Author: Laurence A. Pagnoni

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

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA 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

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

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA 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, compensation

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How Much Time Should It Take To Close a Major Gift?

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA How much time should it take to close a major gift? The short answer is less time than you think.   You see, I have observed that fundraisers spend far too long cultivating donors. Cultivation can even mask procrastinating over making the ask!   I hear this from fundraisers quite frequently: “I don’t feel like it’s the right time to ask this person for support. I am scared they will say ‘no,’ and then what will I do?  So, I keep ‘cultivating’ them.”  Such delays lead to protracted cultivation and solicitation period and likely a missed opportunity—or clarity

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Six Steps To Setting The Right Fundraising Goal

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Knowing how much revenue you’re raising is essential. It seems obvious doesn’t it? Yet many fundraisers don’t know how to go about setting the right goal. There’s often silence whenever I ask a Chief Development Officer or the CEO, “How much revenue are you seeking to raise?” Recently, Jane, a mid-career Development Director, was honest with me: “That’s a seemingly simple question, she said, but I really don’t know.” I am empathetic. There are many good reasons why we fundraisers do not know our goal. For example, organizational budgets may not have been shared, or

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Biden’s Tax Policy: What’s Ahead for Nonprofits?

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA The Biden administration has been making the case that to avoid paying the administration’s proposed additional taxes on high earners — an increase from 37% to 39.6% — wealthy Americans will give more to nonprofits. You can hear a detailed discussion about this on our recent webinar. Indeed, President Biden’s  plan to raise taxes  on high earners and the wealthy is likely to entice more rich Americans to give property or other assets to charities before they die to avoid paying large tax bills. For example, taxpayers making more than $400,000 per year would be taxed

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New Donor Giving Trends

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Fidelity Charitable conducted an initial survey of 3,055 charitable individuals in March 2020. They then conducted a subsequent survey in January 2021 to detect any shifts in donor attitudes and behaviors related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other events of 2020. There are more than a dozen takeaways, but here are the top four: A quarter of donors have donated to charity through a social media platform, and 4 in 10 have made donations through crowdfunding platforms. The study doesn’t say so, but if 25% of donors donated through social media, guess what platform the

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Are You Making The Most of a Booming Stock Market?

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA and Jay Frost The stock market has hit historic highs, and most of the gains have gone to a small number of extraordinarily wealthy and very philanthropic individuals. You can watch the full treatment of this critical subject on our recent webinar. There’s an extraordinary opportunity at hand. Is your fundraising adapting to capture it? Charities should be taking dramatic measures to make it easier for donors to give. Donor behavior has also been changing, and people are adopting different types and methods of donations. For instance, stock donations are quickly growing by high double-digit rates while

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Foundations Aren’t Much Interested in You

“America’s foundations are not particularly interested in receiving your proposal.” – Bradford K. Smith, President of Candid

Grateful for Brad Smith’s candor and leadership over the years, I rang him up for a chat. Initially, I wanted to know if what our grant officers suspected was in fact true—that most foundations do not welcome your proposals.

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