Tag Archives: Double the Donation

Neon One’s Donors: Understanding The Future of Individual Giving – Part 2

NeonOne set out to understand what individual giving looks like in the post-pandemic world. By reviewing many sources including academic journals, industry reports, blogs, and more, they have synthesized six questions:

  • Who are our donors?
  • What do our donors support?
  • When do our donors give?
  • Where are our donors?
  • Why do our donors give?
  • How do our donors give?

In Neon One’s Donors: Understanding The Future of Individual Giving – Part 1, we focused on the first three questions. In this Part 2, we are focusing on the last three questions.

Continue reading Neon One’s Donors: Understanding The Future of Individual Giving – Part 2

New Forms of Giving in a Digital Age: Powered by Technology, Creating Community

What is this report?

This report looks at how gender impacts how men and women use the Internet and social networks and the impact on giving by looking at case studies of platforms, apps and movements. The data came from four datasets from online donation platforms and apps—Charity Navigator, GlobalGiving, Givelify, Global Impact’s Growfund tool—that total 3.7M+gift transactions over at least two years.

What are the key findings from the article?

  • Women give a greater amount of gifts to charities than men. Women gave nearly 2/3 of gifts across all platforms. While men’s gifts were larger in dollar amount, women gave more money overall from the volume of their gifts.
  • Women are more likely to give to smaller sized organizations than men. For instance, Giving Tuesday data found that women gave 66.3% of gifts to organizations with revenue less than $5M. GlobalGiving similarly found that women gave 65.8% of gifts to organizations with revenue less than $5M.
  • Women give significantly more to women’s and girl’s organizations. For instance, Giving Tuesday found that women gave 72.3% of gift count and 69.4% in amount of dollars to women’s and girl’s causes. The only major exception was Growfund, where while women gave 57.1% in total gifts to such causes, which only accounted for 13.5% of total dollars given.
  • Going beyond dollars will better engage donors than just dollar amounts. Giving Tuesday is a case in point. Initially, Giving Tuesday was just concerned with amounts of donations and dollars raised. But Giving Tuesday realized that there are more ways to take action and they have broadened their scope to include volunteering, asking others for money, and networking assistance.
  • While giving online allows donors to find causes that best suit their needs, it presents an opportunity for platforms to “curate” causes for prospective donors. GlobalGiving uses an algorithm to “provide more visibility to certain projects.” While there’s a debate about the benefits and negatives to algorithms, this presents an opportunity.
  • However, there were some interesting differences with Growfund, a “$0-minimum donor-advised fund.” The data found a more even split in number of contributions to accounts by both genders. However, women gave less overall their accounts than men. Moreover, men distribute more funds from their accounts to nonprofits but women give in greater amounts to nonprofits in terms of gift size and total dollars.

What can I do as a result?

  • Find out how you can leverage your online giving to attract women donors. In Kathleen Loehr’s Gender Matters, she writes about what image you are putting out to prospective donors. What does your website, your social media, giving platforms and other marketing collateral say about your organization? What kind of images of people are you showing? Are you showing images of just men or just women or both? What stories are you telling? Your organization may want to think about what their digital presence says about the values of your organization as a whole. Moreover, have you identified possible “influencers” in your donor population who may champion your cause.
  • Since fundraising is about relationships, platforms need to create community online. The report explains: while giving online presents new opportunities, there is the challenge of how to maintain engagement with donors and increase their trust. The report aptly says: “The online world should enhance and add to the in-person experience, rather than replace it.” How can your organization build community with online donors? Maybe consider having special webinars/online meetings, forums, and other tools to help create that sense of community.
  • Figure out how you are stewarding your online donors. Do you send them a personalized email thanking them for their gift, as Penelope Burk recommends? Or do you rely on the automatic email receipt to do the job for you? Do you treat your online donors like your other donors? Double the Donation found that only 25% online-only first time donors were retained in the next year, which suggests there may be an issue with stewardship of these donors. Are you also being inclusive of philanthropy that isn’t strictly dollars? What about volunteering and networking?
  • If you are a small-sized organization, you might want to see how you compare with the data. Do you know the gender breakdown of online giving at your organization? Many organizations don’t track gender (and this study noted that it used first names which was imperfect) so it may be tricky. But it might help you have a better sense of your constituency.

Additional Resources

Corporate Giving Opportunities

Corporate Giving Opportunities

Companies are trying to respond to the devastation that coronavirus has had on people’s lives, whether personally or professional. Recently, at least 20 companies have expanded their matching gift programs in response to the pandemic. For example, companies like AbbVie and Apple are upping the match from 1:1 to 1:2. Nonprofits can gently remind their donors who work at these companies about the increased opportunities to double or triple their gift.

Chronicle of Philanthropy has been keeping track of corporate donations to coronavirus relief efforts. So far, LEGO Foundation and LEGO Brand Group have given the largest publicly known donation of “$50 million to Education Cannot Wait and other partners to bring play-based learning to children and families around the world who are experiencing school closures as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.” These publicly announced gifts can help fundraisers have a sense of what these companies prioritize in this time of crisis and may want to adjust their corporate fundraising strategies accordingly.

Join us for our corporate fundraising panel

Aspire Research Group partnered with DonorSearch for a panel on Corporate Fundraising at their Virtual Conference UnBound. You may have missed it live, but you can always watch the replay.

Jen Filla led a discussion with frontline and research fundraising practitioners who answered questions about corporate fundraising strategies and the role of prospect research in support of those strategies. The panel covered topics such as strategy during the pandemic, corporate capacity ratings, and audience questions.


  • Tracy LaMondue, Vice President, Development at American Geophysical Union
  • Christine A. Mildner, CFRE, Prospect Research Analyst at The Nature Conservancy
  • Dixie Ost, Director of Corporate Giving and Sponsorship at the Field Museum of Natural History
  • Elisa Shoenberger, Research Consultant at Aspire Research Group LLC

Click Here to register and view the replay.

Additional Resources

To Use or Not to Use Corporate Capacity Ratings

Recently Aspire Research Group put together a panel on corporate fundraising as part of Donor Search’s Unbound, a virtual conference. We invited three speakers to speak about corporate fundraising and posed the question about capacity ratings.

While capacity ratings are the typical researcher’s bread and butter, we asked our panelists about the use of capacity ratings when it comes to corporate prospects. This is a critical challenge for many prospect researchers and organizations to tackle. Capacity ratings are used to help prioritize prospects and also used to help quantify an ask amount. How do gift officers evaluate a company as a prospect for their organizations?

Chris A. Mildner, CFRE, Prospect Research Analyst at The Nature Conservancy, explained they used their capacity ratings with companies in addition to individuals. She mentioned the use of an affinity rating to help identify the possible intersections between the company’s mission and the nonprofit.

Tracy LaMondue, Vice President, Development at American Geophysical Union, says the first thing she looks for is alignment between the organization and the company. That’s essential. She looks to see where the company has given, how much they have given, as well as looking at the company overall to see their behavior over 30-120 days, or longer. She takes a holistic approach to a company to ensure that the relationship could be win win as well.

Dixie Ost, Director of Corporate Giving and Sponsorship at Field Museum of Natural History, takes a similar approach to evaluating a prospect. At her organization, they use research to determine if they should cultivate a corporate prospect, or not, or wait for a better opportunity. An organization may approach companies at different levels at your organization, such as corporate board, corporate membership program and/or exhibition/event sponsorship.

Ost prefers this strategy over using a strict numerical capacity rating that tries to quantify what a company may give, which most prospect researchers think of when it comes to capacity ratings.

From the panelists, it seems clear that affinity and alignment are key to prioritization. The quantified capacity can also help with prioritization, but it may be more critical further down the line when an ask is made.

In a 2018 #ChatBytes interview, Sarah Anderson, Research Analyst, Development & Alumni Engagement, University of British Columbia (UBC), talked with Jen Filla about corporate and foundation capacity ratings. She had done panels on the topic at APRA International and has fielded lots of questions from other research shops. She says many organizations are looking at the same factors, notably financial indicators, previous giving, and linkages, but treat the factors differently in the final evaluation. She also found that the relationships between the nonprofit and corporation are critical.

But quantifying a corporation’s capacity can be tricky. Some experts have used a percentage of profits or revenues, but that can be unreliable if you’re dealing with a private company. Anderson notes that what companies give may not be commensurate with their profits. At UBC, they have three factors such as capacity rating based on financials; level of inclination; and interest codes. They are intended to be viewed together but that may not happen. UBC was working on dealing with overvalued capacity ratings. They were thinking about implementing something akin to University of Alberta where they weight the capacity rating with likelihood to give to the organization.

Other people in the industry have suggested looking at the published gift amounts to organizations like yours as a guide. If a company has a foundation, it’s possible to use the company foundation’s IRS Form 990 to see their grants and make an estimate based on gifts to organizations like yours in a year.

Moreover, how do you quantify a corporation that gives in many ways, such as direct giving, foundation giving, matching gifts, etc.? There may be “different pots of money” depending on the program and part of the company, which you may not know about without the help of a gift officer, Anderson says. Then again, it’s common to see individual donors giving directly as well as through family foundations, their companies and/or their donor advised funds.

If you do go the route of coming up with a quantified dollar amount as a capacity rating, Anderson suggests using corporations you know to develop that formula to see if it passes muster and then working from there.

Ultimately, the best strategy is what works for your organization. Gift officers and prospect researchers should talk about what is the best way to communicate priority and alignment to help unpack those nice corporate dollars for your organization.

Additional Resources

Fidelity Charitable 2020 Giving Report: Inside Donor Advised Funds

What is this Report?

This report is a review of Fidelity Charitable Donor Advised Funds (DAFs)in 2020. By looking at 138,019 accounts (which is a snapshot since the number fluctuated during the year), Fidelity Charitable reported on the demographics of donors to DAFs, causes supported, and other metrics.

What are Key Findings of this Report?

  • Donor Advised Funds are continuing to grow. 225,000 donors at Fidelity Charitable made 1.5M donor-recommended grants totaling $7.3B in 2019, a 39% increase from 2018. In 2019 Giving USA reported that donor advised funds were 3% of all charitable giving in 2018.
  • Demographics of who is opening an account is changing. While most donors establish accounts in their 50s (79% of account holders are over 50), younger folks are starting to ramp up their giving through Donor Advised Funds. Millennials opened 13% of DAFs in 2019 compared to only 6% in 2014. But they are more likely to make a donation to the ALCU or Wikimedia, environmental organizations, and health organizations.
  • Categories of causes supported by Donor advised funds mirror USA’s general giving. Religion is number one with education as number two. This remains true with Millennials. However, International Affairs are included in Millennial’s top 5. But the most popular charities in 2019 were Planned Parenthood and ACLU.
  • Donors are using Fidelity Charitable to convert non-cash assets into contributions. Over 60%of contributions came from non-cash assets, like stocks.
  • It doesn’t take a lot to open an account. Donors can open an account for $5,000. 54% of accounts have less than $25,000; 37% have between $25,000 and $250,000; and 9% have more than $250,000. In the National Philanthropic Trust 2019 report on DAFs from 2014–2018, the average size of a donor-advised fund was $166,653 in 2018, a big difference from Fidelity Charitable.
  • Donors are loyal to their charities with DAFs. In 2019, 74% of grants went to a nonprofit that the donor had already supported in the past. Twenty-five percent or so were pre-scheduled or recurring.
  • Donors make the majority of their grants unrestricted. 60% of grant recommendations are for unrestricted funds. This is a contrast with other modes of thought that donors want their funds to go to restricted funds.
  • Great news for prospect researchers: Most donors include their names and addresses on grants. Eighty-eight percent of donors include this information; 9%only include their giving account name and 3% are anonymous.
  • Contributions do not sit in accounts. Three-quarters of grants are made within 5 years. According to Pam Norley, president of Fidelity Charitable, Fidelity now has a policy that if the DAF has not made a grant in three years, Fidelity will take five percent and donate it via an independent board of trustees. If the fund doesn’t give in the fourth year, Fidelity will give it all to charity.

What Can I Do as a Result?

  • Nonprofits should keep a close eye on grants from donor advised funds. Donors behind the DAFs should still be tracked and thanked with care because they are showing obvious support of your organization. This may require a tweak to the gift entry process to identify DAF owners via DAF name or otherwise.
  • Fundraisers should realize that this new tool doesn’t necessarily mean the end of fundraising as they know it. DAF giving categories are similar to the general trend. Donors, moreover, are giving through many vehicles; DAFs are only one tool of many to make a gift.
  • Charities should look at ways to facilitate the conversion of non-cash assets. Since donors are donating a lot of non-cash assets to DAFs, this suggests a need for charities to do a better job at facilitating conversions of stock, cryptocurrencies, etc. Charities ought to make it easy for donors to give in the way they want to give. The National Philanthropic Trust notes that in the 2018, the growth of contributions to donor-advised funds was higher than the growth of grants made from donor advised funds, possibly as a result of the tax law. However, they predict that donors may soon reverse the trend and give more from their donor advised funds.
  • Be on the lookout for companies that make employee matching gifts to DAFs. National Philanthropic Trust notes that there is a rising trend for some companies to allow payroll deductions to DAF and/or match employee giving to funds from DAFs. For example, American Express will match contributions from a DAF but not made to a DAF or to establish a DAF.

Additional Resources