Archive for November, 2009
Thank You to All the Companies that Provide Workday Volunteering Opportunities
LBG Research conducted a study about corporate volunteering, “Motivating Volunteering in Tough Times,” and while the complete report costs $77, the Executive Summary is available for free at their website: http://www.lbg-associates.com/publications/Volunteer_Executive%20Summary%20for%20Website.pdf.
It’s a valuable and interesting report and I thank LBG for conducting the survey and publishing their results. I also thank all the companies that were surveyed that support volunteering by their employees. Support comes in several forms, including financial support to the charities where the employees volunteer and more than 54% of the companies surveyed: “offer either a paid time off or a release program for employee volunteering.” In our modern society, this is a huge benefit to both the employee and to the non-profits who benefit from the time and talents provided by the volunteers.
I think that’s great, and should be encouraged by employers — the survey did indicate that having such programs in place generated a positive reaction by the employees. I am waiting for the “non-profit purists” to jump on this report and decry the fact that these volunteers are not “true volunteers” because “they’re being paid for their time.” Meanwhile, if you’re in a non-profit actually trying to get some work done with volunteers, work on finding the companies in your area that have “workday” volunteer programs, and use them to your and your clients’ benefit.
P.S. If you’re interested in developing your leadership skills, send me an e-mail at BillHuddleston@verizon.net and I’ll send you my article on non-profit leadership development.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
One $1 million dollar CFC campaign beats deadline, exceeds goal by 10%, final total expected to be even higher.
Thanks to all the generous CFC donors, and the volunteers including campaign managers, committee chairs and the keyworkers who are responsible for the success of the CFC each year.
If you have read my articles, or heard me speak, you know that I believe that the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) can be an important revenue generator for many non-profits. In these tough economic times, it’s nice to have that position backed up with results like these:
Article Below is from Air Education and Training Command:
Team Lackland exceeds CFC goal
by Mike Joseph
37th Training Wing Public Affairs
11/13/2009 – LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — Team Lackland has shown its generosity once again by exceeding its goal of $1.5 million in donations for the annual Combined Federal Campaign.
Through Nov. 7, reports show more than $1.65 million has been donated. That number is expected to grow since donations can be accepted through Dec. 15.
The fundraising officially kicked off Sept. 2 and ended Oct. 28 for permanent party. The campaign was extended two weeks from its original end date of Oct. 14 because materials from the national office were delayed at the beginning of the campaign.
“It’s been a Team Lackland effort, and while some haven’t met their goals, others have exceeded theirs, so we’ve balanced each other out,” said Lt. Col. Enrique Gwin, Team Lackland project officer for the campaign.
Base agencies participating in the fundraising, open to all federal employees, are the 37th Training Wing, 59th Medical Wing, Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency, 688th IOW, 677th Network Warfare Wing, Crypto-logic Systems Group, Texas Cryptologic Center, Joint Information Operations, Warfare Center, 149th Fighter Wing and 433rd Airlift Wing.
Col. Gwin said he is proud of the way Team Lackland has donated to the CFC, which supports 2,600 local and international charities.
“There was never a doubt,” he said. “I think when it’s all finished, we will far exceed our goal.
“At this time, generally speaking, we are more fortunate than some people in our society; we know we have a job tomorrow,” he said.
“If we can help them stay on their feet long enough for the economy to get going again, we’re all going to benefit, she said.”Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Non-profits Are Not Businesses, Part II: Program vs Operating Costs
Give While You Live and Give Without Strings
In part I, I said that:
The non-profit sector has done a spectacularly lousy job of explaining what it does and how it does it, and has spent fifty years convincing the American public that “administrative expenses” are bad and that “program costs” are good and now complains about how hard it is to get unrestricted funds.
Let me elaborate on this point, because I do think it is “chicken and egg question” – which came first, did the donors request to know the percentage of administrative costs, or did the non-profit in an attempt to compete for funds, say “Our administrative costs are lower than the other guy’s.” What a dumb thing to say. Only in the non-profit world do we push the “how” of a service or good as the means of convincing donors or grant-making organizations to fund us.
Think about it for a minute, when you go to get your car repaired, you presumably go through these steps:
1. You take it to a garage or dealer that you either have direct experience with, or was recommended by a friend, or you looked it up on the web.
2. You describe the problem with the car (your need).
3. Their mechanic diagnoses it, and calls you back with the recommended solution and estimated cost.
At this point you make your decision, and there are only 3 possible choices:
1. You have them fix it.
2. You decide their price is too high and you might be able to get it fixed somewhere else cheaper.
3. You decide that the problem is not as critical as you thought and you can live with it for some amount of time, whether the ultimate solution is to get a new car, or to have it fixed later.
Notice, nowhere in this decision process did you ask these questions:
1. How much are you paying your mechanics?
(I only want the cheapest mechanics possible to work on my car.)
2. What brand of tools and diagnostic equipment are you using?
(I don’t want to pay for the use of modern tools and computer equipment, my grandfather was a mechanic and he didn’t need any new-fangled gear to fix cars).
You can substitute almost any service or good you want and you can have a similar sequence: Dentist – I only want the old drills used (you know the slow, loud, painful ones from your childhood). Coffee server: What brand of coffee roaster/maker are you using, I’m only going to pay for one that’s cheap.
What the non-profit sector does not do well, is to make the case as the difference between “What & Why” versus “How.” “What & Why” should matter a lot to the potential donor, that is why you are talking to them, and why they are considering giving you some of their money. Your mission resonates with them in some way, whether because they or a family member or someone they know has had direct experience with your organization, or they just have heard about you and care about what your organization does.
The things that truly matter to donors are “What does your organization do?” and “Why do you do it?” If you answer those two questions, and you can certainly say, “Ten dollars a month helps us do ________ for the _________ in our community, or overseas, or in ________ this part of the country.
In a rush to compete against other non-profits, many non-profits then also answer the “How question” – even if it hasn’t been asked. What’s said is “We keep our overhead costs low so more of your money goes to program.”
What’s not said is this, even if it is true:
“Keeping our “overhead low” means that we pay our staff a barely living wage, and have 30% turnover because as soon as someone has any outside needs (home, family, etc.) they can’t afford to stay here.” The fact that 30% turnover keeps the program from ever being as successful as it might be, is never mentioned.
In the 21st century, the distinction between “overhead” and “program” costs is meaningless. Ask the potential donor or funder if they use the telephone, e-mail and the computer in order to do their job, and if they work in an office do they sit on a chair and work at a desk, because given the emphasis on “low overhead” all those things are bad. Then ask them to keep track for 3 days of how they spend their time: are they using the phone and computer for personal, work, or civic functions, and that they need to submit the detailed timesheet with this to their supervisor.
The fact that in our modern society we still use accounting methods that were developed 7000 years ago to count crops and cattle is a subject for a different article, but it’s worth mentioning. All marketing experts will tell you that your customers (donors) can be educated as to what’s important and why they should choose you and your product or service. Just because it’s for a non-profit and the direct benefit to the donor is harder to describe, it doesn’t mean that it’s not real.
The non-profit sector although it likes to although it likes to talk about the importance of collaboration, is often very close minded when it comes to fundraising. It views the world has having a “money pie” of a set size (charitable giving) and competes mainly against other non-profits for a slice of that pie. My experience is that it is possible to “grow the pie” by working in colloboration with other non-profits, and that the real competition for the donor’s dollar is not between two different non-profits, but it’s competing for attention among other discretionary spending, including sports, cable TV, $4 coffees, $200 shirts, toys, etc.
A lot of the problems that the sector faces, and believe me, I know that this is a particularly tough economic time, would be helped if this attitude and direction were encouraged: “Give While You Live and Give Without Strings.” If you don’t trust our organization to do what we’ve been doing, and have been successful at, that’s fine – choose some other organization, but if our mission does resonate with you, don’t hamstring us, we appreciate your unrestricted gift and you are making a difference by helping us meet our mission.
P.S. I have just about finished updating my CFC Special report for 2010, please go to cfcfundraising and request it, it will be sent soon.
Thanks very much!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Response to WSJ
November 10, 2009 OP ed
Today’s Wall Street Journal has an important op-ed about philanthropy, by Pablo Eisenberg. Here is my response to the points he raises:
If you serve on a non-profit board, please read this, or are responsible for actually making payroll at a non-profit. If not, don’t bother.
If you have any responsibility for non-profit fundraising, there is an already existing program that addresses four of his seven points, the Combined Federal Campaign, or CFC.
Point 1 – Increase the Distribution Percentage
In terms of actual giving, if the CFC were a foundation, it would be the 10th largest foundation in the US. ($257 million annually). In terms of payout ratios, it’s 92% compared to the foundation world’s required 5%.
Point 2 – Increase General Operating Support
Funds donated through the CFC are unrestricted, can be used for both programs and general operating support.
Point 3 – Increase Multiyear Funding
If a non-profit develops a CFC revenue stream, it is really developing multi-year (ten-twenty year) donors.
Point 7 – Simplify Application and Reporting Procedures
The CFC has an open application process (94% acceptance rate) and once in the CFC, the non-profits have less red tape than almost any foundation grant – not bad for a government program!
P.S. The CFC has generated more than $1 billion of unrestricted funds over the past five years, helping thousands of local, national and international non-profits.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
The post below is a chapter from my book on using the CFC as one of the revenue streams for your non-profit. It is longer than most blog posts, and I will be glad to send you the 5 page .pdf of it if you request it via a comment in the blog, or by simply sending me an e-mail at BillHuddleston@verizon.net. This is the pre-publication version of the chapter, and I welcome any suggestions or comments. Thanks!
“Growing the Pie”
How to Use the GROWTH™ System of Non-profit Fundraising to Increase Unrestricted Funds
by Bill Huddleston
The habit of giving only enhances the desire to give.
— Walt Whitman, poet (1819-1892)
The word philanthropy has its roots in the Greek language meaning “love for mankind.” It was never meant to apply only to donors of thousands or millions of dollars.
— Arthur Frantzre
The GROWTH System of Fundraising is not a get rich quick scheme for non-profits, but if you follow the steps in the GROWTH System of Fundraising, you will end up with reliable streams of income for your non-profit, and in a manner that reduces the risk to your non-profit. The GROWTH method also uses the principles of leverage, which in this case has the effect of reducing the risk to your non-profit.
The term GROWTH is an acronym and stands for:
Group and Growing the Pie
By using the GROWTH method, your non-profit will benefit from:
● The power of groups.
● Monies raised will be unrestricted.
● You will not be constrained by some “expert” opinion about the value of your non-profit’s mission.
● You will participate in the most donor friendly method of donating to non-profits: workplace giving by designation and through payroll deduction.
● You will learn how to “grow givers” and how to “grow the pie” by promoting and recognizing giving as a positive habit for your non-profit and your supporters.
Fallacy of Focusing Only on the “Biggest”
Bill and Melinda Gates are two of the most generous people the world has ever seen, and I absolutely commend them and say “thank you” to them for their generosity and the good works that are performed through the Gates Foundation.
I do think that we as a society pay too much attention to the monies donated at the top of the giving pyramid, and not enough attention to the contributions millions of Americans make every day, including not just financial contributions, but contributions of time, energy, and brain power as well.
As generous as Bill and Melinda Gates are, I am willing to predict that you will never see them walking up your neighbor’s sidewalk delivering for Meals on Wheels, even if you live in the Seattle area. Rather, there are thousands of volunteers across the country who do see that people who are unable to prepare a meal receive at least one nutritional meal a day.
In The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations, James Surowiecki describes the phenomenon that is created when a large group of people are asked to solve a particular problem—they come up with a better answer than any one individual alone does. According to Surowiecki, there are certain conditions that must be in place, including: diversity of opinion; independence; decentralization; and a means of aggregation.
These characteristics actually describe the nature of donations made through CFC campaigns, using the dollars donated as a proxy for a “vote.” There is a wide diversity of choices, and Federal public servants can support the CFC charities that they most identify with. CFC donors are free to support whatever charities they wish, and there are extensive safeguards in place to prevent any hint of coercion. The CFC is a decentralized program; there are hundreds of individual CFC campaigns in every CFC region, rather than “one big campaign.” Adding up the totals at the end of the campaign provides a mechanism of aggregating the support received.
By using the GROWTH System of Fundraising you expand your non-profit’s reach, you develop a revenue stream that produces unrestricted funds, and you do this all while decreasing the risk to your non-profit.
What do I mean by “decreasing the risk” to your non-profit? Here is a simple example. Let’s say that one of your major annual fundraising events is a special dinner, which can be a wonderful way to raise money and provide for recognition of donors and volunteers.
Special events do carry with them significant risks:
● The location (hotel or banquet hall) needs to be paid, regardless of whether you get the attendance you want.
● Weather can have a negative impact. If it’s an outdoor event it can rain or be stifling hot, or it can snow, depending upon the time of year, all of which serve to keep people away.
● A power failure affecting the hotel or the entire neighborhood.
● Competing events you were unaware of when the event was planned.
I am certainly not saying “do not hold a fundraising dinner,” special auction, benefit concert, or other event, because they can be great events, are lots of fun for participants and volunteers, and can produce serious revenue and recognition for your organization. I just want you to be aware of the risks that they entail. (Do make sure you get event insurance for any large special event).
I do want you to consider developing the CFC as one of the revenue streams for your non-profit, if it makes sense for your non-profit and if it makes sense in your region of the country.
If you are a small national or international non-profit, the CFC can dramatically increase your leverage, if you have a mission that you believe will resonate with the Federal workforce. This is because as a national or international charity, with one application you are automatically in the more than 250 CFCs that exist in both the United States and around the world. There is a CFC anywhere the U.S. has a significant Federal presence, including in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Compared to the risks outlined above about special events, consider the benefits of a CFC campaign:
GROWTH™ System of Fundraising
CFC Campaign Benefits for CFC Non-profits
● There are minimal upfront costs (other than items you choose to provide at charity fairs; at a minimum this would include additional brochures).
● The CFC solicitations are done on behalf of all CFC charities, by Federal public servants who have volunteered to be “CFC Keyworkers.” Your staff is not tied up with making solicitations. This is the power of the Group in the GROWTH System.
● By focusing on the multiple benefits that participating in the CFC provides to all non-profits, it has the effect of “Growing the Pie.” The G in the GROWTH System stands for both Grow The Pie and Group.
● Funds received are Unrestricted, and if you’re new to the non-profit world, the formula is: Unrestricted Funds = Twice as Valuable as Restricted Funds. This is the R for unRestricted in the GROWTH System.
● The CFC is an Open system, which means that if you meet the eligibility requirements, you are enrolled in the system. No one is saying “We have too many of X type of charities, we are not letting anyone else in.” This is the O in the GROWTH System.
● Workplace giving is where donors are grown, and the CFC is by far the most donor friendly means in the world of donating to charities that the Federal CFC donor cares about (when the charity participates in the CFC). Participating in workplace giving does not take away from any other means of fundraising, and in fact, provides a “nursery to grow donors.”
● Workplace giving also has the advantage that, since the solicitations take place by peers, during the workday, there are no calendar conflicts, such as those that can happen with special events.
● Workplace giving provides your non-profit with extensive leverage. Every fall, there are literally thousands of CFC volunteers helping to raise money for all of the CFC non-profits.
● “Thank Yous.” In the GROWTH System, the multitude of stakeholders who actually produce benefits for your non-profit are identified, and inexpensive and effective ways of saying ”thank you” are shown to you and your non-profit. “Thank yous” are the T in the GROWTH System.
● By using the GROWTH System, your non-profit will learn the habits of workplace giving and how to grow donors and other resources for your non-profit. Habits can either be good or bad; the H in the GROWTH System shows you how to develop good habits for donor cultivation and success in the CFC.
More information about the CFC is available at the http://www.cfcfundraising.com website. Please go there and request your copy of my special report on the CFC – Subsidized, Low-Risk, High Leverage Non-profit Fundraising.
“Growing the Pie”
Copyright 2010, Bill Huddleston, All Rights Reserved
I welcome any comments or suggestions on how to improve this chapter, including any success stories about your non-profit’s experience with the CFC. Please send them to BillHuddleston@verizon.net. Thanks!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
One question I’m asked a lot by non-profit professionals is “How exactly does the CFC work?” Part of the answer can be found in the letter below, that is from the CFC lead for a combined military installation command in southern New Jersey.
This CFC appeal is from the Joint Base, McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst newspaper, located in Southern New Jersey (McGuire AFB, Fort Dix, and Lakehurst Naval Air Station).
The Air Force major who wrote this letter presents a great example of the type of appeals that potential donors in the Combined Federal Campaign see each year. She has a personal story about the impact of CFC donors’ gifts, (to children in Iraq) but that no specific charities are identified (which would be against CFC regulations). Some of the typical objections are addressed, and Federal public servants, including both uniformed and civilians are encouraged to donate to CFC charities that have missions dealing with issues that are important to the donor.
Pledge to the CFC, make a difference
by Maj. Karen Cosgrove
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Combined Federal Campaign Lead
11/3/2009 – JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. — Some givers may never see the impact their donations to the Combined Federal Campaign make in the lives of others.
Armed with the generosity of CFC donors, my fellow deployed Airmen and I had the ability to make a real difference in the lives of Iraqi children from the rural farms surrounding Balad Air Base.
One of over 2,500 organizations associated with the CFC provided us with the many gifts we delivered to those children.
I will never forget the look on the children’s faces when we handed them a soccer ball or a backpack or a pair of shoes…items we take for granted. This is a prime example of the true worth of donations to CFC organizations
Many do not realize how many options are available when pledging to the campaign. The CFC supports a wide variety of charitable organizations and worthy causes.
Does someone in your family suffer from an illness? Consider donating to an organization dedicated to medical research and development. Are you a pet lover? Check the box for an animal rescue association. House the homeless by funding a charity that builds new homes. Aid abused women with a donation to a group that shelters and protects victims of violence.
Donations may be divided amongst as many charities as desired.
A small portion of a donation subtracted from each month’s paycheck is barely noticeable with the payroll-deduction option available to military members and government employees.
Those on the receiving end of your generosity, however, will certainly notice the large impact it will make on their lives.
I encourage everyone on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst to pick up a copy of the 2009 CFC directory and make a difference in someone’s life today. The impact of even a small donation can go a long way.
The 2009 South Jersey CFC ends Nov. 30. Contact the JB MDL key worker in your office for copies of the directory and pledge cards. Visit http://www.cfcsnj.org for more information.
by Maj. Karen Cosgrove
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Combined Federal Campaign Lead
In 2008, the southern New Jersey regional CFC raised $896,198 for local, national and international charities.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )