Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Exciting Change On The Way

Please note that the Getting Giving Blog will be moving within the next few days to a new web host. This includes a new design and some other goodies. What does this mean for YOU? Well, hopefully nothing BUT just in case. . .

I will change all the RSS and email subscription feeds at the same time, probably over the weekend. I'm no web programmer, but from what I have read and tested, this can be done without you even noticing it. BUT if you get a strange double-feed for a day or two I hope you'll excuse it as I work out the transition. It'll be back to normal as quickly as I can get the hostnames and feeds to resolve themselves and all the other thing-a-ma-boppers do what they do.

Until then, remember there's only 23 days left in 2010, so get back to work processing the piles of gifts arriving at your organization!! Thank you again for your understanding!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gifts of Real Estate - Even In Today's Market

Today's guest post is written by John Wilhite, a specialist in working with gifts of real estate, land and personal property. This is the first of a short series over the coming months. I can barely handle the simple process of refinancing my home, so if you have any specific questions about this topic I recommend contacting John directly at - he'd be happy to reply.


When somebody mentions real estate as a significant giving opportunity for a nonprofit, your first reaction might be to say “You have to be kidding! The only comments I hear about the real estate market are bad!”

And you’d be wrong.

There remains significant potential for real estate & land gifts in the United States today.

  • American home ownership represents value in excess of $21 trillion, with nearly $10 trillion in equity for homeowners.
  • US individual tax returns for 2007 (the most recent year available) show charitable contributions of real estate & land of almost $6.0 billion.

Yes, real estate values have gone down, but not to zero. If your organization isn't talking to donors about gifts of real estate & land you are missing a valuable opportunity on many levels.

  • Real estate & land can add an additional vehicle for a donor to make a gift. Many fundraisers only discuss gifts of cash & stocks.
  • Speaking with a donor about this topic shows the donor your organization’s willingness to find ways to receive non-typical gifts.
  • Potential donors may learn of many additional ways to support an important organization with a gift larger than they might think possible. Everyone wins in that situation.
  • Discussions between the fundraiser and the donor often lead to information regarding the donor’s other assets. This helps the organization understand what the donor is trying to accomplish with the gift and may lead to future sizable contributions.

Gifts of real estate are more complicated than many other transactions, so check with the person in your organization who handles these gifts and learn more about how you can enable your donors and prospects to make a difference with a gift they may not have considered in the past. You might be surprised by how many options there are!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Is it Just Me?

Is it just me, or does the new Apple MacBook Air commercial remind you of the original Girl Effect music of 2008? I know there are only so many generic piano background music options, but every time I see the commercial I can't help but think somebody in an ad agency had TGE music in their head during the creative process.

Visually, they have nothing in common. But listen to both and tell me they aren't cut from the same cloth! No complaints here, just pointing out something that has been bugging me for a few weeks!

Apple MacBook Air Commercial

The original Girl Effect video

Just some food for thought. . .

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Giving, Not Taking

I didn't write today's post. Mark Rountree sent it in as a guest-blogger because he felt so much passion about the topic. I wish I could claim it because it's fabulous, I agree with every word, and it even has a Halloween theme! What more could you want?!?
It’s Halloween season and I’m awash in nostalgic memories of long-ago evening tours of my hometown neighborhoods, costumed by my mom, pillowcase in hand and eager to capture the coveted candy bars (what, hard candy? Ugh). Hey, I wasn’t a perfect 9 year old, but I did know that ours was a small town back then, and I had better say Please and Thank You or my parents would hear about it.

If you’re like me, all these years later, I sit with my bowl of candy and wonder if any of today’s 9 year olds will approach the door with even a semblance of courtesy. And while we’re at it, I don’t see good old-fashioned civility in a good many 19 year olds either. Not to get all Andy Rooney on you, but what’s with the social skills of kids who are The Social Networkers, and who in the heck thought ear-buds were a good invention? How in the heck are they going to hear me telling them to say Please and Thank You? It seems that many members of the youngest generation have permanently plugged into iPods, iPads & X-boxes, and lost their ability to relate sociably with living, animate objects. Like parents or professors.

That’s why I was taken with a recent article in the New York Times that talked about an unfortunate, ugly turn in the evolution of university fundraising: College seniors who bully their peers with near-extortion in order to reach too-ambitious class-gift goals. Apparently it’s getting ugly out there, with a few campuses caught with student-generated “dishonor” rolls that, rather than applauding donors, are instead “outing” the non-givers to class campaigns. Fundraising consultant Robert Sharpe worries that “when asking becomes demanding, then giving becomes taking.” Here’s the link:

Students Feel Pressure To Donate - The New York Times

I’ve been involved with countless college annual fund campaigns—with my own alma mater, my past employers and my clients. In the last few years, I’ve witnessed an ominous escalation of dubious tactics to drive alumni giving rates, thanks in large part to the (thinly justified, undocumented) college “rankings” that have hypnotized college administrators (you can read recent rants about this in Getting Giving). It’s certainly true that young alumni giving rates can be boosted by urging pre-alumni (aka “seniors”) to give before they graduate. But annual fund staff are increasingly under the gun with declining revenues and and unsatisfactory US News rankings, so they understandably feel pressed to push student leaders to recruit their classmates for pledges. It’s time that the adults took charge of this situation.

What’s got lost in all this commotion is the underlying responsibility to first and foremost create a culture of philanthropy among students. Every generation—but especially this generation--needs our help in learning how to listen, how to empathize, and how to act charitably toward each other and toward their world. No one who is bullied into a $20 gift has learned anything about charity. One of my favorite ‘thinkers’ in this area is Katherine Fulton, who noted in her last TED Talk that the primary Webster’s definition of ‘philanthropy’ ( “goodwill to fellowmen; active effort to promote human welfare...”) says nothing about money.

This Halloween, I’m thinking hard about how, in college fundraising at least, we can use fewer tricks in order to treat our students to some real lessons in giving, not taking.

Mark Rountree is Senior Consultant & Partner at
Ashley & Associates, frequent reader of the Getting Giving Blog and an all-around good guy.

By the way, here’s a clip from Fulton’s TED Talk:


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nut Cases!!??!?!

OK, I'm not off the DCCC mailing list yet and THANK GOODNESS! I would have missed this amazing e-solicitation from James Carville!

Kudos to the person who writes this stuff. I rarely am both disgusted with and in love with the same person at the same time, and that's how I feel about the copywriter of this one! And, if you can get beyond the political stuff and look closely, there's quite a bit to be learned about the fine art of solicitation in this one. It pretty much covers every base.

(NOTE: Click the letter below to see it a bit bigger and a lot clearer!)

Who knew the Democratic party was in such a pickle? If you can't get them $28,949 by 5:00 PM today, it seems like the power will be shut off at campaign headquarters! Oh, the humanity!! I assume that means the Democrats are out of business and "Sarah Palin's favorite extremists" will take over the country! People will be shooting bears from airplanes in your backyard!!!!!!!!!

I'm not commenting on the politics, really I'm not -- I'm just amazed at the letter itself. Amazed. Frankly, the entertainment value alone might be worth a $5 contribution for me!

I also like the 'tea party nut cases' line. Hysterical.

Democrats, Republicans, Tea Party, as we near election day you're all becoming nut cases!! And I enjoy watching from the sidelines.
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