Author: Laurence A. Pagnoni

Kick Off Your Year-End Fundraising Drive With a Thank You-2

Kick Off Your Year-End Fundraising Drive With a Thank You

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Your year-end drive likely features written and email appeals delivered between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. That’s good … but … Before you make your appeals, you have an important opportunity to say “thank you” — and to do so in a way that is fresh and vibrant. Thanksgiving offers you a perfect hook for kicking off your year-end drive through a Thank-A-Thon — a “Thanks Bonanza” that you can start preparing for now. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of thanking donors and doing so in ways that do not come attached

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Giving Tuesday vs. Donor Advised Funds

Giving Tuesday vs. Donor Advised Funds

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA As Giving Tuesday comes around on November 30, I am asking you to think deeply before you commit to promoting it. My annual struggle over whether to include Giving Tuesday (GT) in my year-end fundraising plan is in full swing. This year, I am distracted by the gargantuan untapped revenue that you can access from those donors with Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) — upwards of $140 billion. I am asking myself if instead of focusing on Giving Tuesday, would it be more lucrative for me to focus on cultivating and soliciting those donors with Donor Advised Funds? Your

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Moving the Needle

Beyond Major Gifts: Transformational Donors

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA To quickly understand the difference between a major donor and a transformational donor, here are three examples of very different donors, all of whom at one time were LAPA clients: first, a mega wealthy donor; second, a thoughtful philanthropist who made good use of his family fortune; and third, a widow who leveraged her own gift and invited her family and friends to join her. Michael Bloomberg gave a historic $1.8 billion gift to Johns Hopkins University (JHU) entirely for financial aid, allowing JHU to begin accepting students without regard to their ability to pay.

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Gift Charts

Gift Charts Are Fundamental

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA The adage “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” applies to gift charts. A gift chart shows giving levels from low to high and informs fundraisers on how many donors they need at each level of giving to reach the fundraising goal. As such, gift charts are central to careful development planning. They are also useful for all sizes of nonprofits — not just large campaigns or large organizations. Taking a short amount of time to make, a gift chart will deepen your ability to manage your time and staff resources to focus

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Why Donors Stop Giving to You

Why Donors Stop Giving to You 

As year-end giving is now upon us, discovering why donors stop giving will provide you a keen understanding of what you need to improve on to get higher fundraising returns.

A new Bank of America report found that 28% of wealthy donors stop giving to a nonprofit that they supported in the previous year.

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What’s New in Year-End Giving

What’s New in Year-End Giving?

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Three new realities distinguish 2021 year-end giving. Engaging these new realities can significantly increase your year-end giving drive. They are…. You can now add a “donate” button to your Zoom events. Donor-advised funds have grown to gargantuan levels. Engaging giving circles should be a part of your strategy. While the fundamentals of year-end giving still apply, and I describe them in great detail here, 2021 also brings us three unique approaches for you to capitalize on, literally. Zoom Donate Button The new Zoom donate button is similar to Facebook’s donate button—but with a key difference.

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Leverage Make-a-Will Month To Boost Planned Giving

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Baby Boomers will pass on more than $30 trillion in wealth to the next generation over the ensuing 25 years — and they are deciding right now who to leave their estates to. Further, the Coronavirus pandemic has stimulated a rapid rise in estate planning and legacy or planned giving, as well as a drop in cash gifts due to economic uncertainty. That’s why taking advantage now of August being the National Make-A-Will Month is a great fundraising step. You have a significant opportunity to increase your nonprofit’s planned gifts by making your donors aware

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Everyone Is Asking About How To Apply To MacKenzie Scott

Mother Jones illustration; Jörg Carstensen/Getty By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Much has been written about the extraordinary grantmaking of businesswoman MacKenzie Scott. With a net worth of $65.3 billion, much more giving is expected. Scott is a member of the Giving Pledge. When she signed the pledge, she said, “I have a disproportionate amount of money to share. My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful. It will take time and effort, and care. But I won’t wait. And I will keep at it until the safe is empty.” Despite its name, the pledge is not legally binding. The

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Philanthropy Operations: What Is It, and Why Is It Important?

By: Laurence A. Pagnoni What the heck is Philanthropy Operations, and why is it important?   The fundraising positions of Director of Development or Chief Development Officer are familiar, but what do Directors of Philanthropic Operations (DPOs or Ops. Dir.) do? And why is the function less well known? (Those of you in higher education may know the function as “Advancement Services.”)  A focus on Philanthropic Operations becomes necessary as your development function grows and as you seek to deepen the quality of your advancement work. The position or function is less well known because so few nonprofits truly invest in

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How to Pay for Fundraising, and Why Commission-Based Fundraising Is Unethical

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA, Chairman Paying a fundraiser based on the revenue return you potentially will receive exposes you to pay a much higher fee than you should. It’s an unwise business proposition. The Association for Fundraising Professionals (AFP) even deems it unethical. In AFP’s position paper, they describe six specific reasons why. AFP believes that individuals serving a charity for compensation must first accept the principle that charitable purpose, not self-gain, is paramount: “It is our view that if, by definition, private financial benefit cannot inure to the charity, it should not inure to the worker. By law,

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