Community foundation focuses on donor service

By Todd Cohen

[Note: This was written for Blackbaud.]

While the financial markets gradually have recovered since they crashed in 2008, a focus on providing good customer service to donors has helped generate annual giving of roughly $300 million a year over the past 5 years to the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation.

“The market plays a huge role, probably the biggest role,” said Brenda Chumley, senior vice president of foundation relations and operations at the Foundation. But the biggest factors driving annual giving, which grew to $393 million in 2014, are “the services you offer and the flexibility of your foundation,” she said.

Investment options

A flexible service that donors value is the Foundation’s practice, which it adopted roughly 10 years ago, that gives donors the option of using their own investment managers to manage the investment of the charitable funds they create at the Foundation.

Outside managers now manage roughly 70 percent of the $2.5 billion in assets at the Foundation, which was founded in 1978. Investment returns on funds managed by outside managers are generally comparable to those of the Foundation’s pooled funds that are managed by our own investment managers, Chumley said.

Donor relations

Unlike many community foundations with separate departments for developing new donors and for providing services to existing donors, the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation operates with a single donor relations department that works with prospective and existing donors. So the donor relations officer who works with a donor to make a first gift continues to work with that same donor.

Key to the work of the donor relations staff members is developing one-on-one relationships with donors, Chumley said.

Each donor has a personal contact at the Foundation, and each donor relations officer meets at least once a year with each donor about his or her portfolio unless a donor prefers to have no contact. Whether the meetings are in person, over the phone, or not at all, the goal is to “being respectful of the donor’s needs and making sure we’re fulfilling them,” Chumley said.

The Foundation offers a graduated fee schedule based on assets in the fund. “We treat every donor equally from a service perspective,” Chumley said. “It’s one donor at a time, and whatever their needs are, it is those we will service.”

Staffing and technology

To best serve donors, the Foundation has made significant investment in technology and, over the past five years, has slowly increased the size of its donor relations staff to seven from five.

Donors can use an online donor portal to review their charitable funds, make grants, look at their investment earnings, or print out a fund statement. And for the past 10 years, the Foundation has used separate software to help it manage data from outside investment managers selected by donors who opt to use them.

Staff expertise

The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation does not operate with a separate staff for gift planning. Each donor relations officer is responsible for working with donors on a broad range of gifts. And the Foundation’s corporate counsel, who handles planned gifts and serves on the donor relations staff, supports other donor relations officers in

working with donors on more complex gifts.

Types of gifts

Cash and stock are the most popular types of gifts to the Foundation, and donor advised funds are the most popular type of fund, Chumley said. The Foundation is also seeing a lot of gifts of real estate and closely-held business entities.

“People are looking at their entire portfolio and deciding what makes the most sense for them to give,” she said. “Sometimes it’s an illiquid asset they can turn into a liquid asset.”

The Foundation has a lot of experience in accepting complicated gifts, particularly as a result of the gift of the Kansas City Royals baseball team that it received in 1994 and sold in 2000.

Donor education

As part of the services it offers to donors, the Foundation hosts three to four education sessions a year. Typically held at lunch and attracting 25 to 30 donors, the sessions focus on topics such as preserving donor intent or working with successive generations.

And the Foundation tries to keep the sessions informal and fun, Chumley said.

For several years in a row, for example, the Foundation delivered cupcakes to all its donors with a note thanking them for having a fund with the Foundation and offering them “a treat on us.”

“We work really hard to make giving easy and fun,” Chumley said.

Professional advisers

The Foundation works strategically with lawyers, accountants, financial planners, and other professional advisers, meeting with them one-on-one, hosting education events, providing printed and online information, and materials they can use in working with their clients, and serving as a resource whenever needed.

“We’ve made it easy to quickly set up a donor-advised fund or other fund at year-end,” Chumley said.

The Foundation also hosts two lunches a year that feature advisers who talk about their work with the Foundation, as well as its own staff.


Operating with a communications staff of two people, the Foundation targets selective communications about philanthropy and about its work and impact.

When the Kansas City Royals played in the World Series last year, for example, the Foundation’s president and CEO, Debbie Wilkerson, wrote an opinion column for the local newspaper about the gift of the team to the Foundation, and the impact of the gift on the community.

The Foundation places some advertising on its local National Public Radio station, which also occasionally interviews members of the Foundation’s staff for its programs.

“When appropriate, we do outreach in that area,” Chumley said. “But we don’t just constantly try to get stories in the paper.”

Giving hits record-high $358 billion

Charitable giving in the U.S. grew to $358.38 billion in 2014, marking the fifth straight year of growth and exceeding its peak in 2007 before the economy collapsed, a new report says.

Individuals, corporations, foundations and bequests all gave more, says Giving USA 2015, a report from the Giving USA Foundation and researched and written by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Total giving grew 7.1 percent in current dollars and 5.4 percent adjusted for inflation from the revised estimate of $339.94 billion in 2013.

Giving to religion, education, human services, and health reached record highs when adjusted for inflation, as did giving to arts, culture and humanities, and to the environment and animals.

Giving to foundations, public-society benefit organizations, and international affairs has not returned to or exceeded peak levels.

Who gives

Individuals gave $258.51 billion, up 5.7 percent in current dollars, or 4 percent adjusted for inflation, accounting for 72 percent of all giving.

Foundations gave $53.97 billion, up 8.2 percent, or 6.5 percent adjusted, accounting for 19 percent of all giving.

Bequests gave $28.13 billion, up 15.5 percent, or 13.6 percent adjusted, accounting 8 percent of all giving.

Corporations gave $17.77 billion, up 13.7 percent, or 11.9 percent adjusted, accounting for 5 percent of all giving.

Individual giving

The 5.7 percent increase in giving by individuals represented 58 percent of the increase in all giving.

Including giving by bequests and family foundations, individuals accounted for nearly 90 percent of all giving.

Itemized giving grew six percent and accounted for 83 percent of the total estimate for giving by individuals, while giving by non-itemizing households grew 4.1 percent.

Individual giving is affected by available, disposable household income, by wealth and by growth in the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock-market index, all of which grew last year, as did general spending by individuals, the Giving USA Foundation says.

Foundation giving

Grants by independent foundations grew 7.8 percent, accounting for 74 percent of giving by all foundations.

Grantmaking by community foundations grew 10.9 percent, while giving by operations foundations grew 8.1 percent.

Corporate giving

Corporate giving includes cash and in-kind contributions made through corporate-giving programs, as well as grants and gifts made by corporate foundations.

Corporate foundation grants totaled an estimated $5.34 billion, down 0.8 percent.

Where giving goes

Giving to religion totaled $114.9 billion in 2014, up 2.5 percent in current dollars from 2013, or 0.9 percent adjusted for inflation, accounting for 32 percent of all giving.

Giving to education totaled $54.62 billion, up 4.9 percent, or 3.2 percent adjusted, accounting for 12.7 percent of all giving.

Giving to human services totaled $42.1 billion, up 3.6 percent, or 1.9 percent adjusted, accounting for 11.7 percent of all giving.

Giving to health totaled $30.37 billion up 5.5 percent, or 3.8 percent adjusted, accounting for 8.5 percent of all giving.

Giving to arts, culture and humanities totaled $17.23 billion, up 9.2 percent, or 7.4 percent adjusted, accounting for 4.8 percent of all giving.

Giving to the environmental and animal organizations totaled $10.5 billion, up 7 percent, or 5.3 percent adjusted, accounting for 2.9 percent of all giving.

Giving to public-society benefit groups totaled $26.29 billion, up 5.1 percent, or 3.4 percent adjusted, accounting for 7.3 percent of all giving.

Giving to foundations totaled $41.62 billion, up 1.8 percent, or 0.1 percent adjusted, accounting for 11.6 percent of all giving.

Giving to international affairs totaled $15.1 billion, down 2 percent, or 3.6 percent adjusted, accounting for 4.2 percent of all giving.

Giving to individuals fell 10.2 percent to $6.42 billion, accounting for 2 percent of all giving. Giving to individuals consists mainly of in-kind donations of medication to patients in need through the Patient Assistance Programs of pharmaceutical companies’ operating foundations,

Giving to religion

While giving to religion grew to a new high of $114.9 billion and continued to account for the biggest share of overall giving, that share has declined steadily for 30 years. In 1987, giving to religion accounted for 53 percent of all giving, compared to 32 percent in 2014.

That decline reflects the fact that fewer Americans identify with religion, attend worship services, or give to houses of worship, the report says. Those trends, it says, have been noted among Baby Boomers, and are being seen among younger age groups.

Giving to donor-advised funds

Giving to the biggest national donor-advised funds slowed dramatically, the report said. That decline may have slighted reduced giving to public-society-benefit groups, the report says.

It also said giving to pass-through charities that redistribute their funds to other organizations had seen little or no growth in recent years.

Todd Cohen

Giving with a big heart

By Todd Cohen

[Note: This was written for Triangle Community Foundation.]

MORRISVILLE, N.C. — As a child growing up in Houston, Tex., Bob Johnston learned the importance of going beyond one’s means to help people in need. His father, a firefighter and then a long-time employee of the U.S. Post Office, and his mother, a bookkeeper, were devout Southern Baptists who took seriously the Biblical prescription for tithing and never failed to give 10 percent of their income to charity.

“They did that even when they definitely needed the money,” Johnston says. “That came off the top for them. As I grew older and realized the sacrifices they made to help people who were less well off than themselves, I asked, ‘How does a person who’s financially secure shows their kids this principle without the example of sacrificing?'”

As a teenager, Johnston promised himself that if he ever had children, he would create a pool of funds and involve his children in deciding which charities to support with that money.

Then, in the late 1990s, after co-founding AlphaVax, a vaccine-maker in Durham, and serving as its CEO and chairman, Johnston talked to Triangle Community Foundation and learned he could create a donor advised fund that would make it “possible for people of ordinary means” to create the type of family philanthropy he envisioned.

So he created the Howard Allen Johnston Fund, named for his brother who was killed at age 20 in an automobile accident.

Johnston and his four daughters, ages 22 to 46, have focused their giving from the fund on agencies in the Triangle that serve homeless people, and on local food banks.

“Food, shelter and clothing,” says Johnston, who is founder and executive director of Global Vaccines, a nonprofit in Morrisville. “They’re pretty basic. There are many people in our society who lack one or more of those.”

How things work

Johnston hails from four or five generations of Texans. His parents attended the same Houston high school where Lyndon B. Johnson, the future U.S. president, was teaching, although they were not in any of his classes. And while neither of Johnston’s parents went to college, they both taught him a lot about life and how to live it, he says.

“My mother had a pretty tough life growing up,” he says. “She was a very smart and very tough woman.”

His father was “a little more easy going, more athletic type, with a great sense of humor,” he says. “Hardly a day goes by I don’t quote him.”

From an early age, Johnston says, he was curious about “what made things work,” a fascination that led him to major in biology at Rice University and get a Ph.D. in microbiology at the University of Texas.

Having been raised in a religious home, he says, “I learned that giving to other people, doing something for other people, was about the highest calling you could have.”

So from the time he was a teenager, he “always hoped that at some point I could do something in biology that would help the world or some small part of it.”

Academia and research

In 1976, Ph.D. in hand, Johnston got a job as an assistant professor of microbiology at North Carolina State University, where he rose through the ranks to became a professor and also an adjunct professor at what is now the College of Veterinary Medicine at N.C. State. And in 1989, he moved to the School of Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill as a professor of microbiology and immunology.

Then, in 1997, he co-founded AlphaVax, which initially worked on a vaccine for HIV but later switched its focus to making vaccines for viruses related to herpes — a shift Johnston did not favor.

“The biotech road is littered with with companies that tried to make vaccines for herpes-type viruses,” he says.

Vaccines for poor countries

In 2002, Johnston founded Global Vaccines “to harness new technologies to make vaccines for diseases in developing countries,” he says.

The nonprofit aims to address a gap in the market for vaccines, Johnston says.

For-profit vaccine companies typically license new technologies from universities that develop them, but then have no profit incentive to apply those technologies to diseases for which there often is little or no market, “so diseases that affect billions never benefit,” he says.

“We want to intercept those technologies, apply them to poor countries for these diseases, and see if we could make a difference in the world,” he says.

Global Vaccines has licensed two technologies from UNC-Chapel Hill, including one invented in his lab there that it continues to work on. It has developed an “adjuvant,” or agent, to increase the immune response of vaccines, including one for dengue fever.

Known as “break-bone fever,” the mosquito-transmitted disease is “absolutely rampant in poor countries,” with 400 million cases a year and 2.5 billion people at risk for infection, Johnston says.

Global Vaccines, which employs half-a-dozen people working full-time and part-time, has received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

And while it has not yet brought a vaccine to market, Johnston says, “we’ve got a mighty big heart.”

Making life better

A big heart also could be a metaphor for Johnston’s approach to giving.

Philanthropy is “helping people who don’t have as much as you do, or who haven’t had the opportunities or for that matter the luck that you have had,” he says. “By that definition, everybody can be a philanthropist. The amount doesn’t matter; it’s the act.”

What inspires him, he says, are “ordinary people doing extraordinary things relative to their capacity, ordinary people going beyond themselves to do something extraordinary.”

Life in the Triangle

In addition to the Triangle’s “weather and livability,” what Johnston likes about the region is that it is “intellectually dynamic,” he says. “So many people have good ideas and they put them into practice here. It’s just intellectually a stimulating place.”

The region also faces big challenges. To deal with the traffic its growth has created, the Triangle has opted for the traditional strategy of simply building more roads, he says.

“That’s a big error,” he says. “We need a light rail system and we need it about a decade ago. If we don’t get on that right now, we’re going to have just the same traffic mess as Houston and L.A. and just about every city. We shouldn’t worry about where existing rail lines are. We need to build mass transit.”

He also believes the region need more affordable child care and pre-kindergarten education.

In his own childhood, “my mom was home,” he says. “My grandfather and grandmother were right across the road. My aunt was home. We just had a wonderful childhood. A lot of that was the contributions of our mothers and grandmothers. In today’s world, mom and grandmom are at work. They have to be. So what happens with the kids? You see the result of that.”

Impossible dreams

Johnston says he retired from UNC so he could devote himself to his work at Global Vaccines. And while he keeps a small sailboat on Albermarle Sound, he rarely finds time to actually sail it.

“My hobby is thinking about going down there,” he says.

But he holds onto the dream.

When he was a teenager, he says, he once visited some friends who lived west of Houston on a ranch with a lake, where he tried to learn how to waterski. When he had placed his feet in the skis and adjusted the tow-rope, the pilot of the boat threw the throttle wide open, and nearly jerked the rope out of Johnston’s hands. He initially stood up and skied for about 10 feet, then fell under water but held on for another 30 feet before he let go.

“I think sometimes I hold onto things too long, even as an adult,” he says. “I don’t know when to quit. There’s a lot of Don Quixote in me.”

But Johnston says impossible dreams are what keep him going.

His late wife, Jane Johnston, a nurse in the neonatal unit at WakeMed in Raleigh who died of breast cancer, devoted her life to saving the lives of children born prematurely.

“We both had the same goals,” he says. “But she had the reward of seeing positive results right away. What I’m doing is something now that might help people in 15 or 20 years or after I die.”

Creating a legacy for the arts

By Todd Cohen

[Note: This was written for Triangle Community Foundation.]

DURHAM, N.C. — The Carolina Theatre in downtown Durham is a mecca for culture, a catalyst for community, an engine for growth, and a crossroads for past, present and future. After closing in 1988 for renovations, and reopening in 1994, the historic theater has attracted big-name performing artists, as well as emerging voices, and helped kickstart and fuel downtown’s cultural and economic renaissance.

The vision for saving and restoring the theater has inspired a large and eclectic cast of players performing widely diverse roles.

Pepper Fluke and Stephen Barefoot, two of those players, traveled different paths to the Carolina Theatre, but they share a passion for the arts and a bond with the late Connie and Monte Moses, the couple who spearheaded the theater’s revival.

In 2006, to help provide continuing support for the arts in Durham and to serve as an enduring legacy to the Moseses, Fluke and Barefoot created the Connie and Monte Moses Fund at Triangle Community Foundation.

The Carolina Theatre “would fulfill all their hopes and dreams,” says Fluke, 85, a Durham potter who volunteered for years on the restoration work.

Barefoot, 68, who met Fluke while he was serving as the Theatre’s managing director from 1985 to 1988, says the facility — built in 1926 as the Durham Auditorium — now has a quickening “pulse” driven by a “phenomenal variety” of programming.

Baton-twirling champion

Born and raised in Ridgewood, N.J., Fluke learned from her parents that “you do things for other people, and you don’t necessarily do it for what you’re going to get from it but because you’re going to share your talents.”

Her father taught science at Eastside High School in Patterson, N.J, and created the marching band there. A member of the U.S. fencing team that competed in the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium, and a college champion at swinging “Indian clubs,” he taught her both skills.

Her mother, a dietician, taught European immigrants how to run an American house so they could get housekeeping jobs.

“My parents were school teachers and there were no extra dollars for anything,” Fluke says. “I learned from them that you share what you have with your community.”

In 1939, at age nine, she accompanied her father’s marching band and majorettes to the World’s Fair in New York City and won the gold trophy in the national juvenile championships for baton twirling.

Guided by her parents to the sciences “because it was the only way a woman would be able to make a living,” she says, she majored in biology at Cornell but found no organized team for a woman who could fence or swing an Indian club, although she practiced with the men’s fencing team and traveled to Dallas and Chicago in compete in Indian club competitions.

In 1952, after graduating from Cornell, Fluke got a job in the pathology department in the research center at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island that was looking for peaceful uses for atomic energy.

While at Brookhaven, she met her future husband, Donald Fluke, who spent most of his career as a professor of radiation biology, including job at a research center associated with the University of California at Berkeley and eventually at Duke.

The couple share a love for community theater and got involved with a local theater group on Long Island that had been started by Connie and Monte Moses. After the Flukes moved to Durham in the late 1950s, they helped persuade Monte Moses to take a faculty job at Duke.

The Flukes have two children — a son who is retired from IBM and lives in Oxford, N.C. and a daughter who is a veterinarian in Charlotte.

Fluke became a potter after spending a year in The Netherlands and falling in love with Dutch art while her husband was on sabbatical there. When the couple returned to Durham, she enrolled in a new women’s program at Duke and took four art classes. She then found her calling at a potter’s wheel and continues to makes functional items like bowls, pitchers and mugs.

Fluke, who lives in Durham with her husband, 91, says creative people inspire her.

“I just love creative people,” she says. “I love being around them. I love helping them and the ideas that get generated.”

Swine-breeding arts impresario

Barefoot was born at the old Mary Elizabeth Hospital in Raleigh and raised in Johnston County on his family’s farm. His father grew tobacco and corn, raised pigs, and also worked for the county’s Soil Conservation Service. His mother was a homemaker. As a child, he took piano lessons, a pursuit he says led to his lifelong passion for the arts.

He learned from his parents “to treat people fairly, to work hard, to be a part of a community, to be a good neighbor, whether the person lived next door or not,” Barefoot says.

While he was the state 4-H swine champion at age 12 or 13 — his father helped him raise a pig and taught him how to keep records on her litter of 16 piglets — he knew early on that he “wanted to be anything but a farmer” and was “inclined to either music or journalism.”

Barefoot majored in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, then spent three years as a U.S Peace Corps volunteer in East Africa. He has devoted most of his career to performing arts production, presenting and administration.

After serving as director of public relations for The Experiment in International Living in Putney and Brattleboro, Vt., and as director of marketing for A Southern Season in Chapel Hill, he was owner and operator of Stephen’s After All, a Chapel Hill club where he first met Connie and Monte Moses.

He then served as managing director of the Carolina Theatre for three years and as executive director of Brightleaf Music Workshop at Duke for six years before founding goingbarefoot in 1994. The firm provided arts project management services and customized entertainment planning, design and production for commemorative events.

Barefoot, who has lived in Durham since 1978, partially retired this summer but his agency still represents a handful of national touring performing artists.

What inspires him is the “interaction between artists and audiences, seeing how the arts enable an individual to respond to his inner soul,” he says. “It frees one to follow his passions.”

Genesis of a restoration

When the Washington Duke Hotel, which opened in downtown Durham 50 years earlier, was imploded on December 14, 1975, Connie Moses was watching and vowed publicly “that would not happen to the Carolina Theater in her lifetime,” Fluke says.

Barefoot says the Carolina once was among roughly 12 “legitimate theaters” downtown, but all but the Carolina had disappeared or been torn down.

“The Carolina was the last one standing when the Moseses came to town,” he says, “and it was really their passion to keep that building from being demolished.”

Monte Moses formed a nonprofit, Carolina Cinema Corp., and persuaded city officials to lease the theater to the nonprofit, which would manage it while plans were made to restore the building.

Fluke says she learned how to be a volunteer from Connie Moses at the community theater in Brookhaven, N.Y, and then spent countless hours volunteering on the restoration of the Carolina Theatre, where Connie Moses, a milliner, oversaw a crew of over 200 volunteers who restored the building’s ballroom.

Thriving in Durham

Fluke and Barefoot have seen Durham revive and flourish since they moved to the city — Fluke in the 1950s, and Barefoot in the 1970s.

“I used to be able to drive downtown at 5 o’clock if I had an appointment or class,” says Fluke, who has lived for 50 years in the same house she and her husband built in Duke Forest right after it opened and was “just a wood.”

Now, she says, “it’s almost impossible because there are so many places. People are driving downtown to eat and be entertained.”

As a potter who loves the arts, she says, she enjoys Durham’s thriving arts community, where she can visit groups like Manbites Dog Theater or a diverse mix of shops, restaurants and food trucks on Foster Street.

In November, she was one of 18 local potters featured on a tour of studios.

“It’s a wonderful energetic community with many different facets,” she says of the Triangle and Durham.

Barefoot says he also enjoys the region’s cultural mix.

“The Triangle is just a fabulously rich community in which to live due to the diversity of communities and opportunities, Durham especially,” he says.

When he was managing director of the Carolina Theater 30 years ago, he says, only one person — Tim Walker, known as “the leather worker” — was officially a resident of downtown. Now downtown housing is an important engine in the area’s economic and cultural boom, he says.

Legacy for the arts

In the 1980s, Barefoot served on a volunteer committee that reviewed funding requests from arts groups to Triangle Community Foundation. So when he and Fluke were looking for a way to create a fund to honor the legacy of Connie and Monte Moses, they created a donor advised fund at the Foundation.

To seed the new fund, Barefoot and Fluke assembled a “Circle of Friends,” a group of nearly 200 people who made contributions. The fund also received money remaining in a memorial fund from the defunct Carolina Cinema Corp. that had been established after the death of one of its managers.

The Connie and Monte Moses Fund was created to support local projects in the performing and literary arts, cinema and filmmaking, and historic preservation, Fluke says.

“The Carolina Theatre being there has made all those interesting presentations come alive in this community,” she says.

Barefoot agrees.

“That’s what Connie and Monte worked for,” he says. “They would be so excited to see that building.”

Bigger share of wealthy donors give; average gift grows

The share of wealthy households in the U.S. that give to charity grew to 98.4 percent in 2013, up 3.4 percentage points from 2011, and the average amount they give grew to $53,519, up 28 percent, a new study says.

Fifty percent of wealthy donors plan to give as much through 2018, while 35 percent plan to give more, says the 2014 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Donors.

The study, based on a nationwide sample of 632 U.S. households with a net worth of $1 million or more, excluding the value of their home, or with annual household income of $200,000 or more, or both, recorded the highest rate of participation in charitable giving by high net worth households since the study began in 2006.

That rate of giving compares with 65 percent of the overall population in the U.S. who give to charity.

Still, average giving as a share of household income fell 1 percentage point as growth in income levels slightly outpaced growth in giving levels,  says the study, produced through an ongoing partnership with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Volunteering and giving

Seventy-five percent of survey participants volunteer with at least one nonprofit, and 59 percent of those who volunteered in 2013 contributed over 100 hours, while 34 percent contributed over 200 hours.

Wealthy donors who volunteered in 2013 gave $76,572 on average, compared to $44,137 donated by wealthy donors who did not volunteer and up from $62,302 in 2009.

Giving to education

Eighty-five percent of wealthy donors gave to education in 2013, with 73 percent giving to higher education and 60 percent giving to education from kindergarten through high school.

Education was the charitable subsector that received support from the biggest share of wealthy households, and also received the largest share of dollars, 27 percent, among all charitable sectors and more than giving to religious, environmental, arts, basic needs, and international causes combined.

The biggest share of wealthy households, 34 percent and 27 percent, made their biggest gifts to religious organizations and educational causes, respectively, with 19 percent making their biggest gifts to higher education, and 8 percent making their biggest gifts to K-12 education

Donors motivation, expectations

Seventy-four percent of wealthy household say believing their gift can make a difference was the top reason they gave, while personal satisfaction was cited by 73 percent; supporting the same causes annually by 66 percent; giving back to the community by 63 percent; and serving on a nonprofit’s board or volunteering for a nonprofit by 62 percent.

Only 34 percent of donors cited tax advantages among the main reasons they give.

Eighty-one percent of wealthy donors expect nonprofits they support to spend an “appropriate” amount of their donation on general administration and fundraising, while 80 percent expect them to demonstrate “sound” business and operational practices, 78 percent expect them to honor their request for privacy and anonymity, and 74 percent expect hem not to distribute their name to others.

Among wealthy donors who stopped giving to a specific charity they previously supported, 42 percent attributed their decision to having receiving solicitations too frequently or because the nonprofit asked for an “inappropriate” amount; 35 percent said they personally changed the focus of their philanthropy; 18 percent said the organization was not effective; and 16 percent said the nonprofit they supported had changed leadership or activities.

Strategic giving

Seventy-three percent of wealthy donors say they have a specific strategy in place to guide the charitable giving, and 93 percent say they give to a targeted set of organizations based on geography or a specific cause or issue.

Fifty-seven percent say they used a giving vehicle — such as private foundations, donor advised funds and charitable trusts — or plan to establish one to achieve their charitable goals.

Giving vehicles received 28 percent of charitable dollars in 2013, compared to giving directly to charitable subsectors such as the arts or environment, up from 23 percent in 2011.

Sixteen percent of wealthy donors gave to a donor advised fund in 2013, eight percent to a private foundation and four percent to a charitable trust.

Thirty-one percent of households with net worth of less than $1 million are likely to have or to plan to use a giving vehicle, compared to 51 percent of households with net worth between $1 million and $5 million, and 69 percent of households with net worth of $5 million or greater.

Eighty-four percent of wealthy donors are aware of innovative giving strategies such as socially responsible investing, social impact bonds or mission-related invested, but only 13 percent currently use those strategies.

Expertise and giving

Fourteen percent of wealthy donors rated themselves as “expert” in charitable giving and gave $150,299 on average in  2013, while 72 percent rated themselves as “knowledgeable” and gave $64,599 on average, and 14 percent rated themselves as “novice” and gave $19,013 on average.

Fifty-three percent of wealthy donors monitor or evaluate the impact of their giving.

Family giving

Sixty-one percent of wealthy donors  who are married or living with a partners make decisions about their giving jointly with their spouse or partner.

And forty-one percent of wealthy families have giving traditions such as volunteering as a family and giving to charity during the holidays.

Among the 75 percent of wealthy donors who volunteer, 68 percent are likely to volunteer with family and 68 percent are likely to volunteer with friends, compared to 25 percent who are likely to volunteer through a workplace campaign and 49 percent who are likely to volunteer through some other organized group.

Social issues and confidence

Education is the top policy issue for 56 percent of wealthy donors, compared to poverty, which is the top issue among 35 percent of wealthy donors; health care, 34 percent; and the environment, 28 percent.

Thirty-two percent of wealthy donors say they would increase their charitable contributions if government decreased funding for an organization their household supports.

Ninety-two percent of wealthy donors say hey have the most confidence in nonprofits to resolve domestic and global issues, compared to 91 percent who have the most confidence in individuals, 73 percent in religious institutions, 61 percent in state or local government, 58 percent in large corporations, 54 percent in the federal government, and 25 percent in Congress.

Todd Cohen

Over half of charities see growth in giving

Fifty-two percent of charities in the U.S. and Canada saw an increase in donations in the first six months of 2014, compared to the same period a year earlier, when over half of charities saw an increase, a new survey says.

The share of charities that posted higher charitable receipts in the first half of 2014 and the first half of 2013 is up from 46 percent that saw increases in the first half of 2012, says the survey by the Nonprofit  Research Collaborative.

Fifty-eight percent of education and arts charities reported increases in funds received, compared to 48 percent of health charities and 49 percent of human services charities, says the survey, which was based on 1,180 responses, including 76 from Canadian charities.

Seventy-five percent of charities surveyed continue to use diversified fundraising strategies, including board giving, major gifts, direct mail, email, foundation proposals and three other methods.

Among education organizations, for example, 58 percent reported growth in major gifts received, compared to 45 percent of all organizations reporting an increase in major gifts.

The share of organizations reporting  growth in funds fell slightly in every subsector, every size group and every region of the country, with bigger declines in human services, in very large organizations and in the South, compared with the same period in 2013.

In the South, 48 percent of organizations raised more in the first six months of 2014, compared to 59 percent in the same period in 2013.

Among organizations with annual budgets of at least $10 million, 47 percent reported growth in charitable receipts, compared to 57 percent in the period last year.

Among human services organizations, 48 percent saw growth in charitable receipts, compared to 52 percent among all organizations.

Among organizations that receive at least half but less than all their philanthropic revenue from the areas they serve, 58 percent reported growth in funds received, compared to 45 percent of organizations that receive less than half of their funds from their service area.

Seventy percent of organizations say they are on track to meet fundraising goals for the fiscal year ending or ended in 2014, down from 77 percent that reported after the first six months of 2013 that they were on track to meet their goals.

The key factor survey participants attributed to fundraising success was organizational capacity for fundraising, including staff availability, board commitment, and realistic goals with a plan for reaching them.

— Todd Cohen