All posts by Holly Hall

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A Light Touch Draws New Donors to Suicide-Prevention Charity

To raise money, a suicide-prevention charity tries to make people happier.

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 oppos…

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Nearly $7-Million Raised in One-Day Online Contest

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 th…

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Online Giving Grew Fast in Fourth Quarter

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 impre…

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Charities Got Fewer but Bigger Online Gifts Last Week

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 $131.9…

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2012 Fundraising Outlook Is Bright for Many Charities

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 sta…

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Year-End Online Gifts are Bigger, but Number of Donations Slows

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 abo…

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Why Donors Give

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 t…

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Half of Nonprofits Face Fundraising Troubles in 2012

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 …

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Ask an Expert: Turning a Nonprofit’s Members Into Generous Donors

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.

She writes:

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 pri…

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Most Donors Plan to Give as Much or More in 2012, Survey Finds

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