Stratagems mast
March 2018 
is published monthly by Jim Eskin, External Affairs Counsel, who has more than 30 years of leadership experience in institutional advancement, fundraising, public affairs, and communications. His consulting practice helps people and organizations with philanthropy, advocacy, and image so they can more effectively touch lives and improve the world. He welcomes the opportunity to hear about your funding and institutional advancement needs as a first step in designing a strategy and effective plan toward building a stronger future.
 Contact Jim Eskin at:
10410 Pelican Oak Drive
San Antonio, TX 78254-6727
210-523-8499 (H)
210-415-3748 (C)

Answers: 1=c, 2=d, 3=e, 4=a, 5=b
This year I'm embarking on a journey that combines two dreams: Breaking out on my own and focusing my career on a passion for helping non-profit fundraisers -- both volunteer and professional -- to overcome fear and become comfortable with asking for gifts for their favorite causes.

The journey begins in June as I conclude an enormously satisfying engagement over the past 21 years in higher education advancement, the last nine years with Alamo Colleges Foundation, which nourished my conviction that raising money to help others improve the world is both a noble and enriching endeavor. I witnessed over and over again that philanthropy is a precious enterprise in which everyone involved -- the artful solicitor, grateful recipient, and benevolent donor -- all come out ahead.

Yet this stark reality remains: People who are fearless in virtually everything else they have to face in their lives are terrified at the idea of asking for a gift for a favorite cause. Most of their fears are based on the unknown. I'm convinced that by sharing the art and science of fundraising in plain and simple terms, buttressed by the passion shared for improving the lot of others, people can enjoy success in telling the story of their organizations, nurturing relationships, and asking for and securing gifts.

Don't get me wrong, I don't pretend to have all the answers. At this point, I am really content landing on all the right questions.

I welcome your engagement in my journey. In fact, I simply won't be able to complete the journey without you.
But of this much I'm certain -- I have never started a journey with so much hope, resolve and yearning to reach the destination. Andrea recently shared this uplifting passage from the poet, Patrick Overton that does a beautiful job in setting the tone: "When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly."
  Overhead Conundrum
Most American charitable donors thinks the typical non-profit
Non-profit board meeting
organization spends too much on overhead, administration, and fundraising ("overhead ratio").  The average donor considers 19% spent on overhead to be a reasonable limit, but believes the typical charity spends 28%.  At the same time, donors often have no idea what their favorite charity actually spends on overhead.  And while there are widespread perceptions that charities in general spend too much, nearly half of all donors have a favorite charity that reports an overhead ratio of 20% or higher.

Consumer insights company Grey Matter Research and research panel Opinions4Good have partnered on The Donor Mindset Study, a series of research reports about American charitable donors, the latest segment exploring how donors see charitable overhead ratios, and what they actually know about their favorite organization's spending (as reported on IRS Form 990). Donor-supported organizations often pay a lot of attention to their overhead ratio because they believe donors strongly value this number (and because some charity watchdog organizations have emphasized it).  But the research demonstrates that, in reality, donors pay far less attention to the overhead ratio than is often assumed.
Mission Matters
A charitable organization's purpose is more than words in a pretty brochure. It is the most influential
factor in motivating donors to give. Gallup has found that 81% of donors -- U.S. adults who have donated to a charitable organization in the past 12 months -- say their belief in an organization's mission is a major reason why they donate to a charity. These individuals are also highly more likely to be fully engaged with an organization and are twice as likely to donate more to it in the next 12 months compared with those who say the mission is a minor reason or not a reason to donate. Though a compelling statement of purpose is important for motivating donations, knowing what an organization does and why is only one part of the donor equation. Donors must also believe a charity acts on its purpose. When potential or current donors see a disconnect between what an organization says it does and what it actually does, they are less likely to give to that organization. More than half of donors (57%) also say that wanting to make a difference is a major reason they choose to give money to charity. Donors want to know who or what their donation benefits and how their contribution positively affects someone's life or the world.
Board Training
I just conducted a fundraising workshop for the board and senior staff of San Antonio Education Partnership. They have become a pillar organization in creating a "college-going culture" within
the San Antonio community, and provide more than $2 million in needs-based scholarships and services to more than 30,000 students. We discussed the application of 10 common sense lessons of fundraising, practiced elevator pitches and how to tactfully bring up and talk about the non-profit at cocktail receptions and other social gatherings. Then we moved on to role-playing asks and handling varying responses such as, "Yes, but I will give only half the requested amount," and a flat "No." The pivotal exercise was identifying prospects each board member can introduce to the organization from their personal and professional networks. That doesn't necessarily mean they will be soliciting those prospects for gifts, but they take personal responsibility for breaking the ice and cultivating the prospects. Follow-up work on those prospects will begin right away.
Giving By and For Women
Women's Philanthropy Institute research shows that high-net-worth women who give $1 million
Women moving millions
or larger gifts to causes that benefit women and girls share certain key characteristics:
* They engage in significant education and research before making their gifts;
* They make strategic funding decisions focused on driving systemic change; and
* They are willing to take risks with their philanthropy.
The study involved interviews with 23 high-net-worth women, all but one of whom was a current member of Women Moving Millions, an international philanthropic network of high-net-worth women established in 2007. Each of the participants in the qualitative study had given or pledged at least $1 million to causes for women and girls. As more women accumulate wealth, they are twice as likely as men to leverage their wealth for philanthropy, according to a 2013 U.S. Trust study of high-net-worth women. Research has found that life experiences often guide women's investment in causes for women and girls.
On the Brink
Approximately one-half of U.S. non-profits are operating on a financial precipice. "The Financial
Stacks of Coins
Health of the United States Non-profit Sector: Facts and Observations" by Oliver Wyman, SeaChange Capital Partners, and GuideStar examines the finances of more than 219,000 U.S. non-profits for fiscal years 2010-2014 The analysis was derived from GuideStar's proprietary archive of digitized IRS Form 990 data.
Sobering insights:
* 7% to 8% of non-profits have liabilities greater than assets, making them technically insolvent, and translating roughly into a $40-50 billion funding gap.
* 30% of organizations have negative 3-year net income margins (revenues are less than expenses).
* The majority of organizations have limited reserves to buffer against stress scenarios or invest for the future. Half of non-profits have less than one month of operating reserves and less than six months of cash. 
Young and Privileged
What do you do if you're born into privilege and your vision of a better world includes
redistribution of wealth? Resource Generation provides a forum to push the envelope with such like-minded peers. It organizes young people with wealth and class privilege to become transformative leaders working towards the equitable distribution of wealth, land, and power. Since 1998, Resource Generation has engaged over 2,000 young people with wealth across the U.S. Why the focus on young people ages 18 to 35? The organization maintains that young people have always played an important role in U.S. social movements. By organizing young people with wealth and class privilege, we're not only impacting current movements, we're also building leadership for tomorrow.
Learning from Masters
When you hear Thomas Bruner, president of  Bruner Strategies in Portland, Oregon, speak you
are struck by his passion and energy. This makes sense. His life has been defined by a commitment to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion. More than just good social policy, Bruner approaches diversity as a business imperative in an increasingly diverse, multicultural world -- key to being relevant, effective and competitive. He went to grad school with the idea of becoming a child psychologist, but within a few years, he was on the non-profit administrative track. As a cause-related activist out to save the world, he quickly realized that he could do a lot more good if he learned how to raise money. He's had an amazing variety of jobs: CEO of an HIV/AIDS start-up in Texas, Vice President of the American Red Cross, CEO of a regional cancer foundation, capital campaign manager at a Buddhist temple. All told, he's raised over $300 million and counting. He says that in some ways, fundraising has become more sophisticated, complicated, and competitive. But in other ways, it's largely unchanged. "It's still predominantly about relationships, and helping people connect their interests and passions with organizations and programs that can change the world." Advice for those who want enter the development profession: Good strategy and systems are essential, but those things don't raise money. Make sure to spend most of your time asking -- not just getting ready to ask.
African-American Philanthropy
The Soul of Philanthropy exhibit is traveling around the country and celebrates African-American philanthropists who have decided to make their world a better place. The exhibit is
inspired after creator Valaida Fullwood's book Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African-American Philanthropists. One of the main ideas is that a person doesn't necessarily have to give large amounts of money to be considered a philanthropist. It also speaks to the perception of philanthropy and African-Americans. Fullwood says when African-Americans were a part of the philanthropy story, they were often the people in need, the people receiving the check, the people receiving the handout, so she wanted to re-frame philanthropy and widen the lens. Fullwood partnered with photographer Charles Thomas.
The Other Gates
Among her many achievements, philanthropist Melinda Gates was the first woman to have
given away more than $40 billion. As co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation -- alongside her husband, Microsoft co-founder Bill -- she has been part of a movement that has supported work in more than 100 countries that face challenges in education, poverty, hunger and health. In an interview with CNBC, Gates said she is particularly proud of what the private foundation had achieved in improving world health. "The work that we've done in vaccines, to really get vaccines out to hundreds of millions of children. There are 3 million children alive today because of those vaccines and when we started in this work, there was a 20- or 25-year lag between when a vaccine would come out in the U.S. and when it would get to the developing world. Even when it got there, it wasn't all the right strains that they needed."
Profile in Corporate Responsibility
Starting as an entry-level phone member service representative at USAA in San Antonio in 1989, Harriet Dominique has risen to the role of Senior Vice President of Corporate
Responsibility and Community Affairs for USAA. She oversees the company's philanthropic dollars and programs for the military community and the communities where USAA has a large physical presence. She credits her mom's faith and strength and her father's business savvy for her work ethic, and the values of humility, faith and discipline they instilled in her for making possible the successes she's enjoyed over the past 29 years. 
Harriet points to extensive research informing USAA's approach to corporate responsibility. Surveys of USAA members, employees and prospective members confirmed that 70% want to do business with companies that give back, and 82% want to hear about USAA's corporate responsibility efforts.  Harriet's favorite leadership book, The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann, reveals much about her character and personality. This book delivers, through five "laws," what she believes is a crucial business message specifically addressing that an authentic, strong work ethic with a focus on serving others is the key to personal and professional success.  Her advice for people who would like to move into the corporate social responsibility field: "Work hard, and persevere. Take every experience, positive or negative, as a learning opportunity." For Harriet, her faith is the most important thing that has empowered her professional and personal success. "Whatever you believe in, the higher power than yourself that helps guide your actions and gives you favor, keep that close to your heart in all you do."
Rest In Peace
Robert Sosa, a dear friend and mentor, recently passed away far too early at the age of 76. He
was many things, including a life-long teacher, a life-long student, a talented artist and promoter of good causes. At the University of the Incarnate Word, as Director of Foundation, Corporate and Government Foundations, he helped raise $80 million during a distinguished 22-year career from 1992 until his retirement in 2014. The creation of the soon-to-be million-dollar Robert O. Sosa Scholarship Fund will give special meaning to his legacy. We first met when he had an advertising agency and I was in corporate communications. I shunned several phone calls before our first meeting. But he won me over and among our shared projects we placed an advocacy ad in USA Today. When my employer left San Antonio, he encouraged, tutored and virtually held my hand as I landed my first development position. He was always there with sage advice and counsel. He gave insightful presentations on corporate and foundation relations best practices. It was an absolute joy to be a guest lecturer in his classes. Bonding us even closer, on July 25, 2004, Robert brought a box of four cats to our house, and we chose Charly, the "pick of the litter" who became a cherished part of our family.
On the Bookshelf  
What if the advice we've all heard about networking was wrong? What if the best way to grow
your network isn't by introducing yourself to strangers at cocktail parties, handing out business cards, or signing up for the latest online tool, but by developing a better understanding of the existing network that's already around you? We know that it's essential to reach out and build your network. But did you know that it's actually your weaker or former contacts who will be the most helpful to you? Or that many of our best efforts at meeting new people simply serve up the same old opportunities we already have? In this startling new look at the art and science of networking, Friend of a Friend ... Understanding the Hidden Networks That Can Transform Your Life and Your Career, David Burkus, associate professor of leadership and innovation at Oral Roberts University, digs deep to find the unexpected secrets that reveal the best ways to grow your universe. Based upon entertaining case studies and scientific research, this practical and revelatory guide shares what the best networkers really do... and it looks a lot less like collecting business cards and making random introductions and a lot more like fostering authentic connections and seeking out diverse new voices.
House Calls in Space
Dr. Chuck Pozner and I grew up across the street from each other in Newton, Mass. Over time
our friendship has grown closer and even more precious. Chuck is now the visionary leader and Executive Director of the Neil and Elise Wallace STRATUS Center for Medical Simulation, one of the most comprehensive and technologically-advanced medical training centers in the world, backed by the world-class experience of Brigham and Women's Hospital, a major teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. I love Chuck's can-do optimism: "The answers are almost always in the room ... they just don't always get to the patient." His latest partnership is out of this world -- with NASA to investigate how best to select and support spaceflight multi-team systems to manage medical emergencies on future long-term duration exploration missions. Deep space missions like a "mission to Mars" present new challenges for NASA. While we're on the subject, doesn't simulation make sense for virtually every field of endeavor? Take fundraising. Too many lay leaders, board members and other volunteers are terrified of asking because they just haven't done it. There is a compelling need to bring them inside of a well-planned solicitation. I'm going to concentrate on adapting simulation so it can lessen their fears and empower volunteer fundraisers to be more effective in fundraising to advance the missions of the good causes they believe in.
Quiz: Most Educated States
Education remains the best way to increase your earning potential, decrease your chances of unemployment and meet your career goals. The Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce calculates that a bachelor's degree is worth $2.8 million over a lifetime and researchers at the London School of Economics have found that going to college can even increase your life expectancy by a decade. However, education levels still vary significantly across the U.S. WalletHub compared all 50 states across 15 different metrics in order to calculate which were the most and least educated states in the country. They considered statistics about the educational attainment of adults over the age of 24, the quality of local education and the racial and gender education gaps. Match the following states their respective scores to answer this question. Answers are shown in the green box at the bottom of the left column. Until next month ...

1. California                 a. 21.06
2. Colorado                  b. 39.11
3. Massachusetts         c. 50.28
4. Mississippi               d. 70.17
5. Texas                       e. 81.92