Stratagems, November 2022

Ring the Bells on November 15th

If you work for a non-profit, serve as a board member, volunteer or donor advancing its noble mission, please take a much-deserved bow on Tuesday, November 15th, which is National Philanthropy Day. Ever since President Ronald Reagan first signed an official national proclamation in 1986 this has been a special day to recognize all those who contribute precious gifts of time and money to improve the lot of others. An inspiring example is demonstrated by some 1.5 million non-profits who through a variety of different and timely missions improve the world. As we’ve vividly observed in recent years, philanthropy is always there to rise up and meet new and profound challenges. All in all, we’re talking about a $485 billion annual enterprise. Sounded often by our good friend and webinar guest Sally Bryant, President & CEO, BRYANT GROUP, we love the word moxie as a fitting way to convey the force of character, determination and nerve that propels philanthropy forward. On National Philanthropy Day we salute all our friends in the social sector for their moxie for doing good. (By the way, Moxie is the name of the first bottled carbonated beverage made in the U.S. dating back to 1884.) While National Philanthropy Day is celebrated enthusiastically throughout the country, few people know the story behind this special observance. The hero is a tax attorney based in Los Angeles named Doug Freeman. His relentless work turned the dream into reality. Here’s a guest column I wrote last year on the history of National Philanthropy Day.

Fear Not

If you’re afraid of asking for a gift for your favorite non-profit, you’re like most people. In fact, my experience over and over again is meeting professional and volunteer non-profit leaders who are virtually fearless in everything else they need to face in their professional, personal and civic lives — yet they are terrified of asking for gifts for causes they are devoted to. But here’s good news: Such fear can and is overcome every day of the year. Eskin Fundraising Training is all about replacing that fear with comfort and confidence. We’ve seen it accomplished hundreds of times resulting in millions of dollars raised for the greater good. We believe, more than anything else, this is a fear of the unknown. Our job is to demystify the art and science of fundraising in plain everyday talk. This blog featured on the National Development Institute website summarizes my thinking on taking productive and do-able steps to overcome the fear of asking for gifts. 


A Forbes analysis finds that while nine of America’s billionaires have given away at least 20% of their net worth, the vast majority of the country’s wealthiest have given away less than 5% of their fortunes. Comparing lifetime “out-the-door” giving–all money spent, not waiting in a foundation or donor-advised fund–as a percentage of current net worth, Forbes finds that nearly 77% of the 2022 Forbes 400 whose giving could be effectively measured have given 5% or less of their net worth, while more than 41% have contributed less than 1% . Hail to the nine individuals or couples–up from eight in 2021–who have lifetime giving of at least 20%, including Giving Pledgers Bill Gates, Melinda French Gates, MacKenzie Scott, Warren Buffett , Gordon and Betty Moore, Lynn Schusterman, and John and Laura Arnold, as well as George Soros, who topped the list as America’s biggest donor as a percentage of net worth for the third year in a row, having given away $18.1 billion– nearly three times his current net worth–and Amos Hostetter Jr., co-founder of the Barr Foundation.

Gems From Fundraising Bible

As many friends of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy know well, Achieving Excellence in Fundraising (first published in 1991) has become a bedrock text full of solid, practical advice for fundraisers and philanthropic practitioners. The 5th edition, released earlier this year, is no exception. Here are some insights from the book to help boost your fundraising.
  • Be empowered through self-reflection and rejuvenation.
  • Keep an eye on community alignment.
  • Plan, plan, plan.
  • Keep doors of communication open within your organization and don’t get siloed.
  • Monitor ongoing innovations in the field–after all, technology never rests.
  • Pay attention to the external environment.
  • Expand your knowledge about philanthropy in diverse communities.
  • Consider donors’ many motivations for giving.
  • Cultivate long-term relationships with institutional funders, including foundations and businesses. If your work is local, look locally. 
  • Keep inviting gifts! 

First Generation Wealth

To secure a major gift, naturally fundraising executives must find wealthy donors. But what if a huge swath of donors who are in a position to give transformational gifts do not consider themselves “wealthy” at all? A full 68% of wealth is currently earned rather than inherited. And these first-generation wealth (FGW) creators feel that the “wealthy” label represents a set of values they simply don’t adhere to, as Leadership Story Lab found in lengthy interviews with 20 FGW creators. Foremost among their values is the concept of “stealth wealth–they avoid showing off their wealth and maintain their native middle-class values. Still, FGWs crave meaningful ways to allocate their vast financial assets; thus, they seek transformative partnerships with non-profits. However, many feel alienated from the surrounding philanthropic circles. Splashy events feel antithetical to many in this subgroup, who say that just as they strive to be modest in spending and appearance, so too do they avoid charitable events and organizations that feel like an “in-club” for the very wealthy. Leadership Story Lab’s research furthers the conversation about key attributes of this subset of wealthy donors and aims to close the gap between the existing knowledge and those who can use it. Modesty is one vital attribute, while others include:
• An entrepreneurial approach to life (and to partnering with philanthropic causes).
• A prudent exercising of their freedom and wealth of options and influence.
• A desire to raise responsible, self-motivated children and grandchildren (a wish that becomes a source of profound worry for many).

Next Generation Star

A restaurant specializing in plant-based fare in the heart of Manhattan’s Theater District is serving up portions of generosity. P.S. Kitchen not only donates all of its profits, but the enterprise with a social mission also hires employees who are re-entering society from prisons. “This is an oasis where you come in and you love the food, you love the environment, but you realize–we donate 100% of our profits. P.S., we employ those who need a second chance. And P.S., the food is 100% plant-based so it’s better for the environment and better for our consumers,” says co-founder April Tam Smith. Smith, also a managing director at a leading investment bank, noted her life changed about 10 years ago when she first visited an orphanage in South Africa. A group of 12-year-old girls approached her with a letter, asking her to help them with a list of things–all for other friends at school. 

Million Dollars A Week

From domestic violence organizations to childhood cancer, hospice care and more, the billionaire owner of Quincy, Mass.-based Granite Telecommunications, and his wife have turned their philanthropic efforts to small, local non-profits this year. For the last 40 weeks, and for the final 12 this year, Rob Hale and his wife Karen are donating $1 million to local non-profits committed to doing good. Hale said organizations should be able to invest the $1 million and pull down at least 5% back–$50,000–per year into perpetuity. Recently, Forbes honored Hale’s year-long project with a cover story. He ranks as the 202nd richest American with a net worth of $5 billion.

TikTok Time?

From our friends at Community Boost: With more than 1 billion monthly active users, TikTok advertising videos are a great way to expand on your organization’s organic social media strategy. Advertisers have the potential to reach more than 885 million users over age 18 with TikTok advertising videos. TikTok’s largest user base is 10 to 29 and getting in front of them with your cause can create a life-long connection to your organization. Gen Z, those born after 1996, has been defined as a generous generation and one that is willing to set aside differences to rally around causes, they believe in. Gen Z has also been defined as “communaholics,” where technology has allowed higher levels of mobilization around a cause than earlier generations. TikTok advertising videos enable your organization to create dialogue around a cause rather than taking a potentially divisive approach. Starting a TikTok for your non-profit doesn’t have to be reinventing the wheel for another social media platform. Repurposing video content from other content creation endeavors will help streamline establishing an account and audience.

Native American Philanthropy

As the largest philanthropic organization devoted solely to serving the Native American farming and ranching community, the Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF) commits more than $100 million over the next 12 years to advance Native American agriculture and establish healthy lands, healthy people, and healthy economies. NAAF’s vision for this 12-year commitment is to achieve systemic and meaningful impacts to address food and nutrition disparities in Tribal communities. That is why NAAF is committing to strive for $10 million in grantmaking each year through the year 2035 to build and sustain thriving food economies that feed and nourish Indigenous people for generations to come. The eligible entities that receive NAAF grants are leading in work that increases access to capital and alleviates food insecurity in order to meet the needs of Indian Country and build equitable food systems for all. Since its inception, NAAF has invested $55 million in grantmaking to provide business assistance, agricultural education, technical support, and advocacy services to Tribes, non-profit organizations, educational organizations, and Community Development Financial Institutions. 

On the Bookshelf: Future Philanthropy

Philanthropy is stuck. As societal issues constantly evolve, philanthropic systems have been slow to match, leaving our communities’ needs sorely unmet. But what would happen if philanthropy became a progressive industry, rather than a sluggish and reactionary one? In Future Philanthropy, Ryan Ginard calls on his years of experience as a civic connector and fundraiser to anticipate incoming philanthropic trends and lay the groundwork for their adoption. Future Philanthropy provides insights into what the new toolbox for courageous social sector leaders will look like over the next decade and beyond. You’ll learn how to develop the right team, capitalize on current trends, create change in reimagined institutions, and disrupt our outdated philanthropic systems. Inside, Ginard puts the spotlight on fourteen leaders across various industries who are already finding success implementing the tools outlined in this book, offering up inspiration for your own strategic planning.

K-9 Power

Anyone who knows us knows that we are cat lovers. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have respect and admiration for other species. Host Carson Kressley, international music legend Michael Bolton, plus other celebrities and dog lovers alike will gather for the 12th Annual American Humane Hero Dog Awards Gala on Friday, November 11th, in Palm Beach, Florida. The 2022 American Hero Dog and all of the Hero Dog Awards category winners will be recognized and walk the red carpet for this special gala honoring our nation’s working dogs. Nearly 400 dogs were nominated, and one million votes were cast by the public, but only one will be named 2022 American Hero Dog! The Hero Dog Awards will be broadcast on the Circle Network on December 6th at 9 p.m. Eastern time. The program is sponsored by American Humane which has been proudly committed to ensuring the safety, welfare and well-being of animals for more than 100 years

Quiz: Most Popular NFL Teams

From Google search trends data from 2017-2022 shared with USA TODAY we can determine the relative popularity of NFL teams. By the way, the 10 most searched teams in the NFL have won a combined 33 of 56 Super Bowls played. Match the following top five finishers with their Google search ranking (with number one being the most searched and number five being the 5th most searched):
Answers are shown at the bottom of the page.
1. Dallas Cowboys            a. No.1
2. Green Bay Packers        b. No.2
3. New England Patriots   c. No.3
4. Philadelphia Eagles      d. No.4
5. Pittsburgh Steelers        e. No.5

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=c, 3=b, 4=e, 5=d

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