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Georgian student councils contribute $7.2 M to fundraising campaign

April 30th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Canada, Education

Georgian students lead busy lives with varied schedules and they want more options to accelerate their learning.

That is why the Students’ Administrative Councils (SAC) at the Barrie, Orillia and Owen Sound campuses voted unanimously to contribute $7.2 million over 10 years to the college’s Power of Education campaign to help transform the student experience. It is the largest campaign contribution in Georgian’s history.

Students hold up signs that add up to 7.2 million
Orillia Students’ Administrative Council members celebrate the announcement March 13 of their $7.2-million donation to Georgian College’s Power of Education campaign.

The funding will support several important initiatives including the development and implementation of a project that will serve all students at all seven campuses.

“My job is to do what is best for all students and to look ahead at all the possibilities,” says Jordana Osetti, SAC President at the Barrie Campus. “Just as past student councils have invested in projects that I’m reaping the benefits of today, I think it’s important to leave a legacy for future students, which is why I’m proud to support these projects as a student.”

An online portal will allow students to access services anytime, anywhere, from any device. Through the portal, they’ll be able to chat with an expert, access online reference materials and software from Georgian libraries and labs, book online appointments with their advisors, buy their books and meal plans, and more.

Students have also chosen to invest in new facilities that will enhance their athletic and common spaces at the Barrie, Orillia and Owen Sound campuses.

At the Barrie Campus, the portal will be complemented by a new Student Service Centre. The Administrative Building will undergo renovations and will be designed to offer access to all student services in one location in a concierge-style approach.

In addition, a new sports field will add value to the college and the community. It will be used by varsity and intramural athletes as well as academic programs that have fitness training components.

At the Orillia Campus, SAC has chosen to contribute to the college’s plans to establish a Centre for Community Safety and Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. The 32,000-square-foot expansion, which is conditional on additional fundraising efforts, will include a Modular Training Centre and common spaces for students to meet and study.

At the Owen Sound Campus, students will also receive upgrades to fitness facilities, as well as new technology in the cafeteria, which serves as the main student space.

“Our students take their education seriously and they have a vested interest in the resources that will accelerate their learning and college experience,” says Georgian College President and CEO MaryLynn West-Moynes. “I’m proud of them for leading the way in our campaign to transform the student experience. I have no doubt that their contribution will inspire others to give in support of our future thinkers, creators, leaders and doers.”

Published on Friday, Mar. 13, 2015

15 Ways to Raise Funds for Your Non-profit

April 29th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising

In 2013, American Charities raised $335.17 billion using different methods. The lion’s share, about 72%, came from individuals, much of it offline but approximately 6.4% online. Donors used many methods ranging from Direct Mail to checkout counters. Let us look at some of these methods in more detail:

1. Place of worship: By far this is the not only the oldest but also the most popular way of raising funds because people continue to give to their places of worship. Faith has long been the primary driver of giving in the South, particularly in Bible-Belt states like Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee where churchgoers traditionally dig deep when the collection plate makes the rounds every Sunday.

2. Direct mail: It still continues to be the second most widespread way to raise funds from individuals. It remains an integral part of the way most charities solicit funds from their house list of donors and new prospects, They also use it to retain current donors.

3. Charitable events: They do help raise a substantial amount of money from corporate sponsors, patrons and those who buy tables and tickets. As well, auctions, raffles, balloon bursts, live asks, etc. can raise further funds during the actual event.

4. Peer-to-peer: This includes individuals looking for personal ways to fundraise on behalf of a charity. They appeal to friends and family members through a variety of ways including participating in activities like walk-a-thons to forgoing birthday gifts that go to their favorite charity. Example: Movember for Prostate Cancer.

5. Online fundraising: Soliciting funds digitally is rapidly growing. “Asks” can be personal one-on-one solicitations or can be event driven. Many charities offer donors a way to remember their loved ones with an In Memoriam donation section in their newsletters, annual reports or online.

6. Door-to-door, shopping centers or street canvassing: Face-to-face fundraising or field canvasing requires the help of volunteers to talk to people in person and deliver literature and sometimes even lawn signs. Example: Volunteers helping the homeless in malls, the airport and various sites in the UK.

7. Television or radio fundraising: Revenue comes through on-air pledges or membership support. For example: In 1949, comedian Milton Berle, hosted the first ever telethon, raising $1,100,000 for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation over the course of 16 hours.

8. Telephone request: As the name suggests, telemarketing is a method of fundraising by a live salesperson or a recorded sales pitch over the phone.

9. Social media: This includes social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Causes, etc.) asking for sponsorships or financial support. Example: “The Ice bucket challenge” raised millions for the ALS society.

10. Grants from government or charitable trusts and foundations: This money does not have to be repaid and is usually exempt from tax. Many grant funders only fund organizations with charitable status. Grants however, almost always come with conditions. For example:

  • Particular outputs or outcomes
  • Achieving agreed milestones
  • Unspent monies to be returned to the funder
  • Reporting requirements on the progress of the project or use of the money

11. Corporate involvement or sponsorship: Giving at work is perhaps the most neglected form of raising funds though United Way has mastered this method. It requires a lot of preparation, strategy and management participation.

12. Using date related events to raise funds: Events like “Giving Tuesday” have surged to an estimated $45.7-million, more than double the amount raised in 2012, when the event first began. UNICEF’s Calendar of Monthly Events includes occasions such as “International Women’s Day” and “Human Rights Day.”

13. Ambient or Guerrilla Marketing: This is a form of marketing that relies on time, energy and imagination rather than a big advertising or marketing budget.

Usually, guerrilla-marketing campaigns are totally unexpected and unconventional, like a sneak attack; they are potentially interactive and consumers are often targeted in unexpected places and ways. For example: UNICEF’s Dirty Water Campaign—to make people aware that millions of people around the world have no access to clean drinking water, UNICEF placed a water-dispensing machine in Manhattan and sold dirty bottled water for $1. You could even select the ailment that came with the contaminated water.

14. Raising money at checkout counters: Research shows that this is one of the most popular ways of giving, with 50 percent of donors saying that they had used this method previously to discard their change and support a cause.

15. Cultivating Volunteers: The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics depends almost solely on volunteers and in 2012 raised over $42,000,000.

By Sumac

5 Nonprofit Myths – And Tall Tales

April 28th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising

There’s an old myth in fundraising: Loki will one day kill direct mail. The Tree of Nonprofit Life, Individual Giving, will wither and die, thus ushering in the eternal winter of fundraising Ragnarok.

Well, perhaps fundraising myths aren’t that grand or poetic, but myths do abound in fundraising. Tom Gaffny, principal of Tom Gaffny Consulting, was on hand at the Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation 2015 Washington Nonprofit Conference to dispel five enduring misconceptions people have about the current and future states of direct marketing fundraising.

  • MYTH 1: The donor pyramid tells you everything you need to know.

FACT: The donor pyramid does not take into account one vital piece of information. While you’re ranking your donors, where does your donor rank you? “Rather than rank attributes and giving, let’s select high passion people who never would have gotten selected if just the traditional pyramid is used,” said Gaffny. That segment could have response rates of up to three times higher than the overall list, he said.

  •  MYTH 2: I own a donor base.

FACT: You don’t own the donor; the donor owns you. You can control a couple of things: What to send, when to send it, and by what channel. But the person who receives your message can control far more. Whether to open your package, when to open it, whether to read it, whether to respond to it, how much to give; those are all out of your control.

  • MYTH 3: Acquisition is the key to growth.

FACT:  The nonprofit sector might be the only industry that doesn’t view retention as the key to growth. “The biggest issue isn’t acquisition, it’s file growth and retention is the key,” said Gaffny. He said it’s better to cut acquisition and invest in multi-year retention than invest heavily in acquisition and just the status quo in retention. “In terms of revenue growth, the myth of growing our way out of something by acquiring more $15 donors isn’t the case,” Gaffny said.

  •  MYTH 4: I’m doing everything I can to cultivate my major donors.

FACT: Most major donor mailing programs consist of first-class postage…and that’s about it. “The top of your file is a treasure chest, but in too many cases they’re treated like everyone else,” said Gaffny. It’s easier to convince one person to do something than it is to convince 500.

  •  MYTH 5: I can’t rely on direct mail as a viable channel for many more years.

FACT: Older donors, those most comfortable with direct mail, are still going to be around for a while. If you’re over 65, life expectancy charts say you’ll live to 85. If you’re 70, you can live to age 87. “We need to stop thinking that direct mail is dead or dying,” said Gaffny.

By Patrick Sullivan – March 16, 2015
The NonProfit Times

Texas Severs Nonprofit Group’s 110-Year Management of Alamo

April 27th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in In The Spotlight

Texas is taking over management of the Alamo, ending the Daughters of the Texas Republic’s 110-year management of the site, according to a joint statement issued Thursday.

In the statement, Land Commissioner George P. Bush said the General Land Office was taking over the day-to-day management of the downtown San Antonio mission-turned-fortress. The management of the Alamo will transition to office over the next four months.

During that time, the office will solicit proposals for the development of a strategic plan for the Alamo grounds and search the nation for a new management company.

In the 1800s, the Alamo was the site of a key battle in the Texas Revolution in which some 180 defenders were killed during a siege by Mexican forces. Weeks later, those deaths provided Texas irregulars with their rallying cry that they carried to victory at the Battle of San Jacinto, which clinched Texas’ independence from Mexico.

“The Alamo has always had the same owner — the people of Texas. And so to meet the ever-increasing operational needs of the Alamo, the GLO has determined to change its day-to-day management from the DRT and move in a new direction. Together, we will create a bigger, brighter future for this Texas shrine,” the Bush statement said.

The General Land Office took ownership of the Alamo in 2011 at the behest of the Legislature, which had grown concerned about the care of the iconic Texas landmark. Worries arose following accusations of mismanagement and financial incompetence levied at the nonprofit Daughters.

The next year, the General Land Office told the group’s Alamo Mission Chapter to vacate the Alamo grounds, that the group “could no longer store private belongings on state property, or continue to enjoy free, exclusive, long-term use of state property for private chapter business.”

During his campaign last year for land commissioner, the Republican Bush had expressed a desire to reach out to the Daughters for greater involvement in the Alamo’s affairs. Nevertheless, his decision to cancel the group’s management of the attraction was not a complete surprise to McCaffrey.

“That’s politics,” she said.

Alamo Director Becky Dinnin praised the Daughters for taking care of the Alamo, noting the group intervened in 1905 and “kept it from being torn down.” But she said that “over the past few years, the needs of the Alamo have really grown significantly, especially in the area of conservation and the need to be able to fundraise.”

The Daughters remain concerned, however, about the potential commercialization of the Alamo and its surrounding grounds. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to turn it into” a tourist trap, said McCaffrey, whose group has always maintained the Alamo as a shrine demanding reverence from visitors.

But fundraising for Alamo projects has been among the biggest challenges the Daughters faced in recent years.

For the Daughters, the parting is bittersweet but will not do away with the group’s mission, President General Ellen McCaffrey said.

“It frees up our time, money and resources for other projects,” she said, citing specifically the former French Legation to the Republic of Texas in Austin and the Republic museum to be developed next door.


uWaterloo researchers link smartphone use to lazy thinking

April 23rd, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Education

Our smartphones help us find a phone number quickly, provide us with instant directions and recommend restaurants, but new research indicates that this convenience at our fingertips is making it easy for us to avoid thinking for ourselves.

The study, from researchers at the University of Waterloo and published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, suggests that smartphone users who are intuitive thinkers — more prone to relying on gut feelings and instincts when making decisions — frequently use their device’s search engine rather than their own brainpower. Smartphones allow them to be even lazier than they would otherwise be.

“They may look up information that they actually know or could easily learn, but are unwilling to make the effort to actually think about it,” said Gordon Pennycook, co-lead author of the study, and a PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology at Waterloo.

In contrast, analytical thinkers second-guess themselves and analyze a problem in a more logical sort of way. Highly intelligent people are more analytical and less intuitive when solving problems.

“Decades of research has revealed that humans are eager to avoid expending effort when problem-solving and it seems likely that people will increasingly use their smartphones as an extended mind,” said Nathaniel Barr, the other lead author of the paper, and a postdoctoral researcher at Waterloo.

In three studies involving 660 participants, the researchers examined various measures including cognitive style ranging from intuitive to analytical, plus verbal and numeracy skills. Then they looked at the participants’ smartphone habits.

Participants in the study who demonstrated stronger cognitive skills and a greater willingness to think in an analytical way spent less time using their smartphones’ search-engine function.

“Our research provides support for an association between heavy smartphone use and lowered intelligence,” said Pennycook. “Whether smartphones actually decrease intelligence is still an open question that requires future research.”

The researchers say that avoiding using our own minds to problem-solve might have adverse consequences for aging.

“Our reliance on smartphones and other devices will likely only continue to rise,” said Barr. “It’s important to understand how smartphones affect and relate to human psychology before these technologies are so fully ingrained that it’s hard to recall what life was like without them. We may already be at that point.”

The results also indicate that use of social media and entertainment applications generally did not correlate to higher or lower cognitive abilities.

Professors Jennifer Stolz and Jonathan Fugelsang, also from Waterloo’s Department of Psychology, are co-authors of the study. Funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada supported the research.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Nonprofit Communication Trends for 2015

April 23rd, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising surveyed 1,535 nonprofit staff members in November 2014 regarding their channels and frequency of outbound communications and their perceptions about important communications content and success.

Overall, nonprofits are communicating more often, in both electronic and print channels, but struggle with the workload associated with creating compelling content and finding ways to engage communities.  Here’s a snippet from the results.



If you’d like to check out all of the insight the report provides, you can download the 2015 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report here.


Diane Korb
APRA Greater Houston
March 5, 2015

Breaking Down Nonprofit Silos, 1 Murder-Mystery Weekend at a Time

April 22nd, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising

For the second year in a row, my client, Rich Rumsey, VP of development and communications at Project HOPEOpens in a new window, has forced me to do unusual things with unusual people.

Last year, he said (paraphrasing), “Katrina, I’d like you to come to a three-day retreat with the other vendor-partners my organization uses. These partners, along with my staff, will represent every person who touches any sort of individual giving at Project HOPE.”

You mean, I whispered, you want me to spend large amounts of time with planned giving, major giving, direct response, gala, marketing, communications and public relations people who work for Project HOPE? Together? You want me to take meals with them?

Since 1958, Project HOPE has worked to make quality and sustainable health care available for people around the globe, working in more than 120 countries. Project HOPE is breaking down the walls between countries. Rich is breaking down the walls between departments.

This is a hard thing. His background as a college football player is handy.

Says Rich, ”I am a true believer that if you gather smart people together, great things will happen. Giving up our individual power can be uncomfortable, but breaking down silos and building a team, a team that gets the big goal, that’s phenomenal.”

In addition to Rich and his menacing presence when he invites you to this gig, Project HOPE has a nice advantage in its campus; everyone wants to stay there so a three-day outing sounds good. And, coincidentally, it is the perfect setting for a murder-mystery weekend. Grand old Southern mansion, ghost stories, creaky floors, hidden passageways …  And, putting different income segments in the same room for an extended period looks a lot like a murder mystery weekend.

But, in this culture, murdering someone is out of line and so is achieving departmental success at the expense of another department. Most important, understanding other departments’ challenges and opportunities opens high-value, low-cost opportunities.

As an example, the gala lead described her challenge in engaging the people seated as guests at each table. She needed ways to engage them beyond the evening, to convert them to alignment with the organization. Peer-to-peer folks are always looking for ways to celebrate peer-to-peer fundraisers who are successful. Collaborative answer — at the gala, show a video of the oh-so-cool peer-to-peer event, and then celebrate the highest fundraisers on stage. An offer is made to all to participate, potentially engaging table attendees beyond the gala event. Does the gala person lose anything since the P2P people might engage them? No. Statistically these dual-channel participants are higher-value than single-channel participants. Does Rich need to recognize both parties for supporting each other? He should and does do that.

Suddenly, one of my personal goals as I work the peer-to-peer route is to see how many new names I can deliver to the direct response people. Their job is to handle them carefully, transitioning them thoughtfully and increasing lifetime value to the organization. The direct response people want to help us promote, in any way they can, our new peer-to-peer event so they benefit from the newly acquired names hitting their list. Rich appreciates each party publicly for success.

Major gifts grabbers now see peer-to-peer as a lead-generation vehicle. And guess what? As long as I can benchmark and measure new names to the direct response list and major giving prospect list, I would rather see the money move to major giving because those folks actually know how to develop these potential major giving leads better than I do. Imagine my excitement to realize that Project HOPE might mark its database to see where the people who give big money originated!

I believe what Rich proves is that breaking down silos is an act of leadership, planning and recognition. The leader has to require it, the leader has to plan the new collaboration and the leader has to recognize the new kinds of success breaking down silos engenders.

By Katrina VanHuss | Posted on February 20, 2015
Fundraising Success Magazine

A new fundraising initiative is asking U of T law students to donate a day of their wages to help cover the cost of unpaid internships

April 21st, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Education

The University of Toronto’s Students’ Law Society (SLS) is planning to launch a new fundraising campaign in the spring to provide grants for first- and second-year students performing “unpaid, public interest work over the summer.”

In the quest to tackle unpaid internships, aspiring lawyers at the University of Toronto are being presented with a new strategy involving deep pockets and a collegial spirit.

The Spring Pledge Drive, to be launched in March by the Students’ Law Society with faculty approval, is asking students who land paid summer jobs to donate one day of their wages to help subsidize those in unpaid roles.

But the #OneDayofPay campaign has some wondering why debt-strapped youth are funding salaries that should rightfully be paid by employers.

“It’s really the wrong target in my opinion,” said Ella Henry, a third year law student at the school. “They’re sort of suggesting that the people who should fix the problem of unpaid work are students rather than employers that are getting people to work for free and getting the benefit of that work.”

In an e-mail circulated earlier this month, the Students’ Law Society says funds raised through the pledge drive will provide grants of $1,000 and $2000 to first and second year students to support “unpaid, public interest work over the summer.”

Nathalie Lum-Tai, the Society’s president, told the Star the idea was inspired by a similar project at the University of California, Berkeley. Although the Faculty of Law and SLS both provide fellowships for students to pursue unpaid social justice work, Lum-Tai said the programs were severely oversubscribed.

“We just hope that our peers will be able to pursue work that they’re passionate about,” she said.

But while they agree with the sentiment, critics worry the campaign will do little to address will a worrying increase in unpaid student jobs in the legal sector – even as tuition fees and debt loads soar.

Strategic Phonathons

April 20th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising

Are phonathons still relevant?  Maybe another way to ask the same question is to inquire whether communication is still relevant?

I received a call from a young graduate working in the call center at my alumni organization last week.  Let’s preface this by saying that I’m not an engaged alumna and in the million years since graduating, I’ve made just 1 gift.  Not the best prospect when evaluating the flat facts.

But I get this call from Hillary and I  love talking to her.  Never mind that she didn’t know what I meant when I asked her to mark my name “do not exchange.”  Obviously they need a little training in their call center.  But still, when the conversation got around to asking if I’d be interested in making a gift, I already had my credit card out.

Communications experts will say there’s a much better way to spend your money on personal touches like this and it involves our old friend segmentation.  Here’s some recent insight regarding call center results around particular segments when called prior to the NCAA Basketball tournament versus after the tournament was under way.


Ruffalo Cody compiled results of telephone outreach efforts for a variety of donor/constituent segments at 22 schools involved in the 2014 NCAA tournament last year and is kindly sharing their insight.  Click on the image above to read the results!


By Diane Korb
APRA Greater Houston
February 25, 2015

Five tips to handle suggestions from your supporters

April 17th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising

Passionate, deeply involved supporters are a godsend, but when they start to provide well-intentioned feedback, it can be more distracting than helpful.

Here are some pointers on separating the wheat from the chaff and fielding supporter feedback.

1. Consider the Source

Some of the loudest opinions come from the least credible sources. Don’t get caught up in how elaborate, persistent, or aggressive someone is. Instead, focus on their credentials and experience.

There is always the possibility that the person offering advice actually knows what they are doing. These suggestions will most likely look legitimate and be composed in a respectful way that clearly demonstrates sound thinking.

But if the advice is coming from someone who has no experience serving the needs of your beneficiaries and simply has loud opinions, you can safely move on.

Look for experts and people who have accomplished something like what you hope to accomplish. Take the advice of these people seriously when it’s offered, and go out of your way to ask for it.

2. Look for Patterns

Even if those offering suggestions and advice are not experts in the field, you might still take notice if the same thing is mentioned by more than one person. Sometimes being close to your cause makes it easy to miss the obvious, and external input, even from non-experts, can be revealing.

If you notice a lot of your supporters are offering the same kind of advice or criticizing the same issue, take a deeper look. Even if it’s not a real problem, it’s clearly something you should address in your messaging, since it’s popping up on the radar of many of your supporters.

3. Get the Details

Vague, non-specific criticism or advice is a safe way for people to feel involved without actually having to produce any concrete items that they could be held accountable for. If you follow-up on feedback of this kind, make sure to ask for specifics.

  • If someone says your message is confusing, ask them specifically which part is confusing, and what you can do to make it clearer.
  • If they loved your presentation, ask what specifically connected with them so you can use it again next time.
  • If someone expresses anger, frustration, or sadness, ask they what made them feel that way. It might have nothing to do with your message, and explaining past it could earn you a supporter.

4. Stay Cordial

One of the most useful tricks I ever learned in dealing with criticism as a writer and a blogger is to thank people for their criticism. It catches them off guard because they are expecting defensiveness and it can turn an irritation into a genuinely invested supporter.

  • Even if the advice is not helpful or appreciated, thank the person for taking the time to offer it.
  • If you’ve decided to ignore it, you don’t need to offer an explanation. Simply saying, “thank you for your feedback,” is enough.
  • Assuming the people offering advice are your donors, it’s important to acknowledge them, since how you handle an interaction like this can determine how willing they will be to support you in the future.
  • Remember, people just want to be heard and recognized.

5. Remember You’re in Charge

Finally, remember that you are the final arbiter of what your nonprofit does and does not do. Even though you rely on donations from outsiders, those people are entrusting their money to you to do with as you see fit You are the expert here, and giving their support, donors acknowledge that to be true. They don’t have the right to dictate how the money is used after the fact.

You are the one who stepped up and decided to do something about a problem in the world. And while your solution or your execution may not be perfect, you are the one in the field, taking the risks and expending your precious time and energy.

So, realize that everyone will have an opinion, but you only have to listen to those that will improve what you’re doing.

February 26, 2015