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Corporate Giving in Flux, But Not Disappearing, Study Shows  

Though corporate giving levels are predicted to decrease in 2009, many corporations and corporate foundations are holding steady in the amount they plan to give.

Although 42 percent of corporations and 37 percent of corporate foundations recently surveyed say their charitable giving budgets will decrease in 2009, LBG Research Institute predicts that the overall decrease will be far less than the 12.1 percent drop in 2001, as reported then by Giving USA.

“When you look at the size of predicted budget increases and decreases across the sample, the percentage decrease will probably be in the range of 3 percent to 5 percent,” estimates Donna Devaul, the institute’s executive director.

Exactly half (50 percent) of corporate foundations said that their giving budget (including cash and non-cash) will stay the same in 2009. Thirty-seven percent, though, said this budget will decrease. Only 4 percent said their charitable giving budget will increase.

As for corporations themselves, more respondents are decreasing their giving budget (42 percent) and fewer said their budget is staying the same from 2008 to 2009 (35 percent).

Shifting Priorities

Corporate giving budgets are also being adjusted in terms of the causes they support. The 76 corporations and corporate foundations that responded to the study survey indicated a sharp move away from arts and culture and toward basic needs (food, clothing, shelter) and environmental causes.

In fact, about half (49 percent) of those that supported arts and cultural institutions in 2008 said they will decrease their giving in that area in 2009. Twenty-four percent of corporations and corporate foundations that support environmental causes plan to increase their support in 2009 for this area. Of those that in 2008 supported organizations serving basic human needs, 23 percent will increase their support this year.

Local Focus

About 84 percent of study participants said they plan to be more strategic with their giving in 2009. For many this means that they will shift to supporting local organizations instead of national ones. Corporations said they want to give more money to fewer organizations to increase the impact of their gifts, possibly explaining the trend toward local support. Also, Devaul said that corporations are motivated by the added goodwill they receive by supporting local organizations.

In fact, 46 percent of corporations and corporate foundations report that they anticipate a greater percentage of giving going toward local versus national organizations in 2009 than from the previous year. A quarter (25 percent) said they expect to shift more than 20 percent of their budget to local organizations and away from national ones.

LBG Research Institute’s report, Doing More With Less: How the Economic Downturn Will Impact Corporate Giving in 2009, is available for a fee at the institute’s website, www.lbgresearch.org.

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Federal Cabinet Rejects Appeal By Charities Regarding Do Not Call List

Canada’s federal cabinet has rejected a joint petition filed by AFP and Imagine Canada that would have exempted charities from red tape and fees associated with the new National Do Not Call list.

The decision does not provide any reasons but simply states that the Governor-in-Council declines to rescind, vary or send back the decision of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

With this issue now determined, there are three important actions that charities in Canada are required to undertake under the do not call list regime.

(The following is not intended to be legal or other professional advice and should be considered as information only. Please review the statutory provisions in detail and ensure that your board is aware of the new provisions and the obligations of your organization under the act.)

1.  Register with the National Do Not Call List operator: Charities that carry out telemarketing activities as defined in the Telecommunications Act are required to register with the National Do Not Call List (DNCL) Operator. Charities are “exempt organizations” under the national regime. This means that Canadians who wish to prohibit telemarketing calls from charities must contact those charities directly and cannot do so through the public list operator. 

Nevertheless, the CRTC has provided that exempt organizations that engage in telemarketing, including charities, must register with the national DNCL operator. The public policy rationale is that the DNCL operator wants to include in its registry all organizations that carry out telemarketing activities, including exempt organizations (AFP believes this rationale is neither clear nor effective, and this was one  of the objections raised in the petition). The obligation to register with the operator took effect in September 2008. The failure to register can expose organizations, whether exempt or otherwise, to fines and penalties.

2.  Pay fees to the National Do Not Call List investigator: The national regime provides for both an operator and an investigator. The investigative body must be distinct from the operator. At present, the CRTC has decided to administer the role of investigator, rather than engaging a third party, and has waived these fees while it is doing so. Therefore, there are no fees to be paid at this time but fees may be implemented in the near future. Presumably, the CRTC will provide notice to all registrants when fees are implemented. Charities and all other exempt organizations must, therefore, both register with the DNCL operator as set out it item 1 above and must pay fees to the Investigative body once these fees come into effect.  

3.  Establish and maintain a private do not call list:  While charities are exempt organizations for the purpose of the national list, the Act requires that they maintain private do not call lists. In particular, Canadians are entitled to call specific charities and require the charity to add the caller to the charity’s own do not call list. The charity must maintain and comply with its list or is subject to investigation and penalties under the act.

To review the DNCL statutory  provisions, go to “Unsolicited Communications”-Sections 41.2 -41.7 under Part III of the  of the Telecommunications Act. That link can be found in the electronic version of this article.

The CRTC also posts information on the DNCL on its site, including to the above link, at www.crtc.ca.

Many thanks to more than 30 organizations who filed letters of support for the petition and, above all, to Imagine Canada, who collaborated on the preparation and filing of the petition. 

For background on the CRTC changes and AFP’s advocacy efforts in this area, please go to the AFP website (www.afpnet.org) and click on Public Policy. See the specific section on Canadian Public Policy Issues.

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Seven Reasons for Fundraisers to be Optimistic in 2009  

By Gail Perry, CFRE

AFP member, experienced fundraiser, speaker and author, Gail Perry, CFRE, shares with eWire readers her thoughts on how to keep going productively in these bad economic times. She believes that without a positive outlook we cannot go forward to make the world a better place. Below is her “positive thinking” list for ’09.

“We can't go forward if we are stuck in gloom and doom,” Perry says. “I’m keeping my sights on the horizon where the sun is coming up and donors are generously giving to their favorite causes. This is where I’m focusing!”

1.     It may be tough right now, but even in the darkest times, there shines a light of opportunity. If you are familiar with the Chinese character for "chaos," you might know that within it rests the word "opportunity."  Whenever there is confusion and doubt, there are always opportunities. It's up to you. You can choose to roll over like a dead bug or you can bravely look for the opportunities. Clearly things are changing. It is our challenge to be open to change, looking constantly for new strategies and ideas within a chaotic environment. 

2.     We have new national leadership in the U.S. with a set of fresh ideas for the future. Recent polls found that most of the American public is confident in our new president and willing to be patient with him. People and nations worldwide have shared their hope that the new U.S. leadership will have a positive impact on world peace. I predict that at some point this year, attitudes and consumer confidence will start to turn around. It may get worse, but it WILL eventually get better. People’s hearts and minds will begin to turn to a new future, focusing on new possibilities.   

3.     We are news now. Nonprofits have a better chance than ever of getting covered by the news media. I am seeing many more articles recently in our local paper about nonprofit organizations and how they are faring in the economy. Our sector is considered “news” right now and we need to take advantage of it. It’s not often that our sector is in the public eye as much as it is now.

4.     Generosity is IN. Flaunting your wealth is OUT. Philanthropy is much more talked about; it's more visible and accepted. It seems that every major celebrity now has their favorite cause. Showing off your wealth has become inappropriate. Doing good is cool.

5.     Public attitudes are changing. People are thinking less about themselves and more about helping others. I am seeing a strong shift away from “me” to more of a sense of “we.”  This is showing up in magazine and newspaper articles, on TV and on the web. A new sense of kindness seems to be leaking out of the media stories that I follow.

6.     There’s a world of new fundraising tools out there that just might revolutionize our industry. Barack Obama’s unprecedented web-based fundraising success proved that massive campaigns are possible based not on major gifts, but on small donations. This just may be the new face of fundraising. We have much to learn from the political sector on using the web to create social movements. Social movements, viral marketing, web sites like DonorsChoose that connect the donor directly to the grantee, harnessing the power of young people—all these portend the new face of fundraising.

7.     Remember that no matter what happens, you are in a growth profession. Fundraising is one of the few occupations that U.S. News and World Report says offers "the highest rates of job satisfaction, the least difficult training necessary, the most prestige, and the highest pay. This career has staying power."  When the rest of the world is worrying about job security, we can at least be glad that demand continues to grow for fundraisers.

Gail Perry, CFRE, is president of Gail Perry Associates in Raleigh, N.C. She is the author of Fired Up Fundraising: Turn Board Passion into Action, available in the AFP Bookstore. (Go to www.afpnet.org and click on AFP Marketplace and Bookstore.)

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Take the CFRE Review Course at Conference

Have you considered earning your Certified Fund Raising Executive credential? Sign up for the conference and get the tools you need in New Orleans at the International Conference on Fundraising. While there, you can take the CFRE Review Course to prepare you for the CFRE Exam. To register for the CFRE Review Course go to the conference website (http://conference.afpnet.org) and click on Education. Follow the link titled CFRE Review Course.

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Registration Now Open: Nonprofit Conference on Fundraising Development Speaker Series

AFP has partnered with Booz Allen Hamilton to sponsor the 2009 Fundraising Development Conference Speaker Series. The annual conference meant to share best practices and lessons learned—historically a one day event—is now a five-part speaker series being hosted throughout the year. Sessions will be offered in-person and via the web on March 12 from 8 a.m. to noon at the firm's headquarters located in McLean, Va. The cost per session is $25 each. In-person registration is limited to 148 people, so visit today to register! (website link is available in the electronic version of this article.)

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New Offering: Support a Cause Through a New AFP Networking Partnership

To help members connect with fundraisers in different countries, AFP has partnered with ammado, an online global networking community for the nonprofit sector. Through ammado, members can meet and network with practitioners from around the world and learn about other organizations, companies, strategies and campaigns that are making a difference in the lives of millions of people.

To celebrate the partnership and the season of giving, ammado will give the first 10,000 AFP members who create a profile on ammado an e-voucher for $1 to spend on the cause of their choice. What can a mere dollar do?  One dollar can, for example, get a child vaccinated against the measles or provide safe drinking water for a child for 50 days. Get your e-voucher, make a donation—even to your own organization on ammado—join the AFP profile and reach out to your fundraising colleagues by creating your network!  Visit the AFP profile on ammado for more details: www.ammado.com/nonprofit/afp.

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Member Motion Reminder

Changed jobs recently? Accepted a new challenge? Received an accolade for your work and accomplishments? Let your colleagues and AFP know! Simply send your current AND new job information (including city and state/province), or information about your recognition, to ewire@afpnet.org. Please include the phrase “member motion” in the subject line.

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