As promised, here is installment #3 from PSI, catching you up on a few select items about our work and clients, and also updating you on some interesting happenings in the world of philanthropy and fundraising.
The annual tradition of a President’s Dinner is coming soon, on the evening of October 29. This year’s featured speaker will be the Dean of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Dr. Amir Pasic. Our theme is one that concerns all of us who do fundraising—the better the organizational context, the better success we have with fundraising. We will also feature a short video of leading professionals speaking about this topic and how they have addressed it. Watch for it on this website after the dinner. Please urge your Conference and Union presidents to come, along with other leaders with whom you interact.
Coming soon—a survey about how you wish to receive PSI news! Please fill it out when you receive it so we know how best to serve you!
Remember the Bible text you probably memorized as a child, or at some point in your life you learned this key text… “It’s more blessed to give than to receive!” Well, we give credence to this thought because we believe in the Bible, but now we also have secular research backing this up!! If interested, write me at email@example.com and I’ll send you some references you can use.
Academies continue to grow in fundraising and make headway—yes, I’m repeating this sentence from last time, but it’s worth repeating!! Please remember and also share this information that PSI has many resources that can help, including a new planning form, as well as our handbook, Successful Fundraising, and countless other materials. We also come on-site to help you! Share and spread the news that we are ready and able to help academies move ahead!
Here is a sobering bit of news– CHRONICLE OF PHILANTHROPY DAILY UPDATE
OCTOBER 03, 2017 Fewer Americans Find Room in Their Budgets for Charity, Chronicle Data Show. If you don’t receive the Chronicle, ask us for info about this piece.
Featuring one of PSI’s consultants this month—our special consultants help meet the many and growing requests for PSI’s help, and we’re fortunate to have them on our team for special gigs and assistance.
Dr. Dennis Carlson is a fundraising and leadership consultant for non-profits, focusing largely on Seventh-day Adventist entities such as local churches. His experience in philanthropy includes four years as Vice President for Advancement at Walla Walla University and various fundraising initiatives within the church context during his years as a pastor and church leader. He served as Vice President for Administration in both the Washington and Upper Columbia Conferences and as President of the Minnesota Conference and the Mid-American Union Conference. He was chair of the board of Philanthropic Services for Institutions (PSI) during his time as Assistant to the President for Administration at the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. He also served on the Advisory Committee for PSI. He earned a B.A. in Theology from Columbia Union College (Now Washington Adventist University) and a Master of Divinity degree from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University. He earned a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Northwest Theological Union.
Until next time!
Beginning this month, PSI staff and I will use this column for a biweekly update of:
- news in our fundraising, philanthropy and nonprofit professions,
- updates of exciting events at PSI,
- special information about clients, and
- miscellaneous interesting “stuff” in our world.
There is a new editor at the AFP Advancing Philanthropy journal and she is really putting the emphasis on productive and ethical practice. A recent article discussed how to develop or improve a culture for philanthropy in your organizations. If you’re not a member, write me and I’ll send you a link or a scanned copy.
Academies are doing it! In spite of some negative news that circulates in the field, there are stellar academies who are doing fundraising successfully. Some have been doing it for some time, some are new, some have used PSI’s assistance, others have moved ahead on their own. A select group came together in April to share their strategies and to discuss what’s going on as well as the possibilities. There are already some results of this highly productive meeting already. Write me for a copy of the fundraising implementing and tracking form, designed especially for academies but adaptable to most organizations. Those who met at PSI were:
Shenandoah Valley Academy
Shenandoah Valley Academy
Director of Development & Alumni Relations
Mount Ellis Academy
Loma Linda Academy
Director of Advancement
Loma Linda Academy
Director of Development
Greater Miami Adventist Academy
Greater Miami Adventist Academy
Forest Lake Academy
Forest Lake Academy
Vice President of Education
Potomac Conference of SDA
Superintendent of Education
Arizona Conference of SDA
Social media never ceases to be a topic of interest, high demand, and utility. We were fortunate to host Nathan Hand, a faculty member at The Fund Raising School, who gave an outstanding webinar on the topic. If you weren’t able to attend, or didn’t hear about it for some reason, you can access this on our website. Write Mark Lindemann for assistance: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sometimes we forget what resources are right at our fingertips. You have many such resources available at PSI! Check out the library list of books you can borrow! These have recently been culled and updated due to the NAD move to a new building. We’re also fortunate to be able to subscribe to the leading journals and we save the scan the best items, from how-to to news in our profession. We’re happy to share these with you. If you need any info write me or the general help line at PSI and we will save you some time and effort.
Until next time! Always wishing you well,
Most fundraising professionals and many nonprofit personnel are familiar with the newspaper, Nonprofit Times, which is available as both hard-copy and on-line (www.thenonprofittimes.com). However, they may not be as aware of Exempt: The Financial Magazine for Nonprofits (www.exemptmagazine.com). It is published six times annually by Nonprofit Times.
In the November/December issue of 2016, the lead article discussed “Five Things That are Making Regulators Buzz.” Written by Tracy L. Boak and Karen I. Wu, the article acknowledges that legal issues and compliance regulations are perpetual operations concerns, but they consider five to be of greatest interest to regulators, and therefore perhaps present the greatest challenges to nonprofit leadership.
First is the failure of boards to properly implement governance and compliance regulations, such as matters of conflicts of interest. Second is inadequate scrutiny of fundraising and overhead costs, such as high costs of hiring a fundraising professional and misrepresentation of how much is actually spent on the program versus the costs to bring in the donated funds. Third is the matter of restricted funds and donor expectations. Fourth are the complex issues of the use of technology in fundraising; these raise many questions, from legal matters to use of donor data that is collected. Finally are the considerations of social impact efforts, such as income-producing ventures rather than donations. This, perhaps, is the one that will bear consideration for some time to come, due to the vast changes that occur in this arena.
Understanding the viewpoint of what is significant in terms of regulations of nonprofits isn’t necessarily an easy matter but is vital for ethical and credible organizations that are accountable to their donors and the public. Exempt makes that challenging task easier for the busy nonprofit and fundraising professional.
One of the influential and significant organizations in our field is the Urban Institute, which houses the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy. Based in Washington, DC (see www.urban.org), the Center, long led by Dr. Elizabeth Boris and currently by Sarah Rosen Wartell, published in late 2016 a most significant report—State Regulation and Enforcement in the Charitable Sector. PSI sometimes fields questions about regulations, which can be challenging to track and at times understand, so this document is of great value in ensuring NAD organizations are in compliance.
The study is the first systematic analysis of state-level oversight and regulation of charities in the U.S. and was done in collaboration with Columbia Law School and consists of three components. The first is a legal analysis of laws in the 56 U.S. jurisdictions. The second is a survey of the state and territory offices charged with oversight, regulatory and enforcement authority. Interviews with about two-thirds of the officials at these organizations comprise the third section.
A few highlights of the report, which is available on-line, are the following:
- No single state law regarding charities exists; the laws are complex and cover many areas.
- Organization and staffing of the offices also varies.
- Most registration oversight is with the state attorneys’ general offices, followed by secretary of state offices, as well as other entities listed in the report.
- Uniformity is encouraged among states.
- Fundraising abuses, trust enforcement, and governance are the three most common areas of activities.
While the report is complex and cerebral, the astute fundraising professional would benefit from a perusal to at least develop an acquaintance of the basic information it presents, and to have this resource on hand for referral.
In the library
Nonprofit Excellence in Fundraising
Built upon the success of the best-selling “Nonprofit Management 101,” this easy to digest book provides practical, comprehensive guidance for nonprofit fundraising around the globe. With tips and tools, expert advice, and real-world insights from almost fifty industry leaders, this robust resource addresses the entire spectrum of fundraising for nonprofits, including: Planning, hiring, and tracking progress Individual donors, major gifts, events, and direct mail Board and volunteer engagement Foundation and government grants Corporate partnerships Online and email fundraising.
Advice from the Expert
The Art of Biting Your Tongue*
No matter how much equanimity one might have, there are times in a fundraiser’s life when emotions and feelings tend to take over rational thought and action. Whether this tide of mixed thoughts and reactions is justified or not, our emotions sometimes take over.
My friend, a respected consultant, told me the following of a time when she felt emotions take over. “During my tenure as Associate Vice President for University Advancement, I worked for a vice president who lived over 50 miles from the university where we were employed. He served for four years in this position and during the last year began to spend more and more time away from his role as VP. I was asked to attend many meetings, including administrative planning sessions, and to represent the department for numerous functions while still carrying my regular workload. I remember dealing with emotions that bordered on frustration, anger, disappointment, and fatigue due to this additional work load.
“In particular I remember one experience that came near the end of this VP’s tenure. I received a request from him to respond to a letter that was directed to him but was very complex, needed some research and some finesse in responding and would go out under his signature. I felt absolutely overwhelmed at that time so I sent the letter back to him requesting that due to my heavy workload, would he please respond. He sent the letter back with a note that he would not be able to do that and wanted me to prepare the letter.”
At this point, of course, those of us professionals have several reactions. Does a boss have the right to ask an employee to do anything and everything? What recourse does an employee have when the request is unjust? How do we, when a request does seem to be unreasonable and well outside of professional leadership behaviors, react so that we don’t lose control of ourselves and the situation? Here’s how my friend handled her dilemma.
“My first response was anger, frustration and feeling how unfair this situation was. I had asked for relief and been refused. I chose to not make an issue of this and sought for inner strength to carry out the task without complaining to other staff members because this would confirm their already biased views against our VP. I did choose to share my frustration with someone outside of our department and she allowed me to vent while encouraging and supporting me. After that, I was able to focus on the letter and realized it did not take me as long to complete as I had originally anticipated. The problem the letter represented was the cumulative effect of all that I had been experiencing.”
I personally offer kudos to my friend for mature, professional actions and reactions. She shared suggestions that allowed her to handle her situation in the best ways possible. She said, “By following the three steps of 1) focusing on the task at hand, 2) not burdening others in my department and 3) discussing the situation with someone outside of my department, my initial emotional reaction was dissipated. I also discovered that I had the experience and inner resources to set aside my emotions and accomplished the task in record time. I chose to complete the project without allowing my emotions to totally consume me. Shortly after that, while representing my area at an all-day planning meeting, other vice presidents expressed appreciation and understanding for my situation and affirmed my contributions.”
As I stated earlier, we react differently to those irritations and irrationalities of our fundraising experiences, depending on our personal orientation, personality type, and level of experience as well as emotional maturity. A few suggestions might help us take this to the next level.
- Take a deep breath and try to analyze the situation carefully.
- Allow yourself the deepest, darkest feelings but bite your tongue.
- Find a respected, trusted individual to whom you can vent, but avoid selecting a colleague who won’t have an unbiased view and therefore will either become too involved or may expose your reaction before you’re ready to act.
- Take time, even if it’s only a half hour, to think about this. If you are a “feeling” person, make yourself think as rationally as possible. Remember, your reactions may have an effect on your job as well as your career.
- Perhaps write down what you would LIKE to say, then delete the file permanently.
- Finally, select your best choice in terms of actions and reactions and know why you are selecting this particular course of action.
Of course, sometimes it’s necessary to vent, but choose carefully to whom you unleash your words! And don’t forget, there are times it’s best to bite your tongue, no matter how much it hurts.
*Due to the sensitive nature of this column, the author prefers to remain anonymous.
Career information for fundraising professionals and practitioners
Last month we met George and his dilemma at Global Works, where his colleagues were happily entrenched in a world…