Fundraising Talks
News and updates from the USM Office of Advancement Research
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Looking for funding opportunities? We've identified a few funds that might be useful to you. Visit the links below to learn more about the requirements and deadlines for these opportunities. 
December 8
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 Sapna Varghese

Director of Advancement Research 



Raechel Winder
Office Clerk

Letter from the Director

Dear Colleagues,
While searching for topics to include in the November edition of Fundraising Talks, I saw a number of articles on identifying major gift prospects. For many of us, this is not a new skill. However basic this skill may seem, sometimes identifying major gift prospects can feel as complicated as rocket science. In this letter, I'd like to return to basics and highlight an article by  Capital Campaign Master's blog titled,  "ID Your Top Campaign Gift: 5 Places to Look" . This article provides great information on where to look for major gift donors--a valuable reminder as many of us head into an upcoming campaign. 
Your donor and alumni database is the first place you should look to identify major prospects: current and consistent donors are most likely to become major donors. Take the recent $219 million gift from the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation to the University of Maryland, College Park as an example: Jim Clark was a long-time donor to UMCP and his foundation continued giving after his death. In the same vein, donors who have donated to other nonprofits are more likely to be a donor at your institution. You can find lists of donors who have already given to other nonprofits by looking through those nonprofits' annual reports, websites, or other publications. You may also find major gift donors in your geographic location or local community, through current or past volunteers or leadership members at your institution, and through the new generation of philanthropic leaders in your community. 
We hope you can use the information provided in this newsletter to quickly identify some of your major donors, and remember that sometimes, our best prospects are our current donors.  As always, please feel free to reach out to us with questions, comments or any assistance with prospect research!
Best Regards,
Sapna and USM Advancement Research Team

Determining an appropriate ask amount can be a daunting task. GuideStar suggests there are two elements which define the limits of the perfect ask amount. First, you must know what your organization needs. Next, you must consider what the donor wants to accomplish. After you find this sweet spot, it's important to calculate your ask amount down to the dollar. This blog from GuideStar shows the math necessary to accomplish this, as well as other helpful tips to determine a good ask amount.

This article  by NonProfit Quarterly addresses several concerns that have been raised about donor-advised funds and other philanthropic intermediaries and explores how the growth of donor-advised funds affects the flow of money to nonprofits. Donor-advised funds are becoming more common in philanthropy. Between 2014-2015, the number of donor-advised funds and the dollar value of donor-advised funds grew faster than private foundations. This article addresses whether or not donor-advised funds are new money, reallocation, or something else; why donor-advised funds are so popular; and if donor-advised fund are enabling donors to park their money, among other issues.
The results of a new study by Fidelity Charitable called Geography of Giving gives fundraising professionals some valuable insight on where donors prefer to donate throughout the United States. In the Bay Area, LA, and the western US, donors prefer to give to the arts and environmental and animal welfare. In Boston and the Northeast, donors give mainly to education and healthcare. In Chicago and the Midwest, religious organizations, food banks, and homeless shelters have a stronghold. In Washington DC, giving to international affairs and arts and culture is popular. 

Surveys can be an efficient, cost-effective way to learn about your institution's donors. While surveys will never replace gift officers and face-to-face conversation, they can lend greater understanding when done correctly. This article from GG+A gives helpful tips on what not to do, best approaches, and followup when it comes to creating and distributing surveys to donors. 
Technology and a new generation of wealth is changing philanthropy. At a recent Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society Philanthropy Innovation Summit, industry leaders revealed how they're using new technology, inventing new financial models to better leverage capital, and focusing on getting proven results to maximize impact. At one time considered charity, philanthropy has been redefined as experimentation capital for the public sector. This article by the Sanford Social Innovation Review describes the changing landscape of philanthropy, thanks to new technology and new wealth.