Bewildering fundraising rules – again
I’m just checking my email after a busy weekend. The sun is shining and it’s a beautiful spring day so I’m chuckling rather than ranting at the email notice I received:
You may remember that I wrote in October about my attempt a few months before to get this gift of a microloan shifted directly into a donation to KIVA’s general fund. KIVA was simply unwilling to do that, preferring instead to let this money remain unused for ONE FULL YEAR until their arbitrary deadline expired, despite my attempts to have them do otherwise.
You can read the story here: Do your fundraising rules bedevil your donors?
I guess their customer service department also forgot to annotate my account noting the correspondence we had previously. By failing to pay any attention to my past history with them, KIVA has now given me a new reason to remember the frustration I had almost forgotten.
Luckily May 8th will soon be upon us and the KIVA tale will end.
Many nets scoop up big member gain
Captain Ahab set out from New Bedford, Massachusetts, with just one idea: putting his harpoon in the ultimate big fish, Moby Dick. His all or nothing approach didn’t work out so well for anyone but the whale.
The Coalition for Buzzard’s Bay got a far happier result by spreading nets in many different waters when they set out on their own New Bedford-based quest to grow membership by more than 50 percent over the last two years
Two board members to cherish
Based on our conversation, I could immediately tell that Judy and Al are big cheerleaders for their organization – what all of us hope for in our board members. They were pitching me on the good work of Opportunity Works from the moment I asked what organization they were with.
Noticeable differences in funding between the smallest charities and the rest
What particularly struck me was the difference in the revenue types of these small organizations. Small public charities rely heavily on private contributions ( 52.7%) while the sector as a whole depends largely on fee for service revenues (67.1%).
From one moment to the next one
But in the midst of all this interesting analysis, tucked away under a box four pages into the study, was the sentence that left me speechless:
“Financial vibrancy is the capacity of an organization to make the transition from one sustainable moment to the next.” I experienced a moment of ultimate clarity, marveling at the purity, the honesty of that statement.
New report says: a significant investment in nonprofit growth can really pay off
If institutional funders want to see significant increases in an organization’s philanthropic revenues, they’ve got to have a much bigger picture of the scale of needed capacity in fund development. Funding just one development director, with no other support, doesn’t really help organizations make the big leaps, in my opinion. But funding an entire staff in development, that would be a great take-away from this study.
Do your fundraising rules bewilder your donors?
I run into this silliness all the time and I’m sure you do as well. Take the fiscal year end push for donations. I hate to break the news but, as a donor, it really doesn’t motivate me to get my gift in any sooner just because you have an August or October fiscal year deadline. My donations are organized by the calendar (and thus my tax) year and December 31 is the only deadline I really care about. Unless you had some truly compelling reason.
If fundraising is a profession, why are we so angry with our amateur board members?
Maybe it’s because too many directors of development don’t act like it really is a profession with a body of knowledge that requires training and professional development. Case in point: why do development directors and executive directors believe that their board members have risen up out of the primordial ooze fully animated to be fundraising solicitors?
Don’t be afraid – ask for what you want
The other courageous ask was mentioned farther down in the story. It turns out that one of the teachers had posted a very bold gift request — $10,000 for a traveling computer lab — much larger that the range of other requests. And because she was so fearless in her request, she was nicely rewarded with what just what she asked for.
Again these serendipitous gifts don’t come along every day (or maybe they do, but we don’t hear about them very often).
Maybe someday your giving fairy tale will come true. But in the meantime, while you are waiting, don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.
Wondering how grassroots nonprofits are faring with online fundraising?
One particularly interesting finding came from the Ohio Environment Council. While most of their membership giving came offline, those donors who had email and received ongoing contact through a robust online program gave nearly twice as much annually as their no-email counterparts.