Engaging Your Donors for Life-Long Giving

Engaging Your Donors for Life-Long Giving

In our ongoing effort to help make planned giving more accessible, collaborative and beneficial for charities, we hosted a workshop led by fundraising expert Laura Kaufman. The fourth in our series of free seminars and workshops, Engaging Your Donors for Life-Long Giving, invited Chicago-area nonprofits to learn about strategies and tactics for engaging donors over a long time horizon. Laura covered three major areas with us: The Individual Donor (ID) Marketplace. What is Engagement and Why Does It Matter? Driving Donor Engagement. State of Giving: National and Chicago Area Trends Nonprofits are experiencing more giving than ever before. In each category, numbers are on the rise, year over year. According to Giving USA’s report, giving by bequest is up 2.1%, giving my individuals is up 3.8% and total giving has increased 4.4%. The next question is, where is the money going?  This chart from Giving USA breaks it down nicely. Drilling down to the specific Chicago area market, the Chicago Community Trust shared some interesting data. Compared to a national average of 59%, 73% of Chicagoans give to charity. 49% of Chicago households volunteer and 78% of dollars donated by Chicagoans stay in the region. What is Engagement: Often overlooked, donor engagement is absolutely critical for the long-term health of an organization. While nonprofit fundraisers are busy managing many initiatives for their organization, donor engagement must be the core of their day-to-day. Research shows doing so will make capital and annual giving campaigns go more smoothly, netting better results. The donor engagement cycle can be broken down into these simple components: Recruit/Inspire, Learn, Engage, Ask, Thank, Repeat, Upgrade and...
Charities – Leverage Donor-Advised Fund Recurring Grants

Charities – Leverage Donor-Advised Fund Recurring Grants

Recurring gifts are nothing new. Numerous nonprofit organizations have shown big results with recurring gift donors. One study of online contributions found recurring gift donors gave 42 percent more annually than one-time contributors. But there is a problem – and an opportunity. One of the biggest areas of donation growth is donor-advised funds. But donor-advised fund advisors – the people you will need to solicit for a donation – cannot make a legally binding pledge using their fund. The advisors can only make “grant advisements.” This is an important legal restriction. But here’s a secret. Most donor-advised fund administrators fulfill almost all advisor grant advisements. That is, charities get the grant. Likely less than one percent of advisements get rejected. The few grant advisements going unfilled are almost always because: The donor requests a grant going to a nonprofit that isn’t a 501(c)3 charity; The donor is receiving something of value for the donation; or, in rare cases, The administrator has restrictions on what 501(c)3 charities can be supported (something donors would be made aware of when they create the fund). If you’re a 501(c)3 charity in good standing with the IRS and do not give anything of value in return for the donation, you should almost always get the grant. Where is the opportunity? Most donor-advised funds offer grant advisement pre-scheduling of recurring donations. This is a growing area with increasing numbers of scheduled contributions. It’s a big opportunity for you! Successfully Solicit Donor-Advised Fund Recurring Grants As you design your donor-advised fund recurring grant campaign there are three considerations (among standard ones) to keep top of mind....
Donor-Advised Funds Contribute to Fundraising Success

Donor-Advised Funds Contribute to Fundraising Success

In my life as a development officer I hated donor-advised funds. I felt they took money from my mission, made me miss out on my goals and just made things difficult. Who were these people with their funds – and how could I find them? As donor-advised funds have grown more popular – and I have become more familiar with them – I’ve moved from respect to real appreciation. I see donor-advised funds in an entirely new light because I better understand their important role – and potential – in charitable giving. Let’s address common criticisms first. Common Criticisms Money (That’s What I Want) I agree donor-advised funds seem like a charitable bank account or just a financial tool that saves taxes. But the overall annual rate of donor-advised fund contributions – the “payout rate” to charity – regularly exceeds the payout from private foundations. Sometimes the donor-advised fund payout rate is more than double the amount that private foundations donate with their 5% minimum. Waiting on a Friend If your concern is waiting for the money, then you should know in practice donor-advised funds compare favorably with many types of charitable giving vehicles, including private foundations, charitable remainder trusts and charitable lead trusts. In fact, many donor advised funds – including The Advise Us Fund – have rules that require donors to make advisements at least annually. Good Times Bad Times When it comes to tough financial times, think of donor-advised funds as deep pockets that keep our nonprofit missions motoring. In fact, donors often give more to donor-advised funds when they have an economic windfall, like a...