Eskin Fundraising Training keeps intentionally clear of the political arena and commenting on political parties and candidates. On the other hand, we enthusiastically encourage everyone, no matter their beliefs, to actively participate in our democratic system of self-government. And, we’re elated with the awesome way the American people embraced their most cherished privilege of all in the 2020 election — voting in record numbers in choosing who should lead our nation. (Though final tabulations and election closure are still in the future.)
At the same time, we can’t help but be alarmed with how divided the nation has become. Unfortunately, this goes beyond supporting different parties, candidates and viewpoints. It has escalated to the point of disliking, mistrusting and being unwilling to work with those who share different ideas. That’s not what The Founders intended. We were founded on the powerful motto of E Pluribus Unum, highlighting the fact that a cohesive single nation was formed as the result of the 13 smaller colonies joining together. Over the last 243 years, we have thrived and grown as a nation that has welcomed immigrants from all parts of the world. These new citizens — our parents, grandparents and other ancestors — in practicing the American values of hard work, playing by the rules, and when able, giving back, have made us the greatest nation in the history of the world. This has always meant pulling together during times of crisis. American politics has historically been chock-full of heated debate, but it has steadily grown uglier and uglier and lost sight of basic civility. Restoring civility must rank high on our national agenda. (We can’t wait for the release of good friend and webinar guest Barbara Radnofsky’s new book, Let’s Talk: 10 Steps to Peaceful Problem-Solving.)
There are a million reasons we cherish our work with non-profit professionals and volunteers. Now I’m going to make that list a million and one: Non-profits provide a beautiful model for bringing people from different backgrounds and with different viewpoints together for the common good. When people choose to donate the precious gifts of time and money to a favorite non-profit or cause, they don’t research the political underpinnings of the organization. They invest their time and money because of their strong belief in the mission of the organization, and the way it touches, improves and save more lives. The variety of noble missions is virtually unlimited ranging from health care, education, economic development, culture and the arts, children, seniors, animal welfare and multiple human services.
Simply put, non-profits bring out the best in people. They remind us that no matter how huge the problem or challenge is, that we can take matters into our own hands, and each of us in our own way, can make a difference. They vividly remind us that more is possible. Plus, they build bridges of understanding by rallying staff, board, donors, volunteers and others around a common vision of a better world. More than ever, we can and should highlight the non-profit ethic of joining together to improve humankind, and the notion, by helping others, we are truly helping ourselves. Our work together ahead in overcoming COVID-19 and social injustice will be yet another powerful example of how much more we all share in common than what differentiates us. 

More Interactive Webinars

America is suffering from computer fatigue, and we’re determined to do our part to fight it. Starting November 11th, Eskin Fundraising Training will be presenting fewer webinars and refining the format to emphasize a more interactive experience. Our goal is to offer participants more interaction and opportunities to meet and connect with other attendees online in the same spirit enjoyed at our in-person workshops. Topics and speakers will be carefully selected to empower non-profits to boost capacity and respond to timely challenges. We’re excited about giving attendees a greater voice during our time together. Here’s our upcoming agenda:
Wednesday, November 11th, 4 to 5 p.m. Central time: Non-Profit Open Mic Night: This will showcase our learning community in action. Attendees will be invited to appear on camera, briefly describe their non-profit, and place a question for the moderator and other attendees who wish to answer or share their thoughts on the topic. You can register for this webinar here.
Wednesday, November 25th, 4 to 5 p.m. Central time: Giving Thanks Night: Again, you’ll be invited to appear on camera, introduce your non-profit, share the memory of your last handshake, and tell us what you’re giving thanks for. We plan to feature at least 20 to 25 attendees this way.
Wednesday, December 2nd, 4 to 5 p.m. Central time: Recruiting Board Leaders During a Crisis. Jeff Jowdy, President, Lighthouse Counsel, will join us and share research findings on strong Board Chairs and members so you can apply them to strengthen your non-profit leadership. Attendees will be invited to join us on camera to share their challenges in getting busy people, much in demand, to commit their time, and as a learning community we will respond.
Wednesday, December 9th 4 to 5 p.m. Central time: Financial Fitness. Our subject matter expert, Whitney Solcher, CFA, Partner, Chief Invest Officer, Ulrich Investment Consultants, will talk about financial management best practices. Attendees will be invited to appear on camera to comment on their challenges and obstacles to implementing those measures.
Wednesday, December 16th, 4 to 5 p.m. Central time: What Gets News Coverage, What Doesn’t. Our subject matter expert, veteran print and electronic journalist Charlotte-Anne Lucas, Executive Director of NOWCastSA, will give us an insider’s view of how news coverage decisions are made. You’ll be invited to share your PR challenges with her and other attendees and learn strategies for getting news coverage.
Please continue to send us your suggestions on topics, speakers and format as we finalize the webinar schedule for 2021. Here’s a one-page survey for you to share your thoughts and return to us.

Sector Snapshot

The Independent Sector “Health of the U.S. Non-profit Sector Annual Review” is a new and developing resource that conveys important information on the current health of the U.S. non-profit sector across multiple dimensions and in a single, accessible format. Most information on the health and well-being of non-profits is found across multiple, single-issue reports, which makes it difficult to get a complete picture of overall sector health. This annual review presents a broad set of measures side-by-side, so stakeholders and key decisionmakers can see the most accurate snapshot of the state of civil society. Highlights:
* In 2019, 1,729,101 non-profits — across Section 501(c) — are registered with the IRS and 75% of 501(c)(3) public charities are small with annual revenue under $100K.
* Non-profits make up 5.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
* In 2019, Americans gave $450 billion to charity, but the number of donors continued a downward trend, declining by 3%.
* Non-profits make up 7% of total workforce and 10% of private workforce.
* Voters contacted by non-profits turn out at rates 11 percentage points higher than comparable voters.
* 7% of non-profits are estimated to close due to the pandemic and 1 million non-profit jobs have been lost.
* 59% of U.S. public trust non-profits to do what is right.

More Encouraging Trends

Reinforcing the findings of the Fundraising Effectiveness Project’s showing that giving for the first half of 2020 increased 7.5% over the first half of 2019, a new Chronicle of Philanthropy survey reveals in a spot check of the 116 charities that raise about 10% of all contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporations, found that giving was 22% higher during the first six months of the year than it was during the same period in 2019. Even more surprising: Giving in the second quarter increased 41% above the same time last year. Donations to Feeding America’s national office rose by nearly 46% in the first six months of the year. That came as the food banks that are part of the Feeding America network served 60% more people. Non-profits not directly connected to the crisis have also been the beneficiaries of the rise in generosity. The Nature Conservancy, which protects land, also received a surge of donations, with 40% more flowing into the organization in the first half of the year. That money came largely from wealthy donors as people at other income levels held back amid job losses and economic uncertainty. Significant as the increases are, they are not necessarily keeping up with the spike in need, the Chronicle of Philanthropy shows in their analysis of the data and their interviews with more than two dozen non-profit officials.

Political vs. Charitable Giving

A working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that the main motivation for political giving is the same as it is for charitable giving — the donor is driven by his or her desire for the positive feeling that comes from doing something good. The researchers noticed that the two kinds of giving often act like substitutes. When someone gives more to a political campaign, in other words, they are likely to give less to charity. The converse was also found to be true.
Researchers provided evidence using micro data from the American Red Cross and Federal Election Commission. First, they find that foreign natural disasters, which are positive shocks to charitable giving, crowd out political giving. Second, they showed that political advertisement campaigns, which are positive shocks to political giving, crowd out charitable giving. The evidence suggests that individuals give to political and charitable causes to satisfy similar needs, and some of the drivers of charitable giving, such as other-regarding preferences, may be driving political giving too.

Money Making Ideas

Our webinar subject matter experts have spotlighted a wide range of timely, practical and cost-effective ideas for you to promote your non-profit, nurture stronger relationships, and, most importantly, obtain more gift income. We encourage you to try them out in your own operations:
* If you don’t have one, establish a monthly giving program, and you have one, ramp it up to its full potential. Erica Waasdorp, author of Monthly Giving – The Sleeping Giant underscored that monthly giving works well for organizations of all sizes and serving all different missions. She pointed out that the retention rate is twice as high as for annual donors, and that monthly donors are six times more likely to include your non-profit in their estate plans.
*Make it a daily habit to mail a handwritten note to a donor. Believe us, it will stand out and make you remembered. The average person receives 121 e-mails every day, while your handwritten note will likely be the only one they receive that day or month.
* Have your board members make thank you calls to donors. It is fine if they leave a voicemail, donors will appreciate being thanked by leaders of your organization.
* Make giving through donor advised funds (DAFs) visible on your websites and other communication vehicles. This is clearly the most dynamic component of American philanthropy.
* Remind repeat donors of three years or more that planned giving options such as charitable bequests, retirement plans and life insurance policies provide tax-friendly options to extend giving impact while postponing any out-of-pocket expenditure.
* Mobile and other devices can provide amazing video results. Send donors and prospects a two-minute video on gift impact.
* Guide a donor who is not familiar with the technology to install necessary software and become comfortable with videoconferencing. It will not only improve their ability to communicate with your non-profit, but they will appreciate the way it will improve communication with loved ones.

Our Favorite Voter

Tarrrant County Texas resident Earline Hart Andrews, 110 years young, takes her right to vote very seriously. Andrews says she’s never missed an opportunity to vote. Andrews was born in 1910 before women could vote. She is one of the oldest registered voters in Texas, and she says she wasn’t about to sit out of this election. She said nothing not even a pandemic would keep her from showing up at the polls and casting her vote (she preferred going to the polls over voting by mail). Though her hearing and eyesight are poor and she uses a walker for mobility, Andrews’ memory and intellect are as sharp as ever. Born October 28, 1910, she described riding a horse to high school from her father’s farm just over the Texas/Louisiana border and falling into the habit of racing — and outrunning — Model Ts, for which she was reprimanded by her parents. Andrews earned her college diploma from Louisiana Normal (now Louisiana Normal University) in the heart of the Great Depression when jobs were scarce and some schools had to pay their teachers with “scripts” that didn’t necessarily cover their salaries. She sought employment in an oilfield town near El Dorado, Arkansas, taught there for four years at a salary of $120 a month. She returned to Texas in 1934 to teach at Overton near Kilgore at a salary of $100 per month and held that position for 14 years. She earned a master’s degree in history at Stephen F. Austin and later retired after teaching in Tyler, Texas, for 26 years. To be transparent, she was a spry 109 when she voted. Earline: You’re our role model! If you know of someone older who voted in the 2020 election, please let us know.

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

Jim Eskin, Founder

Eskin Fundraising Training

Email: [email protected]
Cell: 210.415.3748

ANSWERS TO THIS MONTH’S QUIZ: 1=a, 2=d, 3=c, 4=e, 5=b

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