time, treasure and talent) and 3Ws (wealth, wisdom and work) but had never heard of 3Ps.

When I asked him to explain, he described the Ps as follows:

Prisoners are the reluctant board members. They do not come voluntarily to their positions. Most likely they were assigned to serve on the board by the boss at their company. This term might also describe officers coerced into serving.

Passengers are good enough board members, but they are waiting to be told what to do in order to do more than just attend board meetings. They are usually in the majority on most boards.

Partners are those board members who voluntarily and enthusiastically take leadership. They act as partners with the CEO and other board members in building the future of the organization they serve.

I told this clearly partner board member this was a really intriguing concept I hadn’t discovered before. With his permission, I wanted to share this with you.

Prisoners, Passengers, Partners, Protestors.

After I got off the phone, I went looking online for the reference.

I found these terms used in the training world where, instead of 3, there are 4Ps – protestors, prisoners, passengers and participants.

Participants are the partners that my client described. Read more

A salute to the US National Park Service

From the mission statement

Crazy Jug Point at Grand Canyon National Park North Rim

“The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.”

On our recent vacation, we had the great fortune to experience some incredible natural and cultural sites of the US National Park Service, among them:

Thank you to the past Congresses and Presidents who had the foresight and wisdom to preserve and maintain these extraordinary places for future generations.

And thank you, National Park Service, for your graciousness and welcoming presence. We were happy to see our tax dollars working for the enjoyment of so many people, from all around the world.