There are a number of reasons why your organization MUST keep its Guidestar profile compelling and fresh. For the nonprofits that have not yet created a Guidestar profile (and I know you are out there), THIS IS YOUR WAKEUP CALL! For those nonprofits that have spent minimal time maintaining their profile on Guidestar, it is time to take it seriously and invest in it.
Here’s one reason why:
If you are like me and stay current on the latest news in philanthropy, you have likely read the many reports on the growth of donor-advised funds, and in particular Fidelity Charitable — both in contributions to its donor advised funds and gifts made from the funds to thousands of charities. In 2013, gifts to donor-advised funds held by Fidelity Charitable grew by 12%, bringing the total to $3.7 billion in giving for the year. Assets held by Fidelity Charitable in 2013 totalled $54 billion. More amazing is that in the first nine months of 2014, gifts to these funds grew by a whopping 57%, with almost $2 billion given to charities so far this year. And the year-end giving season is about to begin!
What does this mean for my nonprofit? What does my organization’s Guidestar profile have to do with this you ask???
How does a super-strong year end sound?
Now, drop everything you’re doing and visit FidelityCharitable.org. You will notice on the homepage links in both the top right and lower left corners to search and research charities. Both of these links lead to Guidestar.org.
Because of the tremendous growth of assets in Fidelity Charitable donor-advised funds due to increasing contributions and a strong economy, owners of these funds will be looking for ways to grow their giving from them. For some this will mean researching new nonprofit organizations to support — particularly those nonprofits that are achieving desired results serving the causes that are near and dear to donors’ hearts.
Is your organization’s Guidestar profile compelling and up-to-date?
Will your year-end appeal contain an ask for donors and prospects to consider making a gift from their donor-advised fund?
Do you have a special way to acknowledge your donors from these funds?
Before Thanksgiving, make it a priority to take advantage of this outstanding opportunity for a strong finish to 2014. Create or update your Guidstar profile, and put your organization’s best foot forward. Right now, I can’t think of a better way to spend your time.FidelityCharitableGiving-Report-2014
The “golden rule” for nonprofit FundAbility is the same as the “Golden Rule” for living, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” To behave any other way is not only shortsighted, but will cost a nonprofit organization potentially hundreds, if not thousands of new donors — some of them having the capacity to make large gifts.
As leaders of nonprofit organizations large and small, we should set high standards for how our employees and volunteers interact with others, and train them to follow these standards. Ask yourself, “How is our receptionist greeting people as they walk through the door?” “How are we treating our vendors, the mail carrier, and restaurant staff?” “How do we treat our own employees — and how do they treat each other?”
With unemployment rates at historic levels, no doubt your nonprofit has seen an increase in the number of job applicants. How are you treating them? If you do not believe that some of these applicants are your donors, sons and daughters of donors, or potential donors — you are wrong!
For an Executive Director, HR representative or hiring manager to ignore job applicants by not following up with a letter, phone call or email to say “thank you” is narrow-minded at best. Most charities that I know of would never think of searching an applicant’s name through their database of donors … but they should! Even if the applicant’s name is not in the donor database, do not count them out as part of your organization’s donor acquisition strategy?
I had served a large international charity for several years and got to know the major gift officers rather well. One of the gift officers had been a major donor to the nonprofit before selling his business and working for the charity full-time. He continued making large gifts to the organization while in its employ.
Message to nonprofit leaders: “Never underestimate the value of job applicants and others to the future of your organization.”
Welcome to my website, “FundAbilityRules.com”
FundAbilityRules is devoted to holistic approaches to nonprofit advancement. Believing that every action and activity of a nonprofit will have either a positive or negative impact on the organization’s ability to raise money, I created this blog/website to help employees, Board members and volunteers take a more critical and introspective look at their entire nonprofit operation.
You are welcome to participate, so that together we can discover root causes for our organizations’ revenue problems, as well as find new pathways to success.
Kevin D. Feldman