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Archive for the ‘finance’ Category

In its second edition of the World Giving Index, the Charities Aid Foundation has determined that the United States is the most charitable country in the world.

The study found that out of the 153 countries evaluated, the people in the United States were the most generous with their donation and volunteering for charities and other nonprofit organizations.

The study also showed that giving globally has increased by 2% and that volunteering has increased by 1%.

The report also has a great picture showing how giving has been distributed (originally found at http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2011/12/world-giving-index-2011.html ) shown below:

Map of Giving

Charities Aid Foundation

 

For more information read the report at https://www.cafonline.org/publications/2011-publications/world-giving-index-2011.aspx

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Bell Ringers

Akron Kiwanis

During the ‘Season of Giving,’ most of us are aware that churches and nonprofit organization rely upon the generosity of others for their operations.

Lest we forget, we often receive several letters, emails, phone calls, and of course we will see the Salvation Army bell ringers. However, while most of us are on the receiving end of soliciation… very few of us are aware of the great amount of detail and effort that larger nonprofit organizations use to research and track our giving habits.

Just like retailers and credit companies, many larger nonprofit organizations rely upon market research and public information to learn about our philanthropic passions and wealth. In a recenet NYT article, “Taking Fundraising to the Next Level, author Rob Lieber highlights just how a larger nonprofit organization like a hospital, college, or major foundation will likely track your information.

For most small nonprofit leaders, and most donors, this article will likely be the first time that you see how professional fundraising is done, and like the author, I would say that I support their efforts- even if it seems a little unsettling.

As I read this article, I thought it would also be a great way to help leaders of smaller nonprofit organizations see the bigger picture and learn how some of the biggest and best fundraisers in America support their causes and philanthropy organizations.

Enjoy the reading and have a Merry Christmas.

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If you have read the book Freakonomics, or listened to Marketplace on NPR, then you probably are familiar with Stephen J. Dubner’s use of statistics to explain common behaviors in economics and society.

As a stats junkie myself, I love their work, and on Tuesday’s Marketplace radio program- Dubner reported on some truths and myths about fundraising (to listen to the program, click the NPR link above). Dubner’s report included an interview with John List, who is a professor at the Univ of Chicago. Professor List studies the economics of charities

So here is a taste from the interview:

  • Seed Money helps– The more seed money that you have induces more people to give, and those people tend to give more money.
  • Matching Gifts– only work up to a 1-1 match.  People will not usually give more than the original match amount (this is contrary to most expert advice)
  • Raffles are a Big Deal– Research shows that by offering someone a prize will increase their gift by almost 100%
  • One & Done- This is new, but it gives control to the donor. Donors who are offered the “give us one gift and you can tell use never to contact you again” option, tend to give more money and more often. Few actually choose to not be contacted again.
  • Guilt Pleas Don’t Work– You may get a 1 time gift from guilt or shame tactics, but in the long run you are only burning bridges.

As you think about how to raise money for your organization and its operations, I would encourage you to consider this information. Take a moment to think about how you raise money for your annual fundraising, and take a second to listen to the full interview.

Blog Notes- the above bullets are paraphrases from the interview found in the Freakonomics & Marketplace Report for Nov. 29, 2011.

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White Chapel

photo: edgeplot

Unlike most commercial businesses, which have a common standard by which to rate their financial operations and health, churches struggle to identify healthy financial norms.

Part of the reason for this struggle has to do with the following reasons:

  • Churches are faith based organizations
  • Church are contextual
  • Churches are organized by mixed polity (denomination or independent)
  • Churches are exempt from many IRS and government reporting requirements
  • Churches vary in size, financial support, and ministry
  • Churches don’t usually follow GAAP (General Accepted Accounting Principles)
  • Churches are run by volunteers

However, while all of these factors cause incongruity, there are a number of common ratios and principles that many churches share related to income, expense, debt, membership and worship attendance. I have highlighted a few of these in some of my earlier posts (please see: Financial Rules: Ministry Distribution), but another resource is a new financial database that was created by Capin and Crouse, CPA. (more…)

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mobile wallet

Feuillu

The holiday season is upon us, and I have begun to plan out my end of year donations. So far it has been fairly easy to make donations online, but in a few cases I have become frustrated by the multiple steps/screens to set up an account.

If you have ever tried to make an online donation, then likely you share my pain.

  • First, you log on to a website of your favorite charity.
  • Then you click the “Donate Now” button.
  • Next you are taken to an second screen and asked to fill out an online form with your name, address, and contact information.
  • Then are asked to enter your bank account or credit card info.
  • And finally you are asked to enter your amount and to click submit.

Now if you were not counting… that is approximately 5 steps.

Not bad, but what if it only took 1 step… sort of like swiping your credit card, writing a check, or dropping cash into an offering plate?

If banks and retail stores have figured out away to make shopping convenient, why can’t charities and banks find a way to make online giving easier?

Enter the mobile wallet.

Originally designed to assist customers to shop at online merchants, (more…)

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Graph showing giving in December

Network for Good

Most churches know that December is a big month for income, and overall online giving for nonprofits mirrors this trend.

In a recent report by Network for Good, research found that 33% of all online giving happens in the month of December.  This is an important statistic to help organizations plan for their operating cash flow, but it also highlights the need to keep websites active and easy to navigate.

Further research shows that many people will make a final blitz of giving on Dec. 31,  in order to beat the tax deadline, a date when many nonprofits are closed.

If you have or are considering online giving, I hope this information will encourage you to review your online giving plans before Dec. 1.

Blog Notes: Special thanks to Network for Good for sharing this information.

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10 Dimes

The Good Foundation

Today my wife sent me an article entitled, “Is Tithing Realistic?” It is written by Peter Dunn, aka Pete the Planner, on his blog www.petetheplanner.com.

If you don’t know Pete, you may not be aware that most of his blogs are about how to manage money. Usually they are logical, funny, and a bit crass, but rarely do they tackle religious topics.

However, in this blog, Pete tries to tackle the religious spiritual practice of tithing. Or in layman’s terms, the philanthropic practice of giving 10% of your income to God, for the support of the church, its charitable programs, and its operations.

It is an interesting article because it is written by a financial planner, who admittedly says:

  1. He is a Christian
  2. He struggles to tithe- and doesn’t quite achieve it
  3. That his post is not about scripture or the religious reasons of the practice
  4. And that he feels uncomfortable writing this blog

However, what I really loved about the blog, was that Pete didn’t stop there… He continues by admitting what makes tithing hard:

  1. God doesn’t have a bank account- God isn’t going to knock on your door to collect (more…)

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People meeting together

nateOne

The top ten list below came from the Boardsource’s website, which is a great resource for any and all nonprofit organizations.

Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards

  1. Determine mission and purpose. It is the board’s responsibility to create and review a statement of mission and purpose that articulates the organization’s goals, means, and primary constituents served.
  2. Select the chief executive. Boards must reach consensus on the chief executive’s responsibilities and undertake a careful search to find the most qualified individual for the position.
  3. Support and evaluate the chief executive. The board should ensure that the chief executive has the moral and professional support he or she needs to further the goals of the organization.
  4. Ensure effective planning. Boards must actively participate in an overall planning process and assist in implementing and monitoring the plan’s goals. (more…)

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On Monday, I talked about how technology can bridge the accountability gap that separates donors from beneficiaries, and in the post I shared that I would write 3 blogs showing how such examples can be used. This is the last of three posts.

When I talk with pastors and nonprofit leaders I often hear the complaint, “There is just so much to do, and it is really hard to keep our website updated.”

Having been a pastor and a leader of several nonprofit organizations, I totally understand.

Question: So how can an organization create a great website that has the normal static and important information, with a website that is updated frequently?

Answer: Using RSS Feeds, Blogs, and Twitter Feeds.

One of the best examples of this combination is Keep Indianapolis Beautiful ‘s website- www.kibi.org (Be aware that the organization uses green colors to match their environmental theme). By looking on the main page, you will see a twitter column (newsfeed) on the bottom right and a blog feed in the middle of their main page (the pic below is a screenshot- click to enlarge).

 

By using these tools, you can use blogs and twitter to help communicate the many ways in which your organization impacts your community.

Blog Notes: Thanks to KIB for letting me highlight their page.

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I am just returning back to work after a week of vacation, and while I was away, I read an article that discussed how, “There is a lack of accountability within philanthropy because the people who provide the resources aren’t sufficiently well-connected to the beneficiaries they are supposed to be funding. ”

In short, the article said that technology can:

  1. Help bridge the gap between donors who provide the money to sustain a mission and those who receive the service as a benefit. (more…)

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