• A Tale of Two Nonprofits

    A Tale of Two Nonprofits

    November 12, 2019

    The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently reported that charitable giving in 2018 to the 100 largest American charities skyrocketed by 11% over 2017 figures. This report seems to be at odds with a report earlier this year (also by the Chronicle) that overall giving in 2018 declined by 1.8% over the previous year. How can this […]

  • An Unexpected Smile

    An Unexpected Smile

    October 24, 2019

    I was in Rockford, Michigan the other day and bumped into an old friend I hadn’t seen in some time. As we caught up, he mentioned that his family recently joined Bridgeway Community Church just a few miles away. He talked about the new church, its location on the Rogue River and how it had […]

  • One Minute Read: Three Stories and a Lesson

    One Minute Read: Three Stories and a Lesson

    September 10, 2019

    Here are three 2019 stories about nonprofits in West Michigan (names of organizations and volunteers withheld to protect the innocent): A volunteer fundraiser approaches a donor prospect to ask for a gift to the nonprofit. The donor prospect tells the volunteer during an initial phone call that they’re not interested in the campaign. The volunteer […]

  • The Power of the Tour

    The Power of the Tour

    July 26, 2019

    A quick story. A current client is in the midst of a campaign and has been working hard to engage past donors for support of this effort. A donor couple was invited for a tour of the facilities. Now, this donor family had never given more than $500 to the organization in support of the […]

  • Good News in West Michigan

    Good News in West Michigan

    June 19, 2019

    Giving USA released its report on 2018 giving yesterday. The organization found that charitable giving in the United States dropped 1.7% in 2018 to $428 billion (down from $435 billion in 2017). This ended four years of growth in charitable giving. The report also noted that a drop in giving is relatively uncommon, with this […]

  • Presidential Candidates and What They Gave to Charity

    Presidential Candidates and What They Gave to Charity

    April 18, 2019

    Tax day is always a good time to take a look at the tax returns of American political candidates. With the 2020 election cycle just a few months away, I wanted to provide a snapshot of the major candidates for president, their income for 2018 and the amount they gave to charity. The presidential field […]

  • Two Things to Do. Three Things to Stop Doing.

    February 17, 2019

    The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently completed a survey of 12,232 donors. They asked the donors “what can charities do to inspire more giving?” Here were the top five answers: 31% said “make a compelling case of extraordinary need” 28% said “top sending unwanted trinkets” 21% said “reduce overhead costs” 19% said “offer matching gifts” 19% […]

  • Preparing for a Rainy Day

    Preparing for a Rainy Day

    January 30, 2019

    Depending on what news you consume, the economy is either (a) headed for a mild recession by the end of 2019, (b) headed for a major recession in 2020, or (c) just fine and you should stop worrying about recessions.  With these conflicting reports, what’s a nonprofit leader to do?  Here’s an idea: hope for […]

  • How to Inspire More Giving

    How to Inspire More Giving

    December 13, 2018

    A recent survey by Cygnus Applied Research of more than 12,000 charitable donors found that donors could be persuaded to give more to their favorite causes if charities would do the following: Make a case for extraordinary need (31%) Stop sending unwanted trinkets (28%) Reduce administrative and fundraising costs (21%) Provide matching gifts (19%) Reduce […]

  • America’s Favorite Charities

    America’s Favorite Charities

    November 1, 2018

    Each year, the Chronicle of Philanthropy catalogs the charities that raised the most money.  The top ten charities for 2017 raised $47 billion in total, which equates to 11% of all giving by Americans last year.  Here’s the list:  The United Way   The Salvation Army   St. Jude’s   Harvard   Mayo Clinic   Stanford […]