Friday, April 8, 2011

posted by Pat Lewis,
Senior Professional
in Residence
ASU Lodestar Center

Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing weekly series, each Friday we invite a nonprofit expert from our academic faculty to highlight a research report or study and discuss how it can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice. We welcome your comments and feedback.

Recent research indicates some of the many myths about women as donors are "busted." Perhaps you have heard some of them:

  • Women don't give large gifts.
  • Women prefer to remain anonymous.
  • Women's giving is emotional rather than business-focused.

The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University recently distributed the results of a 2010 study, and all of the above were proven false. Let's take a closer look at the findings.

The report cites recent single gifts from women in excess of $25 million. Additionally, the report cites the participation of 100 women in a specific 2008-09 campaign, which generated $141 million with a minimum gift of $1 million. Women are named, directly or as part of a couple, in two-thirds of the gifts on the Center's Million Dollar List.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

posted by
Kayla L. McKinney
,
Project Specialist
ASU Lodestar Center

So, I'll admit it. I have a rough time donating to nonprofits. At this point in my life, I only give money to one nonprofit organization, and I do that through automatic monthly payments, with little thought at all to the whole process. I always have excuses -- I'm too busy! I'm a grad student! I'll get it together and shape up next month!

But what if I did make it a priority? What if I decided that, every single day, I'd devote a little bit of time and a little bit of a care to a different nonprofit organization? Well, that’s just what Carlo Garcia did.

In 2010, Carlo made a commitment - to give to a different charity each day for an entire year. That's 365 charities in 365 days. A native Chicagoan, Carlo cites many reasons for his journey on his blog. He explains, "I thought to myself, it's not important how much you give, as long as you give on a regular basis. So, I decided I am going to dedicate myself to giving every day for a year and documenting my journey, so that others may be able to follow and if they feel inspired, take on their own mission of giving. I also believe that we as youth generations need to become the leaders of a new movement of philanthropy. It is our responsibility to set the standards of giving for future generations."

And he's certainly got the right idea. Carlo's mission made me step back and rethink my own approach. How am I impacting my community, and why am I so gosh darn lazy when it comes to helping out local nonprofits?

Friday, April 1, 2011

postedby
Stephanie La Loggia, M.A.

Manager of Knowledge Resources
ASU Lodestar Center

Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing weekly series, each Friday we invite a nonprofit expert from our academic faculty to highlight a research report or study and discuss how it can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice. We welcome your comments and feedback.

As a charitable donor, I've become so fickle it's almost embarrassing. I like to be informed of what the organization is doing, but I don't want mail solicitations. I don't mind administrative spending, but I bristle at high fundraising costs. And I tell my students that I'll give to any of the worthy causes they pour their hearts into, but they have to ask me in person (not on Facebook)! That's my list, and you probably have yours — I say that because, as the research tells us, charitable giving is driven by a host of individual motivations and preferences.

When we investigate motivations for charitable giving, we aren't only concerned with what motivates a donor to write the first check to a charitable organization, but also what inspires them to become a regular, ongoing donor. An important aspect of this is the opposite question: why do people stop making donations?

In our recent Arizona Giving and Volunteering* research, we asked respondents if they could recall a decision to stop giving to an organization they had previously supported. A fairly high percentage — 30% — said yes. From a list of possible reasons, there was a clear number one answer: lack of connection. 65% said that the reason they stopped supporting the nonprofit was because they no longer felt connected to the organization.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

posted by
Laura E. Tan
,
Public Allies Arizona
Program Manager
ASU Lodestar Center

As I've done every March for the past four years, I participated as a Team Leader in United Way's Alternative Spring Break (ASB) in the metro Washington D.C. area. ASB is a great opportunity for college students who choose to spend their spring breaks volunteering in communities across the country. Since 2006, nearly 2,000 students have participated in ASB, volunteering over 64,000 hours of service.

For part of this year's ASB service, my group got to work at an after-school program for at-risk kids, ages 5-11, to help them with their homework. Our team noticed that many of the older kids struggled with basic reading and math concepts, even though they are at an age when fundamentals should be well established. We were only at Beacon House for four short days, but after working hard with the kids, many of us got attached to our new friends.

One of the participants in my group, Shelina, formed a particularly close bond with an 11-year-old girl who, for privacy reasons, I will call Zee. At the beginning of the week, Zee told Shelina that she wanted to be a hairdresser when she grows up. After observing the girl's clear talent at math and science throughout the week, Shelina encouraged her to think about other careers that would make use of her skills. By the end of the week, inspired by Shelina's support, Zee began to consider the possibilities of being a math teacher or a fashion designer.

On Thursday, as they hugged goodbye, Zee had a particularly hard time letting go of Shelina, both figuratively and literally. As Shelina detangled herself from her, Zee wailed, "Why do you have to leave?"

Friday, March 25, 2011

posted by
Angela Francis
,
Senior Associate
Nonprofit Finance Fund

Welcome to Research Friday! For this week’s post, we welcome Angela Francis from Nonprofit Finance Fund to discuss NFF’s recently released State of the Sector survey findings. We've had a great response thus far to Research Friday, our weekly series on nonprofit research. We welcome your comments, feedback and suggestions!

Nonprofit Finance Fund recently completed its third annual "State of the Nonprofit Sector" survey with the help of nearly 2,000 nonprofit leaders nationwide. Respondents came from large organizations and small, and from all sub-sectors, and include a small sample from Arizona.

Since we started this undertaking in 2009, we've heard each year that demand is on the rise, and that remains the expectation for 2011. To meet this growing demand—which comes on top of each previous year's increases—nonprofit managers continue to be resourceful in their efforts to balance mission, capacity, and capital. From collaboration to cost management, nonprofits are trying to protect their (precious little) infrastructure and enterprise while serving even more people.

This balancing act becomes increasingly difficult when organizations experience upheaval—whether due to a recession, the loss of a funding source, or unexpected expenses. Yet even smaller changes, such as a program expansion, can quickly overwhelm a nonprofit operating on paper-thin margins with no cushion to absorb the risks and expenses associated with growth. In Arizona, 35% of our survey respondents reported having less than 1 month of cash on hand (10% had none), which is fairly consistent with results nationally.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

posted by
Kayla L. McKinney
,
Project Specialist
ASU Lodestar Center

Attending this year's Annual Forum on Nonprofit Effectiveness for the first time, I was really excited to see the communication between grantees and funders. The Forum, which was presented by the ASU Lodestar Center and the Arizona Grantmakers Forum, enabled the two groups to meet on equal grounds and see things from a different perspective. It was also fun for me to meet some other students who attended. They were happy to share stories about all of the great connections they were making, which, for me, showed how valuable the Forum is for a variety of nonprofit professionals.

Friday, March 18, 2011

posted by
Mark Hager, Ph.D.
,

Associate Professor,

ASU School of Community
Resources & Development

Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing weekly series, each Friday we invite a nonprofit expert from our academic faculty to highlight a research report or study and discuss how it can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice. We welcome your comments and feedback.

A couple months ago, the ASU Lodestar Center released its 2010 report on Arizona Giving & Volunteering. The data were collected in the summer of 2009 by asking people to reflect on their volunteering during all of 2008. On one of the pages, amid all the charts on who volunteers and what they do, is a big banner depicting the following result: "33 percent of Arizona adults volunteered in 2008." One in three. The number seems high to some people and low to others. But is it right?

The main point of comparison is information on volunteering from the Current Population Survey (CPS), conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It provides the basis for regular reporting on volunteerism by the Corporation for National and Community Service. For 2008, the CPS put the Arizona volunteering rate at 25 percent. One in four.

That’s a pretty big difference, between 33 and 25. The ASU Morrison Institute presents both numbers and asserts that both survey methods have strengths and weaknesses, likely leaving the true rate somewhere “between these two estimates.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

posted by
Michael Soto,
2nd Year Fellow,
Public Allies Arizona

Arizona Citizens for the Arts Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to serve my country. My mother served her country by joining the Army at the age of 18. She served at Carlisle Barracks and the Pentagon in the Women’s Army Corps during the Vietnam War. As a child I remember sneaking into her bureau to pin her Army medals on my chest and parade around like a soldier.

Her service didn’t end with the Army. She was an example for me throughout my childhood, bringing me along as she volunteered at soup kitchens, with the LDS cannery, and in the Scouts. My desire to emulate my mother through service to my country only increased as I grew older.

When I was a junior in high school, I received a recruitment call from the US Military Academy at West Point. My mother tried to hide her excitement as she handed me the phone, but her eyes lit up. What mother wouldn’t proud for their child to attend West Point?

I wasn’t able to attend West Point, nor serve in the military. I am a transgender man, and for years I thought my gender identity meant I could not serve my country. Then, one lucky day, a friend told me about Public Allies, and I realized that I could serve my country — through AmeriCorps.

Friday, March 11, 2011

posted by Pat Lewis,
Senior Professional
in Residence
ASU Lodestar Center

Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing weekly series, each Friday we invite a nonprofit expert from our academic faculty to highlight a research report or study and discuss how it can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice. We welcome your comments and feedback.

Much like Robert Ashcraft's previous blog post, this is a glass "half full" or "half empty" question – for research provides evidence on both sides. Giving USA began tracking U.S. giving in 1955. Since that time, as a share of total giving, religious giving has decreased from approximately one-half of total giving to just under one-third today. However, in real dollars, religious giving is growing… slowly … by about 2 percent a year over the past 40 years. These data are provided by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University (hereafter referred to simply as "the Center") in Giving USA.

In the Center's publication, Philanthropy Matters, Executive Director Dr. Patrick Rooney tested eight myths about religious giving.[1] Some myths are upheld and some are dispelled.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

posted by
Travis Butterfield,
Project Coordinator
ASU Lodestar Center

As has previously been mentioned, the ASU Lodestar Center recently collaborated with the Arizona Grantmakers Forum to present the 13th Annual Forum on Nonprofit Effectiveness, "Nonprofit Grantees & Funders: Building Strong Relationships - Assuring Community Impact." We feel that the success of this event was directly related to the active participation and shared wisdom of its attendees.

Over the next few weeks we would like to document and share some of the ideas and insights gleaned from our participants and presenters through a series of short video montages. In this way, we hope to preserve some of these important insights and observations, keeping the topic fresh and relevant, as we attempt to implement what was learned into new and innovative paradigms of the funder / grantee relationship.

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