Nonprofit news roundup, 01.31.14

Beam leaving Capstone for Wake Forest Charlotte

Joanne O’Brien Beam is stepping down as managing partner at Charlotte fundraising firm Capstone Advancement Partners for a job at Wake Forest Charlotte working with donors and developing and managing non-degree programs.

Brigitte Peck, a founder at Capstone, will lead the firm’s team, effective April 1.

Beam, a graduate of Wake Forest University, will continue with Capstone through March 31, and then for a transitional period work both with the firm and the University’s Charlotte campus.

She will begin working full-time for Wake Forest on July 1.

Non-degree programs she will be focusing on include a nonprofit certificate program, a “love of learning” program, and a leadership program for minority high school students.

Beam, a former consultant at First Counsel and O’Brien Consulting Group, also worked as a vice president at North Carolina Trust/U.S. Trust, and as assistant vice president for university advancement at Wake Forest.

Heyd recognized for American Heart Association fundraising

Ruth Heyd, senior director of development for the American Heart Association in Guilford County, has been awarded the Rome Betts Award of Excellence from the American Heart Association.

Heyd, one of only 24 people to receive this award each year, was recognized for securing NewBridge Bank and Novant Health Kernersville Medical Center year-round sponsors for Go Red For Women, an effort to fight heart disease in women, and for raising over $244,000 through year-round Go Red initiatives in Guilford County.

Bank of America giving $5 million

Bank of America is donating $5 million to Foundation For The Carolinas in Charlotte to support an initiative to restore the Carolina Theatre.

The Foundation has launched a campaign to raise $25 million to renovate the 36,000-square-foot historic theater to serve as a civic gathering space for lectures, symposia, town hall meetings and other forms of community engagement.

Located adjacent to the Foundation’s headquarters, the long-vacant theatre was sold to the Foundation by the city of Charlotte in 2013.

Schwab Charitable receives $1.64 billion, gives $742 million

Schwab Charitable, a national donor-advised fund, received $1.64 billion in donations in 2013, up 35 percent from the previous year, and made $742 million in donations to over 41,000 charities.

Donations to charities grew 36 percent, the biggest percentage increase in over five years.

The increase in grants to charity peaked during the fourth-quarter giving season, with the value of grants growing 53 percent, and the number of grants growing 37 percent, over the same period last year.

Schwab Charitable has received over $9.3 billion in contributions and facilitated over $4 billion in grants to charities on behalf of its donors since it was formed in 1999.

Handy Capable gets gift to distribute 100 computers

The Lincoln Financial Foundation and Mary Lynn Richardson Foundation have provided funds that will allow HandyCapable Network in Greensboro to distribute 100 refurbished computers to students and their families at GCS Newcomers School.

Direct-marketing firm to donate services

Excalibur, a direct-marketing firm, is celebrating its 40th anniversary by offering grants totaling $40,000 worth of direct marketing services to nonprofits in North Carolina or having an impact on the state. Grant requests must be submitted by June 30.

Junior Achievement gets $5,000

Junior Achievement of Central North Carolina received a $5,000 grant from the P & G Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation to support the Full STEM Ahead! From Grade School to Graduation program, which focuses on teaching skills in science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, to students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Your news release should sell your story

While digital technology has radically changed the way news and information are delivered, traditional news media still represent powerful vehicles you can use to get your nonprofit’s message to a broad audience.

So write news releases that make the most of that opportunity.

A news release should show a news organization why its audience should care about your news.

Get to the point immediately: How will whatever you are announcing improve the lives of people and places?

Keep your news release short and clear. Say what you are doing and the difference it will make in your community.

Use facts, but use them selectively. Explain, for example, how many people you will serve and how their lives will change, and quantify the funds and other resources you are investing.

Do not use jargon. And do not clutter the news release with the formal names you have created for your programs and initiatives, or with the names and titles of your staff and board leaders.

The news release should not be written for your staff and board. Your audience should be the reporters, editors and news producers who will decide whether to run your news.

News media can help you tell your story. Use news releases to help them understand why your story matters.

Before the news media will tell your story, you need to sell it to them.

Want help?

Philanthropy North Carolina is a consulting practice that provides writing and strategic communications support for nonprofits, foundations, colleges and universities, and others working for social good.

To find out more about hiring Philanthropy North Carolina to work with your organization to improve your communications, contact Todd Cohen at 919.272.2051 or toddcohen49@gmail.com.

Nonprofits flunk online fundraising test

Nonprofits are creating online hurdles for donors, and as a result are missing the chance to raise millions of dollars, if not billions, a new report says.

While online giving accounts for only about 6 percent of total charitable gifts, “charities put up unnecessary roadblocks to donors giving online,” Rick Dunham, president and CEO of Dunham+Company, says in a statement.

The inaugural Online Fundraising Scorecard, a study by Dunham+Company and Next After, reviewed the websites of 151 organizations over nine months in 2013, signed up to receive emails, and made an initial $20 gift.

The study looked at 56 key indicators in four key aspects of online fundraising, including email registration, email communication, the donation experience, and the gift acknowledgement process.

Among the organizations in the study, 127 scored 75 or below.

Results of the study, combined with research showing that over two in three online transactions are abandoned, led to the conclusion that “there are millions — if not billions — of dollars being left on the table,” Dunham says. “Virtually every charity could improve the online giving experience for donors.”

In the area of email registration, 76 percent of charities make it easy to find their email signup form, although 66 percent of email signup provides little-to-no interest to potential donors, and 84 percent of charities present a non-exclusive signup offer, or one that is appealing because the donor cannot get it anywhere else, the study says.

Big factors in determining the success of  online fundraising, the study says, are the frequency and manner in which charities communicate with donors.

Yet over one in three organizations studied did not send a single email to new subscribers within the first 20 days of signing up, 79 percent of emails do not personalize the “to” line with a first and last name, and 56 percent of organizations did not make a single ask in the first 90 days.

In the area of online donation experience, 80 percent of organizations studied do present a clear call-to-action, and 85 percent have a landing page design that matches the email, yet 84 percent were not optimized for mobile viewing, the study says.

And in the area of gift acknowledgement, while 99 percent of organizations understand the importance of thanking a donor, the study says, 63 percent did not offer a donor “next steps” to take.

Todd Cohen

Harvard business grads teach for charity

By Todd Cohen

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For the past 11 years, using the case method pioneered at Harvard Business School, graduates of the school have taught decision-making skills to mid-career executives in the Charlotte area.

Working as volunteer faculty through the Harvard Business School Club of Charlotte, those alumni, including presidents and founders of companies, have taught executives from over 120 local firms.

Students this year paid $2,700 for a 13-week program from early September through mid-December that focused on two Harvard Business School cases a week.

And based on nominations from current faculty, which now totals 26 instructors, and a vote from anyone who has taught in the program, the Harvard Business School Club uses roughly 90 percent of tuition revenue to makes grants to local nonprofits.

Those grants typically total up to $5,000 each for six to eight nonprofits a year.

In its first 10 years, the program invested over $300,000 in nonprofits, and has focused in recent years on agencies that serve children and the homeless, says Bill Berry, a director of the Management Development Program and a professor emeritus and director of the Executive MBA Program at the McColl School of Business at Queens University of Charlotte.

Charities that have received grants range from A Child’s Place and Charlotte Rescue Mission to Crisis Assistance Ministry, Jacob’s Ladder Job Center and Pat’s Place Child Advocacy Center.

The Harvard program has increased its tuition over the years so it would have more to contribute to local nonprofits, says Berry, who received a PhD in business at Harvard and previously taught at Ohio State University and Wake Forest University.

“We keep increasing tuition and expenses don’t go up that much,” he says. “We increase it to have more for charity.”

Expenses include several thousand dollars to buy the 26 cases studies from Harvard, plus a light dinner and other refreshments for students and faculty.

Queens University donates the use of classroom space for the Harvard program.

Harvard’s case method is the heart of the management program, which covers topics that include marketing; financial reporting and control; leadership and organizations; manufacturing and service operations; competition and strategy; and ethics.

Each case study looks at an actual business situation or problem that typically has no single correct solution. Each participant is expected to identify management implications and recommend what action he or she would take, Berry says.

Two Harvard business graduates who work at local companies are invited to speak to each class, with each speaker focusing on one case study.

“The program is like coming to a seminar where you have 26 speakers,” Berry says. “The main thrust of the case method is that participants do the discussion and come to a conclusion, and the instructor mainly is a guide to ask penetrating questions. It’s very Socratic.”

The Charlotte program is modeled on one that Harvard business grads launched in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1951 and since have started in San Diego, with a new effort being developed in Atlanta and considered in other cities like Miami.

“We all went to Harvard and realized this is a wonderful way to learn,” Berry says. “We want to share that.”

Nonprofit news roundup, 01.24.14

Fundraising workshop set for Guilford nonprofits

Maximizing fundraising results will be the focus of the third annual World Café workshop for nonprofit leaders sponsored by the Guilford Nonprofit Consortium.

The event, to be held February 6 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church at 607 N. Greene Street in Greensboro, will feature Gordon D. Soenksen, chief development officer at the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro.

After a brief presentation by Soenksen about strategic fundraising, including the aspects of “story, strategy and support,” workshop participants will connect with their peers in an interactive program.

The program costs $12 per person for members of the Guilford Nonprofit Consortium and $25 for non-members. The deadline for registration is January 27 and space is limited.

Allebaugh leaving Housing for New Hope

Terry Allebaugh, founder and executive director of Housing for New Hope, a nonprofit in Durham that works to fight homelessness, will step down at the end of May.

Katie Crowe, a member of the nonprofit’s board of directors and senior pastor at Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church, is chairing a team to find a successor, expected to be on the job in early summer.

Allebaugh says in a statement has has “known for some years now that I have run my course on what I have to offer in this role.”

After a break over the summer, he says, he hopes to have secured his next assignment, and expects it will include advocacy and policy work around poverty and homelessness.

Founded in 1992, the agency has developed a collaborative model that provides services and housing to over 1,000 households a year in the Triangle through two transitional housing programs; street outreach and engagement teams; an emergency assistance program; a housing development program with 74 units of supportive and workforce housing in Durham; and a rapid re-housing program.

CEO of Children’s Home Society dies; acting co-CEOs named

Ken Tutterow, president & CEO of Children’s Home Society of North Carolina, died January 10 at Moses Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro after a brief illness.

Tutterow, who was 73, had served on the board of Children’s Home Society since 1986 and as president and CEO since 1990.

Under an emergency succession plan adopted by the agency’s board, Hector McEachern, vice president of human and operations, and Brian Manness, vice president of strategic advancement have been named to share the temporary role of acting president and CEO until the board names a successor.

National Christian Foundation of Raleigh receives $12.1 million

Donors to the Raleigh affiliate of the National Christian Foundation gave a record-high $12.1 million last year, up 23 percent from 2012 and bringing total giving by the affiliate to more than $50 million since 2005.

Donors in 2013 opened 66 new fund accounts at the affiliate in 2013, which now houses nearly 300 active funds.

Nationally, a total of $670 million was disbursed in 2013 by the Foundation’s 28 affiliates, brining to $4 billion the total that has been given to over 30,000 churches, ministries and charities.

Vanguard Charitable grants over $500 million

Vanguard Charitable, a donor-advised fund, granted over $500 million to charitable causes in 2013, up 15 percent increase from the previous year, and bringing to over $4 billion the grants it has made since it was founded by Vanguard in 1997 as an independent 501(c)3 charity.

In 2013, Vanguard Charitable issued 50,563 grants totaling $536 million, up 19 percent and 15 percent, respective, from 2012.

In the fourth quarter, Vanguard Charitable granted $190 million, up 19 percent from the same period a year earlier.

In addition to recommending grants, donors contributed over $904 million to Vanguard Charitable in 2013. Nearly 81 percent of the assets gifted were appreciated securities.

Smart Start gets $3 million

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation is making a second $3 million grant over three years to the North Carolina Partnership for Children, or Smart Start, to expand Shape NC.

Through the initial grant, Shape NC, an early childhood initiative focused on increasing the number of young children starting kindergarten at a healthy weight, improved access to healthy fruits and vegetables and increased physical activity for over 1,000 North Carolina children.

The new grant will expand the program’s reach through the Smart Start network to 240 additional child care centers across the state.

TROSA opens thrift store

Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers, or TROSA, has opened an 11,000-square-foot TROSA Thrift & Frame Store at 1703 E. Geer Street in Durham.

TROSA provides vocational training and comprehensive treatment services to nearly 800 individuals a year.

Allegacy nonprofit launches scholarship program

The Center for Smart Financial Choices, a nonprofit created in 2012 by Allegacy Federal Credit Union, is launching its first scholarship for current or rising youth and adult college students, including a financial education component, through a one-time anonymous donation of $5,500.

Allegacy opened the Center to assist consumers with the skills necessary to more effectively manage their money, credit, debt and financial planning.

LGBT Community Center teams with Freedom Center

The LGBT Community Center of Charlotte and Freedom Center for Social Justice have formed a partnership to provide legal and employment services to the community through the newly established Freedom Center’s satellite location at the Community Center.

As part of the collaboration, the Freedom Center will present a series of clinics and workshops at the LGBT Community Center.

Joines to speak at Green Building Council event

Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines and Ilana Preuss, chief of staff at Smart Growth America, will be keynote speakers on February 20 for the annual event of the Piedmont-Triad Branch of the U.S. Green Building Council-North Carolina Chapter. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. at Wake Forest Biotech Place.

Food bank gets 4-star rating from charity watchdog

For the fourth straight year, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina has received a 4-star rating, the highest designation awarded by charity evaluator Charity Navigator.

Greyhound adoption group to hold fundraising event

Project Racing Home Greyhound Adoptions in Randleman will hold its annual fundraising event, “Spring with the King,” on March 21 at the Greensboro Realtors Association at 23 Oak Branch Drive in Greensboro at 7 p.m. The event will feature Wayne Euliss, an Elvis tribute artist from Greensboro.

Tailor your marketing materials to your goals

Whatever your mission, your nonprofit is a business, and your job is to meet specific goals for serving people and places, and raising money.

So gear your communications to meeting those goals.

Start by identifying the audiences you need to reach to meet your goals, and the communications materials you need to engage each of those audiences.

If you are planning an annual fund drive, along with an endowment campaign and several fundraising events, for example, you will need materials to support each of those activities, as well as notes or letters to thank donors and participants.

You also should create a calendar that spells out when you will need each those materials, making it clear who is responsible, and their deadlines are, for each step in the process of developing, producing and distributing the materials.

Customize all communications materials to your target audiences, creating different versions of a fundraising letter, for example, so the letter you send to an annual donor recognizes that donor’s previous gifts and differs from the letter you send to a prospective or major donor.

Finally, integrate your communications, so the message you are sending for a fall fundraising appeal, for example, also alerts people to your spring gala.

Your goals should drive how you work, and your communications should help you meet your goals.

Want help?

Philanthropy North Carolina is a consulting practice that provides writing and strategic communications support for nonprofits, foundations, colleges and universities, and others working for social good.

To find out more about hiring Philanthropy North Carolina to work with your organization to improve your communications, contact Todd Cohen at 919.272.2051 or toddcohen49@gmail.com.

Investment urged to address interconnected issues

Philanthropy is missing a big opportunity to address urgent and complex social and environmental issues by failing to invest in work involving multiple issues and constituencies, a new report says.

While some funders have become more strategic in their funding, they typically focus on narrow issues or “silos” and do not invest in “multi-issue advocacy and organizing,” says Smashing Silos in Philanthropy, a report from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.

“Strategic philanthropy has underlined the importance of marshaling and focusing on dollars for a cause but inexplicably stops short at funding groups that unite and focus people and organizations for a cause,” the report says.

“It is myopic for a foundation to implement its grantmaking strategy without acknowledging the imperative to look beyond its chosen issue area and [at] the interconnectedness of its local issue with other causes,” it says.

Increasingly focusing on “narrow issues silos” results in “marginalizing” grassroots community groups that work on multiple issues, the report says, while limiting the ultimate effectiveness of philanthropy, and undermining funders’ ability “to see discernible improvements” on critical issues such as education, health, the arts and the environment.

Multi-issue organizing and advocacy, the report says, can build relationships and mutual accountability; bring “unlikely allies” together and create opportunities for change; and create constituencies and build “power and leadership for the future.

The report recommends that grantmakers add grants to multi-issue organizations to their portfolios; nurture grassroots groups; provide them with general operating and multi-year support; model the collaboration they fund and want to see; and engage with their grantees as partners.

The key point is “to let grantees take the lead and treat them as partners, with funders letting go of control,” it says. “Bringing the community voice to the decision-making table is crucial; grantees are closer to the constituents that foundations seek to serve and can play the role of an essential conduit of knowledge about the problems that communities want addressed.”

Todd Cohen