Posted by & filed under Analytics, Annual Giving, Donor Centric, Donor communications, Fundraising.

By Penelope Burk originally posted on Burk’s Blog.

Ah…my annual indulgence that I eagerly share with you. Please enjoy this selection of comments from donors who have already taken part in the 2018 Burk Donor Survey. Included are a number of comments about giving during natural disasters, which is one of our survey’s special themes this year.

As always, my special thanks to dozens of not-for-profits who are reaching out to their donors in April and May to invite them to participate in The Burk Donor Survey. These wonderful organizations are united by their belief that evidence from donors should inform decisions about fundraising. And, of course, my deepest gratitude goes to those thousands of donors who, for a little while, have put their busy lives on hold in order to talk about what philanthropy means to them and how their giving is changing in a world full of challenges and opportunities. Read more »

Posted by & filed under Advocacy, Analytics, Donor Centric, Metrics.

Who’s giving to charity in Canada today? How do we give? Are we as generous today as we were 30 years ago? Why do we give? And what stops us from giving?

Thanks to a deep dive that was recently undertaken by Imagine Canada into the giving patterns of Canadians, we now have a more in-depth understanding of the answers to those questions than ever before.

As part of its Giving Behaviour Project, Canada’s Rideau Hall Foundation asked Imagine Canada to mine and analyze all publicly available data sources on Canadians’ giving habits from 1984 to 2014[1], the result of which is the most comprehensive long-range picture of individual giving in Canada that has ever been compiled.

 

Canadians Continue to be Generous
Canadians have long demonstrated a strong sense of generosity, and that spirit of giving continues to be evident. Total receipted donations rose from $3.8 billion in 1984 to $9.6 billion in 2014. When unreceipted donations are included, Imagine Canada estimates that giving by individual Canadians totaled $14.3 billion in 2014.

“These numbers indicate that Canadians continue to express generosity through the medium of charitable giving in a meaningful and robust way,” says Bruce MacDonald, president and CEO of Imagine Canada.

 

Fewer Donors, Older, More Affluent and Increasingly Female
While Canadians’ generosity continues to be evident, Imagine Canada did find that the makeup of the Canadian donor base is changing, and in 2014, it is best described as smaller, older, more affluent and increasingly female compared to what it was in 1984.

Their analysis highlighted that charities are increasingly reliant on fewer donors, as the proportion of Canadian tax filers claiming donations has declined from a peak of almost 30 percent in 1990 to 21 percent in 2014.

And if you delve into those numbers, there are further, and in some cases troubling, nuances, including the aging of the donor base. “Back in 1984, the percentage of donations coming from people who were 50 and over was about 54 percent,” notes MacDonald. “By 2014, that had jumped to 74 percent.”

The most elderly group (those aged 70 and over) alone accounted for 31 percent of donations, up from 16 percent. At the other end of the spectrum, donors under 40 accounted for almost 50 percent of donors in 1984 but dropped to about 35 percent in 2014. Even more striking is the drop in donation value among the under 40 population. In 1984, donations from this group represented 26 percent of donations in 1984, while only 11 percent in 2014.

Imagine Canada also found that the donor base is becoming increasingly more affluent. In 1984, the top one percent of tax filers (then earning $80,000 and up) accounted for only 16 percent of donations, whereas by 2014, the top one percent (those earning $250,000 and up) accounted for 31 percent of donations.

The final factor of note is the growing importance of women. Donations from women make up a significantly larger proportion of total donations, up from 36 percent in 1984 to 41 percent in 2014.

 

Giving by Cause and Method[2]
Religious organizations continue to receive the largest amount of charitable donations, with two of every five dollars donated being directed to them. They also have the largest donation rate, with 41 percent of donors indicating they make gifts to these types of charities. Health-related charities come in second, attracting 13 percent of donations, followed by social services and international development (12 percent and 10 percent respectively). Hospitals rank fifth, attracting just over four percent of donations.

Perhaps not surprisingly, there are significant differences in interest in particular causes based on demographics. Older donors are much more likely to give to hospitals, with 22 percent of donors aged 65 and older giving making gifts to hospitals compared with only five percent of donors under age 35.

In terms of giving method, again not surprisingly, there are generational differences, with older donors are much more likely to give through the mail. Among donors aged 65 and up, more than 43 percent make their gifts through the mail compared with only 17 percent among the under-65 cohort.  When it comes to online giving, the story is reversed, with less than 6 percent of donors aged 65 and up giving online, compared with 14 percent of those under 65.

 

Willingness to Give More
One encouraging finding was the healthy number of donors who indicate a willingness to give more. Imagine Canada found that 25 percent of donors who make gifts to charity indicate that while they are happy with what they give, they could give more. “This finding should provide great hope for organizations as they will certainly be connected to some donors who fall into this category,” says MacDonald. “We found that these people tended to be older, have higher incomes and are more likely to be men, which can provide some further direction for charities related to who to look for.”

MacDonald goes on to say they believe that improved communication of impact could be key to unlocking the greater giving potential of this group of donors. “When we were talking with our researchers about these donors, there was a feeling that this group might be receptive to more messages about impact, going to them with quantitative, quantifiable data that talks about where their donation went and the difference that it made in the community.”

Not only do these insights from Imagine Canada’s research help to clarify the state of Canada’s giving landscape, they can also help charities to plan their future fundraising programs.  And in planning those futures, it’s critical to take a balanced approach.

“I think there is lots of opportunity in the short term to focus on those committed donors who can give more,” says MacDonald. “But as this group is becoming increasingly older, it’s going to be critical for the future sustainability of organizations that they also work diligently to attract new donors from groups who are not yet showing the same level of philanthropy as those most engaged donors. So, whether it’s new strategies to appeal to young people, leveraging the growing involvement of women as donors or taking advantage of new donation instruments like online or digital based giving, building future donors is going to be essential.”

For more information on Imagine Canada’s report, please visit the Rideau Hall Foundation website. And to hear an interview with Bruce MacDonald about the research and its findings, check out this episode of The Ask, KCI’s monthly podcast that explores issues and topics related to the future of fundraising in Canada.

 

About the Author

Nicole Nakoneshny is a Senior Vice President and Partner at KCI, Canada’s largest consulting firm focused exclusively on the non-profit sector. As part of the firm’s commitment to advancing philanthropy, Nicole leads KCI’s Thought Leadership activities by curating the knowledge that it generates through its various practices and also keeps an eye on the key and emerging trends in fundraising and philanthropy in Canada and around the world…translating that knowledge and information into useful insights for charities and fundraisers. She serves as Editor of KCI’s online publication, Philanthropic Trends Quarterly and Host of its monthly podcast, The Ask.

 

[1] 2014 was the most recent year available at the time the research was undertaken.

[2] Data in this section and Willingness to Give More based on 2013 Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating

Posted by & filed under Donor Centric.

Donor centric fundraising is all the rage. It makes a great deal of sense. Know who your donors are and why they are motivated to support a charity; ensure their gifts are allocated as requested; do the appropriate stewardship to show the charity understands their giving goals with supporting information. The final piece is the donor’s interest in how the charity runs. Is it efficient? Does it use its time and resources effectively? Is it able to meet its funding goals and are donor dollars well used?

We think this sounds wonderful until we look into how the charity is functioning at a more in depth level. Experience has shown us that many charities use their donor management system for receipting and usually this is tasked to a single individual. Fund development staff is often several steps away from any meaningful interaction with the data other than report requests.

This begs the question, how does a charity employ a donor centric approach to working with its donors under these conditions? A further observation has to do with staff turnover and the effect on information retention, pertaining to interactions with donors which would be used for future fundraising and stewardship support.

Running a charity begins at the top. It is incumbent on senior management to employ a methodology that ensures the best possible care of all types of information a charity needs to support a donor centric approach to its valued donors. People can and do give their money anywhere they choose to, so what is the best way to influence donors and ensure their interest remains strongly attached to a specific charity? What would you like donors to know about how the charity functions in support of both its goals and those who support them?

Let’s begin with the Knowledge Driven Charity.  First and foremost it will address the capture of important data. Standards exist which include everything from how to search to ensure a donor record is new to prevent duplication, to how the information is recorded to give maximum benefit to the donor and a fundraising team. Next is the gift and where it is positioned to show donor support. Values like ‘designated’ in the fund field provide little information, so how can the data recorded by appeal or campaign, be entered for maximum effect? This pertains not only to the charity but for the donor as well.

How charity staff work is equally important to a Knowledge Driven Charity. Taking too long to perform a task, being unable to access reports, not knowing how to pull a reasonable export, these are a result of training or the lack thereof. The idea training is expensive is a misconception. What is expensive is guessing how things work and making poor decisions on how to achieve work with charity data.

The Knowledge Driven Charity documents a non-profits’ best practices, describing for staff how to perform jobs recorded in easy to follow and maintain, point form. There is skilled labour in this marketplace so why let these skills leave without an appropriate capture. The time saved by staff and the recognition gained those by those who share their knowledge is of great value to an organization whether for profit or not.

Here’s an example. An engineer firm sent out field managers to check certain aspects of their jobs. One such manager had a check list. He used this list before every trip to ensure he had all the right tools to do whatever was necessary. The other field operatives did not and subsequently wasted company time with trips back and forth to the office to pick up what they forgot. The solution was simple, the check list was now a company resource and the expectation was that all field managers used it to ensure no more unneeded trips, wasted time and more importantly unneeded cost. In the world of a charity, this might be a word processing skill or who to create a report or how to properly build an in memory campaign. Time is expensive and when it is wasted there is a consequence which impacts productive actions sidelined by waste.

Naysayers will tell you a knowledge approach would be difficult to implement, hard to maintain, too costly for a charity to consider. Our position is that it is not difficult because staff members become the champions of an improved workplace as stress is reduced and productivity soars. A culture of Plan First is the rally cry. Time is freed up and accountability sets in as ones actions will affect another. ‘Too costly’ is what the charity is currently experiencing through costs associated with busy time.

Write these new methods into the documents that define the charity. Include in all job descriptions specific requirements with consequences to address any laxness that undermines the team.

Implement the Knowledge Driven Charity. Identify the charity’s commitment and share it with donors and funders. Be prepared for the Reaction and for the Results!


About Sharron Batsch

Sharron Batsch is the developer of @EASE Fund Development Software and the author of From Chaos to Control, Build a High Performance Team Using Knowledge Management.

She has worked with for-profit companies, shared her IT knowledge teaching at technical schools and universities. The last 25 years has focused on the non-profit community as a software specialist, consultant, volunteer fundraiser and event chair. She works with @EASE clients specializing in how they can build their wealth through the management of their information and knowledge.

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