NetworkforGood Giving Day Planning Guide

While it may be the dog days of August,  GivingTuesday 2014 kicks off on December 4th. After spending a year fac...

While it may be the dog days of August,  GivingTuesday 2014 kicks off on December 4th. After spending a year facilitating a peer learning community of  Knight Foundation grantees hosting giving days, one of the most factors for success  for local no nonprofits participating is having about 6-9 months timeframe to develop a plan. NetworkforGood to the rescue! They’ve just published this terrific, free e-book with lots of tips and planning templates to help your organization decide whether to participate.

The e-book is written by Jamie McDonald, the Chief Giving Officer of Network for Good and the Founder of GiveCorps. Jamie is an expert in online engagement and giving, inspiring Millennial donors, and the force behind BMore Gives More, the movement to raise $5.7 million in a day on #GivingTuesday 2013. If you don’t follow her on Twitter, you should! The e-book offers an overview of the benefits of participating in GivingDays like #GivingTuesday, followed by a whole lot of wisdom and best practices.

I love the metaphor of a successful GivingDay campaign to a party:

    Timing is key
    A unifying theme creates excitement and engagement
    There are some key people you want in attendance to make the party great
    It’s got to be fun – games and activities can make a big difference
    The execution details matter: flow, food, decorations, music
    Party favors (rewards) can be an unexpected delight
    Sharing memories – stories, pictures – after the party keeps the good feeling going, and makes everyone want to attend next year

If your nonprofit is not familiar with the Giving Days format or a little bit skeptical about the potential benefits, the guide includes a great primer in a compact visual format and good discussion starter for your team. The planning steps begin with the question of timing. There are a number of GivingDays in local communities as well as #GivingTuesday – so the first question to ask “Is the timing right?”

All good nonprofit strategists know that you have to begin with setting measurable goals. The guide offers a few examples, and a reminder that  you don’t have to use them all:

    Dollars to be raised
    Number of donors
    Number of new donors
    Number of volunteers (if you are including an activity)
    Increase in engagement of key groups
    % Participation among key groups – like staff

The guide offers up 11 strategies for your GivingDay Campaign.   Here they are with some added insights from me.

1.  Set a big goal. I’d suggest making it realistic, so think “stretch” not pie in the sky.
2.  Convene A Passionate Team:   This is so important to have both internal (staff/board) and external champions helping you spread the word.   If you are the person tasked with supporting this team, remember you have to model enthusiasm and make it contagious.   Making it easy for your champions to do the work is also important and you’ll find lots of templates and examples that you can remix on the Knight Foundation’s Giving Day Playbook and toolkits on the GivingTuesday site.
3.  Create A Branded Campaign: The guide suggests developing a theme and a visual that is used consistently in all of your Giving Day outreach, plus making use of any assets that are provided by the Giving Day host.   You’ll find lots of creative examples of how organizations have incorporated their branding with Giving Day slogans, taglines, and logos.
4.  Use a Hub and Spoke Model: This advice will help you manage the many champions who will help you, especially if you centralized your toolkits.
5.  Build A Communication Plan for Champions: It is important, especially in an age of media clutter, to encourage your champions to share your messages about the Giving Day.  Having a way to communicate with them regularly is essential, both leading up to the Giving Day and especially during the day itself. Facebook Groups are great for this!
6. Take Advantage of Creative Generosity: This is good community management practice.  Let your champions and supporters roll with adapting and remixing your content or jumping onto fun memes.   Make sure you acknowledge and thank them!    The idea is to escalate engagement.
7.  Get Business Business Support: This is something that a Giving Day host may do as part of the overall marketing and sponsorship of the event
8.  Create Once, Publish Everywhere: This tip is a nod to the need to use multiple channels – email, web site, offline, mobile and social.   The content you create doesn’t have to be from scratch for every channel, you are simply tweaking or optimizing it for the channel.    The skill of writing good headlines is an important one to develop!
9.  Gamify:  The best tip for nonprofits is to identify a donor who might issue a challenge match for your organization.  This can really boost your efforts.
10. Saying Thank You: Find creative ways to say thank you to your donors beyond the generic thank you email from the platform.   Social Media is great for this sort of thing,especially if you can say thank you shortly after they make the gift.   It is also important to say thanks after the event as part of a wrap and lots of folks use videos.
11.  Build A Parking Lot of Ideas:   You will probably get lots of great ideas and see lots of great examples of content generated by your champions and donors.  You want to make sure to capture those.   Of course, you will also have some tactics that didn’t quite work out, the best thing is to keep calm and document as the day unfolds and do a debriefing with staff to generate areas for improvement the following year.

Is your nonprofit planning to participate in a Giving Day?   What’s your best planning tip?

NetworkforGood Giving Day Planning Guide, August 7, 2014, Beth's Blog, by Beth Kanter

How Do You Measure Development Success?

Common measures of achievement in the fundraising arena are total amounts raised in an annual and/or capital campaign...

Common measures of achievement in the fundraising arena are total amounts raised in an annual and/or capital campaign. Even endowment success is often assessed by new money taken in yearly notwithstanding that the development officer at the time the gift is realized may have had nothing to do with securing it, e.g. the bequest. This article proposes a different measure of success or really a combination of them that when adopted will result in substantive development strategic planning. These metrics combine the donor lifecycle map and cultivation tools, which some refer to as “moves”[1] and the process moves management. The measures are twofold: 1) actions (moves) taken by the development officer and 2) progress of the donor along the lifecycle map. Gift size or results become a secondary measure.

The purpose of this map is to suggest that philanthropy officers develop their strategic plans with the goal not only of retaining donors but also moving them to the next segment as opposed to thinking in terms of transactional fundraising related to annual and capital campaigns. The concept of applying cultivation tools is to specify which could be most effectively employed at each sector of the lifecycle map in order to move the donor along.

Thus, for example, asking a first gift donor to serve on a board, no matter how large that initial contribution, would be an inappropriate use of the cultivation tool – invitation to a board – in that the individual had demonstrated no ongoing commitment to the organization; that cultivation tool is better used for multi-year active donors who have contributed regularly and thereby expressed longer- term support for the organization. If the latter had the wherewithal to move to a stretch gift, based on ability to increase a contribution, or to become a major donor, however defined by the respective organization, all the better. In another example, in order to move a second year donor to second year active, the individual might be invited to participate in a telethon, chair or host an event or take part in an on-site visit. All of these tools would result in a supporter becoming increasingly knowledgeable about and therefore hopefully more committed financially to the organization.

Using this model an array of cultivation tools was identified, both personal and impersonal, that were then matched to the various stages of the donor lifecycle map with the goal of using them efficiently and effectively in order to move the donor forward. The primary tool for moving people along, no matter what the sector, was the one on one conversation – whether face to face or by telephone – in order to develop a personal connection to the individual.

Finally, the model was built to encourage the development officer and entire department to focus on all donors – not just those at the very top of what is called the donor pyramid – and to measure movement along the lifecycle as an indicator of success.

Examples of Personal Cultivation Tools

    Schedule face to face or personal meetings
    Thank the donor in a personal and timely fashion
    Use the telephone
    Involve on a committee, board or task force
    Conduct site visits
    Invite to a special function such as a sporting event or lecture
    Organize private events and special opportunities, e.g. parties, leadership or solicitation training, giving circles, etc.
    Include in a feasibility study
    Recognize major celebrations and events in the lives of individuals
    Ask for gifts in a strategic and timely fashion

Interestingly, Anne T. Melvin, Director of Training and Education at Harvard University, who introduced the concept of “Metrics That Motivate”,[3] claims that the best measures for determining success on the part of development officers are those actions that are implemented in relation to a donor. The metrics for success that she identifies are not financial results but rather steps undertaken that would likely lead to identifying a prospect and/or a next gift. Melvin’s actions that are the most highly valued are very similar to those that are identified as personal cultivation tools in the donor lifecycle map paradigm. Combining elements from both models – Melvin’s and the donor lifecycle map and corresponding cultivation tools – suggests new metrics for measuring development success.

Melvin’s concept is built on “aligning (development) officers’ metrics with the nonprofit’s goals,” “incentivizing moves in an officer’s control, rather than things an officer cannot control,” and “using carrots, not sticks.” The goal of the development office, Melvin claims, is to identify, cultivate and solicit prospects, find bequests, steward bequest donors and establish a bequest society – none of which is measurable in financial terms. The “METRIC”, claims Melvin, “is what the Officer does to accomplish the Office GOAL” – finding prospects, cultivating top prospects and establishing a bequest society. What the officer does to meet those goals is in 80% of visits – seeking prospects and making significant moves with top prospects; the number of moves is the metric. She differentiates between those measures which are in an officer’s control, for example, asking for bequests, securing bequests, reviewing prospect lists four times a year with a supervisor for bequest prospects,” and actually obtaining a contribution.

Melvin identifies what an officer does – actions which could also be referred to as using specific cultivation tools – and those that the officer cannot control, i.e. the decision making and gift size determined by the donor. In other words, if the officer visits the prospect, sends the latter information, encourages him or her to attend an event, visits a second time, obtains the donor’s agreement to host an event, join a committee, meet with a volunteer, and make a site visit while also soliciting the donor, sending him or her a proposal and getting a gift – these are all cultivation tools that will, if used well, result in some kind of contribution. All of these, Melvin claims, is part of the gift planning process and are considered “significant moves.” The latter, in my opinion, look very much like the donor lifecycle map with cultivation tools assigned to each sector in terms of what should occur to move the donor from the previous stage to the new one.

While the model of using cultivation tools appears very similar to that of Melvin’s, the strategic planning component involves using impersonal cultivation tools, too, e.g. sending a newsletter or brochure, which Melvin refers to as “marketing touches.” No matter how they are described, these also are included in the strategic planning process needed to move a donor toward making a gift and remaining on the donor lifecycle map.

Both of these models – “Metrics that Motivate” and the donor lifecycle map along with the strategic use of cultivation tools – can be combined to create a powerful measure of success for development officers. The following is a model that I designed for one of my clients using a combination of the two concepts and applied to current donors – not prospects.

Model Metrics of Success

    Completion of a strategic plan for all assigned donors.
    Implementation of the plan giving the most weight to applying personal cultivation tools.
    Maintaining 75% of donors on the lifecycle map. (This takes into consideration that some people will drop out for sundry reasons but also that the people who do not continue along the map are contacted and a substantive effort is made to determine what the explanation for the lapse may be and to reconnect them to the organization.)
    Moving donors from one sector to the next:

    65% of first year donors to second year as long as the first gift is an outright one – not in memory or in honor of someone.
    25% of second year donors to second year active understanding that most people do not want to become more involved than just making a gift.
    65% of second year to multi-year active and 100% of second year active to multi-year active.
    50% of multi-year active to major/stretch/ultimate gift.

    Increasing the size of the gift – 10% at all levels.
    Meeting with the supervisor regularly – at least once a month to review plans and implementation.

This model focuses on maintaining donors and assumes that if the cultivation tools are applied well then the gift will also increase. Since this is the first year of using this schematic for measuring, we recognize that we shall have to tweak it as we become accustomed to it.

These measures are built on three important concepts. The first is maintaining the donor – an issue of concern for development offices.[4] The second is the creation of a cogent strategic plan and the third is that progress will most likely be made because the development officer will have to describe both the plan and its implementation at regular supervisory meetings. This latter piece is extraordinarily important for keeping staff on board as opposed to the constant movement in and out of organizations[5] sometimes due to the lack of internal support and managerial input. Without the supervisory piece, a development officer might spend a “year thinking that they’ve done a great job, but actually they haven’t.”[6]

How Do You Measure Development Success? August 11, 2014, eJP, by Deborah Kaplan Polivy, Ph.D.

The URJ’s Emerging Young Adult Initiatives Community of Practice

Judaism is constantly evolving, addressing new challenges and needs, and a key aspect of synagogue life is setting a ...

Judaism is constantly evolving, addressing new challenges and needs, and a key aspect of synagogue life is setting a vision for tomorrow. Consistent is our yearning to plant seeds for the next generation, but that pathway to doing so is often unclear.

This yearning pushed us at Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto to prioritize congregational programming that would engage and inspire young Jewish adults. We joined the URJ’s Emerging Young Adult Initiatives Community of Practice (“CoP”) in order to explore best practices for addressing the needs of our young adult cohort and to connect with congregations facing parallel concerns. This initiative brought together seven Reform congregations for an 18-learning month process. We learned from experts in the field of young adult engagement, supported and drew support from the other congregations in the cohort, and launched a pilot to apply our learnings to our congregational needs and landscape. We viewed the CoP as a means to invest in our congregation’s continuing history.

Indeed, ways of engaging young adults in our congregation have evolved as a result of our participation in the CoP process, such as our successful “Next Generation” initiative. Programming has included tikkun olam service opportunities, such as a day of building with Habitat for Humanity; dynamic social gatherings, like Sushi in the Sukkah; and a high-profile networking/professional development series. With the support of H. Lawrence and Beverly Fein and Family, we have been able to send a delegation of young adults to Europe for the Young Adult March of the Living for the past three years, an experience that has inspired us to lead our people with strength. Our participation in the CoP has helped to capitalize on our already successful young adult initiatives, contributing to the development and growth of many of these programs.

A highlight of the CoP process was the formation of our Next Generation Tzedakah Investment Club. The young leaders of our community are mainly new professionals, looking to establish themselves, and their concerns include securing a meaningful job, purchasing a new home, and investing funds for the first time. As a synagogue community, we realized we could address such concerns through a Jewish lens. Further, we felt we could look at the Jewish responsibilities to give back.

As a first step, we identified an established member of the community to mentor our group. Congregant David Beutel, an investor, entrepreneur, and overall mensch, was an ideal fit. Next, we invited young leaders to join us. Participants needed to be members of the congregation between the ages of 22-39, and everyone was asked to contribute $72 to the tzedakah fund. Fourteen people joined the group that quickly took on the form of a chavurah. We met every other month, each time focusing on a unique topic. Experts were brought in to share their investment knowledge, teaching the group the basics of investment, stocks and bonds, real estate, and ethical investing. As a group, we decided where to invest our funds and how to direct the proceeds.

The project was a great success, as evidenced by testimonials from its participants:

    “During school, we were active in NFTY and Hillel’s social action programming, but upon leaving school we didn’t feel as though we were ready to completely immerse ourselves in the adult Jewish community. This club has allowed us to connect with others our age in a meaningful way and become part of a Jewish community that reflects our stage in life.” – Karen Lidor and Ariel Feldman

    “Being able to learn about investment and financial planning from a Jewish framework was really interesting, and it was exciting to be able to invest in the future of Temple Sinai and the Jewish community as a whole, knowing that the seeds we plant today will grow and sustain future projects at Temple Sinai. I have learned valuable lessons about tzedakah and the different ways to give and their meanings.” – Jaime Reich

    “Being part of the Temple Sinai Next Gen Tzedakah Investment Club has been a great way for me to meet members of the Temple Sinai young professional community, interact with some brilliant experts, learn about investments, do tzedakah, and be a part of some interesting, thought-provoking discussions. I’m proud that we were able to set up a Temple Sinai fund to help provide great experiences at Temple Sinai for current and future Next Gen’ers.” – Ben Greisman

We look forward to growing the Next Generation Tzedakah Investment Club with the hope of engaging young Temple Sinai members, while simultaneously sustaining young adult programming for years to come. In doing so, we heed the interpretive words of Torah shared by Warren Buffett, who aptly stated, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

The URJ’s Emerging Young Adult Initiatives Community of Practice, August 12, 2014, eJP, by Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg and Adam Freedman