This month, the UK-based Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) released their report Charity Street II: The value of charity to British households. Over 2,000 households responded to the survey this past February which was aimed at discovering [Read more…]
This week we’re delighted to welcome HBG Research Associate Rachel Dakarian to the Intelligent Edge. Rachel and Elizabeth Roma will be presenting on July 28th at the APRA International Conference in Nashville, TN. I asked Rachel to give us a glimpse into their topic, and now I can’t wait to see the presentation! Follow Rachel on Twitter at @Rachel_Dakarian.
Just when, exactly, did the “fasten seatbelt” sign turn on? 2016 has been an unexpectedly bumpy ride so far and we should prepare for ongoing turbulence. You might think we data junkies would be harder to spook after acclimating to the never-ending squawk of the 24-hour news cycle, but the constant stream of real-time information provided by social media continues to simultaneously help and hinder our ability to decipher signal from noise. [Read more…]
This month we welcome HBG Research Associate Heather Hoke to the blog. Even before she joined HBG, Heather had years of experience with the benefits of being a remote worker. In this week’s post, Heather shares her knowledge and some of the latest research on why virtual workers may make sense for your organization.
Are you looking to hire or retain a superstar fundraising researcher? Consider implementing flexible work arrangements, including work-from-home (WFH) policies. There are benefits to both employers and employees.
Based on what I see on Prspct-L and APRA’s Career Center, many nonprofits are hiring new staff in prospect development. There are some 5,300 colleges and universities and more than 1.5 million nonprofits in the US, and there are about 2,000 APRA members worldwide. As you can see, the potential pool of development researchers to be employed at these institutions is quite small. If you are not looking to hire now, you likely will be in the future. A survey released by CareerBuilder found that more than one in five employees are planning to leave their current place of employment during 2016, a 5% increase since last year. Why not do something that will keep your best employees and expand your hiring pool to include people that live in other states? [Read more…]
It’s early April, and you’re trying to get in touch with your New York-based board member to schedule a meeting. If you guessed that he’s in Georgia (at the Masters), you’re probably right. Want to know more about where he’ll likely be in May and June?
Well, here you go: global real estate experts Knight Frank teamed up with NetJets and WINGX Advance to track worldwide private jet migration patterns for the wealthy worldwide. The information they found is illustrated in a cool global event calendar on page 35 of the 2016 Knight Frank Wealth Report. [Read more…]
I know you know this, but you are awesome.
As we say au revoir to another #ResearchPride month, I wanted to let you know that I (and all of the other #ResearchPride bloggers**) deeply appreciate that you have read, supported, and enthusiastically shared this month’s posts through social media and word of mouth. It’s a big deal to us, and we thank you. [Read more…]
With Prospect Development Pride Month 2016 fully underway, it’s been an entertaining parade of great stories, slices-of-work-life moments, and celebrations of success in the blog articles, LinkedIn posts, and tweets that folks from five countries have shared. (I count the USA, Canada, England, Ireland and Spain so far. Have I missed anyone? How about it, Aussie cousins? Any pride in Scotland? Join the party!)
#ResearchPride is growing! [Read more…]
Often in recent years, when I have spoken about the growth of my company, I have pretty much always used one particular word to describe our success. In response to friends remarking on the growth of HBG, I’d always say, “Yes, we’ve been very lucky.” And then I’d knock wood.
(I’m not superstitious, but, hey, it can’t hurt, right?)
Then last October, I was having lunch with my friend Maggie in a you-have-to-go-there kind of bistro in London. She remarked happily on HBG’s growth and success, I replied with my usual reply, knocked on the table, and looked down at my plate to fork the next amazing mouthful. After a couple of seconds, I realized that Maggie had gone quiet. I looked up and saw that she was giving me an interesting look that I hadn’t seen on her face before. [Read more…]
You probably already know that everyone who works at HBG is a full-time employee, but except for a core group of us who come into HQ every day, most of us work virtually. We have satellite offices in Montana, Louisiana, Iowa, New York, Maryland, Tennessee, South Carolina and Massachusetts.
Unless we’re flat-out-crazy-busy or traveling, every other week we have a staff meeting, even though we’re far apart. It used to be a boring conference call, but now we use a service that allows us to see each others’ faces as we chat, à la Brady Bunch. [Read more…]
Is there a link between income inequality and philanthropic giving stagnation?
Chris Carnie, chair of the UK prospect research firm, Factary, thinks there might be. In his recent blog post, Chris writes about middle donors, the lifeblood of every nonprofit:
Over here in the United States, the middle class is shrinking to its smallest cohort since 1971. According to the Pew Research Center, that statistic actually carries a small amount of good news in that there has been a greater shift of families moving up economically than down. The down side is that there is less wealth to go around for the 80% left in the middle, lower-middle, and lowest income tiers.
And just like the UK, charitable giving in the United States is also static; here it’s been around 2% of gross domestic product since record-counting began in the 1970s. Is that stagnation related solely to economic factors? Or is there more?
In an opinion piece on the Chronicle of Philanthropy (CoP) website this week, Kevin Murphy, immediate past chair of the board of directors of the Council on Foundations suggests that the problem with stagnation of giving in our sector is simply not reaching high enough. He argues that the philanthropic sector needs to band together in support of a common goal:
“Instead of focusing on narrow tax incentives, it’s time for charities and foundations to set national goals for increasing the amount that Americans give to nonprofit organizations.
For as long as records have been kept, charitable giving has remained stuck at about 2 percent of the gross domestic product. There may be a lot of reasons that we’ve never grown that number, but one surely is that we’ve never set a bigger national goal.
As we open a year of presidential elections — and much deliberation about the state of the country — it’s the right time for nonprofits to decide we will work together to increase charitable giving to at least 3 percent of our gross domestic product in the next three years.”
But who would fund and organize (and run?) that amorphous campaign? And would it work?
History shows that the answer is no.
Suzanne Perry in the CoP article “The Stubborn 2% Giving Rate” writes:
“[E]ven in the best of times, organized efforts to get people to give more have sputtered.
Independent Sector, a coalition of charities and foundations, led a sustained campaign in the late 1980s and early 1990s to get everyone to increase their donations. Known as Give Five, it placed magazine, radio, and television ads urging Americans to donate 5 percent of their gross incomes to charity—up from the average of about 2 percent that its surveys showed individuals were giving then.
The effort attracted millions of dollars in foundation money and spawned dozens of local efforts around the country. The Advertising Council adopted the campaign, soliciting free services from ad agencies. It had a logo (a circle with a small 5-percent wedge highlighted) and slogans like “Give Five: What You Get Back Is Immeasurable.”
But it didn’t work.
“There were a few blips where it went up a little bit, but there was never any real measurable, strong increase,” says John Thomas, who was vice president for communications at Independent Sector at the time. One problem, he suspects: Giving is a “very personal thing,” and some people didn’t like being told how much they should give.”
So what’s the answer?
Jay Love, CEO of Bloomerang and chair of the AFP Ethics Committee argues that there are five pragmatic, fixable factors blocking the growth of charitable giving.
- Hesitancy to invest in infrastructure
- Blind adherence to legacy fundraising tactics
- Lack of proper testing of fundraising methods
- Lack of proper training
- Poor donor retention
On that last point, Love says:
“[A]s long as the average nonprofit organization has an overall donor retention rate below 50%, the 2% of GDP barrier will not budge.
Just think what an overall rise in the donor retention rate of merely 10-15% would do for overall dollars raised, if all other factors remained constant. We could see the dollars raised percentage of the GDP growing to 3 or 4% over time!”
Naturally, I think prospect development has a large part to play.
There are more than 1.6 million nonprofit organizations in the US and the sector has been growing exponentially (according to the Urban Institute, the number of nonprofits in the United States grew 25 percent between 2001 and 2011).
With all of that growth, there are fewer than 5,000 prospect development professionals in our industry. (I’m counting APRA, AASP and RiF’s membership numbers and guesstimating the number of professionals who aren’t current members). Even if you take away half of the 1.6m number to accommodate for associations and grant-giving organizations, that’s one prospect development professional for every 160 nonprofits.
No wonder we can’t get any traction!
When you consider the huge impact that prospect development has brought to organizations that have invested in it, Jay Love’s arguments 1 through 4 clearly apply. Prospect development is only one piece of the professional fundraising toolkit, but it’s as important as every other necessary cog in the machine.
In fact, I believe that it’s one of the critical pieces that will help the nonprofit industry move forward, because we can help answer those pragmatic needs.
Reading these articles and opinions, it’s clear there are multiple reasons why we’re losing ground on middle donors. But to paraphrase Chris Carnie, there is an increasing number of wealthy people out there, and a lot more people in the world who need their help.
We need to borrow fundraising tactics, like prospect development, from others that are working, be courageous, and forge new paths for others to follow. Maybe if we do, 2016 will be the year we crack the 2% nut.