Archive for the ‘Fundraising’ Category

Service of Discoveries

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

DiscoverySharing a few things I’ve learned or noticed within the last week.

Shoe Shine

The Hudson Yards subway station on the number 7 extension over by the Javits Center is buried deep underground so to reach the street you take Subway escalator Hudson Yardstwo very steep escalators. On either side of the moving stairs are one-inch brushes. If I had on leather shoes–even better with shoe polish handy–I could shine them simply by sidling to the left and then right of the step. I wouldn’t try it on the way down–it’s too steep. No doubt the brushes are on all the subway escalators…but they are not new and clean nor is the ride as long as at Hudson Yards.

If You Have to Ask You Can’t Afford It

I received a request to become a member of an internationally recognized NYC museum on an expensive, color 20″ x 6″ card folded in half. Nowhere were membership rates listed. “Is this the latest trend in fundraising?” I thought as I tossed the card, “or a mistake?” Or perhaps they don’t want members who care about cost.

Oh?

GraduationI graduated from the College of Liberal Arts [CLA] of an east coast University and discovered, when filling out a personal information update, that CLA no longer exists.  It’s called the College of Arts & Sciences these days. I mentioned this to a savvy friend and fellow graduate who keeps up on all things and she wasn’t aware of the change. Suggested to the alumni office that they make clear, when asking “which college did you attend?” that they add “formerly CLA” opposite the arts and sciences reference.

Have you made any surprising discoveries lately?

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Service of Opening Wallets for Charity

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

 

Give generously

In Anna Prior’s Wall Street Journal article “How Charities Can Get More Out of Donors,” I learned that the emotional ask—sharing heartwrenching descriptions of people in dire need–isn’t as effective as it once was. What is? “Trumpeting the fact that the charity got a gift from a big-name donor.” Experiments cited in the article proved the point. Bill and Melinda Gates open checkbooks. Why? “Because it’s so hard for individuals to evaluate charities these days,” Prior wrote.

The issue of the effectiveness of public recognition–even for smallish donations–show that the probability of giving was 13 percent + for alumni who were told their donations over a certain amount would be published in a newsletter vs. 11 percent for those who weren’t. Further, contributions were $8 more on average with the former group.

high end office designFor those who resent paying for overhead–large executive salaries, meetings at resorts or fancy office furniture for example–a study showed that those told that every penny they donated was going to the cause, as overhead had already been covered by previous gifts, tended to give more.

“As part of the research,” wrote Prior about a study conducted by Uri Gneezy, Elizabeth Keenan and Ayelet Gneezy at UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management, “they sent 40,000 solicitation letters to people, divided into four groups. One group received a standard letter asking for money, the second got a similar letter saying a private donor had already given seed money to the cause, and the third group’s letter noted there was a matching grant available. But the fourth group got a letter telling them that the charity had already secured donations to cover its overhead costs, so every subsequent dollar donated was going directly to programs.

“According to the study, 8.55% of people in the fourth group donated, compared with 4.75% in the second group and 4.41% in the third. And total donations for the fourth group were $23,120—almost triple the first group’s $8,040, and nearly double $13,220 in the second group and $12,210 in the third. ‘The average donor doesn’t seem to care about the size of the overhead, as long as they aren’t the one paying for it,’ says Mr. Gneezy.”

solicit outside storePrior also covered what’s most effective for in-person solicitation. No surprise that those outside a store got more when they asked for it than those who silently stood by a bucket. The question charities need grapple with is: when does aggression become an annoying turnoff?

There’s also pressure for people to announce their gifts via Facebook, such as offering incentives via matching grants of from $1 to $5 in the donor’s name if givers promote their donations on their Facebook walls. People preferred doing this via Facebook than sending email messages to friends.

Have you been convinced to donate money to a charity based on correspondence; seeing on social media that a friend or colleague donated; via requests from friends or colleagues or promises that your name would be publicized as a donor? Do you have your list of charities from which you never waiver? Do you like others to know you are a donor? What inspires you to open your checkbook and what turns you off?

write a check

Service of a Famous Name: 21st Century Fundraising & Avery Fisher

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Avery Fisher

Avery Fisher

I’m terrible at remembering names of people and places although those I’ve heard for eons–like Avery Fisher Hall [photo right, below]–fall off my tongue. When I read about how Lincoln Center was planning to attract the mega funds it feels it needs to update the hall my keyboard beckoned.

avery fisher hallThe Broadway World news desk wrote: “In a milestone philanthropic agreement that will help ensure the future of one of the world’s iconic performing arts spaces, the children of the late Avery Fisher – Nancy Fisher, Charles Avery Fisher and Barbara Fisher Snow – today joined with the leadership of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts to announce that they have entered into an agreement to enable the renaming of Avery Fisher Hall.”

Danika Fears wrote in the New York Post: “After threatening to sue, Avery Fisher’s heirs agreed to let the performing-arts organization drop his name in exchange for $4.5 million more than the original $10.5 million the Fisher Electronics founder donated back in 1973.”

Some colorful example of inflation, no?

fundraise 2Fears continued: “Now Lincoln Center can tempt another well-to-do donor willing to sink serious money into a planned $500 million overhaul in exchange for their name being emblazoned on the building.”

I wish someone with that kind of money would give it, ask the Fisher children to return the $15 million to Lincoln Center and leave the name as-is.

I have issues with the concept that to attract big bucks an institution must offer the naming option, though this is beside the point and a distraction to the current situation.

I wasn’t tickled with Avery’s children for accepting money in this regard. Plus I’m surprised that the Fisher lawyers didn’t make it clear, when the original donation was made, how long the hall would sport Avery’s name and/or under what circumstances it could be erased. This move doesn’t seem like such a great precedent for attracting the next big donor: “Give us multi-millions and we’ll chip off your name when we need another injection of cash.” And what about the loss of branding and cost of new stationery, new domain name and so on?

I like the idea of donating money in the name of someone else–a deceased relative, a good friend. I’ve done this myself.

How do you feel about Lincoln Center’s fundraising techniques? If you had the money, would you name an institution after yourself or, in the example of a performance space, the name of a worthy industry celebrity or maybe someone who isn’t famous like your wonderful Uncle Joe?

fundraise 1

Service of Art III

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit Institute of Arts

The subhead in a New York Times op-ed, “Costs, Benefits and Masterpieces,” by Robert H. Frank was: “For Detroit and its endangered art collection, a classic question of economic trade-offs.”

In a nutshell the Cornell economics professor’s point was that a museum, such as the Detroit Institute of Arts, could do just as well collecting the less expensive work of emerging artists leaving the mega rich to pay humongous prices for famous paintings and lend them to museums, as necessary, for exhibits. Therefore museums, such as the one in revenue-starved Detroit, could sell its Picassos, Rembrandts, Gauguins and more to better benefit its citizens. 

"The Wedding Dance" by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Photo: Wikipedia

“The Wedding Dance” by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Photo: Wikipedia

Using “The Wedding Dance” by Pieter Bruegel the Elder as an example, he wrote that Christie’s estimates that the work could bring $200 million, noting that “Once interest rates return to normal levels — say, 6 percent — the forgone interest on that amount would be approximately $12 million a year.”

He concluded: “If billionaires choose to bid up the prices of trophy art, that’s their privilege. And because most of them will die with large fortunes unspent, they can buy what they want without having to buy less of other things they value. But because money for worthy public purposes is chronically in short supply, city officials and true philanthropists must grapple with agonizing trade-offs.

“Yes, communities benefit from famous paintings, but they also benefit from safer roads and better schools.”

Christie's Auction. Photo: artmarketblog

Christie’s Auction. Photo: artmarketblog

I like the idea of identifying talented emerging artists and filling museums with their work yet I see it as a short-term solution. Once the $billions are gone–and they soon will be–how then will the gluttonous city coffers replenish themselves? If a city like Detroit has such great collections, shouldn’t they be a tourist draw?

Perhaps Detroit can generate income by renting the master paintings to billionaires letting them display them in their homes and offices. With the rental money Detroit might make itself conducive to tourism. That’s key. When I used to visit Brooklyn Museum on a weekend some 20 years ago most of the exhibits were echo chambers. Last December, when my client produced the American Fine Craft Show Brooklyn at the museum on a famously snowy weekend, I was amazed by the hoards coming in the doors in spite of the storm.

Your ideas?

 

Brooklyn Museum in snow

Brooklyn Museum in snow

 

 

Service of Gorilla Fundraising

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

gorilla

I’ve written about businesses that, at the cash register, try to embarrass and strong-arm customers into buying a book or groceries-or whatever they sell-so that they can donate the items to charity. If putting the squeeze on customers who may or may not already be pressed financially isn’t bad enough, they then take credit for “donating” [while making a profit], what their customers actually have given to food pantries or children or others in need.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, it’s bound to start up again. I’ve seen a business, a TV network and a  major bank heading the charge.

childrenfundraisingIn addition, I’ve observed several recent techniques that inspired a reprise post. I live near a town and try to use its vendors. I am off-put when children, often with parents, stand in front of the door of the small business I want to enter. They are often selling tickets for a raffle to raise money for a team trip or uniforms. When this happened the other day, card tables with a team of kids around each were posted in front of doors throughout town. If you gave at one you felt cornered at the others.

The other month the subject line in an email I received, from an organization to which I belong, noted that I had not yet signed up to attend thus and such a fundraising event. I found the threatening and accusatory language inappropriate and a turnoff. What made it worse was that I had signed up long before and I still felt uncomfortable by the inference.

wagging-a-fingerThreatening subject lines on emails arrive for non-charitable causes–such as joining webinars or attending conferences–and it’s just as off-putting especially when sent by a stranger, although I don’t expect an acquaintance to reprimand me because I haven’t agreed to participate in an event or to buy something.

Do you have examples of gorilla fundraising or do you believe that anything goes if you believe in and want to support the cause? Where do you draw the line?

 shelterbeds

Service of Waste

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

waste

A comment to a post by Nenaghgal last week inspired today’s post because it set the stage for my reaction to a recent development that struck an off note with me in this economic environment.

nicholasmossepottery1Nenaghgal wrote: “In general there is very little waste at the company I work for here in Ireland, Nicholas Mosse Pottery, in fact, I’m incredibly impressed with the way this place functions. We are highly eco-friendly so we recycle, reuse everything, and I mean everything so I won’t go into specifics but I am proud to work with a company that has such high standards. More companies should take heed.”

I add that more people should take heed as well.

You no doubt heard that Elin Nordegren, Tiger Woods’ ex-wife, bought waterfront property in Florida for $12 million and bulldozed the six bedroom house [photo below, left]. It’s her choice and her children aren’t hurt by her decision as she has millions more where the 12 came from. And it is nobody’s business what a person does with his/her money.

Nordegren House by Splash News

Nordegren House by Splash News

Nevertheless I wondered why she couldn’t find a house she liked better that needed minor nips or tucks or a piece of waterfront property with no house. Flattening a house seemed like a waste when money might be better spent to feed hungry families, educate wayward children, inoculate little ones who would otherwise be exposed to contagious diseases or provide clean water to towns and villages around the world where there isn’t any. The real estate agent claims the house was in disrepair according to The Daily Mail‘s mailonline.

I fundraise for a foundation. We cheer when we find partners to sponsor events and initiatives. The volunteers don’t calculate the hours spent to bring in the welcome money against the total which isn’t near $12 million a year. So you can see why I appreciated Nicholas Mosse Pottery’s frugality and picked up on Ms. Nordegren’s extravagance. For all I know she gives twice this amount to charity and we don’t hear about those checks. Wouldn’t it be grand?

fundraise

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