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  • North Texas Raises Record $39.4 Million

    Philanthropy in Texas is showing little sign of stopping after $39.4 million was raised from over 137,000 gifts during the 18-hour North Texas Giving Day on Sept. 14. Hosted by the Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) in Dallas and powered by Austin-based  Kimbia, the giving day’s sum was a record for the nine-year-old event and drew $2 million more than 2016 while increasing participating nonprofits by 15 percent. It marks the giving day’s sixth consecutive year of year-over-year increased giving.

    This year’s event offered scheduled giving for the first time, with a reported $6 million scheduled in the week leading up to the giving day. The largest community foundation in the state and one of the largest in the country, CFT manages nearly 1,000 charitable funds and has awarded $1.7 billion in grants since its founding in 1953.

    “The North Texas community has once again blown us away with their generosity,” Susan Swan Smith, chief giving day officer at CFT and North Texas Giving Day team lead said in a release. “Raising funds for local philanthropy is more important than ever, and we are deeply grateful for the donors, nonprofits, volunteers and partners, like Kimbia, who make this event possible year after year.”

    Over 2,700 organizations benefited from the gifts, according to the event’s website. Launched in 2009 with a total of $4 million in donations, the event has now raised over $195 million during its history. The giving day, in particular, benefits organizations located in Dallas, Fort Worth, and surrounding areas. The demands of the region will continue to increase as those displaced in the long- and short-term by Hurricane Harvey relocate to the area, per the event’s website.

    The Mass Care Task Force and CFT’s Relief and Recovery Fund received a total of $370,000 from 1,775 donations during the giving day to support Harvey-related efforts. Mass Care Task Force, a collaboration between the American Red Cross North Texas Region, The Salvation Army Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex Command, North Texas Food Bank, and VolunteerNow serves those who have evacuated to shelters in Dallas and other locales across the state. CFT’s Relief and Recovery Fund is helping support mid-to-long-term rebuilding needs. Both are continuing fundraising efforts.

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  • Millennials Mobilizing Post-Election

    Millennials, defined as those born between 1980 and 2000, are dissatisfied with the country’s overall direction and are seeking out means of engaging in the aftermath of last year’s election. A recent survey of 3,000 Millennials showed that 39 percent believe that the country is heading in the wrong direction, while 29 percent feel otherwise and 32 percent believe that it is too early to tell. With regard to President Donald Trump, specifically, 49 percent of respondents indicated that they were dissatisfied with the president or extremely dissatisfied, while 27 percent indicated that they were satisfied or extremely satisfied with his performance.

    The responses are colored by the fact that 51 percent voted for Hillary Clinton as compared to 35 percent for Trump.

    The findings come from the second phase of the 2017 Millennial Impact Report conducted by Achieve and supported by The Case Foundation. The survey also showed that Millennials have turned their discontent into actionable items. Better than two out of five (42 percent) reported that they have shared more content about causes important to them on social media since the 2016 general election, while signing petitions (40 percent), applying social beliefs to purchasing decisions (37 percent), donating (35 percent), and volunteerism (31 percent) counted among other areas in which Millennials have increased participation in recent months.

    Males showed greater increases in actionable behavior across every subcategory as compared to females, an increase in amount or frequency of donations being the most popular (47 percent). Sharing content on social media was the most common increased behavior among females (38 percent).

    Millennials also show a particular interest in local causes (41 percent) as compared to national causes (19 percent). Males are more likely to draw toward national causes as compared to females (26 percent to 12 percent), while females drive the preference for local action (45 percent to 36 percent). Civil rights and racial discrimination (29 percent), employment and job creation (26 percent), healthcare reform (26 percent), and the environment (21 percent) represent causes and social issues of most interest.

    Recommendations made by authors of the report included educating yourself about the methods in which Millennials prefer to show support, align specific causes and social issues with platforms and pathways for action, and start catering to Millennials now as opposed to thinking of them as a future audience.

    Other key findings from the report included:

    . Millennials are more likely to engage in non-traditional means of support as compared to donating or volunteering. When asked which behavior is most typical for them, signing a petition (21 percent), attending a protest (16 percent), attending a rally or march (10 percent), and supporting political candidates of similar views as them (10 percent) were the leaders. Volunteering (7 percent) and donating (6 percent) were the sixth and eighth-most popular responses, respectively;

    . Millennials are most likely to self-define as cause and social-issue supporters (49 percent) as compared to activist (21 percent), advocated (17 percent), and ally (11 percent). Activists, among subgroups, have been the most likely to increase actionable behaviors since the general election. Activists are also the group most satisfied with the direction the country is heading (44 percent) as compared to allies (35 percent), advocates (33 percent), and supporters (36 percent); and,

    . They’re not completely confident in the nonprofit sector. When asked to rate their confidence in organizations to solve issues, just 57 percent said that they were confident or very confident. Males (68 percent) were far more confident in organizational performance than females (44 percent).

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  • EU Clamping Down On Data Use For Marketing

    Picture your marketing file, those thousands — maybe even millions — of names and related information. Think about where that information came from. Was it expressly provided by individuals for the purpose of being solicited? Did privacy policies disclose how and for how long information would be used and maintained? How would that file look if your organization took an opt-in, as opposed to opt-out, approach?

    Such questions have been on the minds of European fundraisers and marketers for more than a year now. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was adopted in April 2016 and will become enforceable on May 25, 2018. The regulation applies broadly, including nonprofits, for-profits, and public entities, noted Daniel Fluskey, head of research and policy at the Institute of Fundraising in London, U.K., a membership organization representing 3,000 British charities. The institute has been involved in the GDPR process including writing to members of European Parliament, Fluskey said via an email.

    The GDPR builds on previous data protection policies, namely the Data Protection Directive of 1995, so European Union (EU) charities should already have robust data protection policies in place, with many organizations taking this opportunity to review and refine. One of the biggest challenges the institute has heard about from the membership is the principle-based rules around things such as consent. These gray areas are challenging because there is no easy “yes” or “no,” according to Fluskey.

    Direct marketing and fundraising communications for email and text require consent under the regulation, but mail and telephone communications can still be lawfully conducted on an opt-out basis provided a charity can justify it under a “legitimate interest.” That legitimate interest essentially allows entities to process individuals’ personal data without affirmative consent, direct marketing being one such interest. Some charities are playing it safe by moving toward an opt-in model for all communications, according to Fluskey. Those that have made such a switch have done so with large-scale, detailed marketing and communications plans that have been rolled out over several months.

    “It’s got to be thought through and a longer-term process. If you try and switch from ‘opt out’ to ‘opt in’ overnight you’ll probably give a poor experience to people and lose contact with a lot of supporters,” Fluskey said.

    Other elements of note include risk assessments and mitigation actions that might be required for activities of higher risk for individuals’ data and limitations on donor profiling. Charities must understand that data protection covers more than fundraising activities, but also data on beneficiaries, service users, volunteers, and the like, Fluskey said. Organizations are currently in the process of evaluating and upgrading administrative systems and constituent databases with an eye on better recording and securing data.

    Profiling donors is not prohibited under current law or the GDPR, according to Fluskey but organizations must have a lawful basis for profiling and must inform individuals that their data is being used to target them. Individuals must also have the ability to object to such efforts. Charity leaders are adjusting by reviewing and redrafting privacy policies and actively communicating with supporters and prospective supporters with an eye on transparency.

    Fluskey noted that it is possible that European charities will see a reduction in fundraising revenue while seeking to comply with the new regulations, but much can be done to mitigate those negative effects. Opt-out communication is still viable, provided “legitimate interest” is satisfied, so it won’t be as if organization fundraisers and marketers will wake up on the morning of May 25 with a slashed-and-burned file.

    One area that Fluskey sees some issue with is long-term supporters. The GDPR will likely make it more difficult for organizations to remain in contact with individuals over several years without some sort of reconfirmation that they wish to continue hearing from the charity — passively reading newsletters and emails without an affirmative action such as donating being an example of such a supporter.

    Much of the GDPR stems from the 1995 directive, said Joe McNamee, executive director of European Digital Rights (EDRi) headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. The problem with the directive was that it obligated member states to implement legislation and rules respective to the directive. The directive was interpreted in a variety of ways – leading to 28 different laws and member states possessed differing implementation bodies capable of sanctioning poor behavior to disparate degrees. Clarity on how the rules applied to digital data collection and use were also unclear, according to McNamee.

    Joe McNamee

    Charities that are transparent about their use of data and respectful of those whose personal data they process have little to fear from the regulation. — Joe McNamee, European Digital Rights (EDRI)

    In addition to being more directly-applicable across nations, the regulation is more detailed and features new elements, such as the rules on profiling. McNamee described emphases on consent as a lobbying spin and said that the legal grounds for processing data are largely unchanged from 1995. Organizations tend to misunderstand “free and informed consent,” he said, which does not include practices such as pre-checking check boxes, not explaining how data will be used, and collecting unnecessary data.

    Similarly, the “right to be forgotten” existed in the directive – meaning that entities are already required to comply with requests for data deletion, only use data for the purposes in which it was collected, and only store data needed for specific reasons. Organizations not doing these things are in breach of existing law, McNamee said.

    “Charities that are transparent about their use of data and respectful of those whose personal data they process have little to fear from the regulation,” McNamee said via an email. “However, charities with bad security practices, bad habits like pre-checked boxes as ‘consent’ and inadequate information about the sources of and use of data should very carefully consider the reputational cost of failing to update their practices.”

    McNamee added that EDRi works in cooperation with numerous peer organizations worldwide. The GDPR, like the 1995 directive, encourages non-EU nations to adopt similar rules to share data across borders and avoid potential restrictions. At the same time, there have been efforts both inside and outside the EU to undermine the GDPR, he said.

    For Oxfam International, secretariat of a confederation of 20 affiliates including nine in European nations, data protection applies to the identifiable information of millions of individuals, according to Michael Duggan, global chief information officer. Some of the most sensitive information charities hold relate to program beneficiaries, of which Oxfam has 25 million worldwide. Additionally, Oxfam affiliates handle the data of supporters and a combined 10,000 employees and 52,000 volunteers.

    Oxfam International affiliates operate as separate entities. Fundraising asks are conducted on a nation-by-nation basis. A fundraising ask in Germany is conducted by Oxfam Germany. A donor in one country might occasionally donate to a different affiliate, but efforts are made to ensure that residents’ data remains with their respective affiliate.

    European affiliates have complied with the data protection laws of each respective country, Duggan explained in an email, but the GDPR’s harmonizing of those rules and imposition of new requirements has presented several challenges. For one, each affiliate is an independent entity with its own governance structure and is thus required by the regulations to comply as its own entity – including the appointment of an organizational data protection officer. The GDPR also has Oxfam International leaders evaluating work in responding to the continent’s migrant crisis as it applies to all EU residents, including migrants.

    Oxfam International has offered confederation- wide support, training, and best practices to help affiliates comply with the regulation. One step has been the rolling out of Privacy Impact Assessments for systems holding personally identifiable data. Standardized examinations’ focuses include technology, business rules, auditability, security, and legality. This process is made complicated by the increasing use of cloud-based solutions, according to Duggan, making it possible that processes are removed from the actual location of the data. The movement of data must be understood and reflected in contractual agreements with providers to ensure compliance. These assessments might lead to changes in the data stored, software, and cloud or on-premises equipment used by affiliates, Duggan said.

    Steps are also being taken to ensure that online and offline asks for personal information are clear and permission- based. The so-called “right to be forgotten” has some associated challenges as it intersects with conflicting legal requirements such as holding on to banking transactions.

    The key to complying with the GDPR through organizational practices will be to have “privacy by design,” he said. That means being able to quickly and easily locate and manage personally identifiable data.

    Mercy Corps Europe uses a compliance tracker and coordinates with its Audit & Risk Committee, retained legal firm, statutory auditors, and peer organizations to follow legislation relevant to its operations, according to Alexandra Angulo, director of compliance. Those efforts meant that the new regulations did not come out of nowhere.

    The Edinburgh, Scotland-based organization already operates under an opt-in model for both email and phone communications, Angulo said in an email. Mercy Corps Europe is also working to obtain opt-ins for direct mail purposes and are giving individuals an opportunity to opt out of any communication at any time. Relating to one’s “right to be forgotten,” Mercy Corps Europe is committing to the deletion of all records at individuals’ request with the exception of financial information that must be retained by law for a period of seven years.

    U.K.-based organizations such as Mercy Corps Europe will still be held to the European standard despite Brexit, Angulo said, a recent House of Lord’s Committee meeting confirming as much.

    “We believe that [organizations] can build stronger relationships with their donors by having two-way conversations and it is best practice to engage with supporters in a responsible, consensual manner,” Angulo said, adding that Mercy Corps Europe agrees with the new regulations. “The regulations will contribute to increased professionalism and trust in the fundraising industry and empower fundraisers to find new wages to engage with donors.”

    Ongoing steps remaining for Mercy Corps Europe include internal reviews of current policies such as data retention and privacy and data storage. In compliance with best practices, Mercy Corps Europe already displays the organizational privacy policy on its website and every donor communication includes opt-out information. A cross-functional GDRP team is reviewing processes and policies to ensure regulation compliance.

    Steps on the data-storage side include a new high-security, cloud-based option. All organizational devices, including laptops and mobile phones, are also encrypted. Mercy Corps Europe already has policies in place relating to data storage including the deletion of data that is unnecessary are past the date of retention. Such policies are reviewed annually.

    Mercy Corps’ Portland, Ore.-based office has not had to face the reviews and pressures associated with the new regulation as the organization has a clear, legal division between its U.S. and European donor bases, Angulo said. That means that if a European donor is interacted with, that contact is managed in its entirety by the organization’s European office. Mercy Corps leadership, from a global perspective, has taken the EU GDPR as a barometer to assess policies and procedures from a best-practices perspective.

    American organizations have largely been unaware of the new European regulations, according to Elizabeth Zeigler, CEO of Graham-Pelton Consulting, a firm with offices in the U.S. and U.K. specializing in fundraising and nonprofit management. Some key elements for unfamiliar parties to understand include the evaluation of risk and consent.

    Understanding the risk associated with data activities comes down to three questions according to Zeigler: What data is the charity holding? How is it being used? and, How is it being stored? Above all, charities must provide clarity, added Christian Propper, senior consultant in the firm’s U.K. office. That means receiving permission to hold data, responsibly storing it, and providing transparency on how that data are being used.

    Propper described consent as a complex area — one that direct marketing won’t be able to protect as a catch-all. For instance, U.K. law states that direct marketing is advertising directed at particular individuals. In other words, if marketers are throwing spaghetti at the wall hoping something will stick — that isn’t direct marketing. Deciding how to go about receiving consent is something that organizations will have to evaluate based on the preferences of their constituencies, Propper said. Are donors more likely to be receptive to numerous, incremental requests for permission or one, giant all-or-nothing policy?

    Propper additionally noted that, during the implementation process, he’s been struck by the different perceptions around data usage among organizations and individuals. A charity might, for instance, think it obvious that they would use a donor’s information to try to deduce their individual giving capacity. The donor, on the other hand, might have given $10 just because they felt like it and thought of no greater effect.

    “It’s a great opportunity for charities to build trust in their brand by explaining and being clear about how they use individuals’ data,” Propper said.

    Not taking such matters seriously could put a large dent in organizations’ wallets. Fines for failure to comply can reach up to 4 percent of the organization’s global annual revenue or €20 million ($23.5 million U.S.), whichever is greater. High-end fines generally relate to high-volume violations in which thousands are affected and the organization knowingly did something wrong, like continuing to phone individuals who opted out of such contacts. The U.K. Information Commissioner began fining charities toward the end of 2016 for acts such as selling or buying data without permission, Propper added. The fines were later significantly reduced, but grabbed the attention of organizations.

    Many potential issues can be avoided so long as U.S. organizations with constituencies in the EU inform their constituents how data is being used, Zeigler said. Doing both avoids infuriating European supporters and demonstrates a level of understanding by coming off as an informed party. U.S. fundraisers often take for granted available information under the belief that it is their job to engage and cultivate supporters. Zeigler herself didn’t think of many of the issues from the donor perspective until researching the GDPR.

    “To me, it’s communication and awareness and the sensitivity people feel,” she said. “In Europe, there is a different sensitivity to data. When you think about the tools fundraisers have at their disposal, especially in the United States, and how common it is for nonprofits to screen participants on how much money they make…it’s a very personal topic for a lot of people.”

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  • 4 Organizations Team On Mapping Tool For U.N. Sustainable Development Goals

    In a collaborative partnership, Global Impact, Blackbaud, the Council on Foundations and the Foundation Center have developed and launched a resource to support organizations in aligning and tracking charitable giving to the United Nations (U.N.) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    “Global Goals Mapping: A Resource for Social Good Organizations” supports goal 17, which is to revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

    Global Goals Mapping is a comprehensive resource list that maps giving and volunteerism using both the IRS National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities (NTEE) codes and the United Nations International Classification of Nonprofit Organizations (ICNPO) codes to classify the activity and programs of charities and connect them to the SDGs and related targets. It creates a shared alignment resource and common language to support all organizations across sectors in their efforts to map their contributions toward the SDGs.

    “Global Goals Mapping will enhance the impact of efforts across an organization by understanding the alignment of individual employee donations, volunteer hours and grants,” according to Scott Jackson, president and CEO of Global Impact. “By bringing four like-minded and highly respected organizations together in partnership, we can encourage, support, and drive strategic philanthropy for the social good community. Our hope is it will help organizations tell their complete story and illustrate their commitment to the SDGs.”

    Global Impact, with a mission is to build partnerships and resources for the world’s most vulnerable people, will use the mapping and other tools to turn corporate giving and employee engagement data into more powerful success stories. Through this partnership, Global Impact will be able to tie contributions to impacts, align corporate responsibility efforts across departments, and help companies and their employees better understand how their contributions are connected to a powerful, collective global agenda.

    Blackbaud, a cloud software public company in the nonprofit space, mapped the SDGs to the taxonomy of its Blackbaud Outcomes™ cloud solution.

    Council on Foundations will use the tool and information to provide the opportunity, leadership and tools needed by organizations to expand, enhance and sustain their ability to advance the common good. Foundation Center will use Global Goals Mapping as part of a broader ecosystem of resources, which includes, to help funders and grantees better understand the SDGs.

    The SDGs are a set of 17 interconnected global goals devoted to addressing hunger, poverty, health, equality, peace, justice and more that strive to “leave no one behind.” Adopted in 2015 by 193 countries, including the United States, they serve as a call to action to governments, the private sector, foundations, nonprofits and individual change agents to make significant improvements in life, on land and under water by 2030. The group’s goal is to provide a shareable resource for the entire social good community to use in aligning their grantmaking with the 17 goals and additional related targets.

    “We are proud of the collaborative work that went into creating this resource,” said Kevin McDearis, chief products officer at Charleston, S.C.-based Blackbaud. “By incorporating the Global Goals taxonomy into our software, organizations can tell their success stories using statistics and results – all within a single frame of reference. With everyone speaking a common measurement language, we can begin to participate in a worldwide movement to lift up the collective social economy.”

    All four organizations will unite to promote Global Goals Mapping, and more broadly, the value of the SDGs as a framework through trainings, webinars and convenings. Based on their missions and expertise, each organization has been integrating the resource into its offerings with a goal of improving funders’, companies’ and other stakeholders’ financial and human capital investments toward achieving the SDGs for a sustainable future.

    Learn more at

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  • Warm Up Potential Major Donors Via Digital

    Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of philanthropic giving comes from individuals and donor pyramids continue to grow steeper to the point that, today, as much as 95 percent of dollars into organizations via individual giving are given by 5 percent of supporters. Even if you aren’t a math expert, it’s clear that keeping supporters engaged is as important as ever.

    During their presentation, “Fast Forward: Defining the Future Intersection of Major Gifts and Digital” at the 2017 Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference in National Harbor, Md., Cathy Sterling; vice president of Schultz & Williams; Adva Priso, associate vice president of Anne Lewis Strategies, LLC; and Jeff Muller, director of donor communications and stewardship for World Wildlife Fund (WWF) discussed the importance of engaging and stewarding major-gift donors.

    Following an introduction on major gifts by Sterling, Priso shared strategies to “warm up” prospective donors before solicitation. Digital can help nip typical responses such as “I get too many calls,” “I’ll send you something, but not what you’re asking for,” or a lack of knowledge about an organization before they happen, she said.

    Introducing the organization to the individual before a call is invaluable. Emails and surveys asking potential prospects issues they are interested in and their preferred contacts can help with introductions. Then, emails addresses can be uploaded into Facebook to keep the organization top of mind in the interim period, Priso said. If prospects see your organization’s name frequently, they gain the perception that it is out there and involved and worth knowing about.

    Once a call is made and a gift is successfully received, the next phase is stewardship, Muller said, as it is seven times more expensive to acquire a new donor than keep an existing one. Prompt acknowledgment is a must, but so is providing accountability, education, and involvement messaging and opportunities — checking in with how donors feel at each point.

      Additional digital stewardship strategies shared during the session included:

    • Personalized experiences. The University of Washington and University of Maryland, for instance, have created donor portals to provide real-time videos and reporting based on individual gifts;
    • Email. When donors say that they get tired of emails, that tends to mean that they are tired of solicitations, not information, Muller said. Consider signing emails from the organization’s CEO and, in case donors really aren’t fond of the communications, provide an unsubscribe option;
    • Webinars. WWF hosts annual webcasts that are recorded and posted for later viewing. The method both gives supporters access to organizational direction and, in some cases, triples viewership by allowing individuals to tune in at their own convenience;
    • Video. Consider making “thank you” emails personalized and post them on Vimeo as opposed to Youtube. Major-gifts donors tend to prefer platforms like Vimeo because they allow for privacy restrictions while YouTube is available to the general public; and,
    • Social media. Find creative ways to add a personal touch to social media interactions. The University of Rochester created a Facebook group for disadvantaged students benefitting from a particular scholarship. It then invited the donor into the group to see how the beneficiary students were adjusting to collegiate life in real time.
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  • Jerry’s Legacy: It Was More Than Just Show Biz

    The passing of Jerry Lewis was sad but expected. He had been in failing health for several years. But, it is not the end of an era. The era ended in 2010 when he and the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) parted ways after training the American public about annual giving.

    The parting showed fundraisers that Newton’s Third Law of physics does not apply when you change what donors expect. There won’t be an equal but opposite reaction. It will be opposite and far more disproportionate.

    Jerry’s last telethon was 2010. MDA’s total revenue that year was $174 million, according to its federal Form 990. He wasn’t there in 2011 and the organization’s total revenue dropped to $156 million. It has declined every year since, hitting $126 million for 2015, the last year for which a Form 990 is available. Expenses declined as the show wound down but you have to wonder how many people remember to send checks now that the telethon, in any of its shapes, was killed off in 2014.

    There has been a lot of mystery regarding Jerry’s departure. Neither he nor the organization made official comments. Word leaking from both sides was that there were disagreements regarding the Labor Day Telethon that got out of hand. There’s no doubt that the mercurial Jerry ruled the show with an iron fist as the organization’s national chairman. There had been rumblings for several years that insiders wanted to “modernize” the event, changing many of the elements and that included the show’s length. The stories are legend of how tough it got working with Jerry in those later years. There was also talk of personal services contracts and appearances on behalf of telethon sponsors.

    When it came to the show, big money came in from corporate sponsors but the folks sending in money during the show and reacting to what they saw is what made the tote board spin. Jerry spoke to the “Rat Pack” crowd, older Americans who remembered a simpler, more carefree time. Older Americans remain the backbone of direct response giving and they simply can’t be maneuvered. They will move on.

    Donors need a personal connection over the long haul, just like staff and volunteers who toil over decades for a cause. Jerry was just such an example. There was always buzz in the nonprofit sector regarding his motivations. The comments were sometimes negative. Because he was in show business people often thought he was playing for the cameras and doing his job, whether it was talking to his “kids” or weeping during his closing number “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” There are even stories that can be categorized as urban legend. The following is not urban legend. There are two solid sources.

    Jerry was born in Newark, N.J. The next town over is Irvington. New Jersey is not like Texas where you sometimes drive for 20 minutes or more to get to the next town. The dividing line in some cases is the yellow one going down the middle of the street. In Hudson County, N.J., for example, Guttenberg splits between 71st and 72nd streets, sharing the border with North Bergen. It is usual to have friends across the street who live in a different town, as is the case with Newark and Irvington.

    It is true Jerry started in Vaudeville at age 5 but there were family and friends on both sides of the proverbial street. There was a family connection who at some point developed a neuromuscular disease and died. The performer (no age yet tied to this) vowed to make it his life’s work to fund research to stop the scourge.

    There are a lot of details he took with him but that’s the gist of the story. A personal connection is everything to the charitable sector, whether it’s cash, devotion or both. Likewise, working in the sector more likely than not also takes a personal connection. Staff members want to be appreciated as they do the work that improves the world one block at a time.

    Most managers think they have provided a great place to work. Here’s an opportunity to prove it. The NonProfit Times has opened its annual competition for the best nonprofits at which to work. We’re partnering again with the Best Companies Group to kick the tires on nonprofit organizations to bestow bragging rights (and the ability to attract the best workforce).

    Please go to to sign up for the competition. You’ll be glad you did.

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  • DMA Opposes Postal Rate Increase

    A proposed change in postal rates targeted at the nonprofit sector has leaders at the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) – formerly the Direct Marketing Association – seeking public comments in opposition by Monday, Sept. 18.

    Mail, as many know, comes in variety of classes from first class and on down, said Xenia Boone, general counsel for the DMA and executive director of the DMA Nonprofit Federation & Email Experience Council. The average increase is expected to be around the consumer price index (CPI) of 2 percent, but nonprofits would pay close to a 4 percent increase on top of the CPI, per the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) vice president of pricing and costing.

    The overall increase would stay within the CPI, but the total increase would not be divvied out uniformly, but rather focused on subclasses of mail often used by nonprofits, said Boone. All told, according to Boone, mailers should expect a 3.3 percent increase for marketing mail and 6.9 percent increase for Enhanced Carrier Route (ECR). The price-increase filing is specifically addressed at nonprofits, she added, as USPS has noted a change in mail mix featuring fewer nonprofit mailings, necessitating a price bump.

    The pricing, first introduced on July 31, is slated to take effect on Jan. 21, 2018 if approved. The Postal Regulatory Commission will consider public comment on Sept. 18. Leaders at the DMA, which will provide its own feedback to the rate increase, are recommending that members and supporters submit their feedback online as to avoid missing the deadline via regular mail.

    Leadership at the DMA are concerned about the subclass-focused price increase on a precedential level as it takes mailers to a time of greater pricing uncertainty as was the case prior to CPI. Boone said that the actual cost will vary from organization to organization, some attributing mailing costs as the highest organizational cost after staffing. Potential future pricing volatility for such a prominent expense has the potential to create challenges in budgeting, she added.

    “As much as we have concerns about rates and rate settings, we’re in a better place under the CPI system than the previous system when they really did dive in at the subclass [level],” Boone said, noting that the current system allows nonprofits to anticipate increases in their budgets. “One member said that ‘it’s kind of a parade of terribles.’”

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  • Nonprofits Cashing In On Social Advertising Plugs

    Imagine that there is a whole host of individuals willing to support your organization’s mission, you need only find a way to reach them. That’s the magic of micro-targeting with social advertising, according to Chris Stergalas, senior online organizer for Working America; Jenny Posilkin, advertising manager forBeaconfire RED, and Elizabeth Sorrell, social media director for the National Audubon Society.

    During their session, “How to Use the Power of Social Advertising to Microtarget and Move Your Audiences” at the 2017 Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference in National Harbor, Md., the trio discussed ways to move the needle for organizations by focusing energies in the right place and with the right group of potential supporters.

    Working America, an organizations dedicated to holding corporations and politicians accountable, spent a lot of time in North Carolina in the lead up to the 2016 general election, according to Stergalas. In searching for the way to get the biggest bang for its buck with digital advertising, the focus was placed on a state Supreme Court race in which it was supporting the challenger. Using a week-long email campaign, Working America surveyed membership in the state using $10 gift cards as a carrot. Each survey had 42 questions, including some pop culture “placebo” questions. It was learned that just 20.7 percent of supporters leaned to the organization’s preferred candidate.

    Working America then used the survey participants to narrow down a treatment group and bombarded them with emails. The goal, Stergalas said, was not to persuade them to support Working America’s candidate, the organization knew that the politics of the candidate and the potential supporters aligned. It was about name recognition. A week later, the supporters were re-empaneled and the support for the organization’s candidate increased to 46.7 percent all for about $1,500, Stergalas said.

    A similar process was later conducted in an Ohio state Supreme Court race and support for Working America’s candidate increased by 14 points, according to Stergalas. Working America already has a lot of data on members and is able to use that information with platforms such as Facebook to create custom lists.
    “What we learned is that we can’t ignore digital,” he said. “We aren’t a big-budget operation. Investing in small campaigns is where we win and we can make an impact with a few dollars.”

    The National Audubon Society had a similar experience when advocating for a Washington state ballot measure that sought to combat climate change, according to Sorrell. Using polling data and targeting, the organization learned that family was important to supporters. In response, content was produced and put out via multiple platforms including Facebook focusing on a “brighter future” for both human and avian families. The ballot measure ended up failing, but outperformed early polling.

    The organization has taken a similar approach and found greater success. About 40 percent of National Audubon Society members identify as conservative or moderate, Sorrell said, and efforts were made during the Republican National Convention to maintain that political diversity. Targeted ads went out in Ohio to gauge audience response. Additionally, the organization held a bird walk in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention. Using geolocation within a five-mile radius of the convention site, the organization was able to garner 523 web clicks for the walk at 9 cents per click. Ultimately, 60 supporters attended the event, about 20 percent coming from the targeted content.

    “We used the word ‘climate change’ in both,” Sorrell said of the Ohio testing. “We are placing very clear triggers in our ads. We don’t want to trick people in. We found that purposeful language allows audiences to self-select.”

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  • Trumps Announce $1M Donation To Harvey Relief

    President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump announced a $1 million personal donation to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Texas and Louisiana, according to a statement from the White House press office. The gift will be distributed among 12 organizations.

    The selection of recipients was decided upon based on personal accounts of the groups’ work witnessed by the president and first lady and recommendations made by the White House Press Corps., according to the announcement. Likewise, there was no information on whether it would be personal funds or from the president’s foundation.

    The American Red Cross and The Salvation Army were the two largest recipients of the donation, each reportedly receiving $300,000. The American Red Cross has reportedly partnered with local entities in the aftermath of the storm to assist with aid and the coordination of FEMA efforts. The Salvation Army has provided food and beverages to first responders while procuring food and supplies for victims and assisting at emergency shelters.

    A Red Cross spokesperson acknowledged the gift, but declined provide additional details in terms of the timing of the gift or how it might be used.

    “The American Red Cross is grateful to the Trumps for their generous support of our mission,” read statement addressed from the organization. “Any questions about their specific efforts should be directed to them.”

    A Trump spokesperson was not reachable by press time.

    Samaritan’s Purse and Reach Out America are the second largest recipients, each receiving a reported $100,000. Samaritan’s Purse reportedly deployed disaster-relief units in response to the storm, equipped with tools, chainsaws, and other emergency supplies. Reach Out America focuses on volunteer assistance, per the organization’s website.

    A Samaritan Purse spokesperson declined to confirm or provide details relating to the Trumps’ gift, citing organizational policy.
    Additional beneficiaries of the Trumps’ donation include:

    * American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) – $25,000;

    * Catholic Charities USA – $25,000;

    * Direct Relief – $25,0000;

    * Habitat for Humanity – $25,000;

    * Houston Humane Society – $25,000;

    * Operation Blessing – $25,000;

    * Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies – $25,000; and,

    * Team Rubicon – $25,000.

    It is not unusual, for a president to make personal donations while in office, but the sum is notable. President Barack Obama, for instance, made about $1.1 million in personal donations during his time in office, according to a Forbes report. Leading recipients, per the report, included Fisher House Foundation ($392,000), Boys & Girls Clubs of America ($48,000), and Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit ($19,500).

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  • Blackbaud, Salesforce Highlighted As Do-Gooders

    Two tech companies deeply involved in the nonprofit sector were tapped by Fortune magazine in its annual Changing the World list. placed number 36 on the list and Blackbaud placed first among the publication’s six rising stars. The rising stars are firms with less than $1 billion in annual revenue while the top 50 on the list exceed $1 billion.

    Four of the six rising stars are from the United States: Blackbaud in Charleston, S.C., Tableau in Seattle, Wash., View in Milpitas, Calif., and San Francisco-based HackerOne. Only software firm Blackbaud and Tableau, which specializes in data analytics and visualization, have direct connections to the charitable sector. Fortune based its list selections on three criteria: Measurable social impact; Business results, and, Degree of innovation.

    Salesforce has a constituent relationship management system. Blackbaud has integrated fundraising and financial platforms.

    The business publication highlighted firms that have positive impact through activities that are part of their core business strategy. “Being recognized for creating social impact through business innovation as part of Fortune’s 2017 Change the World List is a testament to our success as a shared value company and highlights the value of our purpose-driven focus on serving the global social good community,” said Mike Gianoni, Blackbaud’s president and CEO.

    You can see the full list and stories at

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