Continuing rebound in fundraising reported

After two flat years followed by growth in 2012, a slightly bigger share of charities in the U.S. and Canada posted fundraising gains in 2013, a new survey says.

Sixty-two percent of over 500 nonprofits responding to an online survey early in 2014 by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative saw an increase in fundraising receipts in 2013.

That was the biggest share since 2007, the year before the economy crashed, and was up from 58 percent in 2012, 52 percent in 2011 and 43 percent in 2010 that reported fundraising growth.

“While this is an encouraging sign, nonprofit charitable organizations continue to face an uncertain fundraising climate as reports about middle-class income stagnation in the United States and some economic predictions suggest a tough year in 2014,” the survey says.

Nonprofits “continue to face rising demands for services and lower revenues from government grants and fees paid, user fees and other resources,” it says.

While the trend in 2013 was up, the survey says, the share of nonprofits reporting increases in 2013 was not statistically significant.

In comparison, the survey says, the share of nonprofits reporting increases in 2011 and 2010 was statistically significant.

In the U.S., 68 percent of nonprofits reported increases in 2013, compared to 57 percent in Canada — in each country nearly the same share of nonprofits that reported increases in 2012.

Roughly the same share of nonprofits in each of the four regions of the U.S. reported an increase, including 68 percent in the South, 64 percent in the Northeast, and 63 percent each in the Midwest and West.

At least 60 percent of nonprofits reported increases in all fields of interest except the arts and religion, where 52 percent reported increases.

Major gifts grew at 62 percent of responding nonprofits in 2013, compared to 49 percent in 2012 and 42 percent in 2011.

Online gifts, both through email requests and other online fundraising, grew at 62 percent of responding charities, compared with 57 percent in 2012 and 37 percent in 2011.

Proceeds from special events grew at 62 percent of nonprofits, compared with 53 percent in 2012 and 45 percent in 2011.

Board member giving grew at 47 percent of nonprofits, up from 39 percent in 2012 and 42 percent in 2011.

Twenty-one percent of nonprofits saw increases from federated campaigns, and 25 percent saw increases in gifts from congregations, in both cases the same share as in 2012.

Members of the Nonprofit Research Collaborative include the Association of Fundraising Professionals; CFRE International; Campbell Rinker; Giving USA Foundation; The Partnership for Philanthropic Planning; and The National Center for Charitable Statistics at the Urban Institute.

Todd Cohen

Nonprofit news roundup, 03.28.14

Maness named CEO at Children’s Home Society

Brian Maness, vice president of strategy and development at Children’s Home Society of North Carolina, has been named president and CEO.

A 12-year veteran of the agency, he succeeds Ken Tutterow, who died in January.

At Children’s Home Society, Maness has worked in the areas of new program development, marketing, fundraising, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic advancement.

Before joining the agency, he held positions in advertising, marketing, communications, and project management.

Maness will be based in the Greensboro headquarters of Children’s Home Society, which supports over 17,000 children and families a year with staff in offices in 10 North Carolina cities.

Nonprofit leaders win sabbaticals

Five nonprofit leaders have received sabbatical awards from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in Winston-Salem.

The awards provide each recipient with $25,000 to take an extended break from work to focus on personal needs, growth and self-revitalization.

Winners this year are:

* Ann Gerhardt, executive director, Compass Center for Women and Families, Chapel Hill.

* Leo Carol Giduz, executive director, Caldwell Arts Council, Lenoir.

* Joyce Johnson, director, Jubilee Institute at Beloved Community Center, Greensboro.

* Judith Long, executive director, The Free Clinics, Hendersonville.

* Joseph Martinez, executive director, FIRST at Blue Ridge, Ridgecrest.

Duke getting $10 million

Members of the Crown family have committed $10 million to create opportunities for social and intellectual interaction in the newly renovated student union on the West Campus at Duke University in Durham.

Crown Family Philanthropies, based in Chicago, has supported initiatives that support education, the arts and medicine, and that work to address poverty.

Duke has now raised $2 billion of its $3.25 billion goal in its seven-year comprehensive campaign, including $787 million raised for Duke Medicine.

Charlotte group offers space for nonprofits

The board of directors of the Children & Family Services Center in Charlotte has launched HopeWorks, an effort to help new and small nonprofits meet emerging community needs.

Renaissance West Community Initiative is the first tenant of HopeWorks, which is located in the Center on East 5th Street in Uptown, and offers office space and shared services for small and new nonprofits that share a similar mission.

The Children & Family Services Center, a five-story office building, provides shared space, plus technology, finance, and human-resources services to nonprofit tenant agencies that  serve more than 198,600 children and families a year in Mecklenburg County and across the state.

John Rex Endowment gives $675,000

The John Rex Endowment in Raleigh has made seven grants totaling $675,000 to support the physical, mental and emotional well-being of children in greater Wake County.

Grant recipients include InterAct, Duke Center for Child and Family Policy, Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute, Haven House Services, Lucy Daniels Center, Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education, and Triangle Family Services. 

Charlotte brain tumor event raises $170,000

National Brain Tumor Society, raised nearly $170,000 at its inaugural Charlotte Brain Tumor Race on March 22 at Freedom Park in Charlotte.

Sponsored by Carolinas HealthCare System and Piedmont Natural Gas, the event hosted 1,200 brain tumor survivors, patients, family members, caregivers, and friends.

Funds will be used for brain tumor research and public policy initiatives, and to raise awareness of the disease.

Make-A-Wish honors Zaxby’s

Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina has named Zaxby’s “Philanthropic Partner of the Year” for its support of the local wish-granting organization during the past year.

Zaxby’s licencees that raised a total of $103,978 during its fall Cause Card Campaign to benefit Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina, will be honored at the organization’s 2014 Wish Ball on May 17.

SAVE launches $25,000 campaign

The National Association of Students Against Violence Everywhere, a nationwide nonprofit that works to reduce the potential for violence in schools and communities, has kicked off a campaign to raise $25,000.

Founded in Charlotte April 1989, SAVE now has chapters in over 125 schools across the U.S.

ArtsGreensboro Wine Gala set for April 3

ArtsGreensboro will hold its Wine Gala on April 3 to raise funds to support arts programming in the schools.

The wine & culinary benefit will be held from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Fresh Market store at 1560 Highwoods Boulevard just off New Garden Road.

The event also will celebrate the work and contributions of Guilford County’s arts teachers and include presentation of  the 2014 Arts Teacher of the Year award.

Horse and Buddy to hold gala May 2

Horse and Buddy, a nonprofit in New Hill that provides therapeutic horseback riding for people with special needs, will hold its 9th annual Sequins and Spurs Gala on May 2 at 6 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary.

Raleigh Little Theatre names artistic director

Patrick Torres, program director at Creative Action in Austin, Tex., has been named artistic director at Raleigh Little Theatre.

Torres, who will be the 14th artistic director in the theatre’s nearly 80-year history, and the first person of color in the role, succeeds Haskell Fitz-Simons, who died in May 2013 after 30 years of service.

McMerty joins Band Together NC board

Brian McMerty, managing partner of Carlyle Conlan, an executive and professional search and recruitment firm in Research Triangle Park, has joined the board of directors of Band Together NC, a Triangle-based organization that uses live music as a platform for social change.

New Hanover funders accepting grant applications

The Women’s Impact Network of New Hanover County, and the New Hanover County Community Foundation, are accepting grant applications.

The Women’s Impact Network, a women’s giving circle formed in partnership with the North Carolina Community Foundation, is accepting applications for grants with a focus on health and wellness needs of New Hanover County residents.

Nonprofits may submit a letter of inquiry explaining what a program might be able to do with a one-time grant of up to $32,000. Proposals must be submitted electronically by April 4.

The New Hanover County Community Foundation, an affiliate of the North Carolina Community Foundation, is accepting applications from New Hanover County nonprofits, particularly to build their capacity and support collaboration.

Applications are due April 29.

Triad golf event to benefit two charities

Guilford Dental Partners Clinic and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Triad will benefit from the annual GMDM Charity Classic golf tournament, to be held June 5 at the Greensboro Country Club, Carlson Farm Course, and hosted by the Guilford Medical and Dental Managers organization.

With proceeds from the past two tournaments, GMDM contributed a total of $14,000 to local charities.

Groups sponsor Cat Ball

Myriad Media has been named presenting sponsor for the 10th Annual Tuxedo Cat Ball benefiting SAFE Haven for Cats, a cat shelter in Raleigh.

Other sponsors for the event, to be held April 25 from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. at North Ridge County Club, include Dixie Gun & Knife Show, and Nell Coletta, silver sponsors; and McDuffie Design, benefactor sponsor.

Komen for the Cure moves to new office

Susan G. Komen North Carolina Triangle to the Coast has moved its offices to 600 Airport Blvd., Suite 100, at Airport Business Center in Morrisville from downtown Raleigh.

Make your nonprofit an indispensable resource

Your nonprofit can raise awareness of community needs, and the importance of getting involved and giving, by sharing your expertise on issues you care about.

So make it part of your communications strategy to be a community resource that is informative, thoughtful, useful and accessible.

Use your website, e-newsletter, annual report, blog, social media and other communications materials and vehicles to raise awareness of the symptoms and causes of the problems you address, and to highlight effective strategies for fixing them.

Develop relationships with reporters, editors and news producers at local media outlets, visit with them to talk about your issues, and invite them to contact you when they are working on a story and need background information or an expert source.

Write guest opinion columns and letters to the editor for local news media when your issues are in the news, and make representatives of your organization available as guests on local television and radio news and public affairs programs.

And book your executive director, board chair and other staff and board members to speak at luncheons, meetings, workshops and conferences about community issues your nonprofit cares about.

In all your communications, focus on the community problem, and on strategies and partnerships that are working, rather than on your organization and its needs. The audiences you reach will make the connection between your work and the issues they care about.

By raise awareness about community issues and solutions, you can show donors and other partners the value of supporting and working with you.

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

Fundraising, Part 9: Conservation groups connect with donors

By Todd Cohen

[This article was written for Blackbaud.]

Conservation-oriented environmental groups have focused their fundraising on getting donors more involved in “places that matter,” and showing them the impact of their gifts, says Doug Barker, co-founder and principal at Barker & Scott Consulting, a firm that provides management consulting for nonprofits, including environmental organizations.

“We have results you can walk on,” says Barker, quoting John Sawhill, former CEO at The Nature Conservancy, where Barker was the chief information officer.

So environmental and conservation groups have been inviting donors and prospective donors to outings and talking to them about “what’s so special about those particular places.”

Those outings can include activities for families and children, and can pave the way for additional gifts.

Recognizing that the environment is “visually compelling,” Barker says, environmental organizations also are providing donors and prospective donors with images of “what’s at stake in terms of nature, and also what some of the threats are.”

And those groups are using traditional and digital media to reach a broad range of constituents.

“At the end of the day, and not just for environmental groups, you’re really looking at a multi-channel integrated strategy for how you’re going to engage your constituents,” Barker says. “Certain strategies resonate more with some groups than others. But it’s having full portfolios of ways to engage people that can be so effective.”

Those strategies, he says, depend on identifying the needs of individual donors and groups of donors.

For major donors, for example, “it’s all about relationship-building, figuring out what that particular donor is passionate about and how they really want to be engaged.”

Environmental and conservation groups can invite donors on trips, showing them first-hand areas that may be at risk, and developing a more personal relationship.

And organizations increasingly are working to show donors the impact of their giving.

Some groups are using research studies and reports to show the economic value of functioning ecological systems, and providing calculators that visitors to their websites can use to measure their carbon footprint through their diet and the use of home energy, driving, flying, recycling and waste.

They also provide tools, tips and information that people can use to take action, whether to reduce their carbon footprint or contact policymakers, as well as quizzes and adoption programs that can engage them.

World Wildlife Fund invites people to “test your elephant IQ,” for example, or to make a symbolic donation to adopt a snow leopard or penguin.

Those kinds of features can increase a donor’s “affinity and trust and overall respect for an organization that probably could also result in their increasing their support,” Barker says. “It’s a way to make a connection with what you’re doing, even if symbolically, in a more meaningful and tangible way.”

Next: Human services emphasize communication, planning

The series:

Part 1: Growth tied to capacity, cultivation, communication.

Part 2: Healthcare groups invest in capacity.

Part 3: Higher education cultivates major gifts.

Part 4: Data key for independent schools.

Part 5: International affairs groups refine message.

Part 6: Religion focuses on fundamentals.

Part 7: Arts and culture groups focus on donors.

Part 8: United Way diversifies.

Part 9: Conservation groups connect with donors.

Part 10: Communication, planning key for human services.

Part 11: Peer-to-peer strategy fuels medical research.

Girls Rock NC uses music to build character

By Todd Cohen

DURHAM, N.C. — As a sixth grader in Reidsville, Amelia Shull wanted to play drums in the music program at her middle school. But because her parents could not afford to buy a drum set, Shull ended up playing the flute, thanks to a donor who contributed one to the school.

“Although I was a kid who couldn’t afford an instrument, I was given an opportunity to be part of the orchestra,” says Shull, Upper School visual arts teacher at Carolina Friends School in Durham.

For the past 10 years, through Girls Rock NC, a Durham nonprofit she founded and co-chairs, Shull has worked to give girls a chance to experience the joy of music she discovered through her parents, who are songwriters and folk musicians.

Operating with an annual budget of $65,000, most of it generated from tuition of $325 per camper, Girls Rock NC has provided a summer camp for well over 1,000 girls, along with an after-school program it launched in 2011.

The summer camp has expanded from Durham to include sites in Raleigh and Chatham County.

Girls Rock NC is one of 43 independent programs that are part of The Girls Rock Camp Alliance, an international coalition of organizations that use music education to empower girls and women and to foster self-esteem and confidence.

The local group focuses on “encouraging girls to use their own voices,” says Shull, who as an 10th grader, confined to a wheel chair for several months after breaking her pelvis in a car accident, “recognized that, when you have strong feelings, when you’re hurting, when you’re trying to find a way to connect, music was the place that felt the most powerful.”

Girls Rock NC offers two summer camp sessions of one week each at Saint Mary’s School in Raleigh, Triangle Music School in Durham and Woods Charter School in Chatham County.

Each session has room for 40 girls, with the first session for girls age seven to 10, and the second session for girls age 11 to 15.

In May, Girls Rock NC will hold an overnight weekend program for 12 to 15 women age 18 and older at The Stone House that will culminate with a performance.

Girls Rock NC provides instruments for girls who need them, and adults from a corps of nearly 100 volunteers lead sessions on a broad range of topics, including forming and naming a band, writing music and lyrics for songs, and performing.

With women who work at the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture at Duke, the girls also make zines, or magazines without ads.

They create their own t-shirts and other apparel; study dance, stage presence, yoga and “body confidence;” learn about self-defense, making choices, and team-building; and work to develop skills in media literacy so they can “be critical thinkers when viewing images of girls on TV and in the media,” Shull says.

The after-school program, held once a week for 10 weeks at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro and at Hayti Heritage Center in Durham for 12 girls each, focuses mainly on helping girls develop skills as musicians.

Girls Rock NC, which in January hired its first paid staff, including a full-time director of operations and a part-time program director, also in December held its first fundraising  appeal, generating $6,000.

It plans to hold a social-media “crowdfunding” campaign this spring, is looking for sponsorships and scholarship support, will partner with the mother of a former camper who this summer plans to launch a Girls Rock camp in Charlotte, and in October will hold a 10th anniversary Community Girls Rock Fest at The ArtsCenter and Cat’s Cradle, both in Carrboro.

“We just want to be sure that every kid gets to have the experience of exploring creative outlets for expression,” says Shull, whose seven-year-old daughter will be eligible for the first time this summer to attend Girls Rock NC camp.

“She wants to sign up,” Shull says, “and play, no surprise, the drums.”

Fundraising, Part 8: United Way diversifies

By Todd Cohen

[This article was written for Blackbaud.]

With growth in fundraising accelerating only modestly in recent years, United Way has been diversifying its fundraising and focusing on its impact, says Sherrie Brach, executive vice president of investor relations at United Way Worldwide.

That strategy has included targeting women, young professionals and major donors, engaging workplace donors as volunteers, focusing on solving community problems, and “productizing” priority community initiatives to generate new investment opportunities for individuals, corporations and foundations, Brach says.

United Way also has made it a priority over the next two to three years to use mobile and social media strategies to engage donors.

United Way affiliates throughout the world raised a total of $5.2 billion in 2012, reflecting overall growth of 1 percent to 1.5 percent in the U.S. and 7 percent outside the U.S., says Brach, a former CEO of United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg.

“In 2013, we anticipate the trend to continue in overall fundraising,” she says. “We are experiencing slow but steady growth.”

Workplace campaigns remain United Way’s biggest channel for giving, with corporations representing the biggest sources of revenue through corporate gifts and access to employee giving.

But United Way no longer is relying only on “transactional” fundraising through workplace giving, and in recent years has segmented its fundraising by types of donors and tried “to connect more directly with individuals than through the workplace channel,” Brach says.

Ten years ago, in Greensboro, N.C., United Way launched its first affinity group for women, an effort that has been adopted at many affiliates and been expanded to include affinity groups for young professionals.

Those efforts, along with efforts to generate “leadership” gifts of $1,000 or more, and “Tocqueville” gifts of $10,000 or more, have represented most of the growth in United Way giving, which has increased at a rate of 1 percent 2 percent a year since the economy collapsed in 2008, Brach says.

United Way also is partnering with companies to connect with individual donors, often by providing opportunities to volunteer for community projects that are in sync with the companies’ business.

And by setting education, income and health as priority community needs, and creating special initiatives to address those needs, United Way has created new opportunities both for volunteerism and for giving.

“It’s a holistic strategic approach to solving community problems, and you can create investment opportunities for individuals, high-end donors, and corporations and foundations, that bring investment into our work,” Brach says.

Local United Ways that have taken that approach have developed more diversified funding streams, and while their campaigns have been growing only modestly, those new sources of income have grown more dramatically, Brach says.

In addition to $79.5 million raised through its annual workplace campaign and corporate giving, for example, Wells Fargo also has contributed a $5 million grant to develop a “Financial Capability Network” in partnership with United Way.

“We don’t just measure the annual campaign,” Brach says. “We’re now looking at total current-year support.”

A handful of local United Ways also have begun large endowment campaigns focused on their community initiatives, and some have received six-figure and eight-figure gifts to support them.

Now, United Way is looking at ways to use digital media more strategically to engage donors.

“That’s the only way we’re going to connect with young people and individuals,” Brach says. “The challenge we have is how are we able to articulate and communicate and represent our work through online engagement in a way that connects quickly with donors.”

Next: Conservation groups connect with donors

The series:

Part 1: Growth tied to capacity, cultivation, communication.

Part 2: Healthcare groups invest in capacity.

Part 3: Higher education cultivates major gifts.

Part 4: Data key for independent schools.

Part 5: International affairs groups refine message.

Part 6: Religion focuses on fundamentals.

Part 7: Arts and culture groups focus on donors.

Part 8: United Way diversifies.

Part 9: Conservation groups connect with donors.

Part 10: Communication, planning key for human services.

Part 11: Peer-to-peer strategy fuels medical research.