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4 fundraising lessons we learned in August 

Here are four lessons we learned last month:   

Now is a critical time for planned giving professionals to educate high-net worth donors on the steps they can take to see significant tax savings  

Democrats have pledged that the massive $3.5 trillion infrastructure package that is making its way through Congress will not significantly impact the taxes of those who earn less than $400,000. However, higher income individuals could see a number of substantial and far-reaching changes, including reversing provisions contained in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. While many of the planning techniques presently used by taxpayers may be curtailed or eliminated entirely, gift officers can—and should—present donors with the charitable giving opportunities that they can take to see significant tax savings. 

Click here to learn about six charitable giving opportunities that gift officers can present to donors before the end of the year.  

 

Adding a DEI officer to Mizzou’s advancement leadership team produced several key benefits 

2015 and 2016 were challenging years at the University of Missouri—Columbia. Throughout that period, Mizzou experienced the aftermath of the Ferguson riots, a series of racial incidents on campus that attracted national scrutiny, a number of Black and other minority students reporting that they felt general hostility toward them on campus, as well as the football team announcing it would boycott all football-related activities until the President of the University of Missouri system resigned (the protests led both the President and the university’s Chancellor to resign). In the wake of those challenges, there were a number of campus-wide discussions aimed at bringing about diversity, equity, and inclusion-related changes. At the same time, Mizzou’s advancement shop had established a proactive talent management program that was beginning to show dividends in recruiting and retaining top performers. Given the campus-wide need to address DEI issues, as well as the advancement department’s need to recruit and retain a strong team, Mizzou hired a full-time diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) team member to be part of the advancement leadership team. Relatively quickly, the DEI officer produced significant benefits—helping build a donor pipeline, as well as helping improve the overall climate of the shop.  

Click here to learn more about Mizzou’s experience and how it serves as a model for other institutions.  

 

“Fundraising is an anecdotally-rich career choice.”  

There’s never a time that you won’t be surprised by people, said Kris Davitt, Senior Vice Chancellor for Philanthropic & Alumni Engagement at the University of Pittsburgh, in a recent wide-ranging GG+A webinar. “Fundraising is an anecdotally-rich career choice,” she was once told, which resonated with her given that the field is “all about people.” It requires flexibility and strong communication skills, which are skills that she honed to advance her career.

Watch the webinar here to learn more about Davitt’s career path, as well as how she navigated the integration of Pitt’s fundraising program with its clinical partner, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.  

 

Surveys provide one of the most efficient—and effective—ways to assess an institution’s connections with volunteers  

Whether an institution has a reliable base of volunteers that it can effectively and efficiently mobilize is one of the primary areas we look to when assessing its ability to embark on a large, ambitious fundraising initiative. There’s good reason for that approach; having donors who are articulate advocates for the institution’s philanthropic objectives is one of the crucial ingredients to understanding an institution’s capacity to raise money and its readiness to launch a large, ambitious campaign. And surveys enable an institution to quickly gather data across several areas, including volunteers’ perceptions of their role, their understanding of the institution’s fundraising goals and objectives, as well as how the institution is leveraging its volunteer resources.  

Click here to learn more about how surveys can help institutions better understand volunteers.  

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