Tag Archives: individual donors

5 Types of Pandemic Volunteers

5 Types of Pandemic Volunteers

Furloughs and layoffs are everywhere, and nonprofits are no exception. But, since you still have a mission to fulfill and services to offer, volunteers offer an interesting opportunity. There are, potentially, more people available, but less time to train, track, and collect volunteers. Sometimes it feels like you need to babysit volunteers. But what if you could look at these prospective free workers like you would consider childcare.

Before we get into the details of the 5 types of Pandemic Volunteers, you need to do a bit of work.

Start by considering what you are not getting done. Then, think about what you are doing that could be done by somebody else (if that person were reliable.) And lastly, how much internal knowledge is required for each task.

Now, consider the 5 types of Pandemic Volunteers:

  1. Mother’s helper is someone who needs specific tasks but may need to ask a lot of questions, at least at first, to learn the ropes. The good news is if the task continues, they will get better and better. This could be a teenager looking for something to do when camp is cancelled or a volunteer who isn’t always super reliable, but you want to keep interested and connected.

    Since you don’t know how much this person will achieve, consider small tasks with short deadlines. A mother’s helper could clean out closets that got left mid-semester or prep materials for your re-opening. Printing, photocopying, and collating are also possibilities.
  2. Babysitter is someone with some experience, needs guidance for expectations on a regular basis but is mostly independent. Each “babysitter” will come with some expertise that you may be able to use.

    For instance, someone who knows Excel can create a list of all current and lapsed $250 donors and provide the lists to “Night Sitters,” “Camp Counselors,” and “Camp Directors.”
  3. Night sitter is someone who can keep things going and is independent after an initial explanation. This person is used to jumping into new situations and can give you the confidence to sleep through the night because the job is getting done.

    A night sitter has been a volunteer for you and/or other organizations and can do things like make calls on your behalf. Provide a script and a list of contacts and that person can help you steward mid-level and entry-level donors while you focus on major donors.
  4. Camp counselor is someone who can rally the troops and is ready for leadership responsibilities, meaningful tasks, and whom you know is reliable. They may have volunteered or worked with you in the past or can demonstrate their expertise.

    Camp counselors can replace you to offer trainings to “night sitters,” “babysitters,” and “mother’s helpers.” And they can be the resource for most questions that would stop other volunteers from moving forward. They can help you steward higher-level donors.
  5. Camp Director is someone who can act as an employee or colleague. They have the skills that you would hire, if you had the money and time. They can supervise for you, explain tasks to others, organize volunteers and staff alike, have specific skills that you are missing, and are 100% reliable.

    Camp directors can help you make sure the trains are running on time. They are volunteers who can help with marketing your services, provide human resource advice, and financial and/or fundraising expertise. You may even rely on these people already. The one problem is that this skill set is hard to find in a volunteer and may have to be a hired as an Interim (aka Fractional) Placement. It would be less expensive than a full-time employee because they could be an independent contractor, but will still add to your costs.

If you would like help thinking through your volunteer strategy, click here to schedule a free 30 minute consultation.

Takeaways from the 2018 Giving USA Report

2018 Giving USA ReportNonprofits, and nonprofit consultants, have learned to value the annual release of the 2018 Giving USA Report. It has 470 pages of interesting facts and figures. And if you know what to do with them, and how to benchmark yourself against them (more on that later), they can be very useful tools. If you only look to see that giving has grown for environmental and animal nonprofits but dropped for religious giving, you are getting caught in the hype.

Here are key takeaways from the 2018 Giving USA Report and how they can impact your organization’s donations for 2019:

      1. For the first time since 2009, individual giving dropped (total giving in current dollars increased by .7%). Currently we don’t know if that is due to fewer people able to take tax deductions on charitable contributions, a large push to frontload donations to DAFs, Foundations and individual donations prior to tax law changes is unclear, or economic uncertainty at the end of the year.

        Our advice?

        Ignore the decrease in individual giving. Instead, focus on the $292.09 BILLION that was given by individuals last year. That is a lot of money available to nonprofits. Make sure you know and have a plan for your organization’s development data such as your donor retention, donor’s lifetime value, and the number of monthly donors. Click here if you would like to talk to us about calculating your important statistics and how they benchmark against others.

      2. Giving by corporations increased this past year. We don’t know if that is thanks to increased profits at those companies, increased public concern, or increased public awareness of corporate donation policies (think: marketing/social media benefits that attract younger purchasers who want to “do good” when they buy)

        Our advice?

        Corporate giving is still only 5% of all giving. Unless you are a nonprofit that has a benefit for the corporation to align with corporations’ marketing, target market, and location, you should focus your development efforts on individuals.

      3. Giving by foundations increased 7.3% in current dollars over 2017. Are more foundations paying out higher pecentage of assets? Do foundations feel an increased need, particularly among underserved populations, to which they are responding? We don’t know, but we know it is an area to keep on our radar.

        Our advice?

        Giving by foundations is now $74.86 billion. Giving USA estimates that 64% of independent foundations are family foundations (and 45.6% of total foundation giving.) That is $34.58 billion of foundation giving that should be treated like individual giving. To attract and retain these donors, see #1.

      4. Bequests grew by 14.7% in 2017 but leveled off in 2018. Was that because the organizations who put in effort years before were finally realizing gifts? Or maybe health nonprofits were more successful in extending life (positive thinking!)?

        Our advice?

        Bequest donations may have not increased last year, but 2017’s report showed dramatic results with close to $40 billion transferred in this way. These donors are often low-hanging fruit. They are donors who already care about your organization but need a little education about how impactful this kind of gift can be to your nonprofit. Click here to learn more about bequests estate gifts. Think you don’t have those high-level donors who have millions to give? Consider the breakdown of estimated bequest giving from estates with assets:

        1. Of $5 million or above amounted to $21.44 billion
        2. Between $1 and $5 million amounted to $8.36 billion
        3. Below $1 million amounted to $9.91 billion
      5. Giving to arts, culture and humanities, environmental and animal organizations as well as international affairs organizations were the big winners last year. The amount given to those organizations were either stable or increased.

        Our advice?

        I would venture to say that increased giving to the arts, environment/animals and international nonprofits may not be a coincidence. Those are areas that may be receiving less governmental support and people are worried about their ability to sustain their mission. Don’t count yourself out if you are small or niche.  Give donors a compelling reason to give again and again and they will.

      6. Giving as a percentage of disposable personal income has remained between 1.9% and 2% for the past 5 years.

        Our advice?

        If you focus on doing the right things – identifying, interesting, involving, asking, acknowledging, thanking, stewarding, creating donor-centric campaigns, surveying, investing, different ways of engaging etc., you will raise more money. Staying the same is no longer sufficient just to raise the same amount of money as previous years.  Every nonprofit needs to be considering ways to strengthen their fundraising and development.  If you would like ideas on how to do this, email me today.

4 Changes Your Nonprofit Can Make During the Presidential Transition

Today marks the inauguration of a new president.  Hate him or love him, he plans to make changes that will likely impact the economy – and nonprofits need to prepare for what’s coming?

Of course, no one really knows.  The potential cabinet implies that business will do well with large tax breaks.  The shift to state control of more programs will, likely, decrease federal funding for nonprofits. And, if the cuts to government subsidies are realized, more people will have to seek assistance from other sources.

While it is all a bit uncertain, let’s focus on the 4 changes your nonprofit can make to weather these uncertain times:

  1. Show your strengths. You are not the only nonprofit organization that is going to be thinking in this way.  You are going to have show your impact, describe your strengths and give donors a reason to make you and your agency a priority. Now is the time to explain how your mission and vision are fulfilled by all that you do. And that you are the best at doing it.
  2. Focus your grant searches on corporations and foundations instead of government funding.  This may seem obvious, but often people wait until the changes happen externally before they make their own shifts.  We all know that grant seeking is time consuming, be strategic in how you use your resources starting today.
  3. Focus on individual donors. Philanthropic individuals know that:
    • needs will increase under the new government
    • as wealthy individuals, they may benefit from new tax plans

    Talk to your major donors about your concerns. If you have been stewarding them properly, they will be open to the conversation about replacing other sources of funding.  Maybe they can brainstorm ways to increase your donor pool or major gifts prospect pool or connect you to different sources of corporate and foundation support.

  4. Be fluid. Do not change your goals, but look for opportunities that may arise in the next few years.  You may not know what the future will hold, but you can make sure you continue being a part of the solution.  Even if it looks a little different.

If we can help you secure your funding, call us at 800.361.8689 or email Abigail.