Would you like to read a dozen reports on fundraising trends? Of course not. Instead, you can download an advance copy of CCS Fundraising’s “Snapshot of Today’s Philanthropic Landscape,” which summaries the latest data from a bunch of sources in a clear, easy-to-read format — with lots of charts and graphics.
Giving in America in 2012 reached $316.23 billion — a 3.5 percent increase from 2011. The CCS report, scheduled to be released later this month, provides an comprehensive overview of philanthropic trends in America, with details about the largest donors, corporate and foundation giving, bequests, online and social media giving, millennial donors, and an analysis of the top 400 charities. It’s not just a collection of data — CCS does a great job identifying trends and analyzing their significance for nonprofits.
In addition to its own research, based on interviews with more than 6,200 major donors and nonprofit leaders, CCS highlights the latest findings from sources like the Giving USA Foundation, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the Bank of America Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy, the Foundation Center, the eNonprofit Benchmarks Study, and more. Download the advance copy.
photo by CutandChicVintage
With the Rolling Stones celebrating their 50th anniversary, I was surprised to hear recently that the average age of the band (69) is older than the average age of the Supreme Court Justices (67). More specifically, the Stones are one year and 10 months older than the Supreme Court.
I was less surprised to read last week that the average age of employees at technology companies is significantly lower than the overall median age of U.S. workers, which is 42. See “Technology Workers are Young (Really Young)” from the New York Times blog Bits. Among the companies with the youngest employees are Facebook (28), Google (29), and AOL (30). PayScale, a company based in Seattle, looked at age, gender, and turnover at 32 of the most successful technology companies. Some of the companies with older workers are Cisco Systems (35), Samsung (34), and Microsoft (34). Turnover in the industry is also very high. At Amazon.com and Facebook, the average stay is just 12 to 13 months.
Katie Bardaro, the lead economist at PayScale, explained there are a number of factors in the youth of these workforces. One is skills: “Baby Boomers and Gen Xers tend to know C# and SQL. Gen Y knows Python, social media, and Hadoop.” Another is the current focus of these companies: “The firms that are growing or innovating around new areas tend to have younger workers. Older companies that aren’t changing with the times get older workers.”
What do you think? Does innovation have an expiration date?
I recently interviewed someone for an interactive job, and he told me his ideal job would be 80 percent strategy and 20 percent tactical. I chuckled and asked how he’d feel if those numbers were reversed. The truth is, whatever field you’re in, there’s a good chance that you spend most of your time reacting to the latest crises and requests rather than sitting back and shaping strategies. But I’m a big believer in finding purpose and enjoyment in your work, and for me that includes being as creative as possible.
To re-charge my creative batteries this summer, I’m going to re-read a book I read several years called Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace,” by Gordon MacKenzie. This is not just a book for people in the corporate world — it could just as easily be titled “how to be creative in any environment.” MacKenzie writes about his 30 years working for Hallmark Cards, where he learned that even innovative organizations can become giant “hairballs” — with a big mess of rules, traditions, and systems that stifle creativity. MacKenzie found ways to cope, and inspired many of his colleagues to orbit around the hairball instead of getting sucked in. First published in 1998, the book is fun, irreverent, and funny, with lots of illustrations and anecdotes.
We can all benefit from more creativity in the workplace. Read this book, and you’ll find ways to improve your attitude, satisfaction, and performance. What books have inspired you in this way?
If you want to hear great speeches, I recommend two sources — TED talks and commencement addresses. Walter Isaacson, who wrote Steve Jobs’ biography, recently gave the graduates of Pomona College some great advice: “You are officially credentialed as smart. That’s the good news. The bad news, as you’ll learn, is that smart people are a dime a dozen, and they usually don’t amount to much.”
In telling three stories — about Jobs, Albert Einstein, and Ben Franklin — Isaacson pulled no punches in telling the graduates that the real measure of their professional lives will not be how much money they make, or what titles they achieve, but by what they create to improve people’s lives. He advised the graduates: “At the end of your days when you look back…it’s not just about saying how successful you were, how many toys or trinkets or how much power you accumulated. It’s about what you created, about what you did to make the world a slightly better place because you were here.”
I recently needed some information about my own organization from Guidestar, and was surprised to see how outdated our information was. Of course, we had all the required 990 forms and data, but our description, mission, accomplishments, and other areas had not been updated in several years. The person listed as our contact is no longer with the organization.
In many large organizations, it may not be clear who’s responsible for providing this information — but if you work at a nonprofit, you should make sure your marketing/fundraising/communications people take a look at how you’re presenting your organization to the public. No offense to the finance folks, but if the information is only coming from them with no other input, it may not be ready for public viewing. Even if the information is accurate, it’s unlikely to be inspiring to someone who may be considering making a donation.
1. Search for your organization in Guidestar. Take a look at other organizations that have similar names — because potential donors will see them too.
2. Review your information, and not just for accuracy. Does your description present your organization as efficient, committed, and successful?
3. Ask yourself if an average person could understand the role of philanthropy in your organization. How are donations used, and why are they needed? What impact have past donations made, and what will additional funding help you accomplish?
4. Take a look at other organizations in your area (hunger, the environment, etc.) and see how you compare in Guidestar. Also take a look at nonprofits in your regional area. If a donor were shopping around for the most effective and worthy nonprofit, how would you stack up?
5. After you improve your profile, consider linking to Guidestar from your website. You can also make it easy by offering your 990 forms right on your website, but by referring donors to your page on the site, you’re adding another level of transparency and openness.
Also take a look at these tips from Guidestar:
A few years ago, I presented at the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy’s international conference on the similarities between dating and online fundraising. The title of the talk was “Getting Your Donors to Say ‘I Do’: Using Online Tools to Build Lasting Relationships.” I think the metaphor holds up, especially because of the time and effort involved in cultivating relationships with donors and supporters. Here are the highlights of my presentation — and I’ve included the links below.
Playing the Field
• Cast a wide net – you never know where your donor/partner may be.
• Use all of your networks and connections – spread the word that you’re “available.”
• Go where your prospects are, and that may not be where you think.
• Make a good first impression.
• Remember it’s not all about you.
• Engage with them in new and different ways.
• Meet them in their own space – make it easy and convenient.
Taking the Plunge
• Getting engaged or married is just the beginning!
• Don’t take them for granted.
• Relationships evolve. Adapt accordingly.
Read the full post on Katya’s Nonprofit Marketing Blog or view the presentation on slideshare.