What Does 2019 Hold for Your Organization? 
Our e xperts can help you stay ahead...
                                             Dear Friends,  

2018 was quite a year!  Some would say that political, economic, social, and environmental turmoil has become the norm. From devastating wildfires to the implementation of the new tax law, to immigration uncertainty, and the government shutdown, you and your clients have faced serious challenges with conviction and determination.   

Despite many challenges, 2018 was also a year of renewal and opportunity. Two of our clients, the Phoenix Public Library Foundation and the Immaculate Heart Community, both emerged stronger from the aftermath of natural disasters, each determined to grow and better serve their communities. Additionally, for the first time since the Great Recession, the percentage of households making new gifts to charities increased, reinforcing my faith in philanthropy as an expression of the fundamental goodness of humankind. 
In spite of the chaos, my takeaways from 2018 will be positive ones: I focus on the resilience of our clients and organizations like them; I am inspired by the fact that despite the unrest we see portrayed on TV, people are responding to these challenging times by giving in numbers - and amounts - never seen before; and I choose to be excited by what this means for opportunities in 2019 and beyond. 
From all of us here at The Phoenix Philanthropy Group, thank you for being our friends, colleagues, and clients. You are the reason we do what we do and why we have hope for the future. We hope you have a wonderful 2019 and look forward to interacting with each of you. 

Richard Tollefson, Founder and President

P.S.  To kick off the new year, some of our consultants share their thoughts on key issues you may encounter this year and how to leverage them for your fundraising success.   

Jeri Kendle, Consultant
Though once dismissed, millennials are on the verge of a wealth transfer of $30 trillion - establishing and developing spending (and giving) behaviors that will likely last for years to come. To take advantage of this paradigm shift, organizations need to take the time to develop engagement and communication strategies which specifically address how millennials perceive their philanthropic priorities and unique role in the fundraising process. 

Peter Smits, Senior Consultant 
Inspiration and wisdom often come from unexpected places. Consider what we can learn from the pistachio farmer. A new grove of trees does hardly anything for four years. And they are not economically viable for seven years. But the farmer faithfully waters, fertilizes, prunes, and nurtures the trees, knowing that there is great reward for his patience and persistence. Our clients who are patient and persistent will fulfill their mission and achieve their strategic and revenue generation goals, just like the farmer.

Linda B. Fine, Consultant
More and more, I find that organizations are talking about values as they relate to both mission and fundraising - perhaps in response to these polarizing times, or perhaps because this is ultimately where the deepest connections can be made with like-minded donors.
Whitney Fulton, Consultant
Many senior-level Advancement Services positions are staffed with baby boomers - and since turnover in this particular area of Advancement is relatively low, they have been in these positions for decades. Their institutional knowledge is extremely valuable, and yet many organizations do not have succession plans in place to capture, document, or cross-train staff to ensure a seamless transition when these boomers announce their retirement.  Rather than wait for retirement announcements, organizations should consider keeping these individuals on as special advisors or consultants, or at the very least carve out a portion of each day dedicated to documenting the institutional knowledge.

Cheryl M. House, CFRE, Consultant
Donors have more access to information and data - and more options for making charitable gifts - than ever before. One constant is the desire of people to make a positive difference in the world. The organizations and institutions that tell meaningful stories about their impact, and share the donor's role in making it happen, will have the most success in securing and retaining donors.

Dr. Wayne Parker, Of Counsel 
An increasingly important issue for nonprofits is the effective use of data. The current zeitgeist for funders is for nonprofits to be able to prove their impacts and effectiveness through data rather than testimonials.  Since few nonprofits have the knowledge and infrastructure for sophisticated data systems, nonprofits have to be clear about what they want to demonstrate as their impacts, and have simple, targeted data gathering that allows them to meet the needs of funders.

Shirley Melikian Armbruster, Of Counsel
Disruption is a common buzzword these days, as higher education, nonprofits, business, and nearly every segment of our society experience interruptions in the usual way that a system, process, or event works. Disruption in public relations and communications happens because of technology, gadgets, automation of processes, social media, or innovations in terms of products and services. Regardless of the disruption around us, it is imperative that all sectors of an enterprise have the communications/PR staff at the table as full partners to provide advice as well as effective planning, executing, and managing of a communication strategy.