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Free PDFs of AFP's Popular Ready Reference Series

As a benefit and service to help fundraisers through the current challenging economic environment, AFP is pleased to offer all of its Ready Reference volumes FREE to all members. Members may download any and all of the Ready Reference booklets in PDF format.

The Ready Reference series is a great little resource for the busy practitioner or a wonderful introduction for someone new to the office, whether it is a new CEO or a new assistant.

These handy booklets contain specific information on important topics identified by our Resource Center patrons. Each booklet presents information in an interesting, informative, hands-on format, giving fundraising professionals a very quick guide they can follow to expand and improve their fundraising efforts. The booklets include many how-to tips, step-by-step instructions and insights into specific aspects of fundraising and philanthropy.

The series currently comprises nine titles with one French and six Spanish translations.

The titles are available by logging into the AFP website and clicking on “Member Resources” and then “Member Discounts.”

Hard-copy versions of each Ready Reference booklet are available for order through the AFP Online Bookstore.

NOTE: Several of these volumes were printed before AFP made substantial changes to its Code of Ethical Principles and Standards. The updated version of the code can be found at

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AFP, The Globe and Mail Create 'A Time to Give'

AFP is continuing its partnership with The Globe and Mail through a special June 27 philanthropy supplement entitled “A Time to Give.”

This special national report will investigate how charities are addressing the current global economic crisis and why charitable contributions are needed now more than ever. Other topics will include the best ways donors can support a charity in the current climate, ethics and public trust, innovative programs and services being offered and planned giving, bequest and endowments.

Members are encouraged to advertise in this premier report as it will be a tremendous opportunity to reach a wide cross-section of donors and constituents. Special advertising discounts are available. The deadline for reserving space is April 26.

The Globe and Mail reaches 1.3 million daily readers and is a favorite publication of Canadian senior executives, read by 71 percent of all executives and 76 percent of presidents, CEOs and chairpersons.

“In these economically-challenging times, this type of national supplement focusing on philanthropy is more important than ever,” said Paulette V. Maehara, CFRE, CAE, president and CEO of AFP. “Charities can’t afford to pull back on their marketing and advertising efforts, and we believe our partnership with The Globe and Mail is an extraordinary value and opportunity for members to show all of Canada how they’re helping to improve the world. I encourage members to participate in this special report.”

The supplement will include a limited number of one-eighth, quarter-, half- and full-page advertising positions. The Globe and Mail will also reprint additional copies of the report and provide an online PDF version of the supplement. The special section also will appear online at for seven days and thereafter will be archived for 90 days.

Interested members can contact Richard Deacon, “A Time to Give” project manager, at (604) 631-6636 or

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Poitier to Speak at AFP International Conference on Fundraising

Academy Award-winning actor and activist Sidney Poitier will replace Michael Douglas as the featured plenary speaker on Tuesday of AFP’s International Conference on Fundraising. Poitier is one of the most renowned and respected actors in the world and appeared in a series of ground-breaking movies that addressed the issues of racial and social inequality. Doris Kearns Goodwin and Christopher Gardner will also be speaking. More information about the conference can be found at the link below.

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AFP Now Accepting Proposals to Speak at 2010 Conference

AFP is now accepting proposals to speak at the International Conference on Fundraising in Baltimore on April 11-14, 2010. The online proposal form is now available in the Speaker Service Center at The deadline to submit proposals is Friday, Apr. 24, 2009.

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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 Please include the phrase “member motion” in the subject line.

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Readers Respond to Helmsley’s Historic Bequest

AFP eWire recently asked for reader feedback about the use of Leona Helmsley’s $5.2 billion bequest and the ramifications for donor intent.

In an unusual case that is raising eyebrows among fundraisers and donors alike, a court defied Helmsley’s wish for the bulk of her $5.2 billion estate to be directed solely to the care and welfare of dogs. Although a mission statement she signed in 2004 revoked a statement about money going to human services, Helmsley did add to the final mission statement the phrase “and such other charitable activities as the trustees shall determine,” as reported by The New York Times.

Here is what members had to say about the situation. (The original story can be found here.)

Reader responses:

"As much as I celebrate these funds becoming available for humanitarian purposes, I am deeply concerned that this court action seems to undermine the longstanding support for donor intent as the determining factor for how contributions are used.  This is likely to be viewed – years from now – as a ‘camel’s nose in the tent’ creating an avalanche of unappreciated ramifications for the philanthropic community." 

—M. Kent Stroman, CPA, CFRE , president, Stroman & Associates, Bartlesville, Okla.

"While we all feel that a donor’s wishes should be followed in the subsequent distribution of a bequest, it may be well to pause and reflect on the question of totality. When a bequest as large as Leona Helmsley’s is so narrow in scope as to be open to question then maybe there needs to be some tolerance for court intervention.

In this case, since it is the Trustees who brought the motion into question, this may reflect the exception to the rule. Each case must be viewed accordingly.

I speak from the point of view of one of several charities who are collectively challenging a will that was rewritten three or four times in the last three or four years of the person’s life and subsequently eliminated all charities from the final will. The courts to-date have seen fit to send this to mediation as a result of our challenges."

—Jim Allen, ACFRE

"If a donor’s wishes cannot be honored after the person passes away, then why should the person designate such gifts?  The person’s wishes should be honored. It was their money to begin with,"

—Nyla Ptomey Ph.D., director of development and stewardship, Lubbock, Texas

As long as Mrs. Helmsley indicated that the trustees could also support “such other charitable activities as the trustees shall determine,” I don’t see this decision as negating donor intent. If she wanted to limit support only to animal welfare, she could have done so. The language of the mission statement clearly seems to give the trustees wide discretion." 

—Dennis W. Fliehman, president and CEO, Capital Region Community Foundation, Lansing, Mich.

"Legally, it should ride on the form and circumstances of the revocation statement. If it was not formally done, then it probably is not at all binding. This may be a case of bad facts making bad law. With a narcissistic and self-willed personality like Leona Helmsley, I can see that she may well not have observed the legal niceties that would have made the revocation fully binding on the trustees. 

With a better-advised and more observant trustor, however, it can easily be said that a clear intent in the will or trust instrument to leave their money for dogs, cats, or the building of a hotel on Mars, could easily be fully enforceable.

Hopefully, this case will not establish a bad precedent for trust and will interpretation in the future.

As you could probably tell, I am a lawyer who 'retired' to the nonprofit world."

—J C Stromberger, executive director, Lifetime Recovery, San Antonio, Texas

"According to your report, Mrs. Helmsley deliberately declined to make the canine limitation legally binding, and she also included a clause that allowed for "other charitable activities."  Therefore the court decision to permit grants to other charitable purposes seems proper."

—Cecil Phillips, management consultant, Baton Rouge, La. 

"I think the lesson to take away from the legal overturn of Leona Helmsley's final wishes is to be as careful as possible when crafting that final document. If the true intentions are not guarded, there will be many ways around the last request—especially when you're dealing with billions of dollars and members of the family.  If she wanted it to go to the dogs, she should have stated so unequivocally. The dogs could use it just now. Too bad."

—Lynn R. Terelle, director of development for Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic in Massachusetts

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Nonprofits Pinched in Changing Economic Landscape

A report by two former presidential domestic policy advisers reveals some of the challenges faced by the nonprofit sector as a result of the economy and provides public policy recommendations to help spur nonprofit recovery.

Bruce Reed, director of domestic policy for President Bill Clinton, and John M. Bridgeland, who held the same job under President George W. Bush, survey the plight of America's nonprofits, and offer a road to recovery. Their report The Quiet Crisis: The Impact of the Economic Downturn on the Nonprofit Sector, uncovers the following examples of a pinch being felt in the nonprofit sector.

  • Churches, many of which deliver social services to the poor and needy, raised $3 billion to $5 billion less than expected in the last quarter of 2008;
  • United Way saw a 68 percent increase during the past year in the number of calls for basic needs such as securing food, shelter, and warm clothing;
  • Chicago's Meals on Wheels is trimming its budget by 35 percent; and
  • The State of Arizona reports an increase of more than 100 percent in the number of people who sought social services from 2007 to 2008.

In a survey conducted of 800 nonprofits at the end of 2008 by the Bridgespan Group, 75 percent of nonprofits reported already feeling the effects of the downturn, with 52 percent already experiencing cuts in funding. Of those receiving less funding, 49 percent reported a 10 percent to 20 percent decrease in funding, while 25 percent of these nonprofits revealed that funding had been cut by 21 percent or more.

Across the country, nonprofits are feeling the pinch, particularly those that rely on government funding, the Bridgespan study revealed, (with 61 percent of nonprofits reporting cuts in government funding) and those that rely on foundations for monetary contributions (with 48 percent of nonprofits reporting cuts in foundation funding).

State Budget Troubles

Added to the increased need and decreased income many nonprofits are seeing, there are also reports of states seeing budget shortfalls, which also affect charities.

  • Michigan recently sent out letters announcing that the state had the right to delay payments to nonprofits by up to 45 days and suggesting that it may take steps to extend the delay further.
  • In California, the Human Services Department in Sonoma County had to cut its contributions to a variety of local nonprofits, various women’s and children’s shelters, and the YMCA, which will lose roughly $700,000.
  • The State of Minnesota is facing a $4.8 billion deficit in the next 2 years, despite the rising demand for public services.

Policy Proposals

Reed and Bridgeland go on to suggest a series of post-partisan solutions designed to spur nonprofit recovery and give more Americans the opportunity to serve, including:

Pass the Serve America Act. In his address to Congress last week, President Obama called on legislators to send him the Serve America Act, authored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), which will triple to 250,000 the opportunities for Americans to perform national and community service to meet compelling needs (such as increasing high school graduation rates); establish a tax incentive for employers who allow employees to take paid leave for full-time service; create "Encore Fellowships" to help retirees serve long-term; establish a "Volunteer Generation Fund" to help nonprofits organize more volunteers to meet demand and provide support to social entrepreneurs.

Adopt tax incentives to expand private giving and volunteering. Making the tax code “nonprofit-friendly” would help to keep up contributions from ordinary Americans. Some of the targeted incentives highlighted in the paper include: extending the IRA rollover so that those over 70 years of age can make tax-free withdrawals to contribute to charity, creating a broad-based nonprofit investment tax credit and allowing taxpayers who do not itemize to claim a deduction for charitable contributions.

Create a "Social Innovation and Compassion Capital Fund." A fund established to give capital to social entrepreneurs, invest in new ideas and approaches, and improve existing systems could give innovation in the nonprofit community a much-needed boost.

Utilize nonprofit housing and financial institutions in solving the nation's massive mortgage and foreclosure problems. The federal government should make full use of community development financial institutions and nonprofit housing organizations that already oversee billions of dollars in mortgages and loans to low-income communities and individuals, but are driven by results—not bonuses. The paper reports that at many of these institutions, the entire payroll is smaller than the executive bonuses at the major financial firms on Wall Street.

The full text of this report can be viewed on the Democratic Leadership Council’s website at

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Colleges and Universities Raised Record Amounts in 2008, But Worry for Future  

Charitable contributions to colleges and universities in the United States grew by 6.2 percent in 2008, reaching $31.6 billion. Endowments, though, saw a less than 1 percent gain.

The $31.60 billion raised in 2008 is the highest total ever reported, according to results of the annual Voluntary Support of Education (VSE) survey, released recently by the Council for Aid to Education (CAE). The 6.2 percent increase was above average for recent years. Over the past ten years the average annual increase in contributions to higher education institutions has been 5.7 percent.

The top twenty institutions represent only 1.9 percent of the 1,052 survey respondents. However, contributions to these twenty institutions account for 26.6 percent of all 2008 gifts to higher education institutions.

The increase in gifts to these twenty institutions accounts for 46.9 percent of the national increase. If not for the large revenue increases of the top 20 schools, giving to colleges and universities would show a decline of 4.2 percent. If the top 20 colleges and universities are removed from the data, about half of the individual institutions remaining posted increases in support, and half reported declines.

The nation’s top twenty fundraising universities (and dollars received) in 2008 are the following:

1. Stanford University ($785.04 million)

2. Harvard University ($650.63 million)

3. Columbia University ($495.11 million)

4. Yale University ($486.61 million)

5. University of Pennsylvania ($475.96 million)

6. University of California, Los Angeles ($456.65 million)

7. Johns Hopkins University ($ 448.96 million)

8. University of Wisconsin-Madison ($410.23 million)

9. Cornell University ($409.42 million)

10. University of Southern California ($409.18 million)

11. Indiana University ($408.62 million)

12. New York University ($387.61 million)

13. Duke University ($385.67 million)

14. University of California, San Francisco ($366.07 million)

15. University of Michigan ($333.45 million)

16. Massachusetts Institute of Technology ($311.90 million)

17. University of Minnesota ($307.61 million)

18. University of Washington ($302.77 million)

19. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ($292.39 million)

20. University of California, Berkeley ($285.35 million)

Endowment Concerns

A compounding problem facing universities is that of sharply declining endowments, the council reports. The value of endowments dropped because of the performance of the stock market and, in certain cases, questionable investments. “Endowments are often a cushion for lean years, even if they decline somewhat during market downturns. In today’s environment, endowments are not able to play as protective a role,” the report stated.

In 2007, the endowments of institutions reporting to the survey for two consecutive years increased by 19.7 percent. In 2008, the core group of 967 institutions reported less than a percentage gain, meaning that the value of endowments had been eroded by inflation. Bearing in mind that the value of endowments was probably higher at the end of the fiscal year (June 30, 2008) than it was at the end of the calendar year (December 31, 2008), endowments will probably decline further, and some evidence recently reported in the news already attests to this trend, the report notes.

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The Minister of National Revenue Launches the Call for Proposals for the Charitable Sector

Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of National Revenue, is inviting charities and not-for-profit organizations that serve the charitable sector to submit project proposals for funding consideration under the Charities Partnership and Outreach Program.

"Charities offer valuable services in our communities, and we want to support them," said Minister Blackburn. "By providing contribution funding under the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Charities Partnership and Outreach Program, we are demonstrating our commitment to helping charities understand their obligations under the law. This will enable charities to be more effective in serving the community on the one hand and allow Canadians to continue to donate with confidence on the other hand.”

To this effect, in the course of fiscal year 2009-2010, $3 million in contribution funding will be available, aimed at supporting sector education and training projects related to compliance. Under the program, selected projects can qualify for funding of up to $500,000 per year. For 2009?2010 (April 1, 2009, to March 31, 2010), only one-year projects will be considered for funding. The CRA, in consultation with members of the voluntary sector and other government departments, will recommend for funding suitable projects related to one or more of the following priorities:

  • requirements and obligations of charitable registration;
  • gifts to non-qualified donees;
  • safeguards against terrorism; and
  • small and rural charities.

Keep in mind that the Charities Partnership and Outreach Program is a contribution funding program designed to support compliance?related education and training projects for charities. It offers funding to registered charities and non?profit organizations serving the charitable sector in Canada to support projects designed to:

  • raise awareness among the charitable sector of regulatory obligations under the Income Tax Act;
  • increase the capacity of the charitable sector in meeting regulatory requirements in a sustainable fashion; and
  • improve the capacity of the charitable sector to develop and deliver sustainable compliance?based education and training solutions.

The deadline for applications is March 27, 2009.

For more information about this call for proposals, including the application process and funding priorities, or to find out more about previously funded projects, go to the CRA's Charities and Giving Web page at, or call 1-866-816-7604.

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