Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Year-end Nonprofit Survey is in!

According to a survey conducted by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative, only 52 percent of 1,845 charitable organizations surveyed reached their fundraising goals in 2010. The survey concentrated on two key areas—organizations that reached their fundraising goals and organizations that raised more funds last year than in the previous year.

Here are some interesting findings:

- 43% of organizations saw growth in fundraising revenues compared to 33% that saw declines.
- 67% of those surveyed saw contributions increase or stay about the same up from 54% in 2009.
- 58% of organizations with the capability to receive online donations saw an increase in online giving.
- 50% of organizations with a major gift/events channel saw a rise in major gift/events revenue.

Most charities expect giving in 2011 to increase and plan to hold staffing and expenditures for fundraising at 2010 levels.

Read the entire survey to learn more about how the nonprofit sector fared in 2010.

Reflections of a veteran Grantor

I am sure the thought of Patrick Hodges being a grantor is somewhat terrifying for those that know me, but after 3 years of serving on the Blackbaud Fund advisory board, that is exactly what I am! Dare I say the experience has been life changing? Well, perhaps not life changing, but my participation in the process has forever changed my perspective on the needs of our community and the positive impact a company and its employees can have on our local nonprofits.

In this 15th year for The Blackbaud Fund, we maintained the original charter of using our endowment resources to focus on education for disadvantaged youth. The process for determining who gets the funding can be powerfully moving as we learn more about the organization and the mission it supports and, conversely, excruciatingly tough, as we determine who may not be funded due to lack of oversight or need.

The best part? Making that call to the organization to let them know of our decision to fund their program or overall mission and speaking on behalf of over 2500 Blackbaud employees who are indirectly voicing their support as well. I have sincerely appreciated being a part of this process, and meeting with over 10 funding candidate organizations during on-site visits has given me an experience that I have leveraged both personally—educating my two young sons on the power of philanthropy and giving—and professionally.

If you happen to be a Blackbaud employee and you are reading this, did you know that you have:
• Helped to support after school programs for children attending Title One Schools where they learn self confidence, the value of diversity, and how to collaborate with peers and teachers
• Supplied hope in the form of free summer camps to foster children who have been victims of abuse and neglect
• Supported educational programs which teach young children about their world and environment and how they can positively impact it
• Supported a program that teaches core reading skills to children at the most critical point in their early educational development
• Supported a program which pairs mentors with at-risk male youths to reduce teen pregnancy and high school dropout rates through education on attitude, responsibility, and the modeling of positive behavior

Wow, I take that back, it has been life changing!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Defining your community

I was late and now after several minutes more of searching I found a parking place.  Not a big deal, but as I got out of the car I put on my jacket quickly and wondered how my apology would sound.  Being busy is probably good.  Being insensitive to a prospect's time is definitely not.  I tried several versions of my apology in my head as I jaywalked and dodged traffic.

Half a block from my appointment I saw a face I recognized.  It was a man I had met once or twice and now I was struggling to recall his name.  I planned one of those moving handshakes.  Right hand out, keep up my pace, just a quick hello, rotate as you did no go as planned.

Patterson Smith reached out to shake my hand and stopped me by stepping into my path.  "George," he said, "your collar is turned up."  He reached up and folded it down patting my shoulder as he did.

"Community" is made of a thousand little moments like this one.  Most times you do not see who is looking out for you.  There is the courtesy of the drivers who let me step out in front of them.  The concern of parents who coaxed their children to one side to let me pass on the sidewalk.  Even the gifts of the homeowners who trimmed their trees and planted their gardens that calmed me on my brisk walk.

If you think that this little story is my new friendship with Patterson Smith you are missing my point.  Yes, I will be nicer to him in the future.  The point of my story is that "community" is about the care we provide for people who are several steps beyond our circle of friends.  In my case, it was care for someone (me) wrapped up in their own little world and not thinking about others.  

I went on to my meeting, which seemed so important as I left my car, but which now felt secondary to the many little meetings I just had as I walked from my car.  I belong to a community.  Somebody, lots of somebodies, are looking out for me.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Behind God's Back

Hundreds of copies of a newly published book were distributed on a Saturday afternoon in March to residents of Cainhoy, Wando and Huger in lower Berkeley County, near Daniel Island. The author was there to sign copies of the book, and the British Broadcasting Company was there to report on it. What I saw as I left the book-signing at the old Keith School (site of a Black neighborhood school pre-integration, now a community center) was as touching as it was stunning. In the parking lot, people stayed in their cars, reading the book. Along Clements Ferry Road, people sat on their front steps, reading the book. At the fire station, firefighters were in folding chairs in the front yard, reading the book. At a church near the entry to 526, a woman walked inside to services, holding the book.

"Everyone said when you live ‘behind God’s back’ you live way out," said author Herb Frazier in a recent interview. "And this was way out, even though it wasn’t that far from Charleston. Daniel Island, as the crow flies, is three miles from Charleston. Cainhoy is about 12. But it took a long way around to get there because there was no direct route by road."

That is, not until recently, with the development of Daniel Island and access to it via Interstate 526.

Herb’s book, Behind God’s Back, was published last month, funded by the Foundation’s Wando-Huger Community Fund, to tell stories going back hundreds of years of the residents of dozens of neighborhoods that have surround Daniel Island for generations.

People in these parts knew about the book, because scores of them were interviewed as Herb did his research. But they were astonished at the result when those interviews and the material Herb found – from Charleston to the Library of Congress to Chicago and New York – were all put together in one brilliantly conceived and written history of the area.

Two good things are sure to result from this book. Families who have lived here for generations (“Bin Yah’s”) will know that the importance of their lives and those of their forebears is respected. And newcomers to the area (“Come Yah’s”) will have a deeper understanding of those they now call neighbors.