It's All About Trust
- In many countries giving tends to happen through unincorporated networks rather than registered organizations. Indeed, in places that exhibited strong cultures of giving, the mechanisms are often not dominated by non-profit organizations or registered charities.
- The survey results cast a different light on giving data in the U.S. We tend to view the U.S. as the most generous country, but that’s incorrect as that view is only looking at one structure of giving that doesn’t exist everywhere else.
- Participants in mutual aid networks tend to be more philanthropically inclined in general. They are also less likely to see distinctions between various forms of giving or between giving to organizations and other recipients.
- In most places around the world, generosity is the default behavior, not considered as something extra, but ingrained in their cultures and societies.
- People around the world express their generosity in many ways. No matter where, it is rare that people only give in one way.
- 12% of respondents indicated they had participated in a mutual aid network in the past 12 months.
- 76% of younger respondents (18-34) agreed with the statement “I prefer to give directly to individuals-in-need, and not via non-profit organizations, platforms, or websites,” while 46% of those 50+ agreed with the same statement.
A combination of investment houses, pension funds, non-profits and individual investors have signed on to a non-profit’s plan to raise and invest $20 billion into employee ownership programs. Ownership Works launched last year as a 501(c)(3) and combines at least 60 private, public and non-profit sector partners. The plan is to develop and help implement broad-based employee ownership programs to create better work environments and financial opportunities for employees, and to help businesses improve their performance by attracting and retaining engaged employees who are invested in their company’s success. This movement is about working in concert to create a future of work where employers and employees can win together. Some 19 asset management and financial services firms have committed to providing Ownership Works with charitable donations, as well as a range of programmatic support.
- Share general information on corporate matching gift programs.
- Mention matching gifts directly in your fundraising appeals.
- Send post-donation matching gift reminder emails.
- Leverage matching gift software to automate efforts.
$6 Billion Mystery
In an inconspicuous fashion — via a regulatory filing with the S.E.C. — Elon Musk disclosed that he gave nearly $6 billion worth of Tesla shares to charity last year, instantly propelling him into the upper ranks of philanthropic donors. But the document gave little information about where the Tesla C.E.O. directed his wealth. Musk is one of the richest people in human history, with a net worth of roughly $260 billion. But he emphasizes that it’s still hard to give away money to do good. When asked about the goals of his foundation, Musk said he cares more about the outcomes, not optics, of philanthropy. This, he says, makes it harder for him to give away money “effectively.” “If you care about the reality of doing good and not the perception of doing good, then it is very hard to give away money effectively,” he said. “I care about reality. Perception be damned.” Despite what he described as a challenge to philanthropic efforts, Musk added, “I’m always looking for ways to give away money that are effective.”
Agree to Disagree
Life would be pretty boring if we all agreed with each other on everything, and the learning curve would be compromised. Most of the non-profits I’ve had the privilege to work with demonstrated the capacity to hold healthy debates among board members, management, staff, donors and volunteers. These debates have empowered organizations to make prudent and more inclusive decisions. Jimmy LaRose is like a force of nature and his work as an entrepreneur, author, fundraiser, speaker and co-founder of NANOE (National Association of Nonprofit Organizations & Executives) has raised hundreds of millions of dollars around the world for people in need. He has devoted his 30-year career to changing the way donors treat the charities in whom they invest. He is the creator of InsideCharity, an online media platform used by philanthropists to build financial capacity for non-profits that invoke the same free-market enterprise principles that produced their own personal wealth. Does everyone agree with Jimmy’s forcefully articulated positions about philanthropy? Certainly not. I don’t! But Jimmy has always been willing to listen respectfully and provide space for me on his several websites to articulate opinions and views that he does not agree with. Here’s an essay he ran on the InsideCharity website on this timely subject. Agreeing to disagree will just make the philanthropic sector stronger.
Kennedy and Non-Profits
Groundwork Project began with a simple question: When it comes to creating sustainable and long-term progressive change, what is the most effective way to make an impact? A magical name is attached to it. Over four terms in Congress, Joe Kennedy built a powerful network of supporters and volunteers across the country, as well as some of the largest digital platforms in the Democratic Party. After closing his Congressional career, he was determined to not let them sit idle but instead redirect them towards a place where they could make a difference for years to come. A place where their support could be channeled to the people doing the foundational progressive work on the most pressing issues we face. So, they dug deep at home and across the country, connecting with local advocates, activists, and leaders fighting for the progressive movement’s futures, from Brockton, Massachusetts to Lincoln, Nebraska, to Jackson, Mississippi and a whole lot of places in between. The answer to our question quickly became clear because it was the same, whether they were talking to someone from West Virginia, Florida, or Tennessee: The single most impactful place to direct time and resources is to local community organizers fighting year-round on the ground for change. Their grants are extra impactful because they are purposely multi-year, unrestricted and hyper-local.
License Plates for a Cause
The Montana Department of Justice announced that the Motor Vehicle Division helped raise over $5,669,311 in 2021 for Montana non-profits. Currently, the state offers more than 200 specialty plates that represent a variety of organizations, including veterans, colleges and universities and service groups. Specialty plate fees range from $2 to $35, and the non-profit must sell 400 plates over three years in order to keep their status. During the vehicle registration process, Montanans have the opportunity to select a specialty plate. The donation fee between $20 and $35 is set by the plate sponsor and goes to the non-profit organization associated with the license plate in addition to the $10 administrative cost and $10 production cost.
On the Bookshelf: Dewey Defeats Truman
On the eve of the 1948 election, America was a fractured country. Racism was rampant, foreign relations were fraught, and political parties were more divided than ever. Americans were certain that President Harry S. Truman’s political career was over. “The ballots haven’t been counted,” noted political columnist Fred Othman, “but there seems to be no further need for holding up an affectional farewell to Harry Truman.” Truman’s own staff did not believe he could win. Nor did his wife, Bess. The only man in the world confident that Truman would win was Mr. Truman himself. And win he did. 1948 was a fight for the soul of a nation. In Dewey Defeats Truman, A. J. Baime sheds light on one of the most action-packed six months in American history, as Truman not only triumphs, but oversees watershed events — the passing of the Marshall Plan, the acknowledgement of Israel as a new state, the careful attention to the origins of the Cold War, and the first desegregation of the military. Not only did Truman win the election, he succeeded in guiding his country forward at a critical time with high stakes and haunting parallels to the modern day. History buffs are guaranteed to love every page.
Flexible Options for Events
Fundraising events have taken on an entirely different form in the past two years, with many shifting to online venues or some hybrid component of in-person and virtual. Each supporter or donor is different in how they feel about attending events and a new survey precisely examines their preferences when it comes to their attendance. The 2022 Fundraising Event Experience Report by Classy, surveyed 1,000 people who attended fundraising events between January 2020 and February 2022. More than a quarter of respondents (26%) attended events in person while 21% attended virtually because the event was 100% virtual. Twenty percent attended in person, but the event had a virtual component as well. Almost as many (19%) did not attend any events since before the pandemic and another 15% attended from home but the event had an in-person component as well. Authors of the 22-page report suggested that the flexibility of multiple attendance options attracts supporters. Some 35% of respondents attended fundraising events that gave them the option to participate in-person or virtually. Events that are strictly in-person or 100% virtual could deter a significant group of attendees who value the opportunity to choose, they argue.
Quiz: Where Non-Profits Are
Stratagems is published monthly by Jim Eskin, Founder of Eskin Fundraising Training, LLC. We offer workshops and customized training sessions for board members, staff and volunteers of non-profit organizations of all kinds and sizes. For details about our services and information, or to find out how to schedule a training session for your organization, visit our website. Follow our events on Facebook, and read more articles about philanthropy on our LinkedIn page.
Jim Eskin, Founder
Eskin Fundraising Training
ANSWERS TO THIS MONTH’S QUIZ: 1=e, 2=b, 3=a, 4=c, 5=d