Stratagems, September 2021

Leading By Example

The men and women who work and volunteer for America’s 1.5 million non-profits are a family of brothers and sisters who share a profound commitment to touching, improving and saving more lives. We do more than mirror society, we embrace opportunities to lead society in the right direction. Now is such a time for our leadership. We must use our voices and every available megaphone to call on people to get vaccinated, wear masks, respect social distancing and avoid large gatherings. America needs to rally together and the non-profit sector can and should be on the front line of modeling good behavior and doing the right thing! At Eskin Fundraising Training we proudly proclaim: We Are Non-Profit Strong!

Non-Profit Efficiency

How many times have we heard that non-profits should run themselves more like businesses? Or that they need to be more efficient? Elijah Goldberg, head of giving for Spiral Financial and a writer for Technical Philanthropy, led a team that analyzed the effectiveness — in terms of results and cost — of more than 1,000 direct-service non-profits engaged in areas such as school improvement, community health, workforce development, and hunger. He came away with a clear conclusion: Most non-profits are actually highly successful — and cost effective — at improving the lives of those they serve. In fact, the vast majority of nonprofits he analyzed — 86% of 1,064 — earned the designation of either cost-effective or highly cost-effective. More than half (57%) earned the top designation of highly cost-effective. Conclusion: Most non-profits are genuinely, verifiably, and impressively improving the outcomes of those they serve.

Updated Webinar Schedule

A new survey echoes other recent reports that have found donors expect to keep contributing at high levels in the year ahead. Fifty-three percent of respondents to the latest Burk Donor Survey said their 2021 giving would keep pace with 2020. More than a quarter said they expected to give even more this year, and of those, 38% were motivated by the continuing public-health emergency, 27% by calls for racial justice, and nearly a quarter by election issues and voter rights. More than half of respondents — 56% — said they gave a larger sum to charity in 2020 than in 2019. By contrast, just 37% of respondents to an earlier survey said they gave more in 2019 than in 2018. Donors’ motivation last year was clear: Nearly three-quarters increased their giving because of the pandemic. While donors’ plans for 2021 are positive, Burk warns fundraisers not to be complacent. and that donors can’t sustain an emergency mentality forever.

More Upbeat News

To take advantage of some exciting speaker opportunities we’ve tweaked and expanded our fall line-up. Below are the webinars set for Fall 2021: 
  • September 8th: Giving Gives Control, Laura Fredricks, The Expert on the ASK
  • September 22nd: Charitable vs. Political Fundraising, Panel of Experts who have raised money in both fields, including two former Members of the U.S. Congress 
  • October 6th: Leaky Bucket Fundraising Assessment, Ellen Bristol, Bristol Strategy Group
  • October 20th: Best Storyteller in Texas: The Hon. Kent Hance, Chancellor Emeritus, Texas Tech University System
  • October 27th: Become an Influencer: Jon Levy, Author, You’re Invited: The Art and Science of Cultivating Influence
  • November 3rd: Effective and Efficient Advancement Teams, Sally Bryant, President and CEO, BRYANT Group
  • November 17th: Year-End Push, Ali Sterling, Founder, Ali Sterling Philanthropy
  • December 1st: Creative Ways to Express Thanks, Melissa Vela-Williamson, APR, Founder, MVW Communications
  • December 15th: The Joy of Giving, Michael D. Rubin, Principal, Michael D. Rubin & Associates
  • December 29th: Making A Difference, Reports on innovative non-profit projects across the country
In our learning community approach, every voice is welcome and aggregate knowledge is improved by everyone adding their voice, wisdom and experience. Generally, webinar invitations are sent to those in our Constant Contact database the Friday before the webinar scheduled for the following Wednesday. Due to the growing interest in webinars, we have doubled the participation level from 100 to 200. If you know of friends and colleagues who would like to join our learning community please have them sign up here.

The Fundraising G-O-A-T

In football we know the honor goes to Tom Brady, (though it hurts to see him in a Buccaneers uniform). In opera it’s Luciano Pavarotti, for artists, it’s easy to go with Pablo Picasso. In the world of fundraising there’s no question who ranks number one when it comes to writing, speaking, educating, coaching and inspiring men and women about fundraising. In more ways than one, Laura Fredricks truly is The Expert on the ASK (with making a respectful bow to the late Jerold Panas). We are absolutely frilled to have Laura kick off our fall schedule of subject matter experts.
She will speak on the topic “Giving Gives Control,” and share crucial insights on the art and science of asking, whether in person, virtually or hybrid. This webinar is Wednesday, September 8th, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Central time. You can register here.
Based in New York City, Laura is the Billion-Dollar ASK-Maker Powerhouse. As an attorney-turned-philanthropic advisor, she comes from a seasoned career in industries best known for making the most high-profile asks — law and philanthropy — and is the first to merge strategies from both professional sectors into a mainstream practice — THE ASK©. For over 25 years, Laura has trained and coached people on every level, from CEOs to those entering the field to raise unprecedented amounts for their organizations. THE ASK© is the name of her literary series, speaking tour, personal consulting firm, and most importantly, the latest of her five books.
In addition to having proven success with organizations around the globe, THE ASK© transcends perfectly into everyday living. Laura’s experience has resulted in a formulaic approach to making sure you make the right ASK every time. Today, she trains and empowers people at every level, in every category, regardless of their age, job, career, or personal life.

Err on the Side of Caution

I know and admire many passionate and talented professional and volunteer non-profit leaders. They are profoundly qualified to carry out their noble missions of their respective non-profits that touch, improve and save more lives. But the truth is that very few are prepared to make decisions regarding public health and safety, especially regarding infectious diseases. This Fall non-profit leaders are struggling with decisions on whether to schedule and how to conduct fundraising and other special events that have traditionally brought together large gatherings of people. Since writing a guest essay on this subject for Candid Learning I’ve been in hours of conversations with non-profit leaders who have shared a variety of perspectives for, against and undecided on holding such large gatherings. They all want to know what others are doing; certainly, that can be instructive. Eskin Fundraising Training believes strongly on seeking out the wisdom and advice and counsel of those with the strongest understanding of the complex scientific issues involved. In that spirit, we had a productive conversation with Claude Jacob, Public Health Director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, which oversees more than 30 programs of the Communicable Disease, Community Health & Safety and Environmental Health & Operations divisions. His distinguished career and record of leadership includes serving as a past president of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). In the spirit of empowering non-profit leaders to make the best informed decisions possible, he asked us to share the information below with the non-profit community. We encourage non-profit board and staff to review this information closely as they make decisions which could bring large gatherings of people together. 
Best Practices for Gatherings (recommendations from Dr. Junda Woo, Metro Health Medical Director and Local Health Authority):
  • Outdoors is safer than indoors.
  • Recommend that attendees be fully vaccinated.
  • Support universal masking in indoor settings.
  • People who are immunosuppressed may want to avoid large gatherings (even if fully vaccinated).
Friendly reminder: transmission is primarily respiratory — surface cleaning has far lower impact than the measures above. 
A number of factors can influence a person’s risk of exposure to COVID-19, including the type, proximity, and duration of their exposure, environmental factors (such as crowding and ventilation), vaccination statusprior COVID-19 infection, and mask use.  Correct and consistent mask use is a critical step that people can take to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.
Note that clicking on the text highlighted above will link you to the CDC guidance and definitions. Also, the Metro Health team will be available to facilitate a technical assistance session (if needed) in order to assist you as you consider your planned activities in the coming weeks and months. 

Beautiful: Inside and Out

Founded in 1993, the kathy​ ireland®​ Worldwide brand, celebrates a lifestyle that translates to all fashion, fine jewelry, intimate apparel, skincare, accessories, weddings, home, office and more. First known for Sports Illustrated covers, Kathy​ Ireland has graced the cover of Forbes Magazine twice (2012, 2016), is listed as the 25th most powerful brand globally by License! Global Magazine and according to Fairchild Publications, Kathy Ireland®​ is one of the 50 most influential people in fashion. The success of kathy​ ireland®​ Worldwide is the result of teamwork and dedication. She is also quite the philanthropist. Kathy​ and kiWW​ support many non-profits including: YWCA Greater Los Angeles, for which she is an Ambassador; Dream Foundation; Providence Educational Foundation; 911 for Kids/AEF; and the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Kathy is the first-ever National PTA Ambassador for Youth. ​Kathy​ serves as International Youth Chair for the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, as well as Ambassador for the American Cancer Society. Kathy is​ also an Ambassador for the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. As a powerful advocate for Israel, Kathy​ has spoken out for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC); and met with global leaders including former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former President Shimon Peres and former President Barack Obama. Kathy is a member of Women’s International Zionist Organization and has been honored by the Anti-Defamation League and Jewish National Fund.


A Council on Foundations and 
Commonfund Institute study finds that long-term investment returns held steady and U.S. foundations generally maintained or increased their spending rates in 2020. The 9th annual study between the partners is based on investment returns, spending, and asset allocations across 260 private and community foundations. According to the report, U.S. foundations generally maintained or increased their spending rates, which rose to 5.6% from 5.4% for private foundations in 2020, but declined moderately to 4.7% from 4.8% among community foundations; private and community foundations with assets of at least $500 million spent at the highest rate, 6.1%; and 45% of community foundations reported an increase in donations received, with a median increase of 83.6%.

Shifting Philanthropic Landscape

Findings of new research from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at demonstrate expanded philanthropic support from individual donors for racial and social justice causes in 2020. The report also found that while donors of color led this growth, they are also beginning to drive a shift in the sources of influence that have historically shaped the charitable community’s approach to racial and social justice giving. The report incorporates data from a national survey of 1,535 households, insights from focus groups with diverse donors, and an analysis of case studies on the impact of mutual aid. The study found that 16% of American households gave to racial or social justice causes in 2020, an increase from 13% of households in 2019. Philanthropic giving to racial and social justice causes increased across all demographic groups, but the growing impact of crowdfunding and mutual aid demonstrate how donors of color are leading shifts in individual giving patterns. Among the growing number of households that gave to racial and social justice, Black Americans and Asian Americans were more likely than others to give to racial and social justice causes. Donors of color are also helping lead shifts toward non-traditional forms of philanthropy, such as mutual aid, crowdfunding and other sources of grassroots giving. Donors of color are more likely to engage in informal giving, volunteering or giving through crowdfunding sites. Thirty-four percent of donors of color said they give through crowdfunding sites in a typical year. About 90% had heard of crowdfunding, and 52% said crowdfunding makes it easier to directly support causes by giving. Beyond gifts of money, donors of color are engaged in other forms of generosity, with 53% volunteering, 34% donating blood and 70% donating goods in a typical year.

Podcast Power

A recent webinar featured John Largent, CEO, Gameday Media, a pioneer in the booming podcast industry. He has interviewed a who’s who of leaders and celebrities from the political, business, entertainment and sports worlds. John emphasizes that the podcast model fits perfectly with the non-profit agenda to connect with, deepen relationships, and sustain loyalty with listeners who can become lifelong donors. The size of the national podcast audience is huge — 120 million — and growing by the day. Here’s another reason for cost-conscious nonprofit leaders to embrace this strategy: podcasts are affordable to produce with initial purchases limited to computer, microphones, audio interface, sound mixer, and headphones Furthermore, there are plenty of opportunities to share costs with non-profits in similar mission space and/or recruit corporate sponsors. The future of podcasts looks very bright with rising popularity of podcasts appealing to all age groups by allowing them to consume content when and where they want to. Finally, John highlights the astounding analytics associated with podcasts that let non-profits benefit from huge insights on who, when and where they are being listened to.

On Bookshelf: Passion to Purpose

Imagine if everyone took a few minutes each day to make the world a better place by using their unique talents fueled by their deepest passions. What an amazing world we would live in! Passion to Purpose is your guide to discovering your passion, living your purpose, and making a positive impact on the world. Amy McLaren’s passion for world travel and education kickstarted her journey from unfulfilled schoolteacher to the purpose-driven founder of Village Impact, a charity that provides education for nearly 5,000 kids in Kenya in partnership with local communities. But this book isn’t about doing exactly what Amy did or following a template to start a business or non-profit–it’s about turning your big dream into a reality. Learn how to:
  • Feed your brain with possibility to discover your passion.
  • Surround yourself with positivity and support.
  • Tap into the strengths and connections you already have.
  • Get out of your comfort zone and eliminate self-doubt for good.
  • Trust in yourself and have faith that things will work out.
  • Leave a legacy of good.

Another Unsung Hero

Our nation is full of men and women who day-in and day-out, without fanfare, make a genuine difference in improving the lot of others. More than six years ago, Kevin Adler walked the streets of his San Francisco neighborhood with an unusual purpose: He wanted to get to know its homeless residents. During that time, he met a man named Jeffrey, who had been a missing person for 12 years. After posting on social media, Adler was able to reconnect Jeffrey with his family, who had not seen him in more than 20 years. The experience inspired Adler, whose own uncle was homeless for 30 years, to create a program called Miracle Messages to help reunite other unhoused individuals with their loved ones. Today, the program has reunited about 500 families across the U.S. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Miracle Messages expanded its programs to take its help even further. It started matching unhoused individuals with members of the community to help build relationships. Then, it raised money to pilot a universal basic income project for the homeless.

Quiz: NFL Ticket Prices

Maybe your dream is attending a NFL game. It sure ain’t cheap. Below we are showing average ticket prices for some of your favorite teams. Remember, this doesn’t it include parking, food and drinks, and purchasing specialty items. Bring another credit card for that. Thank you to our friends at Value Penguin for the data. Match the following teams with their average ticket price to answer this question. Answers are at the bottom of this page.
1. Dallas Cowboys                a. $67.15
2. New England Patriots       b. $74.11
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers     c. $110.20
4. Tennessee Titans               d. $119.52
5. Washington Redskins        e. $130.75

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=c, 2=e, 3=b, 4=a, 5=d

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