Tax Study Findings by Nonprofit Category

Tax Study Findings by Nonprofit Category

You’ll remember that we posted the findings from our Tax Study* back in March (see the findings here). The main finding from that was while less than a third of Americans itemize their deductions, as many as 75% of donors who give $1,000 or more to charity each year itemize their charitable deductions. General donors (under $1k annually) and Major donors ($10k+) are mostly immune to the changes to the tax code for 2018.  However, nine percent of Mid-level donors ($1,000 to $9,999 annual) report that they will have a significant decrease in giving next year in response to the change. A client recently asked if we expect those changes to affect any one nonprofit category more than another. The answer is – Not really. Animal Welfare and Environmental causes have a very slightly higher percentage of donors who say that they will decrease their giving, and donors to Arts organizations – for whatever reasons – have a lower percentage of donors who say that they will decrease their giving. But, overall, percentages are similar across the board. Again, the issue seems not to be with the category that the donor donates to, but with the amount of their giving. So, focusing on that $1,000-9,999 group no matter your nonprofit category is key.   *Tax Study co-sponsored by The Donlon Agency and Analytical...
3 Steps to Improve Development Staff Retention

3 Steps to Improve Development Staff Retention

Our last blog (here) generated quite a few comments – though because of the sensitivity of the topic, most comments came directly to me rather than being posted publicly on our blog’s website. Thanks to all for sharing their thoughts. I’ve boiled down the comments into three steps that any nonprofit organization can take to drastically improve the retention of their development staff: 1. Always include your development staff in discussions when setting revenue goals. There are two clear reasons for this. First, if the organization wants the development staff to own the goals, they need to be part of the process. Revenue goals mandated from above will never be owned. Second, the development staff has the best handle on donor performance trends, and they know what the file can actually generate. Donor files are like actuarial life expectancy data that life insurance companies use to set premiums. Creating goals without using this knowledge is setting the organization up for failure. 2. Any revenue goal increase must be accompanied by a corresponding increase in the development department’s budget. “Ex nihilo nihil fit” (from nothing nothing comes) is a philosophical thesis first argued by Parmenides. Translated into our context: “You won’t raise more money if you don’t spend more money.” It never ceases to amaze me how many nonprofit organizations increase revenue goals without increasing development budgets. Nonprofit organizations, this is totally demoralizing to development staff. Stop it. 3. If your nonprofit organization is going to hold the development staff accountable to achieving the revenue goal, then the development staff must have total autonomy over how they spend their development...
The Pandemic of Development Turnover

The Pandemic of Development Turnover

You may have noticed a lot of Linked-In promotions for a new book by Jason Lewis titled The War for Fundraising Talent (you can read the Amazon reviews here https://www.amazon.com/War-Fundraising-Talent-Small-Shops/dp/1619848694). It’s great to see the author address the biggest problem in the nonprofit sector: Development staff turnover! Any of us on the consulting side of the nonprofit vertical have seen the struggle for nonprofit organizations to find and retain talented development staff. Two years is about the average tenure of a development professional. During the person’s first year, they are learning the job (and the insurmountable problems they are asked to solve without any resources) and then the second year they spend looking for a new job. Sadly, the consultants and agencies often end up being the “keeper” of institutional knowledge. And that’s just not right. Along with cutting new donor acquisition budgets, development turnover is the biggest problem in the nonprofit sector. Both of these problems suffer from the same root challenge: Shortsightedness. I’ve never worked on the nonprofit side, but I’d love to hear from those who have and what their ideas are for solving this pandemic. Share your thoughts...