Connected Giving | July 2018 edition

Next-gen leadership, fundraising fallbacks and financial longevity for not-for-profits

This month’s industry news summary challenges business-as-usual in Australian philanthropy: presenting ongoing issues for fundraisers, hard questions about financial management, an opportunity for professional development, outsider perspectives on leadership and the arrival of blockchain. But first we turn to the pressing Australian question of drought relief and how donations can help.

Jump to any one of the edition’s articles by clicking the links below:

Drought relief: The dos and don'ts of helping Australian farmers and rural communities with donations

The severity of the drought is starting to hit home with the wider Australian population and more people are asking, “What can I do to help?”. Reporting for ABC Rural, Rachel Carbonell identifies a few key that points people wanting to give should consider: give to many, not a few (when one individual or family is the beneficiary of generosity, it can have unintended consequences, including creating more work for them in terms of redistribution); give to a registered charity (mentioned in the article are Aussie Helpers, Rural Aid, Buy a Bale, Drought Angels, and the Lions Club’s Need for Feed); it’s not only farmers who need help (people in towns are also having a hard time, as are local businesses who depend on local spending); what about people who won’t ask for help? (the relevance of ‘in-kind’ support); and check out charity credentials. Read the full article (5 mins).

Fundraising performance a mixed bag in 2018

Inadequate digital systems and incomplete donor data continue to be major challenges for fundraisers, according to a major global survey of not-for-profits. The report explores the challenges, goals and opportunities not-for-profits are currently facing to attract and retain members/donors. The top goal for fundraisers in 2018 is ‘increasing donor acquisition’ but ‘boosting donor retention’ and ‘improving engagement’ were close behind. In terms of challenges – the big three were: ‘inadequate integration between the donor management system and website’, a ‘lack of adequate online/mobile self-service options’ and ‘poor/incomplete data’. And while engagement is up, fewer respondents reported that their donor bases had increased and more said their retention levels had gone down. Read the full article (4 mins).

Charities' path to financial longevity begins with a manifesto

An investment policy statement should guide the work of investment committees, say INSEAD Knowledge authors. They assert, based off a previous argument made for why charities should adopt investment strategies, that an investment policy statement is the best vehicle for managing an investment schedule and ensuring it is aligned with the organisation’s mission. It’s well known that large charities often have financially sophisticated endowment funds, but small and medium-sized charities with funds of less than $50 million might also be able to better maximise long-term capacity by managing their finances effectively, which may include investing. Read the full article (5 mins).

Applications now open for five-day UK bequests study tour

Fundraisers from six Australian not-for-profits will receive intensive training in gifts and wills best practice from leading British charities as part of a five-day study tour organised by Include a Charity. The tour is funded through a $50,000 grant from our Learning for Impact grants program, which was launched in 2015. Applications are now open! With the trip taking place from the 7th-11th October in London. During the tour, the fundraisers will meet with representatives from leading UK charities to learn best practice trends, strategies and tactics around bequests, including how to work more effectively with government, regulators, solicitors and advisors. Read the full article (2 mins) or apply now!

A twenty something perspective: Seven ideas on leadership in philanthropy

Tara Kenny, an Australian writer and researcher based-in New York, spent a year exploring the most compelling ideas, strategies and philosophies in philanthropy globally. Through discussions with philanthropic leaders, activists, donors, academics and consultants, as well as an extensive literature review, Kenny articulates a number of refreshing insights about philanthropy today. What’s more, she has included diverse perspectives – from staff at prominent, established foundations such as Ford and Rockefeller, to voices from more radical, activist aligned organisations, such as FRIDA Young Feminist Fund and the Social Change Initiative. She examines how the next generation are shaping donor identity, forms of collective giving, participatory philanthropy, impact investing and outcomes-driven philanthropy, among other challenging topics. And while the research is primarily US focused, the examples are compelling, and have been elaborated with a view to applying findings within an Australian context.  Her 28-page report is a worthwhile read for anyone in the not-for-profit and may challenge leaders to think about their own organisational strategies and structures. Read the full article (2 mins).

Australia gets first blockchain charity

Fundraising is set for a technological makeover with the launch of Australia’s first charity to be built natively on the blockchain. New South Wales charity, Tokens for Humanity, is the only legally registered blockchain charity to be recognised by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission and is set to launch in the coming months. It aims to  make ‘charities transparent’, ‘fundraising more efficient’, and move records and data to the public domain. What’s perhaps most important about this initiative however, is the idea that charities should adopt new technology and unlock new and uncontested markets for fundraising. Read the full interview (6 mins).

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