Author Archives: Holly Hall
January 17, 2013, 9:36 am
What can you do when donors don’t give because your charity works on painful, unpleasant, or controversial issues?
One solution is to change people’s perception of the work you do. Samaritans, a Boston charity that helps prevent suicide, took that approach and is already attracting more corporate aid as a result.
Instead of talking about death and the depression associated with suicide, Samaritans is focusing on the opposite—life and happiness—in a publicity campaign called Happier Boston.
The idea came from Hill Holliday, an advertising company that donated its services to come up with the campaign. The goal: changing people’s view of the charity and thus improving its ability to recruit corporate donors.
Instead of print a…
January 11, 2013, 11:57 am
Columbia University raised $6.9-million, most of it online and in 24 hours, by running a contest to see which of its 16 schools could produce the most money for the institution’s annual fund.
Giving Day, held in October, was the brainchild of CloEve Demmer, director of Columbia’s annual fund. Ms. Demmer says she got the idea from a daylong online drive in Minnesota called Give to the Max day, which started in 2009.
The university recruited 14 alumni volunteers to train as leaders and assigned them to work with specific schools to help promote the contest.
The volunteers and Columbia staff member drummed up interest by asking people to start giving early to show their support for Giving Day and get some buzz about the event started in alumni and donor circles. By the time Giving Day officially started, it had raised $1-million and recruited about 100 volunteers.
They sent out…
January 3, 2013, 9:02 am
The last week of December, usually a boom time in online donations, was fairly sluggish compared with 2011, according to figures from more than 8,700 charities whose performance The Chronicle has been tracking weekly since Thanksgiving. Nonetheless, the fourth quarter produced a surge in online gifts.
The amount donors contributed online fell by 1 percent, and the number of gifts declined by nearly 3 percent compared with the last week of 2011.
But overall results for the quarter are still impressive, largely because appeals in October and November produced strong returns, according to Network for Good, which has been providing data on charities it helps garner online gifts.
The total contributed in the last quarter through Network for Good grew 38 percent, while the number of online gifts rose 36 percent compared with the same time in 2011.
November was an especially strong …
December 27, 2012, 11:31 am
The number of gifts people are making online slowed last week for the second time in a row, compared with this time a year ago, but because donors are giving much larger average gifts, charities are barely feeling a decline in donations.
The number of gifts fell 12 percent last week, following a decline of 6 percent in the second week of December.
Still, the total dollar value of online gifts dropped by less than 1 percent last week because the average online gift rose to $149.21, up from $131.92 in the same week of 2011.
Those figures, based on donations to 8,700 charities that accept donations through the nonprofit group Network for Good, come after a promising start to the giving season last month and in initial days of December. The increases were triggered in part by the number of appeals for Superstorm Sandy and #GivingTuesday, an effort to increase charitable giving…
December 26, 2012, 12:49 pm
As charities seek to wrap up their fundraising campaigns for 2012, a Chronicle spot check of 125 nonprofits suggests that a majority will see contributions increase this year.
Nearly 60 percent of the 71 groups said that they expect 2012 donations to exceed what they raised in 2011.
Only about a quarter forecast a decrease, while another 16 percent expect contributions to be about the same this year as in 2011.
In a significant sign of progress, comparing 2012 with 2007, before the recession started, half the charities said they expect to surpass what they raised in 2007, 20 percent said giving will be about the same, and 30 percent predicted it will be less.
More than 100 of the groups said Superstorm Sandy has had no effect on year-end contributions.
Charities also provided some perspective on year-end online gifts. Weekly data provided to The Chronicle shows that…
December 18, 2012, 9:31 am
Donors are making bigger online gifts to charity this month than they did last year at this time, but they are making fewer gifts, according to data provided by Network for Good, a giving site that provided information on online contributions to 8,700 charities.
Last week, the average online gift made through Network for Good was $122.55, up from $113.57 for the same week in 2011. The average gift size rose by a similar percentage in the previous week.
The gain could be a sign that concerns about the economy are starting to ease, says Katya Andresen, chief operating officer for the giving site. However, she noted that a growing number of companies are using Network for Good to run employee-giving drives, making year-to-year comparisons tricky.
And signs of a slowdown in the number of gifts last week could be worrisome. In the first week of December, the number of donations…
November 27, 2012, 9:19 am
Anybody can eavesdrop on a conversation with the nation’s most prominent donors by watching a series of new video interviews that feature Eli Broad, Melinda Gates, Ted Turner, and about 50 other prominent philanthropists.
The interviews were conducted by the Bridgespan Group to help donors learn from one another. But the videos are also helpful for fundraising and charity executives who want to figure out what makes wealthy people give big.
For example, Eli Broad applies three key questions to the “philanthropic investments” he makes: “Would it happen anyway? If it’s going to happen anyway, we don’t make the investment,” he says in a video clip. “Two, will it make a difference 20 or 30 years from now? And lastly, is talent leadership there that can really make it happen? … If the answer to any one of those is no, we don’t do it.”
The videos are part of Bridgepan’s Give Smart…
November 15, 2012, 6:59 pm
The second study in a week shows that fundraising at more than half of charities nationwide is faring poorly.
The tally of data from 500 groups surveyed by GuideStar found that 37 percent raised less in the first three quarters of 2012 and 28 percent received only as much as they had last year.
The percentage of charities reporting a decline was the second highest since the survey was started 11 years ago, surpassed only in 2009 when slightly more than 50 percent of charities reported a drop in donations. The share of charities reporting declines fell in both 2010 and 2011 before rising again this year.
Three-quarters of the groups that suffered a drop said fewer people were giving and those who were contributed smaller sums.
While donations to certain types of charities—especially donor-advised funds, which depend largely on wealthy contributors—has finally exceeded…
November 9, 2012, 9:46 am
A fundraiser who wishes to remain anonymous wrote to ask for advice about how to raise money for her cultural institution, which is supported by the city.
Our aquarium is a public-private partnership, and our arrangement with the city stipulates that membership, sales from the stores, and admission are all city revenue. Donations are raised by the foundation arm.
How can a public-private partnership with a solid membership base raise donations through its foundation?
Members are primarily joining for the cost savings (versus multiple ticket purchases), and/or they believe their membership is a gift. It is not.
Fundraising, besides capital campaigns, has remained steady–but stagnant–for years. We are moving forward on a first-ever appeal to current members, donors, and a large pool of prospects via direct mail. We know the majority may end up joining as members but …
October 25, 2012, 10:38 am
Eighty-one percent of donors plan to contribute the same amount or more than in 2011, an annual survey by Fidelity Charitable finds.
That’s a larger percentage of donors who said their giving for the year would remain steady or grow than in both 2011 (72 percent) and 2010 (63 percent).
Among the 571 adults in this year’s survey, 29 percent said they would give more this year. Half the donors said that’s because they got a new job or a raise or otherwise feel better about their personal finances
Donors said on average they would give $2,400 this year, up from $2,100 in 2011.
And most donors, 89 percent, said that giving to the presidential and other campaigns would not cause them to reduce their giving this year.
The survey findings provide encouraging news for fundraisers and charities, said Amy Danforth, Fidelity Charitable’s senior vice president of marketing. “People…