Friday, July 29, 2011

Giving Graduates For Educational Institutions

Here's an article that appeared in one of the recent editions of NPT's Instant Fundraising newsletter:

Fundraisers at educational institutions estimate that donations during the academic year that ended June 30, 2011, increased by 4.7 percent compared to the previous year, according to survey results released today by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) in Washington, D.C. They also predicted further growth of 5.5 percent for the academic year that began July 1, 2011.

The CASE Fundraising Index (CFI) is conducted twice annually -- once at the end of the academic year and once at the end of the calendar year. It asks fundraising professionals at U.S. schools, colleges and universities to estimate the level of charitable giving to their institutions for the 12-month period just ended and to predict the level for the 12-months ahead.

For academic year 2011, there was a significant difference between estimates offered by public and private institutions of higher education. Fundraisers at public colleges and universities estimated that giving to their institutions increased by 2.6 percent, while their private counterparts estimated that giving had increased 5.7 percent more than the previous year.

“The differences between estimated results for public and private institutions underscore an important point regarding the CFI,” said CASE President John Lippincott. “The figures we report are averages. Actual results will vary based on the particular circumstances of an institution, including governance structure, geography, maturity of the fundraising program, influence of a current fundraising campaign and the potential donor base.”

Said Lippincott: “That said, there is very good news in these figures.”

Donors are still deeply committed to the strong tradition of giving to education in this country even in the aftermath of the great recession, he said. “In fact, the predicted 5.5 percent increase for the coming academic year is remarkably close to the 20-year average annual increase of 5.6 percent. These promising figures also reinforce the value of staying the course when it comes to fundraising programs.”

Fundraisers at independent elementary and secondary schools in the survey were less optimistic than their higher education counterparts for academic year 2012, estimating 3.2 percent growth.

Lippincott said the CFI is intended to complement work being done by other organizations that provide detailed analyses of giving based on actual results reported several months after the close of the calendar or academic year.

“The CFI gives us a snapshot of the educational fundraising landscape,” Lippincott said. “It is intended to help fundraisers set preliminary benchmarks for their recent performance as well as expectations for their future performance.”

The CFI is based on an online survey of senior-level fundraising professionals at more than 2,100 member institutions in the United States conducted during the first two weeks of July. The July 2011 CFI survey had a response rate of 8.3 percent. The 20-year average growth rate for giving to education is based on the Council for Aid to Education’s annual Voluntary Support of Education survey.

Why Are Nonprofit So Popular in Martha's Vineyard?

Even if you've never been there, you have surely heard of Martha's Vineyard.  Located south of Cape Cod, the island is a top vacation spot for tourists all over the country (and the world) in the summer.  Perhaps you are already planning on taking a vacation there this year.  Well here's something you might not know about this little island: It is home to a ton of nonprofit organizations.  They make up 13 percent of the island's GDP, a staggering number by any standard.

In a recent article in Martha's Vineyard Magazine, Peter Temple of Martha's Vineyard Donors Collaborative (MVDC) discusses why nonprofits are so popular on the island.  There are a number of reasons, but Temple highlights one in particular: There are many philanthropic issues that need attention there.  For such an idyllic location, there are many distressing statistics that hang over the Vineyard.  This includes an off-season unemployment rate of over 13 percent, median incomes that are 27 percent lower than the state average, and a major shortage of affordable housing.  This has been mainly a result of the huge population growth that the island has seen recently. 

With such troubling issues hitting Martha's Vineyard, it's no wonder that nonprofits have found a lot of important work to do there.  You can read the full article at to learn more about what MVDC does, and the relationship between not-for-profits and the island.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Walton Family Foundation Pledges Money To Teach For America

School may be out for the summer, but Alice Cooper was wrong on one count: It's not out forever. 

This is especially true when it comes to funding for educational organizations.  As was reported on The NonProfit Times yesterday, the Walton Family Foundation (WFF) pledged $49.5 million to Teach For America (TfA).  These funds will be distributed over a three-year period, with half of the money supporting TfA's goal of doubling the size of its teaching corps and assisting their network of alumni leaders in education.  The other half will support ongoing training and professional development.

This is not the first time that WFF, which is headed by the three children of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, has helped out Teach For America.  Since 1993, they have been the largest private donor to the organization at $22 million.  This newest donation specifically targets areas in the Delta Region of Arkansas and Mississippi.  There has been some speculation that the reason these areas were targeted is because Wal-Mart has recently expanded stores into those areas.  Jim Blew, leader of K-12 Education Reform efforts for WFF, has strongly denied these charges in a telephone interview:

"That’s nonsense.  We’ve been actively involved in these communities for several years now and we are interested in getting more teachers and looking for the leaders of tomorrow.”
If you are interested in reading the full article, head on over to NPT's website.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

NPTtv Summary: Grassley's At It Again

Note: This is a summary from a story from the newest episode of The NonProfit Times TV.

A familiar senator to nonprofits is back to his old tricks.

Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) introduced legislation that will go after charities that put money in off-shore accounts to avoid paying income taxes.  The senator, who has put nonprofits under federal scrutiny for the past several years, wants to block such organizations from getting federal grants from a program that helps prisoners re-enter society. 

This move comes a year after a committee hearing showed that the Boys & Girls Clubs held more than $50,000,000 off-shores in the Camen Islands, British Virgin Islands, and Bermuda.

NPTtv Summary: Giving Is Picking Up

Note: This is a summary of a story from the newest episode of The NonProfit Times TV.

For the 10th consecutive month, fundraising is on the rise.  The latest numbers from Blackbaud show that from March to May, overall charitable revenue went up 11.3% from 2010.  These numbers come from $2.3 billion in 12 months revenue from 1,383 nonprofits.  In addition, organizations of all sizes are experiencing growth for the first time since the Great Recession.  Those specific numbers are as followed:

  • Medium and large organizations grew by 10%
  • Small organizations (those with less than $1 million in annual fundraising revenue) grew by 17.6%
In addition these numbers, Blackbaud had other data to share:

  • Fundraising at arts and culture organizations grew nearly 12%
  • Human services and environmental groups were still down from their year earlier results.

NPTtv Summary: Going Into Orbit

Note: This is a summary of a story from the newest episode of The NonProfit Times TV.

That's one small step for man.  One giant leap for nonprofits.

NASA has announced that the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space  (CASIS) will develop and manage the US portion of the International Space Station.  CASIS will help make sure the station's unique capabilities are available to the broadest possible cross-section of the US scientific, technological, and industrial communities. 

CASIS will conduct their work at the Space Life Sciences Lab, which is located near NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  Much of their work will involve identifying opportunities non-NASA uses, linking scientific review and economic value.  Potential research and development opportunities will be matched with funding sources.  The organization will also increase awareness among schools and students about using the station as a learning platform.

New NPTtv Webcast Available For 7/27/2011

We have just released the newest webcast of The NonProfit Times TV for July 27th, 2011.  Here are some of the stories in this episode:

Full summaries for each of these stories will be posted shortly.  In the meantime, watch the entire webcast at NPTtv!

New Management Tips From The Bridge Conference

With The NonProfit Times attending the recently concluded 2011 Bridge Conference, we had the opportunity to pick up some new management tips based on the information presented at the event.  As such, we updated our site with three new tips in Research, Database, and Online.  Here is one on the subject of online fundraising:

With online fundraising, content is important. Don’t forget the content.

With online fundraising, technology is important. Don’t forget the technology.

So, which is more important? Both are important. During the recent Bridge Conference, Shabbir Imber Safdar of The Safdar Group tried to put things in perspective.

He gave this advice: When you have consistently put out a small, original email every other week for four months that talks about your work without being repetitive or tired, you’ve conquered the content beast. That done, you probably have enough experience producing content to look at your technology.

Once you do that, there is the minimum functionality you need:

• You have a constituent relationship management (CRM) system that understands basic nonprofit donor management.

• People who come to your website can sign up for your email list without your manual intervention.

• You can easily create donation forms and link them.

• You can place a piece of Javascript code on the donation form, the donation Thank you page and other pages of your website.

• You can compose an email (without using HTML); you can send an email and track opens and clicks.

He also said that an organization at this stage might also have to suffer with:

• Manually adding people from your donation forms to your CRM or your email list, and;
• A website that doesn’t look all that great.

To read the other tips from the Bridge Conference, visit NPT's management tips page.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Two Nonprofit Execs: Don't Reduce Charitable Deduction

In a recent opinion piece in The Star-Telegram, two nonprofit executives argued that the charitable deduction should be spared in the effort to reduce the federal deficit.  Nancy E. Jones, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of North Texas, and Tim McKinney of the United Way of Tarrant County, urged Congress and the Obama administration not to eliminate or reduce the tax deduction that donors currently receive.

According to the Telegram piece, the current proposal is to cap itemized deductions from 35 to 28 percent.  Jones and McKinney say that this would negatively impact the millions of Americans who rely on the programs and services that charities like the United Way provide.  They also argue that not only is the charitable deduction fair, but it is also a great way for the government to invest in communities.  The article uses the following example to make its point: When someone in the highest tax bracket makes a $1,000 donation to charity, the government forgoes $350 in tax revenue.  This allows the entire community to benefit from the individual's donation.

Jones and McKinney end their piece by urging those that agree with them to contact their members of Congress.  You can read the full article by visiting The Star-Telegram online.  In addition, Independent Sector has come out against this proposed change.  You can visit their website for a list of resources to have your voice heard on this issue.