Nonprofit news roundup, 06.14.13

Independent College Fund raises record-high $2.5 million

The Independent College Fund of North Carolina raised over $2.5 million in its 2012-13 annual campaign, the highest total since it was founded 60 years ago.

Dollars from the Fund, which has seen annual fundraising grow from $1.6 million four years ago, are used to sponsor student scholarships and enrichment programs at North Carolina’s independent colleges and universities.

Founded in 1953, the Fund has raised over $75 million since it was founded in 1953.

The Fund is the fundraising division of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, a Raleigh-based nonprofit that represents the state’s 36 private colleges and universities.

Power2give.org generates $1 million for arts in Mecklenburg County

Power2give.org, a website the Arts & Science Council in Charlotte launched in August 2011 to raise money for local arts and cultural projects, has generated a total of $3 million for arts projects in 15 U.S. cities, including $1 million Mecklenburg County.

In Charlotte, the site has handled just over 3,300 individual donations that have been matched by gifts from corporations and foundations secured by the Arts & Science Council that represent 46 percent of the funds raised locally.

Those local funds have supported over 300 arts and cultural projects in Mecklenburg County at 68 organizations that have posted projects on the site, inviting donors to support them.

The Arts & Science Council receives 3.75 percent of funds raised by other communities using power2give.org.

In North Carolina, arts councils in Fayetteville, Greensboro, Raleigh and Winston-Salem are using the site, and the North Carolina Arts Council is using it to raise money for arts projects in the state’s 95 other counties.

Laura Belcher, senior vice president at the Arts & Science Council and national director of power2give.org, says the fundraising platform should be serving 18 communities by the end of June, and will add another 12 in the fiscal year that  begins July 1.

High Point United Way awards over $3.91 million

United Way of Greater High Point has awarded over $3.91 million to 72 health and human service programs at 29 local partner agencies for the fiscal year that begins July 1, up 6.5 percent from last year and the most funding United Way ever has awarded.

In High Point and Archdale-Trinity, Mobile Meals programs that have lost government funding, received increased funding from United Way, while Mental Health Associates received an increase of $250,000 in the wake of the closing of the Guilford Center, a public mental health facility.

United Way on June 18 will announce 10 venture grants totaling over $45,000 to fund innovative programs and capital needs at United Way agencies and other area nonprofits.

United Way raised nearly $4.72 million in its 2012 annual campaign, a record-high total that exceeded its $4.7 million goal.

United Way donors designated another $510,329 to organizations outside the High Point area, with most of those funds donated to other United Ways in the regions, mainly in Greensboro and in Davidson, Randolph and Forsyth counties.

In addition to agency funding, United Way will allocate $15,125 to provide 2-1-1 service, an information and referral line, in the region.

United Way set aside $240,221 to cover “uncollectable” pledges.

It also will spend $36,000 on its BackPack program that provides nutritious food to kids at risk of hunger over the weekends during the school year. Donors designated those dollars for that program.

Donations totaling $204,962 from local companies such as Bank of America and Aetna that run national workplace campaigns for United Way were pledged and will be paid directly to United Way’s partner agencies through a private third-party vendor the companies hired to handle payments for their campaigns.

Delamar joins Food Bank as vice president for development

Ashley Delamar, former director of development for North and South Carolina for the The Salvation Army, has been named vice president of development for the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.

Fayetteville/Cumberland Arts Council awards $630,155

Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County awarded $630,155 in grants in the current fiscal year.

That funding included $425,000 in operating support to three organizations; $140,000 in project support to 23 agencies; and $15,571 for Regional Artist Project grants to 14 artists in 15 counties.

Over 53,000 students benefited from the Council’s Artists in Schools program.

Davidson names general manager at WDAV

Frank Dominguez, interim general manager at WDAV at Davidson College since November 2012 and the station’s former announcer coordinator, assistant program director, and program director, has been named general manager and content director of WDAV.

Risk management professionals raise $10,000 for children’s museum

The Young Professionals of the Risk Management Association, Triad Chapter, raised $10,000 for the Greensboro Children’s Museum at its annual benefit golf tournament, Chipping In, that was held June 3 at at Starmount Forest Country Club and sponsored by Carruthers & Roth, PA.

Red Cross raises $25,000

Members of the board of directors of the American Red Cross, Central Piedmont Region in Charlotte, along with its CEO and team, raised $25,000 by spending the morning on a roof. The funds will be used to provide shelter, food and support to families after house fires. It costs the Red Cross roughly $1,000 to assist a family affected by a house fire. The local Red Cross responds to two house fires every day.

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Fundraising, Part 3: Focusing on growth from special events

By Todd Cohen

[Note: This article, the last of three, is from a report written for Blackbaud, which asked me to look at fundraising strategies that nonprofits have found to be effective.]

The American Diabetes Association decided in recent years that it wanted growth in revenue from special events to outpace growth in fundraising overall.

To make that happen, the Alexandria, Va.-based organization has invested heavily in new positions and tools to support online fundraising and engagement.

It also has focused on supporting individuals it identifies as having the greatest potential for giving or raising money, and it has worked to engage corporate sponsors.

“We did really take a very focused approach in terms of online fundraising, communications and tools,” says Shana Masterson, national associate director for interactive fundraising and engagement for the American Diabetes Association.

The investment has paid off: Last year, revenue from special events grew 16 percent, outpacing growth in its fundraising overall, with revenue from its two signature events growing at rates of 18 percent and 15 percent, respectively, and ranking second and third in the rate of growth among all events in the U.S. ranked by the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council.

Online support for special events

In the year ended Dec. 31, 2011, the American Diabetes Association generated nearly $49 million combined from events, or nearly a fourth of the just over $208 million the organization received in contributed income.

In 2012, the Association raised just over $24 million from Step Out, holding 123 walks throughout the U.S. that attracted over 120,000 participants, and it raised $26.5 million from Tour de Cure, holding 88 cycling events that attracted 62,000 participants.

Helping to drive that revenue, says Masterson, has been TeamRaiser, a Blackbaud tool that supports peer-to-peer fundraising for events.

“A good amount of our revenue is sourced to participants who are asking friends and family to support their efforts for each event,” she says “We really do encourage participants to sign up for events online using the TeamRaiser system.”

The Association asks participants to use the tool to set a goal; create a personal or team webpage, or both; personalize the page with their reason for riding or walking; and reach out to their networks of family and friends, either through branded emails that include a button or link to their webpages, or through other social media applications they can access at “participant centers” that provide support for Step Out and Tour de Cure.

The Association also works with Charity Dynamics, using its Boundless Fundraising Facebook application that ties in with the TeamRaiser tools and centers, allowing participants to automatically post on Facebook information that links to their TeamRaiser donation form.

Customer support for online tools

To provide more support for participants in events, the Association has invested in staff, one-on-one trainings, documented instructions, webinars, videos and other ways to help people learn to make more productive use of its online tools and centers, Masterson says.

Her own position, for example, was created two years ago.

The Association also has created about 15 positions for online managers, some by reallocating existing positions, to provide online fundraising and communications support for event managers whose job is to build relationships with teams and participants in a number of local walks and tours and support their fundraising efforts.

“Our event managers are very focused on helping people not only use their tools but use them better, more frequently, to really get to know how to use their Step Out and Tour centers to raise more funds,” Masterson says.

The Association also worked with Charity Dynamics to develop mobile apps that let participants raise money using their phones.

“People are not 100 percent desktop anymore,” Masterson says. “We’re providing them with tools they can use on Facebook. They might use that more often then email. We’re expanding to where people are, being able to fundraise while standing in line in their grocery store.”

The Association also worked with Charity Dynamics to make its Step Out site “100 percent responsive,” featuring separate designs for optimal viewing on desktop computers, tablets and mobile devices, respectively.

“You make very distinct choices about what the design will look like for each of those platforms,” Masterson says.

After rolling out the redesigned platforms for its Step Out site in March, the Association plans to roll out redesigned platforms for its Tour sites this summer.

Customer support for VIP participants, corporate sponsors

Another key to the Association’s strategy for boosting revenue from events has been to identify “VIP” participants who are more likely to raise money, and to increase support for their fundraising work.

Those participants include team captains; “Champions to Stop Diabetes” or participants who raise $1,000 or more for a Step Out or Tour team; and “Red Riders” and “Red Striders,” or participants who have diabetes.

“We made a strategic decision to concentrate on these people in assisting them with their fundraising because they have more fundraising potential,” Masterson says.

Over the last few years, the Association has recruited thousands of “Champions to Stop Diabetes” and its VIP strategy overall has been a key factor in fundraising growth for its Step Out and Tour events, she says.

Also key has been a heightened effort to work with companies to form teams and sponsor events, including both national and particularly local sponsors, she says.

The Association also has offered employers its “Stop Diabetes @ Work” program, which includes a range of tools to complement their in-house wellness programs.

And it has stepped up its customer service to local companies to reinforce the value the Association adds to the companies in return for their investment in sponsoring its events.

The series:

Part 1: Revenue dips for healthcare, medical research

Part 2: Investment in capacity pays off

Part 3:  Focusing on growth from special events

Elon works to boost college access, success

By Todd Cohen

ELON, N.C. — In 2007, after Superior Court Judge Howard Manning threatened to close underperforming Hugh M. Cummings High School in Burlington, Leo M. Lambert decided he wanted to do something to help.

So Lambert, president of Elon University, created an advisory group and asked it to develop a strategy to better serve low-income and at-risk students in the county.

The result was Elon Academy, a college access and success program the University launched that year.

Supported by private contributions and an endowment, and not using tuition revenue from Elon students, Elon Academy provides a four-week summer program for rising sophomores in high schools in the Alamance-Burlington School System, and weekend sessions throughout the year for all participants.

The Academy adds a new group of rising sophomores each year as existing participants advance through high school and college.

Directed by Deborah Long, a professor of education at the University, Elon Academy currently serves 152 students, and its initial class of rising high school sophomores will be college seniors starting this fall.

Among students currently in the program, 62 are in college, including 13 at Elon, with 19 more set to enroll in college this fall, and another 71 still are in high school.

Operating with an annual budget of nearly $500,000 and supported by endowments created with private funds that now total nearly $3 million, Elon Academy counts on Elon faculty members and students to serve as instructors and mentors for participants, says Chris Esters, coordinator of foundation and community engagement in the Office of University Advancement at Elon.

Summer classes, which are taught by Elon faculty members, focus both on traditional curriculum such as science and liberal arts, and extracurricular activities such as music and dance, as well as topics geared to preparing students and their families for what they need to do to pursue and get into college, such as how to write a college application essay and secure financial aid.

Students also are taken on tours of college campuses.

The focus of weekend sessions during the school year is more heavily geared to providing students and their parents with information and support they need to get into and succeed in college.

Students at Elon University serve as mentors for Academy participants, most of whom are from low socio-economic backgrounds and are the first members of their families to pursue or go to college.

And students continue to participate in the program once they get to college.

“When they get to college, we stay with them,” Esters says.

To support annual operating costs for the Academy, the University aims to build its endowments for the program to $10 million, she says.

It already has received endowment gifts from alumna Edna Noiles and her husband, Doug Noiles, and from alumnus Frank R. Lyon, all from New Canaan, Conn.; from Russell and Rosella Wilson of Burlington; and from the ING Foundation in Atlanta, LabCorp in Burlington, and the Riversville Foundation in New York City.

Elon Academy has produced results: Eighty-two percent of students who enroll in the program complete high school, Esters says, 100 percent are enrolled in at least one honors or advance placement class in high school, and 100 percent of those who complete the high school program are accepted at colleges and universities.

The average weighted grade point average of high school students currently enrolled in the program is 3.93.

And the first three groups of students who graduated from high school after enrolling in the program were awarded a total of over $2 million in merit-base aid, and three individual students were awarded the Gates-Millennium Scholarship.

Wake Forest Charlotte Center offers nonprofit classes

By Todd Cohen

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After spending most of his nonprofit career as a fundraiser, Marty Sanders found he wanted help in “improving my skills in being able to manage and lead better.”

And Sarah Shiflett, who has worked for nonprofits and served on nonprofit boards, wanted to “round out some of my knowledge base.”

So Sanders, director of development at Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte, and Shiflett, senior community planner at the Council for Children’s Rights, both enrolled in “Essentials of Business for Nonprofit Organizations,” a nine-course program offered by Wake Forest University at its Charlotte Center.

After moving its Charlotte programs uptown last year after offering them for 18 years in South Park, Wake Forest began offering its nonprofit program, which is taught by faculty from the university’s business and law schools, as well as by adjunct faculty.

The program also includes a symposium, which last year featured keynote speaker Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International.

The first class, which is just ending, included 110 students from 85 nonprofits in the region, says Todd Johnson, executive director of the Wake Forest Charlotte Center, a graduate of the business school at Wake Forest, and founder and CEO of Keranetics, a biotech firm in Winston-Salem that is developing technology launched at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

The nine-course program cost $750 for the first year, and will cost $1,000 for the second year, with Duke Energy Foundation and Foundation for the Carolinas contributing a total of $20,000 each year.

Scholarships are available to cover up to half the cost of the program for students who otherwise could not afford to enroll.

Registration has begun for the term that begins August 27.

Joanne O’Brien Beam, who chairs the advisory board for the nonprofit program and is managing partner at Charlotte consulting firm Capstone Advancement Partners, says the curriculum is designed “to fill a gap to provide some continuing education” for local nonprofits.

Course topics range from governance and finance to fundraising and human resources.

“The world is constantly changing,” says Sanders at Salvation Army. “To be able to converse intelligently with the finance side, be more in tune with what’s going on in communications and marketing, and understand human resources, and how you put together a good team and manage effectively, were all areas I needed to be able to grow in.”

Shiflett at the Council for Children’s Rights, says she particularly valued the sessions on strategic planning, business model development, and fund development.

“It’s easy to continue doing the same activities because they’re comfortable,” she says. “Sometimes you need to be able to change your model to do a better job.”

She learned, for example, the “need for organizations to ‘pivot’ so they can continue to add value,” she says.

The Council for Children’s Rights aims “to be a catalyst for community change benefiting children, but in the session I realized that our team here needs to have the same lens,” she says. “We need to be able to respond to the needs of the community. And if that means changing our role or our approach, we need to be able to do that as we challenge others to do the same. It’s really about delivering value.”

Nonprofit news roundup, 06.07.13

Winston-Salem nonprofits raising money to support abused children

In the wake of state funding cuts, three Winston-Salem nonprofits have joined forces to launch a fundraising campaign to assist victims of child abuse.

Family Services, The Children’s Law Center, and Exchange/SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now) together lost a total of nearly $250,000 in state funds.

The Child Advocacy Center at Family Services, for example, is one of 17 child advocacy centers in the state that did not receive funding, including centers in Guilford, Alamance and Rockingham counties.

While 11 centers did receive funding, none offer services in the Triad.

Because it did not receive its anticipated state funding, the Children’s Law Center says, it will need to reduct its staff, effective July 1, and limit the number of referrals of children.

In 2012, the Center assisted 243 children involved in domestic violence cases and other adult conflict, up 30 percent from 2011.

And in fiscal 2012, using funds it now has lost, The Exchange Club Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse of North Carolina, known as Exchange/SCAN, offered parenting classes, home visitation, sexual abuse treatment for families and children, and family support services to 159 families with 205 children.

Hamilton named vice president for development at Charlotte Symphony

Michelle Hamilton, chief advancement officer at Crisis Assistance Ministry, has been named vice president for development at the Charlotte Symphony, effective July 1.

Hamilton, who worked at Crisis Assistance for over four years, has over 20 years’ professional fundraising experience, including development roles with the Houston Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, and Arts Council of Fort Worth.

Since 2011, she has served on the board of directors of the Symphony Guild of Charlotte, the volunteer fundraising group for the Symphony.

Duke gets two $5 million gifts

Duke University is getting $5 million gifts from The Duke Endowment and from Duke trustee emeritus Morris Williams and his wife Ruth.

The Duke Endowment has committed $5 million to the Duke University School of Law to support the operations of its Center for Judicial Studies.

The Center was established in late 2011 to enhance judicial education and the quality of the judiciary, and to improve the legal system and our understanding of judicial institutions.

Since its inception, the Center has begun a master’s degree program in judicial studies and supported scholarly research and conferences on judicial institutions and judicial decision-making.

The Williams will give $5 million to the Duke Athletics Department to support track and field programs.

After teaching for a year in the Durham Public School system, Morris Williams started with the investment division of the trust department at Mellon Bank before joining the investment management firm Miller, Anderson & Sherrerd LLP, where he became a partner in 1975. He founded the investment firm Williams & Company in 1997 and continues to serve as its president.

Volunteer effort helps generate $1.9 million in tax refunds

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites in Winston-Salem helped return over $1.9 million in refunds to residents this past tax season. Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina hosted four sites where community volunteers filed 1,291 tax returns.

In partnership with Experiment in Self-Reliance, the four sites saved tax filers over $258,000 in tax preparation fees with its free tax preparation service offered to families with income less than $50,000 and individuals with income less than $25,000.

Charlotte cultural leaders graduate from training program

Thirty-one individuals from the business and civic community in Charlotte graduated from the Cultural Leadership Training Program of the Arts & Science Council, and each will serve on the board of directors of a local cultural organization.

The nine-month program aims to help leaders learn about cultural sector and the responsibilities and accountabilities of board service in areas such as governance, resource development and marketing.

Guilford Battleground Company selected for national park project

Guilford Battleground Company in Greensboro is among eight local philanthropic park partners or “Friends Groups” selected by the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks,  to participate in the 2013 Park Partners Project.

The Project provides selected Friends Groups with strategic consulting and training on best practices for planning, fundraising and marketing to build more effective organizations and stronger partnerships.

Collectively, philanthropic partners and Friends Groups raise over $100 million a year for America’s national parks.

Red Cross volunteers taking to roof to raise money

Members of the board of directors of the Carolina Piedmont region of the American Red Cross will spend June 12 on the roof of the agency’s Emergency Disaster Operations Center on Park Road to raise money to support the services the Red Cross provides to local families affected by house fires.

Volunteers involved in the fundraising effort include attorneys Tate Ogburn of Poyner Spruill, and  George Sistrunk of Hamilton Stephens Steele & Martin; consultant Scott Davis of Grant Thornton; Ben Dobson of Corporate Benefit Advisors; and Angela A. Broome, CEO of the Carolina Piedmont Region, and Tamrah Jordan, regional director of community engagement.

“It costs the Red Cross approximately $1,000 to assist a family that is affected by a house fire, “ Ogburn says. “We are going up on the roof and we are not coming down until we raise $25,000, enough to support 25 families.”

ABB offers co-op position to Wake Tech student

ABB is offering, for the first time, a co-op position to a Wake Tech student. David Wingler, a 26-year-old student who is pursuing the Associate in Applied Science degree in electronics engineering technology and plans to graduate next year, will work at an ABB facility in New Berlin, Wisc., this summer. In 2012, ABB committed $150,000 over three years in financial support for scholarships and faculty innovation, as well as in-kind donations of equipment, to Wake Tech’s major gifts campaign.

WRAL-TV raises $94,000 Oklahoma disaster relief

WRAL-TV in Raleigh raised $94,000 for relief efforts in the wake of the Oklahoma tornadoes through its commercial-free, primetime broadcast of the production by the University of North Carolina School of the Arts of the musical Oklahoma! The broadcast was edited to insert live cut-ins from the television studio, where 40 volunteers from the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army of Wake County staffed phone banks for three-and-a-half hours. All donations benefit the two national organizations in their support of families in Moore, Oklahoma.

StepUp Ministry expanding

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — StepUp Ministry, which was launched and is housed at White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, is teaming up with downtown churches led by Christ Church to offer its life skills program starting this fall for graduates of its job training program.

StepUp also has named a new development director and hired a new manager for its life skills program as part of a reorganization that includes an expansion to Greensboro last year and possibly other cities in the next few years.

Over 600 people, typically ex-offenders, recovering addicts or those with out-of-date job skills, complete the five-day job training program StepUp offers 22 times a year, and the agency’s jobs counselors continue to work with graduates until they find a job.

StepUp helped 358 participants find jobs last year, for example, and since 2005 has placed over 1,500 people in jobs, with 81 percent remaining at their jobs for over a year.

And StepUp selects one in four job participants for the life skills program it offers on Tuesday evenings at White Memorial, where it has room for only 100 participants, says Linda Nunnallee, who is associate executive director of StepUp and on July 1 will become executive director of StepUp Raleigh under the reorganization.

For years, she says, that program has operate at maximum capacity of roughly 80 adults with 120 of their children.

A key to the program, she says, is matching each participant with a volunteer co-partner who works with the participant one-on-one during the entire course.

Adults and children follow similar curricula, spread in four phases over 48 weeks and designed to teach them to overcome obstacles to stability.

Starting in September, StepUp will offer its life skills program at Christ Church on Wednesday.

That new program will begin with 15 people per class, and in each quarter StepUp will add a new class, bringing the total number of participants at any given time to 60 adults and up to 80 children.

Among eight downtown churches involved in the coalition, six initially will provide financial support, volunteer mentors and connections to employers.

StepUp offers its job training program at a different location each day of the week, including First Baptist Church on Salisbury Street on Mondays; its own offices on Tuesdays; First Baptist Church on Wilmington Street on Wednesdays; White Memorial on Thursdays; and Edenton Street Methodist Church on Fridays.

StepUp also partnered with a coalition of Greensboro churches led by First Presbyterian Church to launch StepUp Greensboro last September, offering both the jobs and life skills programs.

StepUp now is assessing the results of that expansion as it considers expanding to other North Carolina cities over the next few years.

Steve Swayne, executive director of StepUp, will become CEO of the overall organization on July 1 and oversee its plans for growth, programming and curriculum to provide training designed to move participants to a “livable” wage of $15 an hour.

StepUp also has named Dileep Dadlani as its new development director.

Dadlani has served as development director for the North Carolina Community Health Center Association, raising money for nonprofit medical facilities in rural areas throughout the state.

Sarah Tencer, who recently received a master of social work degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been named program manager for StepUp’s life skills program.