Comprehensive Annual Giving – Roadmap to Creating Your Plan

By Amy Hines, Senior Vice President

Annual giving programs typically serve as fundamental revenue engines for nonprofit organizations and yet are notoriously knotty plans to put on paper. We need our institutional leaders, boards and staff to understand our plans. Making them understandable, measurable, achievable, and yet strategic and ambitious is part of the job of the chief development officer.  How best to do that?

What to include in annual giving?

By definition, an annual giving program encompasses solicitations that recur each year, and that should produce incrementally greater results over time, increasing the number of donors and dollars raised. The program should generate predictable cash income at targeted times in the year, based on when solicitation activities are scheduled to occur. Annual giving income addresses an organization’s need for current funds, largely, but not exclusively unrestricted. Continue reading “Comprehensive Annual Giving – Roadmap to Creating Your Plan”

As Good as It Gives: America’s Philanthropy Today (Giving USA 2019 By the Numbers)

By Alexis Cooke, Consultant

The Alford Group celebrated 40 years of impact with Giving USA events across the country, including in Chicago, Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver, WA.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for  presentations sharing the recently released Giving USA 2019 Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018. There is a lot to consider in reviewing Giving USA 2019’s report, so let’s dive in and discuss some key takeaways.

Continue reading “As Good as It Gives: America’s Philanthropy Today (Giving USA 2019 By the Numbers)”

Maximize Donations with These 5 Nonprofit Technology Tips

Guest blog by Sarah Tedesco, Executive Vice President, DonorSearch

Are you frustrated that your fundraising efforts don’t have your desired result? That’s okay! It’s good to be frustrated at your fundraising campaigns because that means you have not only identified a problem, but you are willing and ready to make some changes to fix it. (You should be worried if your team seems unconcerned that your organization isn’t yielding as much revenue as it could!)

You should be doing everything in your power to ensure your nonprofit’s fundraising campaigns are bringing in as much support as possible. After all, the more funds you raise, the more you will be able to do to further your cause¹.

Continue reading “Maximize Donations with These 5 Nonprofit Technology Tips”

Industry Best Practices Are Put to the Test

By Wendy Hatch, CFRE, Vice President and Jennifer Shin, MBA, Consultant

The Alford Group Texas AFP surveyOver 3,000 development professionals from across the country attended AFP ICON in San Antonio, Texas last month. The Alford Group took advantage of this assembled fundraising brain-trust to conduct a highly scientific (wink!) survey around a few hotly debated fundraising topics.

Participants weighed in on three important “questions of the day” at The Alford Group booth by placing colored ping pong balls into giant glass vases to cast their votes. Fundraisers from across the country representing diverse sectors and roles brought their expertise to challenge some misconceptions and tried-and-true best practices. So, we asked the following three questions:

  • Do you primarily tell stories or provide statistics in your fundraising appeals?
  • Do you favor direct mail or email fundraising?
  • Do you focus primarily on garnering restricted or unrestricted gifts?

And the fundraisers have spoken.

Continue reading “Industry Best Practices Are Put to the Test”

Quality Contacts: Getting a Plan into Place

By Jamie Phillippe, CFRE, Vice President, with Lieve Buzard, Client Service Associate

One time I started a casual, collegial conversation at an organization’s annual luncheon. It was a formal affair, with gracious table settings and lovely flower arrangements. As one honored donor was getting up to leave her place, I noticed a napkin was caught on her belt.

“Excuse me,” I coughed, “may I take that napkin from you?”

She guffawed and exclaimed, “Oh my goodness!” as we shared a loud, hearty laugh.  Recovered from our side stitches, she sat back down and said, “By the way, I’ve been meaning to ask you something about how my gift works.”

We discussed her giving for a good five to ten minutes. The conversation ranged from what she enjoys giving to, her motivation for philanthropic gifts, and how she would like to continue giving in memory of her late husband’s life. It was one of the most authentic, honest and engaging conversations that the two of us ever had. What started as a comical faux pas became the entry way to a purposeful conversation.

The napkin incident alone would not have been a quality contact, but the following conversation was a quality contact. Continue reading “Quality Contacts: Getting a Plan into Place”

Getting the Most From Your Upcoming Anniversary

By Mary Kaufman-Cranney, CFRE, Vice President

During my tenure as the head of development with the YMCA of Greater Seattle, I was lucky enough to be there for the organization’s 125th anniversary.

As the 120th year of the YMCA of Greater Seattle loomed ahead, I asked our public relations volunteers if we should start getting ready to celebrate. Their reply? A resounding, “No! Save it for the big one at 125 – but start planning now.”

“Five years out?” I thought to myself. “That  seems crazy!” But as we started to explore the significance of the 125th and realize that no update had been done on our history timeline since the 100th – not to mention electronically capturing our history and thousands of photos dating back to the late 1800s – we had lots to do. Continue reading “Getting the Most From Your Upcoming Anniversary”

Community Foundations: Wondering How to Grow Your Asset Base?

The 4 Things You Must Do First

By Jamie Phillippe, CFRE, Vice President with Lieve Buzard, Client Service Associate

Growing the asset base of a community foundation means the foundation will have an even larger impact on the community it serves. With more assets and resources, the foundation is able to support more nonprofit organizations (or the same organizations at a higher level) and collectively solve community problems and increase the quality of life for community members.

Often times, community foundations run campaigns to increase gifts from individuals, families, and corporations. There are FOUR THINGS that a foundation must do prior to undertaking a campaign to increase its asset base.

Where does your foundation stand in relation to these four elements?

#1 Strategic Plan

A comprehensive strategic plan must be in place to provide a road map, to provide credibility, and to provide a sense of urgency to the entire effort. Continue reading “Community Foundations: Wondering How to Grow Your Asset Base?”

Getting the Most From Your Upcoming Anniversary

By Mary Kaufman-Cranney, CFRE, Vice President

During my tenure as the head of development with the YMCA of Greater Seattle, I was lucky enough to be there for the organization’s 125th anniversary.

As the 120th year of the YMCA of Greater Seattle loomed ahead, I asked our public relations volunteers if we should start getting ready to celebrate. Their reply? A resounding, “No! Save it for the big one at 125 – but start planning now.”

“Five years out?” I thought to myself. “That  seems crazy!” But as we started to explore the significance of the 125th and realize that no update had been done on our history timeline since the 100th – not to mention electronically capturing our history and thousands of photos dating back to the late 1800s – we had lots to do. Continue reading “Getting the Most From Your Upcoming Anniversary”