Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Butcher, baker, candlestick maker

From the time we start learning right from left (though I've never managed that), we start seeing the world in categories. Some groupings are not useful, but some are -- and the findings released last fall by GuideStar and Hope Consulting in their Money for Good II  report are definitely on the useful side.

The survey analysis revealed six groups of donor motivations, from "Repayer" to "High Impact."  

Donor motivations might even shift depending on the gift amount, who asks, and the nature of the recipient organization.  As a tiny example, my most recent gift (a small pledge to Girls Inc of Indianapolis as part of a "virtual" event this weekend) overlaps three of the groups above: Personal ties probably trumps all of them, but See the Difference is in there, as is Repayer.  

How can fundraisers act when motivations are complex?  Well, tough though it might be to swallow, we need to keep information (data) about our constituents, so we can track HOW they are connected, WHEN they give or volunteer (timing and in response to which request(s)), and WHAT they say about us. 

Sometimes, we even have to ask them why they support us and then remember and record the answer.  

However, as with anything, there is a potential downside. The cautionary tale in this past Sunday's New York Times Magazine about a major retailer and its use of data for marketing is important. 

When we have data, we must be responsible about how we use it.  Fundraisers must always "put philanthropic mission above personal gain." (AFP Code of Ethical Principles and Standards).

For me, the guiding question is: Does the information we keep about donors or prospective donors help us help those individuals connect more happily with the work our organization does?  If it isn't something the donor would be happy about, don't keep it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The isty-bitsy spider went up the spout again.

Welcome back! Took a break after a welcome "rain" last fall of lots of work. Still have lots of work but am convinced by my good friend Kirsten Bullock that blogging again is worth the time. Thanks, Kirsten!

Some changes coming for 2012. I will write less about our family's giving, as our two oldest children head off to college so the "family" at home gets smaller. I will write more about my take on writings and research about giving. So, toward that new goal, here is the beginning of a review published last week by The Foundation Center. My take is a little different than many others....what do you think? Read the rest of the review and comment on it by following the link at the end of this excerpt.

From Off the Shelf, February 7, 2012
The Foundation Center

Giving 2.0: Transform Your Giving and Our World
Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen (Hoboken, NJ : Jossey-Bass, 2011)

By coincidence, the day I started reading Giving 2.0: Transform Your Giving and Our World, I also attended a presentation by Dr. Jen Shang, who argued that, for women at least, the charitable act brings the giver closer to her "ideal, moral self." Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen's book is a vivid illustration of that precept. Arrillaga-Andreessen wants you to give and volunteer, in part, to improve your sense of personal fulfillment and (perhaps) your standing in the cosmos. There's a lot going on in Giving 2.0. Arrillaga-Andreessen covers the gamut of ways to give, from volunteering, to "checkbook giving," to family foundations and donor-advised funds, to venture philanthropy. Each chapter combines stories from donors (including those who volunteer time and talent), insights from the author, and questions to ask as you begin to explore that type of giving.

But the book suffers from the very problem it tries to address: there are so many ideas packed between its covers that it's hard to assimilate all of them.

To continue

Thanks for reading!