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AFP eWire December 4, 2012: Print Version

50th International Conference on Fundraising in San Diego: Advance Registration is until January 25th—Register NOW and Save BIG!

Advance registration is on for the 50th AFP Annual International Conference on Fundraising in San Diego, presented by Blackbaud—Register TODAY for BIG savings!

Joining us in San Diego will be Bert Jacobs, half of the brother duo behind the “Life is good®” apparel company. He and his brother took a simple idea—that an optimistic attitude can make a real difference in the world—and turned it into the Life is good® Company. Life is good® represents the Jacobs brothers’ values in its emphasis on creating a rewarding and fulfilling work experience for employees. These values carry over into the brothers’ philanthropy. Since 2004, Life is good Festivals have raised more than $4 million to help children overcome such life-threatening challenges as violence, illness, and extreme poverty. The brothers have now founded the Life is good Kids Foundation, to coordinate their work on behalf of children.

This year, our goal is to engage and re-energize our profession. Join us and be a part of our efforts to create balance, focus on critical priorities, and simplify complexities—we’ll explore what it means to beDoing The Right Things…Right! 

Go to for more information and register TODAYSee you in San Diego in 2013!

Top Stories

Take Action – Write to Your Member of Congress to Preserve Charitable Giving

Take action today to urge your members of Congress to preserve the charitable deduction! Your voice is critical because Congress is strongly considering a hard cap on itemized deductions, including the charitable deduction, to address the federal deficit. Imposing such a cap would have devastating consequences for thousands of nonprofits that depend of charitable giving to support programs on which millions of Americans rely0

Fundraising Results Overall Stall Mid-Year
Nonprofit Research Collaborative survey shows groups making active effort to retain donors more likely to see increases

In its semi-annual survey, the Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC) finds that funds raised at organizations studied were largely unchanged from a year ago. The most successful organizations during the first half of 2012 pursued multi-channel marketing, recognized their donors and watched their results closely. The results affirm that sector-wide, good communications and stewardship of philanthropic gifts are associated with raising more through fundraising.

“As the challenging fundraising environment persists, donor retention remains critically important as a focus area for nonprofits,” said Chuck Longfield, chief scientist of Blackbaud, a partner in the NRC. “In addition, we continue to see that multichannel engagement is key for nonprofits’ fundraising success.”

Among all surveyed charities, just under half (46 percent) saw growth in funds raised in January through June 2012 compared with the same months in 2011. In contrast, 60 percent of those actively recognizing donors, reporting results, and using multichannel communication saw gains.

Of the 13 fundraising methods explored in the study, ranging from SMS/text giving (used by just 5 percent of respondents) to board contributions (used by 88 percent), more organizations raised about the same amount as they did last year at this time with that method. However, for two methods, more organizations said they saw increased amounts raised compared to 2011:

  • Major gifts (excluding board giving) increased at 40 percent of responding organizations, held steady at 33 percent, and fell at 23 percent
  • Special events increased at 45 percent, held steady at 27 percent, and declined at 27 percent

“Among the 38 percent of survey participants using social media for fundraising (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.), 12 percent started using the approach in 2012,” according to Dirk Rinker, President of Campbell Rinker and a partner in the NRC. “Though not a cure-all, social media marketing is gaining in importance. Half the organizations using it raised more this year than last, and the other half raised about the same.”

The majority of surveyed charities use multiple fundraising approaches. Seventy-five to 90 percent of organizations use foundation proposals, corporate gifts or grants, special events, major gifts, direct response via the mail, and board giving to raise funds. Sixty-three percent of organizations in the study use online approaches and 50 percent use planned giving. Methods used by less than half of survey participants include telephone, gifts from congregations and distributions from federated campaigns, social media, and telephone solicitation. A small number of responding organizations (5 percent) use SMS/texting in their fundraising.

Additional key findings include:

  • 46 percent of responding charitable organizations reported an increase in charitable receipts when comparing the first six months of 2012 with the same months in 2011. One-quarter saw giving remain about the same, and 29 percent reported drops in total funds raised. These results are similar to the same study conducted in mid-2011.
  • Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of those that track retention said they achieved a retention rate in 2011 above 50 percent. Retention means a donor who gave in 2010 made at least one more gift at some point in 2011.
  • The most frequently used retention tactics were donor recognition (reported by 69 percent) and reporting results to donors (report by 61 percent).

About the Survey

The Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC) conducts surveys two times a year. The current report is available at

This survey was conducted online August-September 2012. The 781 respondents form a convenience sample. There is no margin of error, as it is not a random sample of the population studied. Reported results are statistically significant using chi-square analysis.

About the Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC)

The NRC formed to reduce the survey burden on nonprofit organizations. Each NRC member has, at a minimum, a decade of direct experience collecting information from nonprofits concerning charitable receipts, fundraising practices, and/or grantmaking activities. NRC partners are the Association of Fundraising Professionals; Blackbaud; Campbell Rinker; Giving USA Foundation; and the National Center for Charitable Statistics at the Urban Institute.

Special Announcement

Deadline December 10: Take the Project Streamline Survey to Assess State of Grantmaking

Five years ago, with the support of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Project Streamline was created to change and enhance the grantmaking experience. The project is now asking grantee organizations to provide their opinion of how grantmaking has changed and what sorts of changes and methods have proved most effective.

In just five years, Project Streamline has grown from an interesting idea to an industry-wide model of change in the philanthropic sector. Among some medium-to-large foundations, streamlining – or making grant practices more efficient and straightforward – has evolved from something grants professionals know they should do to a hallmark of effective and responsible grantmaking. 

Progress to date (PDF) has been quite promising, especially when funders and grantseekers share stories about their improved experiences, decreased costs, and increased efficiency that streamlined practices enable at every level.

Seeking Input from Grantseekers

AFP and other partners in Project Streamline are working on an assessment of the project’s impact so far. A critical part of this work includes getting both sides of the experience. The project has already asked grantmakers to report on their practices and improvements, but it’s essential that we hear from grantseekers about how efforts to create more effective practices have an impact on nonprofits’ experiences seeking and reporting on funds.

Project Streamline will use these findings to codify the successes made to date and help continue to raise awareness of the impact of application and reporting practices. Most importantly, the assessment will identify the most promising methods to successful streamlining and then promote these practices throughout the philanthropic sector.

Please take a few moments to complete the Project Streamline Grantseeker Assessment Survey before December 10.

A research advisory group representing both sides of the grant relationship is guiding the design of the final assessment, which will address the following topics.

  • Awareness: To what extent has Project Streamline―indeed, the concept of streamlining itself―penetrated the field? Action: To what extent have grantseekers taken action to streamline their application and reporting processes?
  • Impact: What kind of difference has streamlining made to grantmakers and nonprofits?

This work will result in two deliverables. First will be Taking Stock, a report exploring streamlining trends, successes, barriers, and perceptions. The report is expected in early 2013.

The second deliverable is the development of quantitative and qualitative discovery of top streamlining practices that deliver the greatest impact for grantmakers and grantseekers in the application and reporting process. These practices will constitute the keystones of Project Streamline and will be pr0moted to the field throughout 2013.

Your help is critical to completing the assessment and producing the top recommendations for more effective and efficient grantmaking. Make sure you’ve joined the Project Streamline mailing list to get updated when the assessment report is released. 

For more information on this issue, the Project Streamline website has an entire listing of resources, research and documents related to enhancing the grantmaking and grantseeking process.


Fundraising News and Tips

Wealthy Young Philanthropists Focus on Gap Between Rich and Poor

Wealthy philanthropists aged under 30 are more concerned with the gap between rich and poor people than philanthropists aged over 45, according to research for Charities Aid Foundation (CAF). A survey of 1,428 wealthy philanthropists in six countries revealed that nearly half (44%) of those under 30 surveyed cited this issue, compared with 16% of over 45s surveyed. (UK Fundraising)

New Ethics Rule Will Make Some Donors’ Names Public

New York State’s ethics commission will require political-advocacy and other groups to make public the names of donors who give them more than $5,000, under a regulation tentatively approved. (New York Times)

Nonprofits Fear Results of Cutting Tax Break for Donations

Would we give less if we didn’t have the tax deduction? I’m confident we wouldn’t. Having the tax deduction is a bonus but one that has never driven us to give more or less. But having said this, many people are motivated by tax breaks. And some do give more because of the charitable deduction. (Boston Globe)

Ten Things You Might Have Missed (and Need to Know)

 There’s so much information online that you’re bound to have missed some of it. Here’s some of the top items and ideas from last week you need to know about and that can help you find success, including stories on volunteer management, technology, young donors, donor psychology and tons of interesting infographics on Pinterest.


AFP Announcements

Sign Up for the AFP Fundamentals of Fundraising eLearning Course

The popular face-to-face introductory course, the AFP Fundamentals of Fundraising Course, is now available as an eLearning course! The new AFP Fundamentals of Fundraising eLearning Course is composed of seven modules that have been designed by experienced fundraising professionals to meet the real-world needs and challenges nonprofit organizations face every day. This course includes case studies and video segments, making the learning experience both substantive and enjoyable.

Read The Digital November/December 2012 Advancing Philanthropy Now!

The latest issue of AFP’s award-winning magazine features an interview with Andrea McManus, CFRE, as she completes her two-year term as chair of AFP, as well as stories on grantseeking, collective impact, collaboration, and direct-response and social media strategies. Learn more.

SAVE THE DATE: Rice University/AFP Event: Development & Finance Symposium, June 11 and 12, 2013

This symposium is designed to explore the dynamics of these two offices working together more effectively, resulting in better-informed business decisions for their organizations. Senior advancement officers and CFOs will share their experiences and strategies for effective management, and participants will learn more about the complexities of both roles. Fundraisers, chief finance officers, vice presidents, executive directors, investment professionals, and board members will all benefit from gaining more insight into how fiscal roles can create stability for their organizations. More information to come!

AFP Member Exclusives

This Week's Free AFP Information Exchange Paper for Members:  Involving Your Board Members in Fund Development - Simone P. Joyaux, ACFRE

It’s your job to help board members do their job in fund development. But who is “you”? The development officer. The executive director. The board chair. The chair of the board’s fund development committee. No one – including your development officer – does this work alone. This is a team enterprise. Volunteers – especially board members – are particularly important.
• Read the paper! -

Lights...Camera...AFP Action University! AFP Action University Book Review (Video): Today We Are Rich: Harnessing the Power of Total Confidence, by Tim Sanders

In Today We Are Rich, you'll join Tim Sanders on his journey as he weaves together heartwarming tales of hardship and triumph with fundamental lessons of building confidence. Tim details his own challenges and the struggles of those close to him, turning them into parables on the endurance and power of the human spirit. Not only will you be moved by his stories, you'll learn the steps you need to take to overcome any obstacle and persevere, even in the face of today's always-on media and internet society.

• Access this week's AFP Action University Book Review development tool (video and materials) -

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