ICYMI: Last Week's Nonprofit News, Today | July 7

What we’ve been reading about this past week: the impact of last week’s big SCOTUS decisions; rumors of the donor pyramid’s demise, confirmed; fundraising trends and fundraising fears; easy-to-miss openings for supporter outreach; the marketing power of quotes; criticism of the “moneyball” approach to philanthropy; and more.


How Hobby Lobby and Harris Will Impact the Nonprofit World
(Nonprofit Quarterly)
Rick Cohen provides the nonprofit perspective on the two Supreme Court decisions that dominated last week’s headlines: “In the Hobby Lobby case, nonprofits have to think through how they feel and what they are willing to do regarding the increasing powers of corporations in America. In the Harris case, nonprofits have to consider where they stand on public sector employment as a means of advancement into the middle class for potentially hundreds of thousands... especially as job growth occurs in the health care industry.”



Yes, the Donor Pyramid is Really Dead

Friend of GCN Clair Axelrad responds to fundraising coach Andrea Kihlstedt, who challenged Axelrad’s assertion that the “donor pyramid” model is no longer useful to nonprofit fundraising: “The path to donor loyalty is changing. It’s not going to come from forcing folks to climb a ladder or pyramid. It’s going to come from meeting folks where they are. So rather than fight what you’ve got, why not evaluate your areas of strength and do what you can to capitalize on those?”

Top 10 Major Donor Fundraising Trends for 2014-15
(Fired Up Fundraising)
With the latest numbers in hand, Gail Perry identifies ten trends in fundraising (“Donors are starting to trust again,” “Major donors see their gifts as investments”) and a few strategies to take advantage of them (“Be transparent. Be specific,” “Demonstrate to your donors that their gifts actually create ‘good’ in the world”).

Conquering Your Fear of Fundraising
Tips for getting over your fundraising jitters, with a helpful reminder that “many of us have been fundraisers at one time or another in our lives – going door-to-door in your neighborhood selling wrapping paper for school; raising money for your Girl Scout or Eagle Scout troop… Whatever the cause or reason, something motivated you and that’s what fundraising is all about.”



An unlikely summer reading list for nonprofit leaders
(The Fundraising Coach)
Fundraising-as-extreme-sport enthusiast Marc Pitman suggests a few titles that might not have showed up on your radar, including Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service (“very practical examples of what Disney does to bring customer service magic”) and Grimm’s Fairy Tales (“The best nonprofit fundraisers are storytellers… [and] these stories have resonated with people over the centuries and across cultures.”).



20 Donor Engagement Signals that Get Missed Often

Opportunities to engage supporters are more abundant than you might think, and Bloomerang CEO Jay Love has a list of signals you should consider an opening to reach out, such as someone “increas[ing] their annual fund gift,” “volunteer[ing] multiple times,” or “attend[ing] one of your events as a guest of a donor.”

7 Tips for Using Quotes for Your Nonprofit’s Content Strategy
(Beth’s Blog)
Beth Kanter has an easy option for nonprofits who don’t have children or animals to create a campaign around: “Audiences love inspirational, relevant, and timely quotes, especially if created in graphic, visual format. They work well on on social channels.”

What Makes People Generous: Charity, Empathy, and Storytelling
Looking at a few new research reports, Forbes nonprofit reporter Tom Watson finds that the key to snagging donors is generating empathy with the people you serve: “In my view, strong and accurate stories from the field always bring supporters closer to a cause. ...And now a report released a few weeks ago by the Rockefeller Foundation backs that assertion up, and adds some practical advice and resources to the mix.”



Moneyball Philanthropy? Not Always
Are hard metrics taking over the future of philanthropic investment, the same way they took over the management of baseball teams? A philanthropic consultant and a Skoll Foundation researcher argue that  “the Moneyball approach – like much of the current debate in philanthropic sectors on how to define and measure impact – is dangerous because it leads donors to seek out only the most easily provable results,” and that it “would have precluded some of philanthropy’s greatest successes.”

Infographic: The Million Dollar Philanthropist at a Glance
An interesting summary of the giving habits of donors handing out million-dollar gifts, showing that “the vast majority of individuals who give at this level give only once.”



Michelle Nunn on the Power of Partnerships and the Struggle of Scale
Nunn recently spoke with GCN President and CEO Karen Beavor from the campaign trail in South Georgia for the latest issue of Georgia Nonprofit NOW. Here, we provide an excerpt as Nunn discusses the successes gained and struggles faced since merging Hands On Network with Points of Light in 2007.


Marc Scultz is writer/editor at the Georgia Center for Nonprofits and managing editor of Georgia Nonprofit NOW.

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