Archives For giving

non-profit giving donor development insights

Some very interesting research was recently published and if you pay attention, the 2012 Millenial Impact Report can be very relevant to your church or non-profit donor development communications efforts.

The intent of the research was to find the best ways to engage the millennial generation for volunteering, donations and involvement in leadership.

Here are just some of the findings that I found really interesting along with personal reactions listed below:

  • 75% of surveyed Millennials made a financial gift to a nonprofit organization in 2011 // Are you still saying giving is down?  No one is in the mood to give these days?  Think again!
  • The typical Millennial supported five organizations in 2011 // This tells us that it definitely makes sense to try and build relationships with this group.  They aren’t putting all their eggs in one basket.   They see a need, they give.
  • By a margin of more than 2-to-1, Millennials who volunteer for nonprofits are more likely to make donations, and survey responses and focus groups comments suggest that volunteering correlates to larger gifts // Are you making volunteers a central part of how you carry out your mission?  Do you have a spot for every person that would want to give their time and talent?
  •  70% of the Millennials participating in the survey said they have raised money on behalf of nonprofits, most often by promoting events or participating in active events // Are you just asking for checks?  Or are you finding ways to create experiences that help engage donors via physical events?
  • Millennials are willing to help raise money for nonprofits they believe in, and will turn first to family and friends for donations // If you can gain the trust and support of this group, they’re willing to carry the torch for you to their personal network
  • 89% of Millennials go first to the web page that describes the mission of the organization // Does your website tell WHY you do what you do?  I’m not talking corporate gobbldy-gook mission statements.  I’m talking good storytelling that shows (not tell), what you do, why and how.
  • The phrase that best describes their giving preferences (42% of respondents): “I give to whatever inspires me at the moment.” // Are you effectively sharing your vision? You are sharing all the great stories of the transformations & impact their donations create large and small?  And vice vesra, whenever you share the small and big wins, are you make it easy for someone to give again?

But I think the biggest idea that can be taken away from this research report is something the organizations I work with are already tired hearing about from me at this point (but I won’t stop saying it again and again!):  You have to continue to chisel away at the gap between when the donation action occurs and when you share what impact their contribution has done.

When someone gives you money, they want to know their donation made an impact, and they want to know it isn’t just a drop in the bucket.  You have to make sure you communicate that every dollar they gave was critical — and share how it was pivotal in doing ____________.  Without their donation, ____________ would not have been possible!

Your job isn’t just to say what words fill that blank space, it is to put it on display.  Tell the story.  Your job is to put the donor as close to the point of impact as possible.

What part of this equation is still a challenge for you?  Describe it in the comments below so we can help you increase your effectiveness.


This is the second in a series of guest posts by Howard Freeman – Founder and Principal of Zoey Creative Development, a charitable giving consultancy in NYC serving both organizations and also individual philanthropists.

He is also the author of the upcoming book on online giving called, ‘Making A Difference 2.0’ (Skyhorse Publishing, May 2012) and can be reached at



Last time we looked at how to find more money.

Christian organizations should avail themselves of select professional tools like prospect research, because fundraising and engaging donors in a vision is a profession and should be approached with professional standards and ethics.

This week we look at raising more money. Our recommendation is not exactly ‘orthodox’ by traditional fundraising standards. But it is biblical.

Most organizations try to employ increasing numbers of tactics to make people give larger gifts and more frequently.  Some of these techniques are certainly useful, such as one- or two-click online giving, multiple methods of giving, fundraising events, classes in budgeting (to reduce debt and free up income for giving), etc.

But the truly radical way to get people to give is to teach them what the Bible has to say about money, who Jesus is, and calling them to live a holistically generous life.

What makes it radical is to do it with no expectation of return.  (Try passing this by your church finance team!)

One group doing this very well and offering programs almost free to Christian organizations is Generous Giving.

Their ‘Journey of Generosity’ (JOG) events now have metrics to show that the transformation of attendees is not just deeper discipleship but—to make those finance teams happy—fuller coffers.  Of those surveyed:

  • 75% say that the JOG “changed their perspective or practice related to generosity.”
  • 43% say they have already made a new gift they would not have made before the JOG.
  • 76% say they plan to make a gift in the next 12 months they would not have made before the JOG.
  • 97% say they have talked about the impact with someone else.
  • 77% say they plan to attend another GG event in the next 12 months.

The key, though, is that it must be done for them, and not for your organizational budget.

While space doesn’t allow here, studies by George Barna and Brian Kluth show that regularly talking about the budget from the pulpit can increase giving marginally, but teaching on generosity can increase giving exponentially.

In the next and final post, we look at something—stewardship—that the best secular and faith-based organizations both do well.

And I use the metaphor of the world’s oldest profession.  (It’s not what you think…)