Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Wish List of Books for Nonprofit Folk

We have a tradition in our family for the day after Thanksgiving. We all have our Christmas wish list of books, CDs and DVDs and we go to Amazon.com as a group and I do a good deal of my Christmas shopping all at once. This year I have a longer list than usual because like lots of other people I have given up my newspaper subscription and so I have more time for books. It is always fun just to see what each of us wishes for - we all have very different tastes. Sometimes we just have an author or artist and we check to see if there is something new. I don’t buy everything on the lists, but I do get most of it. When we are done, everyone is exhausted (Online shopping isn’t supposed to be exhausting, I know) but there is also a quiet joy that some things we actually really want to have will be under the Christmas tree.

Last year I blogged about books you might want to give your nonprofit friends or put on your wish list for the holidays and this was one of my most read blog articles. So here is this year’s list – just in time for the holidays.

I’ve included books by authors who I know and I’ve heard them speak on the topic they have written about. Some of these books are on my Christmas list and then I hope to have them signed by the authors at the NTEN 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference in March. I asked some of my friends on Linkedin to contribute to this list and they provided great suggestions. The result is not a long laundry list but rather an eclectic list providing choices ranging from downright practical to ones that will have you jump out of your chair with enthusiasm and inspiration. Actually I think there are a few that can do both. All of the books on this list have rave reviews at Amazon – Check them out for yourself.

At the end of this article there are links to Amazon for each of the books on this list.

Leadership and Innovation
The Power of Social Innovation: How Civic Entrepreneurs Ignite Community Networks for Good by Stephen Goldsmith - This book looks like an inspirational yet practical guide (Lots of case studies) to social innovation and creative ways for overcoming obstacles to change. Recommended by Jesse Wiley

Linchpin by Seth Godin - Seth Godin is the author of 10 best selling books and really a 21st century leadership guru. He used to be thought of as a marketing expert but his work has gone way beyond marketing. One reviewer sums up Linchpin this way - “This book breaks down every barrier we've built between ourselves and our greatness.” Recommended by Pamela Grow

Soul of a Citizen by Paul Loeb - Allison Jones says that Loeb “focuses on the importance of developing spiritual strength, living deliberately and thoughtfully, the challenges we face on that journey, and remembering why we got into nonprofit work in the first place.” The Amazon reviews are excellent on this book first published in hardcover in 1999 and released in paperback for the first time this year. Recommended by Allison Jones

The Nonprofit Marketing Guide: High-Impact, Low-Cost Ways to Build Support for Your Good Cause by Kivi Leroux Miller - This is the definitive resource for nonprofit marketing. It is a must have resource if you are interested in this topic.No one covers this topic better than Kivi - she was my favorite speaker at this year's NTC conference.  Recommended by Jesse Wiley and me

The Ask: How to Ask for Support for Your Nonprofit Cause, Creative Project, or Business Venture by Laura Fredricks: Laura is a well known expert in fundraising and this book appears to be thorough and if you’ll excuse the pun “right on the money.”  Recommended by Jesse Wiley

Developing Your Case for Support by Tim Seiler - This book will help you build a detailed case and case statement. There are exercise worksheets and a step by step process to follow. Looks like a winner to me. Recommended by Linda Lysakowski

Linda also is the author of The Development Plan - a best seller with AFP, and her newest book is Fundraising as a Career: What, Are You Crazy? Linda shares her expertise, provides solid guidance and will lead you in the right direction when it comes to anything to do with fundraising.

50 Asks in 50 Weeks by Amy Eisenstein – I had the privilege of hearing Amy deliver a workshop on this subject at the Charity Channel Summit in Saint Petersburg earlier this month. Amy gives great guidance for even a one person shop in choosing priorities and effectively completing 50 Asks in 50 Weeks. I walked away with a feeling that any development office could become more effective and focused by simply following Amy’s straightforward, no nonsense advice. Recommended by me.

The Handbook of Nonprofit Governance by BoardSource - This is a basic Boardsource reference book that is sometimes just what we need. Recommendation by Jesse Wiley

Nonprofit Technology and Social Media
The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change by Beth Kanter and Allison Fine -  This book is one of the top books for nonprofits published this year and will for sure be on many wish lists. Nobody addresses this topic with such passion, knowledge and down to earth good advice as Beth and Allison. I had the pleasure of hearing Beth and Allison together at the NTC conference in Atlanta this year.  The room was overflowing with people standing and sitting in the aisles. Recommended by Jesse Wiley and me

The Idealware Field Guide to Software – Idealware is the consumer reports of nonprofit technology and the place to check out anything you want to know about technology for nonprofits. This handy, inexpensive field guide is a good first place to look for a high level overview of many nonprofit technology topics. Laura Quinn, co-author signed my copy at the NTC conference in Atlanta. Recommended by me.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

2010 High Net Worth Philanthropy Study and What It Means for Small Nonprofits

Through an ongoing research partnership with the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, the Bank of America and Merrill Lynch have sponsored their third extensive study of philanthropy by high net worth families. The study has lots of great information and provides comparison with the 2006 and 2008 studies so that we can see the trends. This series of studies are a major resource in understanding the philanthropic behavior of wealthy donors.

You can read a summary and download the full 75 page report here.

Framework and scope of the study
• More than 800 respondents throughout the United States with household income greater than $200,000 and/or net worth (excluding the value of their residence) of at least $1,000,000

• Average wealth of respondents was $10.7 million

• Respondents were asked about their giving for 2009

• Charitable giving by high net worth households to nonprofit organizations accounts for about two-thirds of all individual giving in the U.S.

Basic Highlights
• 98% of respondents donated to charity.
• 66% donated to same charities year after year
• Average giving dropped 35 percent from $83,034 in 2007 to $54,016 in 2009, after adjusting for inflation
• As reported in other studies for all donors, these respondents (64%) gave more to meet basic needs and for general operating support than they did in 2008. • When wealthy donors also volunteer they give significantly more.

Data that I Found Particularly Interesting
The most frequent categories that high wealth individuals gave to were:
  • Basic needs
  • Education
  • Arts
  • Religious
  • Health
Although the good news for basic needs categories is that the number of people giving is the highest, the more significant news is the bad news – this category has by far the lowest average gift. While the average gift to education and religious organizations is in the $10K - $13K range the average gift to basic needs organizations is under $3K. That is the challenge for these organizations and high net worth individuals – to learn how to raise the giving level. So although giving to basic needs is increasing while other formerly more popular categories is decreasing, there still is a great divide in giving levels among these categories.

In 2007 those “managing or selling a business” and “currently working” had the highest average gifts. But both have significantly dropped and those who are “retired” had the highest average gift in 2009.

How Donors Give – Cash is still king but nonprofits need to be cognizant of changing trends. 94% said they made a donation with a check in 2009 but only 78% said they plan to do so in the future. 41% said they plan to donate with a credit card and 33% said they plan to donate online. Respondents could make multiple choices. (Marion’s two cents – It is a bad idea for nonprofits to fret over the small percentage charge for paying by credit cards and online. We need to accept this as the preference for some donors. People want to make their donations in the same way they pay their bills. So – GET OVER IT!)

73% say they have a strategy for their giving and 61% say there are two or more people involved in the decision making. 85% say they instruct their children in philanthropic values and this manifests itself in a variety of ways. More than 70 percent of wealthy families have family traditions of involving children/younger relatives in charitable giving. Providing an opportunity for children – including adult children – to learn about the impact of their philanthropy may be a frontier for smaller locally based organizations to explore.

75% say that their personal experience with an organization influenced their giving. This really confirms how important it is to get a potential wealthy donor to come through your door. This can be a particularly tough challenge for small urban based charities but one that they should not overlook. Having events where people “visit your home” rather than a suburban catering hall may be something to look at.
  Top reasons that motivate giving: Moved at how gift can make a difference (72%) and giving to an organization that is efficient (71%). An interesting piece of data in this category is “Being Asked” dropped from 48% in 2008 to 31% in 2010. So the lesson here is it isn’t enough to just ask – you better be prepared to say how their gift will make a difference.

Why Wealthy Donors Stop Donating - In 2009, almost all households stopped giving to at least one organization that they previously supported. The top four reasons cited for why they stopped giving to a particular charity last year included:
59% Too frequent solicitation/organization asked for inappropriate amount
34% Decided to support other causes
29% Household circumstances changed
29% Organization changed leadership or activities

A couple of lessons here - Frequently we are coached to not “leave money on the table” and make sure you ask for enough. Be careful in this area and make sure you know what you are doing. Also, when you have a change in leadership, take care to introduce the new person and develop confidence in their leadership.

There are lots more so download and read the whole study.  Let’s discuss it - please leave your comments on the study here.
This article provides some key highlights and data analysis that is of particular interest to me. And as always – comes with my own commentary. Since many of the organizations I work with are small to medium sized and locally based my highlights and comments are those that I think are most pertinent for them.