A weekly rundown of the latest fundraising news, ideas, and trends gathered by our fundraising editor Rasheeda Childress, fundraising reporter Emily Haynes, and other Chronicle contributors. You’ll also find insights from your fundraising peers. Delivered every Wednesday.
From: Rasheeda Childress
Subject: How to Get in Front of Wealth Advisers
Welcome to Fundraising Update. This week, we learn ways charities can get their nonprofits seen by those who manage donor advised funds. Plus, more on how sleep may impact giving.
I’m Rasheeda Childress, senior editor for fundraising at the Chronicle of Philanthropy
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Welcome to Fundraising Update. This week, we learn ways charities can get their nonprofits seen by those who manage donor-advised funds. Plus, more on how sleep may impact giving.
I’m Rasheeda Childress, senior editor for fundraising at the Chronicle of Philanthropy. If you have ideas, comments, or questions about this newsletter, please write me.
How to Get in Front of Wealth Advisers
Two banks have failed, and the possibility of recession looms. It’s more important than ever for fundraisers to be able to reach donors who have money to give. One place to look is donor-advised funds, which are dollars earmarked for charity. According to the National Philanthropic Trust’s latest study, DAFs hold more than $243 billion that is already available to support nonprofits.
To get on the radar of DAF donors and attract gifts from these funds, savvy fundraisers build ties with financial advisers and other professionals who counsel these wealthy individuals, reports my colleague Lisa Schohl who identified eight proven ways to engage wealth advisers.
This work is at the heart of fundraising at the Pittsburgh Foundation, a community foundation that sponsors donor-advised funds and distributes millions of dollars in DAF grants to charities each year. Some development officers spend more than 70 percent of their time working directly with wealth advisers and their clients to set up or service funds, including helping donors and prospective supporters create giving plans, says Kate McKenzie, senior director of development and interim director of donor services. And they spend the rest of their time trying to meet and strengthen ties with other advisers, she says.
“It could be that we’re going to a breakfast networking event in the morning, having a lunch with an adviser and their client who’s interested in a donor-advised fund, another coffee meeting in the afternoon to connect with an adviser we’ve never met before and tell them about who we are and how we can help them in their business, and then maybe a happy hour or something,” she says.
These efforts to build a network of financial professionals pay off in a big way: The foundation gets at least half to 80 percent of its new DAF donors each year thanks to referrals from advisers, McKenzie says.
Although most nonprofits don’t sponsor DAFs and can’t offer to open accounts, there are simple things any organization can do to cultivate relationships with wealth advisers, so they’ll keep your cause top of mind when guiding clients in their charitable giving. To learn more, check out the full story.
Need to Know
— Inflation rate in February 2023, the smallest increase in prices since September 2021
Economic conditions continue to be a concern for both donors and fundraisers. My colleague Sara Herschander reports that the failure of two banks added fuel to the fire of growing economic worries.
Many nonprofits and grant makers are preparing for a slowdown by protecting their bank assets, safeguarding their investments, or trying to keep workers from fleeing to more lucrative opportunities.
“Uncertainty is the enemy of investment in the capitalistic sector, but it’s also the enemy of investment in the philanthropic sector,” says Patrick Rooney, professor of economics and philanthropic studies at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.
Spooked by the market’s headline-grabbing volatility, grant makers and donors might withhold their support, says Rooney, even as many nonprofits grapple with spiking demand for their services and dwindling government aid. Plus, he said, a resilient labor market and lingering inflation mean that wages remain high, and some nonprofits are struggling to keep up with rising costs.
The moody stock market this month may depress foundation grant making over the long term, Rooney says.
“Most foundations pay out 5 percent of their asset base, and a lot of that asset base is tied up in stocks,” says Rooney. “That does have an impact on how much foundations pay out.”
For more on the economy, read the entire article.
More on the connection between sleep and giving. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a story about how sleep loss caused by the switch to daylight saving time leads people to be less generous. While the article was about springing forward, the researcher who conducted the study, Eti Ben Simon, and I spoke about sleep deprivation and giving in lots of contexts. One tidbit that didn’t make it into the story was Ben Simon’s hypothesis that the decline in giving over the past few decades may also be caused, in part, by lack of sleep.
My colleague Drew Lindsay reported last year the number of American households that give to charity had dropped to less than half, down from two-thirds in the early 2000s. Ben Simon noted that Americans have lost significant sleep in recent decades. “In the ‘40s, the average amount Americans would sleep is 7.9 hours, which is just in the middle of the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night for healthy adults,” Ben Simon says. “Today, that number is six-and-a-half hours of sleep. That means we lost a whole sleep cycle — 90 minutes — in a matter of a few decades.”
Ben Simon mentioned research showing people who were sleep deprived were less interesting socially and difficult to collaborate with. The loss of an entire sleep cycle spread across a whole society has similar effects, she thinks.
“These effects go beyond the mental and physical health of the individual,” Ben Simon says. “They actually impact the types of societies we live in. And I think that tells us that sleep should be a societal issue, not just because we want people to be healthier and live longer but also because it really does affect the types of social bonds that we all experience. If we want to have kinder and more empathic societies, I think we should really pay attention to how much sleep people are able to get.”
- How to Manage Walk-athons and Similar Fundraising Events and Get Participants to Become Big Donors. Making sure the most valuable events get the attention they need, revitalizing or eliminating those not so successful, and considering ethics in storytelling were a few of the pieces of advice shared at the recent Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum Conference.
- Tips for Creating a Successful Young Professionals Program. Young professionals may not have a lot of money to donate, but they can offer their time, energy, and ideas.
Burnout Sidelines D.C. Charity
Recently, my colleague Emily Haynes wrote that rest was key to combating burnout, but many nonprofit employees, including fundraisers, feel like they can’t take a break. Bread for the City, a charity that offers clothing, health care, and legal advice, is shutting down for a month. The charity is directing its patrons to other nonprofits and mutual-aid groups to fill the service gap it’s leaving. Emily’s article pointed to New Profit, a venture-philanthropy organization that shuts down for a week twice a year to give the entire team time to rest. However, Bread for the City is taking a longer break. The organization’s dealing with burnout from three years of increased need driven by the pandemic and its aftermath.
Before Covid, the group served 250 families daily. Since then, it’s served 1,600 families a day. Plus, workers are also coping with grief over the deaths of co-workers. “This was a good time for a pause because we just had three prominent members of our staff pass away in a six-month period,” Ashley Domm, the organization’s chief development officer, told the Washington Post. “These were people on the front end of our work, and our people are grieving. It’s hard to do this work in the middle of grief.”
While we’re sure this was a hard decision, we hope it helps serve as an example to all nonprofits that rest is necessary. (Washington Post)
Today: Using Data to Improve Online FundraisingDigital fundraisers can gain all sorts of insights from data about online campaigns. Whether its testing subject lines or social posts, analyzing email or newsletter open rates to see which messages resonate with supporters, or tracking people’s online engagement with your organization — data can take digital fundraising from good to great. Join us today, Tuesday, March 28, at 2 p.m. Eastern to learn from your peers how to make the most of digital data, even without a big budget. Sign up now.