Saturday, October 17, 2009
And though I would prefer to just go ahead and call the position Data Nerd, I had to dream up a title. Bereft of inspiration, I googled "job title," and found Bullshit Job's Job Title Generator. Though I did not go with "Global Assurance Executive," it was embarrassingly helpful to look at a list of possible job suffixes.
Hence: Development Data Specialist. Aw yeah.
Oh, and I also took the "Is your job bullshit?" quiz. My score: 88, interpreted as "Chances are you irritate people."
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I am going to start here, with the OMG! (No, I'm not kidding: Object Management Group, with the most stunningly un-sexy website I have seen in quite some time.)
Despite the OMG site's austere appearance, "Introduction to BPMN," an article by Stephen A. White of the IBM Corporation, gave me some fantastic diagramming ideas.
(You will have to ignore explanatory text such as "The OMG is a likely candidate to eventually take in the BPMN standards and there have been discussions between BPMI and the OMG to facilitate this transfer in the future. Considering that the OMG is currently developing UML, which includes Activity Diagrams, it is possible that a consolidation of BPMN Business Process Diagrams and UML Activity Diagrams will take place." I am certain this makes sense to certain members of the OMG, if you know what I mean.)
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
During my presentation at the Association of Advancement Services Professionals Summit, I asked the 35 or so people in the room to raise their hands if they would ever want to be a major gift officer. Not a single hand went up!
This was a room, and a conference, full of people who love data. I would certainly recommend this organization and conference to other Advancement Services professionals.
One of AASP's first major initiatives is collecting best practices in the field -- the first coordinated effort to do so. Maybe this will end the perennial arguments over the proper length of time between receiving a donation and receipting it, and other such advancement services controversies.
A few other notes: the first part of the presentation relied heavily on my commentary and group discussion, so may not be ultra-useful. The second part is all charts and graphs -- if it looks like a cross-tab, it's an Excel pivot table. That means that any of the numbers can be double-clicked to view the data behind the number.
If you haven't explored the world of pivot tables yet, I highly recommend getting yourself a list full of data, and playing.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
*"Dealing with what the planned giving officer dragged in" -- hilarious!
*90 - 95% of all planned gifts are revocable.
*Proper tracking is a key to good stewardship, which is very important to maintaining revocable gifts.
*Marketability is the primary issue around accepting a piece of real estate. Do a marketability review. Consider liability as well, e.g. pollution. Don't try to handle these issues in-house. It's accepted practice for the donor to pay for the appraisal and environmental survey.
*New community foundations are being set up to accept real estate on behalf of charities, sell it and then give the proceeds to the charity.
*Bequests: Good practice is keeping a copy of the will, in case you are the only surviving beneficiary. It's a donor stewardship issue, not a "prove you left us the money" issue.
*You don't have to accept a bequest, e.g. bad real estate.
*John suggests updating the present value of planned gifts on a quarterly basis.
*Average bequest is $50K. You can conservatively estimate the future value of a planned gift of unknown amount based on this (use $25K). Or, average your organization's bequests, and use that.
*Ask donors to discuss their bequest intentions with their families, to avoid perceptions of undue influence. And stay clear of elders with mental capacity issues.
*Actively monitor probates. Ask the executor for a copy of the will, an inventory of assets, and to be notified of all actions pertaining to the estate. You can also ask for an early distribution of your share, i.e. before all estate taxes are paid.
*Gift annuities: Be on time with payments and 1099-R forms. Watch out for varying state laws. There's an increasing risk of donors outliving their life expectancy, and having the annuity go under water. Beware of restricted annuities: what if the fund doesn't have enough money remaining to fulfill the donor's wishes?
*Charitable remainder trusts: Know whether the trust is revocable. Trusts with the donor as trustee are a red flag -- they are often incorrectly established. Beware of trusts with a payout rate that is too high: 5% is good.
*Life insurance: New policies are most likely to be problematic, since they don't yet have any value. Monitor the cash value on an annual basis. If the cash value is going down, get rid of it. Stay out of monitoring premium payments -- ask the donor to set up an automatic payment. Life insurance is very tricky!
I hope in the meantime that you can squeeze some meaning out of the strange line breaks.
*Generational shift is trending toward online engagement. Baby boomers prefer to give online. Gen X pretty much only wants to give online. Millenials rarely check personal email.
*In 2008, 27% of new giving was online, compared to 6% in 2004.
*Approximately 5% of total giving is online.
*86% of major donors visit a nonprofit's website before giving, but only 8% were very inspired by it. They don't return very frequently.
*75% want to control their experience, such as frequency and content of email.
*The current email model must change from a program-centric (e.g. separate email strategies from each program) to a donor-centric model.
*Top 8 online success factors:
1) "Collapse your silos" -- Coordinate communication strategies to provide relevant, personalized content
2) "Provide Control to Constituents" -- Give subscription options. Allow specific unsubscribes rather than just a global unsubscribe. Two primary reasons for unsubscribe: frequency and relevance.
3) "Optimize Your Web Presence for 'Conversion'" -- Offer substantial engagement opportunities.
4) "Rethink Your Email Communications" -- Segment content according to constituent interests. Communicate when you have something to say; don't be a slave to your schedule. Pay attention to metrics. Test with two segments of 5% of pool each.
5) "Make Giving Tangible" -- Show the impact of the gift. Example: the Fill America's Fridge campaign. Once again, make it relevant. For example, the ASPCA segments by dog person or cat person.
6) "Multi-Part Appeals" -- Even if you don't have time to craft multiple messages, simply resend the original message with a note that it is a reminder.
7) "Online Moves Management Strategy" -- Collect profile data: interests, preferences. Engage as donor or volunteer. Create segmented relationship pathways. The major donor pathway must be highly personalized and donor-controlled. Needs a high ratio of cultivation to appeals. Provide opportunities for two-way communication. Use data acquired online to inform offline engagement. (Put it in your donor profile!)
8) "Leverage Social Networks" -- Must be committed, needs frequent attention. Caltech decided to use Facebook rather than developing their own social network. Consider replacing the class agent model with a natural network-based viral campaign.
*Segmentation is key.
*When purchasing social networking software, integration with your fundraising database is key.
*Facebook = don't just rely on Facebook, as it doesn't allow for transactions, such as event registry and giving. But make sure that your social networking software interfaces with Facebook.
*Your social networking software should be integrated with your email tool.
*Email must direct folks to website or action. Consider destination that will increase connection to your institution, e.g. a webcam to see progress on the new building.
*Make sure your social networking software tracks stats like email open rates and other behavior.
*Survey responders are great volunteer prospects.
*Follow up survey response with email -- you have opened up a communication stream. Continue the conversation.
*Bribing people to do a survey doesn't necessarily increase response rates.
*Engage volunteers in managing social network.
*Timing -- think about whether you are sending to home or business address. Think about behavioral patterns, holidays, etc.
*Send non-fundraising emails, both good and bad news. As an example, Kansas State had a tornado on campus, and sent an immediate email to alums letting them know about damage to the buildings. They raised a bunch of money.
*Frequency -- mail every 3 - 4 weeks.
*Sender -- maximize recognition. To whom will constituents respond? Be consistent -- use only one or two aliases. Ideally, build segmentation to the point where you can identify different influencers for small segments.
*Subject lines -- impact, urgency, intent are key. Use a short statement to arouse curiosity.
*Test formats. Don't be scared of tiny percentage of people who can't view HTML.
*Put simple clear directions within first two or three lines.
*Twitter ROI is not high. It's more effective for admissions. Hesitate before allocating resources to it.
*Reaching young alums -- strategize with young volunteers. Make sure their efforts lead to something impactual.
*Events -- announce 3 weeks in advance, and do frequent reminders after registration.
*Shannon teaches lean thinking in higher ed administration at the Pawley Institute at Oakland University. Their website has resources for lean thinking.
*Lean thinking = sustaining improvement.
*Collective understanding is key to lean.
*"Lean is about respect for the individual."
*"Create mind maps to find the heart of the matter."
*"Lean" coined in 1988 based on a 5 year MIT study of 37 automotive plants in 17 countries.
*Continuous improvement cycle -- plan, do, check, act (revise plan).
*History of lean started in 1850 with the creation of interchangeable parts, the decline of craft production, and the rise of mass production. This reached its apex with Toyota.
*Use visual management tools (one sheet of paper) to tell the story.
*Create value, eliminate waste. Value is defined by customer/stakeholder.
*Waste causes slower production, decreases efficiency, and consumes resources without creating value.
*Lean = produce only what the customer needs (pull vs. push).