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2008 Trends of the Week

December 28 , 2008 - January 3, 2009

International Grantmaking Trends

Estimated U.S. foundation giving for international purposes reached a record $5.4 billion in 2007, and 2008 giving is likely to top that record. International Grantmaking IV: An Update on U.S. Foundation Trends, a new report prepared by the Foundation Center in cooperation with the Council on Foundations, examines changes in grantmakers’ strategies and practices and the outlook for giving based on a 2008 survey and interviews with leading funders. It also documents trends in giving through 2006 based on actual grants awarded by over 1,000 of the largest U.S. foundations. Key findings include:

bullet International giving grew faster than overall giving between 2002 and 2007. The impact of the U.S. financial crisis remains uncertain, but most leading international funders are likely to remain committed.
bullet The Gates Foundation accounted for more than half of the increase in funding.
bullet International giving grew faster than overall giving, regardless of foundation type.

To download a copy of the report highlights as a .pdf file, go to: foundationcenter.org

December 21 - 27, 2008

How the Internet Affects Social Life and Civic Participation

Statistics Canada has published How Canadians' Use of the Internet Affects Social Life and Civic Participation, a report outlining the impact the Internet has on the social behaviors of Canadians in a virtual age. The study looks at how many hours people typically spend with others in person versus communicating with others online, and the impact those activities have on social networks. It also looks at how the Internet is used for volunteering and community involvement. The report is based on data collected from 2003 to 2007. The report suggests the Internet can make finding opportunities for social engagement more appealing due to the easier accessibility of information. A 2005 survey on how Canadians fill their time says those who are online for less than an hour per day typically log more volunteer hours than those who do not use the Internet and those who use it for more than an hour a day. These "moderate users" are also generally more likely to volunteer than the other classifications of Internet users. Statistics Canada's Giving, Volunteering and Participating, a survey completed in 2004, suggests eight per cent of volunteers use the Internet to look for volunteer opportunities, contact other organizations, promote events, and keep track of what is happening in their communities. The recent report says "survey data from Statistics Canada’s [General Social Survey] GSS on social engagement show that as far back as 2003, nearly one-quarter (23 per cent) of Canadians who were involved in at least one group or organization conducted at least part of their involvement through the Internet."

Young Canadians typically look for volunteer opportunities on the Internet more than older generations but the use of the Internet for the actual volunteer work is relatively similar between the age groups.  To download a copy of the full report as a .pdf file, go to: www.statcan.gc.ca

December 14 - 20, 2008

Public Perception of Nonprofit Overhead Spending

Study results released from Ellison Research, a marketing research firm that specializes in working with non-profit organizations, show most Americans believe non-profit organizations and charities are not financially efficient enough in their work. Sixty-two percent believe the typical non-profit spends more than what is reasonable on overhead expenses such as fundraising and administration. The findings are from a study independently designed and conducted by Ellison Research among a representative sample of over 1,000 American adults. Respondents were asked what proportion of every dollar they give to a typical non-profit organization will go towards overhead expenses such as fundraising and administration. The average person believes 36.3 cents on the dollar goes toward overhead expenses at the typical charity. The study also asked people what would be a reasonable proportion to go toward overhead expenses – and respondents were reminded to answer with a figure they feel would be reasonable, rather than what they feel is ideal. The average American believes 22.4 cents on the dollar being spent on overhead is a reasonable figure. Beyond just these averages, the study shows a number of things that are important for non-profits to understand about how Americans perceive them. For one thing, although the average American believes 36.3 cents out of every dollar is being spent on overhead expenses, this average figure comes from a very wide array of perceptions about how non-profits operate. To download a copy of the full report, go to: www.ellisonresearch.com

December 7 - 13, 2008

Significant Challenges for Charities

A new GuideStar survey shows that the proportion of charity representatives reporting decreased contributions nearly doubled between 2007 and 2008, and that almost half of participants from nonprofits that rely on end-of-year gifts expect donations to decline during the last quarter of 2008 compared to the last quarter of 2007. GuideStar, the leading provider of nonprofit information, asked individuals associated with charitable nonprofits how their organizations fared financially during the first nine months of 2008 compared to the first nine months of 2007. Some 38 percent reported increased contributions, 25 percent said contribution levels had remained about the same, 35 percent reported a decrease, and 2 percent did not know. By contrast, in 2007, 52 percent of participants said that contributions had increased, 25 percent said they were about the same, 19 percent said they had decreased, and 4 percent did not know.  In both 2007 and 2008, nearly half (46 percent) of the participants said that their organizations receive the majority of contributions during the last quarter of the year, the period known as the giving season. Last year, however, 60 percent of this group predicted that contributions during the 2007 giving season would exceed those from 2006, whereas this year, 49 percent said they expect decreased end-of-year donations. GuideStar's seventh annual nonprofit economic survey was conducted on-line October 6-20, 2008. Some 2,927 individuals representing at least 2,730 charitable organizations participated. The survey report is available at www.guidestar.org. Survey results for a particular state can be requested.

November 30 - December 6, 2008

Trends in Corporate Philanthropy

The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy released Giving in Numbers 2008 Edition, the annual analysis report on corporate giving trends. Giving in Numbers offers a comprehensive study of 2007 corporate giving data drawn from 155 prominent companies, including 69 of the Fortune 100. 2007 Findings highlight the industry's most-watched data points, such as matching gifts, volunteerism, international giving, corporate foundation giving, and management and program costs:


Corporate Foundations: Consistent with prior years, 88% of companies have a corporate foundation. According to the preliminary data, pass-through foundation structures appear to be the most common.


Matching Gifts. Eighty-eight percent of respondents reported an employee matching-gift program. The median corporate match was $2.03 million and matching as a percentage of total giving was 9%.


Program Areas. For the first time, the average percentage of total giving allocated to Health & Social Services programs was equaled by that of giving to Education (which includes K-12 and Higher Education); these giving categories each garnered 28% of the typical company’s total giving budget.


International Giving. As a percentage of total giving, grants serving international recipients increased from 10% in 2005 to 12% in 2007. Manufacturing companies in 2007 dedicated an average of 20.6% of total giving internationally compared to 4.6% on average by Service companies.


Management Costs and Staffing. The typical cost of administering a giving program is equivalent to 6.1% of total giving. However, this figure likely under-represents actual expenses. The data also show that philanthropy staffing levels do not increase proportionally as giving budgets expand.

For a copy of the report, go to: www.corporatephilanthropy.org

November 23 - 29, 2008

New Research on Corporate Citizenship

A new research study from Imagine Canada finds that the community investment initiatives of many of Canada’s largest corporations have moved beyond "check-book philanthropy" and are leveraging their assets in more ways than the public, or even the charities and nonprofits they support, might think. Corporate Community Investment Practices, Motivations & Challenges: Findings from the Canada Survey of Business Contributions to Community ─ puts a spotlight on 93 of Canada’s largest companies (annual revenues exceeding $25 million) and their community investment practices. "While the demand for these companies to give is persistent and increasing, they are doing more than just cutting a check for charities that have asked for help," says Dr. Michael Hall, Imagine Canada’s Vice President of Research. "What really stood out in the research is their strategic approaches to community investment and the ways in which they are engaging their employees and their broader stakeholder networks - clients, customers and suppliers - to leverage their philanthropy. They are putting a lot of thought into how and where they give, and are quite innovative in their approaches." While the research focuses on Canadian corporations, the findings mirror the pattern that has emerged in the US. For a summary of key findings, go to: www.imaginecanada.ca

November 16 - 22, 2008

Giving Trends Among the “Wired Wealthy”

A recent study by Convio, a relationship management software company that serves the not-for-profit sector, showed that the ‘wired wealthy’ are increasingly active online, with the intention of becoming even more so. These are individuals who donate a minimum of $1,000 dollars annually to a single cause and give an average of $410,986 to various charities each year. Major findings from the research include:


51 percent of those surveyed said they prefer giving online and 46 percent said that five years from now they will be making a greater portion of their charitable gifts online


Most charity Web sites are missing opportunities to fully engage wired wealthy with their organization. Only 40 percent of those surveyed said that most charity Web sites made them feel personally connected to their cause or mission. Only 40 percent of those surveyed said that most charity Web sites are inspiring


Email shows signs of lost opportunities to connect with various donors. 74 percent of those surveyed said it was appropriate for the charity to send an email reminding them to renew an annual gift. 74 percent of those surveyed said that an email from the charity about how their donation was spent and what happened as a result would make them more likely to give again

To download the study, go to: my.convio.com

November 9 - 15, 2008

High-Net-Worth Donor Trends

Portraits of Donors is a report that reveals specific behavioral patterns and motivations of the nation’s wealthy and ultra-wealthy donors. The report is based on data from the 2006 Bank of America Study of High Net-Worth Philanthropy, the most in-depth quantitative study ever conducted of the wealthiest 3.1% of U.S. households. The original study revealed that wealthy donors possess very different philanthropic traits when compared to the general U.S. population. In response to high levels of interest in the original study from non-profit strategists and donors, Bank of America has delivered on its promise to provide a more in-depth analysis of its findings. Developed in partnership with the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, Bank of America’s Portraits of Donors digs deeper to unveil the unique behaviors, charitable practices and motivations among 12 types of wealthy and ultra-wealthy donors. Donors can leverage these findings to help determine what they want to accomplish with their philanthropic missions and identify like-minded donors or strategists for advice. Non-profit organizations can leverage these findings to help determine how best to approach and communicate with wealthy donors based on the characteristics they’re likely to possess. To download a copy of the report as a .pdf file, go to: newsroom.bankofamerica.com

November 2 - 8, 2008

Giving During Recessions And Economic Slowdowns

Issue 3, 2008 of Giving USA Spotlight looks at recessions and economic slowdowns and their impact on charitable giving in order to help nonprofit organizations anticipate what might occur in 2008–2009 and plan accordingly. According to Giving USA, the most important step a charitable organization can take to raise funds during a recession or downturn is to ask people for contributions in a clear and focused manner. Important steps to successful fundraising include:


Work closely with the board of trustees to make sure that each board member is a current donor and an advocate for the organization’s vision and purpose.


Develop and follow a fundraising, communications, and stewardship plan. With a plan, it is easier to stay focused and maintain momentum.


Focus efforts on renewing gifts from current donors. Take no donor for granted. Thank donors, recognize their contributions and let them know of the accomplishments they have made possible.


Maximize the use of all fundraising tactics available. This can include: thank you calls made by volunteers; online giving options; information about planned giving sent to loyal, long-term donors; and effective use of public relations and media relations to communicate.

To download a copy of the report, go to: grenzebachglier.com and click on the link for “Giving USA Spotlight – Giving During Recessions And Economic Slowdowns – 2008”.

October 26 - November 1, 2008

Year-End/Holiday Giving Trends

Convio commissioned Jupiter Research to help gain insight into the online giving plans of the more than 175 million online consumers in the US. According to the report, “$3 Billion Is

A Click Away,” the research results indicate that the silver lining in this economic cloud just may be that nonprofits and consumers are aligning around online giving. Fifty-one percent, more than 89 million, online consumers say that despite the economic situation they plan to donate online during the 2008 holiday season. This level of online planned support shows that nonprofits of all sizes need to make sure their websites and other electronic communications meet consumer expectations. Among those who find online resources helpful in selecting a charity, they are 20 percent more likely to donate than the average online user. It is also important to make sure that traditional appeals such as direct mail, television and events provide people with the option to give online. Some of the research findings include:


54% of women plan to donate versus 48 percent of men


64% of people with household income of more than $100K plan to donate online with 9% donating more this holiday season


46% of 18-24 year olds and 50% of 25-34 year olds plan to donate online, with 13% of 18-24 year olds planning to donate more this holiday season than last


53% of 55-64 year olds plan to donate online showing that it is no longer just for the younger age groups


46% of the group who said their financial situation became substantially worse over the past 12 months still plan to donate online this holiday season

For the full report, go to: playbook.convio.com (Note: free registration is required to download the report.)

October 19 - 25, 2008

Donors of the Future: Key Trends

The Donors of the Future scanning project was undertaken with the joint sponsorship of the New Ventures in Philanthropy Initiative at the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, and the Community Foundation Leadership Team at the Council on Foundations. The authors describe the following key trends which emerged from the Donors of the Future Scan:


Racial and ethnic diversity will increase in almost all communities at large.


Wealth appreciation in virtually all distinct/different population groups will become significant — e.g., more wealthy African Americans,, Asians, Hispanics, women, gay, young, self-made.


The concept of endowment will face continuous pressure as new donors – from recent immigrants to self-made high-wealth entrepreneurs – enter the system.


Interest in giving internationally will increase among all types of donors.


Sending money home, among foreign born living in the U.S., in income categories from top to bottom, will increase significantly.


Flash giving– triggered by international conflict, famine, natural disasters, all unfolded instantaneously by the media – has the potential to engage and empower many donors; may be the entry point of primary mode of giving for many donors.


Donors will be increasingly attracted to self-formed learning and giving communities or gatherings, that foster connectivity and exploration, sponsor events, etc.


More and more donors will take care of all of their giving – flash and more sustained – with internet giving portals.


A more mobile population of all ages, combined with out-migration from smaller towns and rural areas, and more frequent “caravanning” among retirement aged adults, may continue to diminish the appeal and incidence of place based giving.


Giving by faith-based donors, long acknowledged as providing the majority of all giving in the US, will become even more complex to deal with. Polarization around Christian and evangelical giving will increase, as “mainstream” philanthropy institutions tag it all as “evangelical”. In current political context, Muslim giving may also become very hot.


Donor demand for a streamlined, 24-7, customized interface will push community foundations on the business operations side.


Peoples’ need to see themselves (i.e., people of their kind), in the leadership of the institutions to whom they give their money, time or allegiance will increase.


All the trends above are now evident among today’s adult population. All will become more extreme as generations X and Y – and those that follow them -- enter and assume leadership in the system.

To download a copy of the report as a .pdf file, go to: www.givingforum.org

October 12 - 18, 2008

Younger Prospects for Planned Giving

Recently, The Stelter Company combined forces with the research firm Selzer & Company Inc. to provide new research into who names charities in their wills, when and why. According to the new report, “Discovering the Silent Giver”, fundraisers should be targeting a younger age segment than is traditionally the case for planned giving. The researchers found that 41% of adults prepare a will by the time they reach age 40, and that the percentage bumps up to 84% for those age 40 and younger with average annual incomes over $100,000. Key findings of the report include:


7% of Americans have currently made a bequest to charity in their wills. In addition, another 10% are good prospects


5% of Americans have wills and say they will definitely or probably make a bequest to a charity


5% of Americans do not have wills but say they will definitely or probably make a bequest to charity when they have this document in place.

To download a summary of the report, go to: www.stelter.com. (Note: You will have to register at the website to access the report summary)

October 5 - 11, 2008

Younger Donors Just as Generous as Other Generations

Donors across all generations tend to give roughly the same amount to philanthropic causes, when controlling for other factors such as income, education and frequency of attendance at religious services, according to "Generational Differences in Charitable Giving and in Motivations for Giving," a study conducted by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and sponsored by Campbell & Company.

There are some generational difference in giving, mostly between the “Silent” and Great generations and Boomer and later generations. Key findings include:

bullet Giving differs mostly by factors other than generation – educational attainment, frequency of religious attendance and income. To the extent that these differ by generation, they explain the observed difference in giving by people of different generations.
bullet Motivations do vary by income, race, education, region of the country and religious attendance but vary little by generation after controls for these other factors.
bullet Millennial donors are most likely to be motivated by a desire to make the world a better place. They give consistent with their income, education level, frequency of religious attendance and marital status.

To download an executive summary, go to: www.campbellcompany.com. To request a copy of the full results, please e-mail study@campbellcompany.com  or visit www.campbellcompany.com  or www.philanthropy.iupui.edu.

September 28 - October 4, 2008

Bequest Giving Trends

According to a study conducted by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and funded by Campbell & Company, individuals aged 40 to 60 and those with at least a bachelor’s degree education were the most likely to be willing to consider naming a charity in their will. Key findings include:


Individuals with a charity in their will donated more than twice as much money (over $2,000 more on average) in any given year than those who do not have a charity in their will.


People with a charity named in their will tended to be between 40 and 50 years of age, indicating that fundraisers should focus on younger individuals for charitable bequests. Individuals between 40 and 60, the Boomer generation, are a significant proportion of the population. This group was also found to be a significant share of those who have already named a charity in their will and also those who are willing to consider making a bequest (50% and 51% respectively).


The three most likely motivations for charitable giving, selected by people with a charity named in their will, were “helping others;” “religious beliefs;” and “giving back to society.”


Income was not found to affect the likelihood that a donor would bequest, or consider the bequest of a charitable gift in his/her will. This finding indicates that fundraisers should not focus only on those with high incomes, regardless of income, fundraisers have between a one-in-three and one-in-four chance of speaking with an individual who would consider giving to a charity in a will.

For an executive summary of the report, go to: www.philanthropy.iupui.edu. To request a copy of the full report from Campbell & Company, send an email to: study@campbellcompany.com

September 21 - 27, 2008

How Children Fare in the Federal Budget

Kids' Share 2008: How Children Fare in the Federal Budget, published by The Urban Institute, looks comprehensively at trends in federal spending and tax expenditures on children. Key findings suggest that historically children have not been a budget priority. In 2007, this trend continued, as children's spending did not keep pace with GDP growth. Absent a policy change, children's spending will continue to be squeezed in the next decade. Key findings include:


Children’s share of domestic federal XX spending—spending that excludes defense, non-defense homeland security, and international affairs—actually declined during this period from 20.2 to 16.2 percent.


Spending over time on individual children’s programs has tended to fall behind growth in the economy and often inflation. The children’s budget has maintained its share of GDP mainly through the introduction of major new programs every few years.


The majority of spending on children in 2007 (63 percent) was on 13 major programs enacted since 1960.


By contrast, the sums spent on elderly entitlement programs tended to outpace both growth in the economy and prices. Growth in entitlement programs is automatic, driven by rising wages, medical costs, and the aging of the American population. Although a number of children’s programs are either entitlements or permanent features of the tax code, they do not tend to have automatic growth built into them.


Tax programs (specifically, the dependent exemption) and income security programs, which composed 92 percent of federal spending on children in 1960, declined to just 51percent by 2007. During this same period, health, education, and nutrition programs grew from 7.6 percent of federal spending on children to 36 percent.

To download the entire report, go to: www.urban.org

September 14 - 20, 2008

Poverty Reduction Linked to Race and Gender

A new report by the Great Lakes Alliance of the YWCA, “Economic Empowerment: Poverty Reduction With Race And Gender At The Center” links poverty reduction to race and gender. The study finds that women have higher poverty rates than men; African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans are twice as likely to experience poverty as whites. African American and Puerto Rican women experience a “double disadvantage,” where the combined impact of racialized and feminized poverty results in disproportionately high poverty rates. In nearly every community in the Great Lakes Region where a YWCA exists, single women with dependant children are most likely to live in poverty. The dynamics of poverty for women and people of color in the U.S. are diverse and complex, but they are also amenable to change. Key strategies include:


Advocating to protect working families through living wage policies, extending paid sick days and health care to more workers, establishing universal early childhood education and connecting women and people of color to higher education.


Advocating to protect financially vulnerable consumers by demanding protections against predatory lending, extending financial literacy and consumer education programs to young women, and advancing public policies on behalf of those working to gain and maintain economic self-sufficiency.


Advocating to make poverty a priority in each community and state by seeking the establishment of state-level poverty reduction benchmarks and adopting targeted, timely, collaborative community-level poverty reduction strategies.


Advocating for employees who may be economically vulnerable themselves, to ensure that they are equal recipients of efforts aimed at “economically empowering” women.

To download a copy of the report as a .pdf file, go to: www.ywca.org

September 7 - 13, 2008

Time-Use Habits of Volunteers in America

According to new research published by the Corporation for National Service, volunteers and non-volunteers in general tend to spend their time in very similar ways, spending similar amounts of time in work, leisure, and other activities. However, there are some important differences, including the amount of time each of these groups spends watching television. In a typical week, volunteers spend approximately 15 hours watching television compared to 21 hours for former volunteers and 23 hours for those who have never volunteered. On average, those who have never volunteered watch 436 more hours of television than volunteers each year. Another interesting difference is that volunteers are more likely to spend their time in various activities with other people. For instance, volunteers spend about 78 percent their mealtimes, compared to about 70 percent for former volunteers and those who have never volunteered. To access a copy of the research brief containing more findings, go to: www.volunteeringinamerica.gov

August  31 - September 6, 2008

Nonprofits Target Millennial Generation Workforce

America's nonprofit organizations are focusing on their missions to attract and retain the next generation of employees, according to a new report released today by the Johns Hopkins University Nonprofit Listening Post Project. By emphasizing that the nonprofit workplace can offer a greater sense of personal fulfillment and flexibility compared to many jobs in the for-profit world, nonprofit practitioners are finding it possible to respond to the staff recruitment and retention challenges they are facing, according to the participants in a roundtable convened by Johns Hopkins researchers. Appealing to the millennial generation is one of four key workforce recruitment and retention strategies identified by the nonprofit practitioners and other workforce experts participating in the Johns Hopkins roundtable, which was convened to follow up on a prior survey on nonprofit workforce challenges. The other strategies are:


Selling the "context" — the physical environment, the work environment, and particularly the "mission."


Approaching recruitment proactively. Given the lack of knowledge young people have about nonprofits, organizations are actively reaching out to potential recruits.


Redefining work and the work environment. Organizations are redesigning benefit packages to adjust to new family structures, offering flexible working hours, and utilizing focus groups to stay attuned to worker concerns.

The full text of the report "A Nonprofit Workforce Agenda: Report on the Listening Post Project Roundtable on Nonprofit Recruitment and Retention" is available online. Go to: www.jhu.edu

August  24 - 30, 2008

Social Return on Investment in Youth Intervention Programs

A report by the Minnesota Youth Intervention Programs Association puts forward a framework for doing social return on investment (SROI) analysis of youth intervention programs.  It then uses the framework to estimate the return to two representative programs: a comprehensive intervention program and a targeted program designed to discourage property crimes. Major findings include:


Effective intervention programs are likely to produce some of the highest returns of any youth programs since they deal with more concentrated populations, many of whom have been identified through truancy, juvenile crime, or other problem behaviors.


Based on the study of intervention programs in Minnesota, effective youth intervention programs can produce some or all of the following direct benefits: Reduced truancy, improved school performance, reduced near-term court costs, reduced costs of adult crime, reduced needs for social services, and improved health outcomes.


An effective comprehensive program costing around $2,000 per participant returns benefits of $4.89 for every dollar of cost, based on very conservative assumptions about effects and valuations. Moreover, the program returns $14.68 for every State dollar invested, assuming a 2 to 1 match of other funding.

To view a summary of the report, go to: www.wilder.org

August 17 - 23, 2008

Value of Volunteer Time Rises

Independent Sector, in a study earlier this year, announced that the 2007 estimate for the value of a volunteer hour has reached $19.51, which increased from $18.77 per hour in 2006. IS calculates the hourly value of volunteer time based on the average hourly wage for all non-management, nonagriculture workers as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with a 12 percent increase to estimate for fringe benefits. Go to: www.independentsector.org

August 10 - 16, 2008

Private and Community Foundation Trends

The Foundation Center’s recently published  Foundation Yearbook, 2008 Edition, provides an overview of the state of foundation giving in the current year and beyond, comparisons of foundation activities by foundation size, and breakdowns of foundation resources by geographic location and grantmaker type. The edition's key findings include:


Overall foundation giving rose 10 percent in 2007 to an estimated $42.9 billion


Giving by the nation's more than 72,000 grantmaking foundations increased 7.1 percent in 2006 to $39 billion


Assets of all active U.S. foundations were up 11.6 percent to a record $614.7 billion in 2006


The West posted the fastest rate of growth in number of foundations, total giving, and assets in 2006

For a copy of the report highlights, go to: foundationcenter.org

August 3 - 9, 2008

Nonprofits Engaged In Advocacy Work Despite Limitations

According to a new survey report by the Johns Hopkins University Nonprofit Listening Post Project entitled "Nonprofit America: A Force for Democracy?" America's nonprofit organizations are widely involved in efforts to influence the public policies affecting them and those they serve, but are constrained by tight budgets, limited staff time and confusing legal restrictions. The report was authored by Lester M. Salamon, director of the Center for Civil Society Studies at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies.

Additional findings from the survey include:


Large organizations and those involved in family, children, and elderly services are most extensively engaged in policy advocacy. Arts organizations are least involved.


About half of all responding organizations reported undertaking relatively limited forms of advocacy or lobbying, such as signing correspondence to a public official, responding to requests for information on policy issues, or distributing materials on policy matters. When it came to more involved forms of participation, such as testifying at hearings or organizing a public event, the proportions reporting any involvement fell to about a third.


State and local governments, not the federal government, are the principal focus of advocacy activity for most (two out of three) organizations.


Receipt of public funding seems to encourage advocacy, but reliance on private philanthropy is negatively related to advocacy.

To download a copy of the report as a .pdf file, go to: www.jhu.edu

July 27 - August 2, 2008

Growing Impact of Nonprofits in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin nonprofit sector has grown by 70 percent over the past ten years. In 2005, there were over 31,000 Wisconsin nonprofits that employed 8.9 percent of the state’s total workforce, marking a 5.2 percent employment growth rate over 2004 and pushing Wisconsin well above the national trend of nonprofits employing 7 percent of the workforce, according to the Wisconsin Nonprofit Sector Report – More Than Charity, a new report by the Wisconsin Nonprofits Association (WNA). To download a copy of the report, go to: www.wisconsinnonprofits.org

July 20 - 26, 2008

U.S. Charitable Giving Up in 2007

Charitable giving in the United States is estimated to be $306.39 billion in 2007, exceeding $300 billion for the first time in history, according to Giving USA 2008, the yearbook on philanthropy released today by Giving USA Foundation. Every type of public charity receiving donations saw gains in 2007. The estimates for 2007 indicate that giving rose in 2007 by 3.9 percent (1 percent adjusted for inflation), says the report, which is researched and written by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. This year’s report also includes results from a survey of 366 charities about their fundraising practices and the impact they believe national events had on giving in 2007 and will have in 2008.

The survey concentrated on charities in the public-society benefit subsector. These include combined purpose funds that reallocate received gifts to other charitable recipients, community and economic development organizations, research institutes, and organizations registering voters or working on civil rights issues. Combined-purpose funds include such entities as United Ways, religious campaigns and the Combined Federal Campaign. The increase in 2007 is attributable largely to stock market performance in the first half of the year, overall growth in the economy measured by gross domestic product, and increases in corporate and personal income as reported at the end of the year. Charitable giving was 2.2 percent of gross domestic product for 2007. Go to: www.givingusa.org

July 13 - 19, 2008

U.S. Population Projections: 2005-2050

If current trends continue, immigrants arriving from 2005 to 2050 and their descendants will account for 82% of the population growth in the United States during this period, according to new projections from the Pew Research Center. The nation's racial and ethnic mix will change markedly by mid-century, the projections show, with the Hispanic share rising to 29%. Among non-Hispanic race groups, the Asian share will rise to 9%, the non-Hispanic black share will hold steady at 13% and the non-Hispanic white share will fall to 47%. The nation's elderly population (ages 65 and above) will more than double in size from 2005 to 2050 and by mid-century will make up 19% of the total population. The Center’s report includes an analysis of the nation’s future “dependency ratio”—the number of children and elderly compared with the number of working-age Americans. There were 59 children and elderly people per 100 adults of working age in 2005. That will rise to 72 dependents per 100 adults of working age in 2050. The report also offers two alternative population projections, one based on lower immigration assumptions and one based on higher immigration assumptions. To download a copy of the complete report as a .pdf file, go to: pewhispanic.org

July 6 - 12, 2008

Home Broadband Adoption Stalls for Low-Income Americans

A new study from the Pew Research Center will be of special interest to nonprofits. Some 55% of adult Americans now have broadband internet connections at home, up from 47% who had high-speed access at home last year at this time. From the March 2006 to March 2007 timeframe, home broadband adoption grew from 42% of Americans to 47%. The rate from March 2007 to April 2008 was 17%; this compares with the 12% growth rate from March 2006 to March 2007. It is also worth noting that the April 2008 number for broadband adoption at home is little changed from the 54% figure from the Pew Internet Project's December 2007 survey. With growth in broadband at home, just 10% of Americans now have dial-up internet connections at home. Growth in broadband adoption was flat among the poor and African Americans. 25% of low-income Americans - those whose household incomes are $20,000 annually or less - reported having broadband at home in April 2008. This compares to the 28% figure reported in March 2007 among those living in households whose annual incomes are $20,000 or less.

African Americans showed slow growth as well, with 43% saying they had broadband at home in April 2008 versus 40% who said this in March 2007. For more information, go to: pewresearch.org

June 29 - July 5, 2008

Trends in Black America

According to one of the largest-ever studies of Black America, 70 percent of African Americans already have a plan for their future. The survey was released today by Radio One Inc., the study’s sponsor, and Yankelovich, the Chapel Hill-based research firm.

The survey of 3,400 African Americans between 13 and 74 years of age, the only study to include Black teens and seniors, found also that 54 percent were optimistic about their future and 60 percent believe “things are getting better for me.” The study provides the most detailed snap shot of African American life in the United States today, and finds strong group identity across age and income brackets. It also discloses a comprehensive look at how African Americans feel about many aspects of life in America, and cautions against a simplistic reading of Black America as a monolithic group. In fact, it shows that Blacks are divided evenly on how they liked to be described, with 42 percent (who are more likely to be affluent) preferring to be called “Black” and 44 percent preferring “African American.” The survey, representing nearly 30 million Black Americans, identified eleven specific segments within Black America today, ranging from Connected Black Teens, Digital Networkers and Black Onliners at the younger end, to Faith Fulfills, Broadcast Blacks and Boomer Blacks at the older end. To download a copy of the report as well as several facts sheets, go to : www.blackamericastudy.com

June 22 - 28, 2008

Using Employee Volunteering Benefits HR Departments 

In a recent survey of executives of large Canadian and US companies, more than two thirds of responding companies reported that volunteerism will grow in importance as a management priority (The Conference Board, 2006). One reason is the growing belief that employee volunteering benefits business. The last few decades have produced claims regarding the HR value of company-supported employee volunteer programs. According to recent research about the practices of pioneering companies, it is increasingly clear that the HR areas that employee volunteering best supports are employee professional development, recruitment, morale and retention, and teamwork. For a description of trends and best practices in each of these areas, download a copy of the report at: www.pointsoflight.org

Seven in 10 agree that "even if there is an economic downturn that moderately affects my business, I plan to keep my current level of nonprofit or charitable giving in the coming year." They are "charity multipliers," in that more than half encourage employees to donate time and/or money to company charities. And one in three say they will match donations made by employees. Their generosity extends beyond simply giving money. Business owners are a critical component of the nonprofit world as members of nonprofit boards. About half (47%) of respondents sit on the board of a philanthropic organization, particularly those that focus on religious concerns (21%), arts/culture (18%), children's needs (18%), and healthcare issues (17%). Go to: www.suntrust.com

June 15 - 21, 2008

High Net Worth Business Owner Giving Trends

For business owners, personal passion -- not personal reward -- drives philanthropic involvement, according to a survey released today by SunTrust Bank Private Wealth Management. The national study surveyed over 200 high net worth business owners, whose companies have at least $10 million in annual revenue, about their philanthropic involvement and motivation. Business owners cite "helps make a positive change" as the top reason for charitable giving. Nearly three-fourths of respondents say satisfying their personal moral beliefs drives their philanthropic impulses. And fewer than half say they give to receive tax credits; to bring positive attention to their business; to network; to establish a legacy; or to gain recognition. Virtually all the business owners surveyed have made a charitable donation personally (96%) and through their business (79%). On average, in 2007 they report having donated over a quarter of a million dollars to charitable causes through their businesses and $78,000 personally or as families.

Seven in 10 agree that "even if there is an economic downturn that moderately affects my business, I plan to keep my current level of nonprofit or charitable giving in the coming year." They are "charity multipliers," in that more than half encourage employees to donate time and/or money to company charities. And one in three say they will match donations made by employees. Their generosity extends beyond simply giving money. Business owners are a critical component of the nonprofit world as members of nonprofit boards. About half (47%) of respondents sit on the board of a philanthropic organization, particularly those that focus on religious concerns (21%), arts/culture (18%), children's needs (18%), and healthcare issues (17%). Go to: www.suntrust.com

June 8 - 14, 2008

Governance Trends in Midsize Nonprofits

According to a recent Urban Institute study “Boards of Midsize Nonprofits:  Their Needs and Challenges“, nonprofit boards are receiving increased attention from policymakers, media, researchers and the public. Yet most research, policy proposals, and best practice guidelines have been oriented toward large organizations. This study helps fill a major gap by focusing on governance among midsize nonprofits, identifying certain problem areas, and suggesting strategies that those engaged with midsize nonprofits may find helpful in strengthening their boards. The discussion uses data on the subset of 1,862 midsize organizations in the Urban Institute National Survey of Nonprofit Governance, the first national representative study of nonprofit governance. Comparing midsize nonprofits with their larger counterparts, the study finds that their boards are less engaged in many basic stewardship responsibilities. Midsize nonprofits’ boards also have greater difficulty attracting new members. These comparisons underscore the need for efforts targeted at midsize nonprofits to help them strengthen their governance. For an abstract as well as the full study, go to: www.urban.org

June 1 - 7, 2008

America's Nonprofit Sector Growth Trends

According to the Nonprofit Almanac 2008 just published by the Urban Institute Press, America's nonprofit sector continues to grow faster than its business sector or its government. The nonprofit sector’s role in the economy has expanded by most key measures since 1998. It employs more people, draws in more revenue, and contributes more to the gross domestic product than it did a decade ago. Key findings include:


Sector highlights: In 2006, nonprofits contributed $666.1 billion to the U.S. economy, and received $1 trillion in revenue, a 5.7 percent increase over 2005. In 2005, 12.9 million people worked for nonprofits, up from 11.1 million in 1998.


Giving highlights: Private giving (individuals, foundations, and corporations) reached $295 billion in 2006, more than double 1996’s $139 billion. Individuals donated $222.9 billion in 2006, compared with $107.6 billion in 1996; personal bequests added another $22.9 billion in 2006, up from $12 billion in 1996. Foundations gave $36.5 billion in 2005, a 197 percent increase from 10 years earlier.


Volunteering highlights: 61.2 million people said they volunteered in 2005. About 12.9 billion hours were volunteered in 2006, the equivalent of 7.6 million full-time employees.


In 2006, the estimated wage value of volunteer time was $215.6 billion—equivalent to 43.3 percent of all nonprofit wages.

To order a copy of the Nonprofit Almanac, go to: www.urban.org

May 18 - 31, 2008

Social Finance Trends

Charity Village recently published a report entitled, Strengthening Organizational Capacity: Social Finance Survey Report. The report explores the concept of social finance, or finance that delivers social, environmental and economic benefits, and how it may be an excellent opportunity for nonprofits to identify new ways of accessing capital since 96% of survey respondents agree that the nonprofit sector needs to explore new ways of accessing capital to meet its goals. The majority of respondents (61%) from outside of Canada had heard of the term “social finance.” while within Canada, that awareness level dropped to 53% of respondents. For more information, and to download the full report as a .pdf file, visit: www.charityvillage.com.

May 11 - 17, 2008

Trends in Online Messaging, Fundraising and Advocacy Nonprofits

M+R, in partnership with several other organizations, published the first eNonprofit Benchmarks Study in 2006. Since that time, there have been significant changes in the online space, including the huge growth in social networks like MySpace and Facebook, and an overall decline in the performance of email. The 2008 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study, just published by M+R and the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), covers two years of data, and, in combination with the original study, provides a 3-year landscape of nonprofit email, fundraising and advocacy metrics. Key findings include:


The total amount raised online increased by 19 percent from 2006 to 2007.


The average advocacy email response rate in 2007 was 7.5 percent. The average fundraising email response rate was 13 percent.


While $1,000+ gifts made up just 1 percent of overall online donations in 2007, these gifts made up 20 percent of the amount raised online.


A significant portion (almost 60 percent) of the participants’ subscribers did not take any online advocacy actions over the course of 2007.


‘Super activists,’ the subscribers taking 6 or more online actions in a year, made up just 5 percent of the total email list size but accounted for 42 percent of the organizations’ total actions.

To download a free copy of the full report, go to: www.e-benchmarksstudy.com

May 4 - 10, 2008

Pro Bono Skills-Based Volunteerism Skills: Untapped Resource for Nonprofits

According to the fifth annual Volunteer IMPACT Survey by Deloitte, the overwhelming majority of human resource professionals view skills-based volunteerism as a powerful and cost-effective professional development tool, yet very few companies are leveraging volunteer programs for this purpose. The national survey of Fortune 500 human resource managers found that, while training and development is perceived as vital to corporate success, many managers are laboring under shrinking or flat budgets, underscoring the need for cost-effective innovation. One solution could be found in an unlikely place — the company’s volunteer program. Fully 91 percent of respondents agree that skills-based volunteering (which involves the contribution of business knowledge and experience to help nonprofits increase their capacity) would add value to training and development programs, particularly as it relates to fostering business and leadership skills. However, only 16 percent make it a regular practice to intentionally offer these opportunities for employee development, suggesting a missed opportunity to boost learning in a way that offers substantial benefits. Go to: www.deloitte.com

April 27 - May 3, 2008

Involving Youth in Nonprofit Arts Organizations

The future of nonprofit arts organizations large and small depends on attracting the best new talent to administer their affairs, to serve as artists and audiences, and to act as advocates, boosters, and financial supporters. Given the shrinking pool of younger people and the increased competition for their attention, action to meet this pressing, and increasingly complex, challenge can no longer be left to a vague future date. This report, prepared by Barry Hessenius and commissioned by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, explores these issues and challenges with the hope of sparking a national discussion. Key findings and recommendations include:


As a field, the nonprofit arts sector needs to intensify its efforts to convince young people of the value of involvement in the arts, widen bridges and lines of communication to the next generation, and involve young people in areas heretofore outside the scope of their experience, for example, financial support and advocacy.


Launch a national dialogue about youth involvement in the arts. As soon as possible, leaders in the field should convene forums and discussion groups in major urban and regional centers across the country to address the issue of generational succession and youth involvement.


Develop a sector-wide strategic plan to: 1) aggressively market the benefits of involvement with the arts to young people; and 2) create a nationwide grassroots corps of young activists and advocates for the arts.

To download an executive summary and full report, go to: www.hewlett.org

April 20 - 26, 2008

Giving by U.S. Family Foundations Jumped 21 Percent in 2006

America's family foundations gave $17 billion in 2006, a 21 percent increase over 2005, according to the Foundation Center's new report, Key Facts on Family Foundations (2008 Edition). Since 1998 — the first year for which statistics on family foundations are available — giving by these grantmakers has more than doubled. The report identified 37,100 independent foundations with measurable donor or donor-family involvement. Among other key findings in the report:


67 percent of all family foundations have been established since 1990.


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ranked as the largest family foundation by giving and assets in 2006.


Many family foundations are small, with 49 percent giving less than $50,000 annually.


Education was the top funding priority of family foundations located in the Northeast, Midwest, and South, while health accounted for the biggest share among Western family foundations, largely due to the Seattle, WA-based Gates Foundation.

To download a copy of the report as a .pdf file, go to:  foundationcenter.org

April 13 - 19, 2008

Survey: Many Non-Profits Fall Short on Ethics

Fraud is as prevalent in nonprofit organizations as it is in business or government, and misconduct in these organizations is at the highest level on record according to an Ethics Resource Center (ERC) survey. The ERC, an 85-year-old Arlington, Va.-based group devoted to research and the advancement of high ethical standards, used the Opinion Research Corp. to poll 3,452 employees and received telephone responses from 558 employees in the nonprofit sector between June 24 and Aug. 15, 2007. Fraud, in the Ethics Resource Center’s National Nonprofit Ethics Survey, consisted of lying; the alteration of documents, including financial records; and the misreporting of hours. Additionally, the survey found, six types of misconduct posed high risk to the nonprofit sector: discrimination, sexual harassment, misuse of confidential information, lying to stakeholders, improper hiring and safety violations. The ERC surveyed employees in business and government during the same period as well. In the business sector, 56 percent of employees surveyed said they observed misconduct, as opposed to 57 percent in the government sector and 55 percent in the nonprofit sector. The survey shows that rate of observed misconduct in nonprofit organizations is at the highest level since the ERC began measuring it in 2000, when it was reported by 46 percent of respondents. In 2007, more than half (55 percent) of nonprofit employees observed one or more acts of misconduct. To download a copy of the report as a .pdf file, go to: www.ethics.org

April 6 - 12, 2008

Teen Volunteerism on the Rise

Youth Helping America--Building Active Citizens: The Role of Social Institutions in Teen Volunteering shows that 55 percent of American teenagers volunteered in 2004, compared to just 29 percent of adults. Approximately 15.5 million teenagers contributed more than 1.3 billon hours of service in 2004, according to the survey, produced by the Corporation for National and Community Service in collaboration with the U.S. Census Bureau and Independent Sector. Going beyond previous studies linking volunteering to individual and social characteristics, this analysis also looked at the frequency of youth volunteering, and at the relationship between social institutions and their level of volunteer commitment. Key findings include:


39 percent of the teenagers who volunteer are regular volunteers, compared with 55 percent of adult volunteers who fall in that category, while 35 percent of youth are occasional volunteers and 27 percent are episodic volunteers


The stronger the social ties, the more likely a teen is to be a regular volunteer:

  1. Youth with at least one parent who volunteers are nearly three times more likely to be regular volunteers than youth from non-volunteer families – 33 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

  2. Youth who attend religious services regularly are nearly twice as likely to be regular volunteers as those who do not attend services.

  3. Students who report doing better in school are more likely to volunteer regularly than are students who do not do as well.


High school students are more likely to be regular volunteers than are junior high school students – 24 percent and 15 percent, respectively

For a copy of the report as a .pdf file, go to: www.learnandserve.org

March 30 - April 5, 2008

Charitable Giving Focusing On the Needs of the Poor

The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and Google partnered on a study to estimate how much of the charitable giving by households in the U.S. focuses on the needs of the poor. The report, entitled “Patterns of Household Charitable Giving by Income Group, 2005”, found that less than one-third of the money individuals gave to nonprofits in 2005 was focused on the needs of the economically disadvantaged. Of the $250 billion in donations, less than $78 billion explicitly targeted those in need. Only 8 percent of households' donated dollars were reported as contributions to help meet basic needs--providing food, shelter or other necessities. An additional estimated 23 percent of total giving from all sources went to programs specifically intended to help people of low income--either providing other direct benefits (such as medical treatment and scholarships) or through initiatives creating opportunity and empowerment (such as literacy and job training programs). For a copy of the report, go to: hwww.philanthropy.iupui.edu

March 23 - 29, 2008

Foundation Giving Trends

The nation's largest foundations increased funding for all major subject areas in 2006, with a record number of exceptionally large grants helping to drive this growth. According to the Foundation Center's new report, Foundation Giving Trends (2008 Edition), six out of 10 fields posted double-digit rates of growth in the latest year, led by the field of international affairs/development/peace, which grew 72.5 percent. For the first time ever, health surpassed education based on the share of grant dollars received.

Key findings include:


International giving overall increased 48.4 percent, driven by strong gains in funding for international affairs/development/peace and health.


Foundations awarded a record 386 grants of $5 million or more in 2006.


The 16.4 percent growth in grant dollars awarded by sampled foundations in 2006 followed a far more modest 6.1 percent gain in the prior year.

To view report highlights, go to: foundationcenter.org/gainknowledge. To order the full report, go to: foundationcenter.org/marketplace

March 16 - 22, 2008

Givers See Nation's Charities as Crucially Important But Wary of Slick, Pushy Marketing

According to a report, The Charitable Impulse, by the nonpartisan research organization Public Agenda, American donors are passionate and positive about the charities and nonprofits they support. But at the same time, according to focus groups, they are concerned when these organizations market themselves in ways that mimic "big business." The study was conducted in collaboration with the Kettering Foundation and in partnership with the Independent Sector. Donor sentiment about charitable organizations, Public Agenda reports, is "enthusiastic and positive," especially when it comes to smaller, local charities and human service organizations, and typical giving tends to be based on personal experience and emotional connections. But givers also have a long memory for scandal and waste. Focus groups took past misdeeds "quite personally and the breach is nearly impossible to repair," the report states

Givers also had strong and spontaneous negative reactions when nonprofits adopt big-business type marketing and sales techniques. Glossy brochures, unsolicited "gifts," telephone solicitations, and high-pressure appeals "all came in for criticism and generated a high level of annoyance." For the most part, donors associated the term "nonprofit" almost entirely with the work of charitable, human services organizations. Many seemed surprised and even a little resentful that large nonprofits such as hospitals and universities (organizations that charge significant fees for their services) actually fall into this category. Report highlights are available in a news release at www.independentsector.org. To download the full report as a .pdf file, go to: www.publicagenda.org

March 9 - 15, 2008

Ready to Lead? Next Generation Leaders Speak Out

The Annie E. Casey Foundation, CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, the Meyer Foundation and Idealist.org have released a report entitled Ready to Lead? Next Generation Leaders Speak Out. This new study is based on surveys of nearly 6,000 nonprofit employees who do not hold executive director jobs. Among the survey's key findings:


Potential nonprofit leaders find the traditional duties of an executive director unappealing.


69 percent of respondents said that they felt underpaid in their current positions, while 64 percent said that they have financial concerns about committing to a nonprofit career.


Thirty-two percent of respondents indicated that it would be at least six years before they felt ready to take on an executive role, citing the need to develop management, technical, and leadership skills.


Of the respondents who do aspire to become executive directors, 40 percent said that they are either ready now or will be ready to lead within five years.


Members of minority groups were more likely than whites to express an interest in leading a nonprofit organization, as did individuals who reported growing up poor.

For a copy of the report, go to: meyerfoundation.org

March 2 - 8, 2008

Volunteering Hits a 30-Year High

A report by the Corporation for National and Community Service, Volunteer Growth in America: A Review of Trends Since 1974, finds that adult volunteering rose sharply between 1989 and 2005, increasing more than 32 percent over the last 16 years. Even with the increase, less than a third of American adults give their time. The report analyzes volunteering rates in 1974, 1989 and 2002-2005, using information collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It finds that the growth in volunteering is driven primarily by three age groups: teenagers 16 to 19, Baby Boomers and others age 45 to 65, and older adults 65 and over. Among the findings:


Older teenagers (ages 16-19) have more than doubled their time spent volunteering since 1989.


Far from being a “Me Generation,” Baby Boomers are volunteering at sharply higher rates than did the previous generation at mid-life.


The volunteer rate for Americans ages 65 years and over has increased 64 percent since 1974.


The proportion of Americans volunteering with an educational or youth service organization has seen a 63 percent increase just since just 1989. 

For a copy of the report as a .pdf file, go to: www.nationalservice.gov

February 24 - March 1, 2008

Corporate Contributions Rise Again

A new study by the Conference Board reports that total corporate contributions in the U.S. and abroad (among 189 major corporations and corporate foundations) amounted to $10.2 billion in 2006, up from $9.8 billion in 2005. Total U.S. giving among 189 corporations polled was $7.9 billion. This represents 62 percent of the overall estimated $12.72 billion in corporate charitable giving in the U.S. in 2006. The Conference Board study also compared U.S. giving among 146 corporations and foundations between 2005 and 2006 and found that their contributions to worthy causes decreased by 6.3% from $7.2 billion in 2005 to $6.7 billion in 2006. Median U.S. giving among this group also declined from $49 million in 2005 to $46 million in 2006. These matched cases provide the most accurate analysis of year-to-year trends in U.S. giving. Reflecting the increased global reach of business operations, international grantmaking is emerging as an increasingly significant component in the giving programs of many large companies. Total overseas charitable contributions (as reported by 88 companies surveyed) soared in 2006-their total reaching $2.3 billion. For more detail and to download a copy of the full report, go to: www.conference-board.org

February 17 - 23, 2008

Civic Engagement Among Minority Youth

A report from the CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement) authored by Karlo Barrios Marcelo, Mark Hugo Lopez, and Emily Hoban Kirby summarizes trends in civic engagement among minority youth. Minority youth are engaged in a wide variety of civic activities. Recent research suggests that there are differences in the nature and degree of civic engagement among young people by race and ethnicity. This research generally finds that African-American youth are among the most engaged politically, and Asian-American youth are among the most engaged in civic activities such as volunteering. In contrast, most work has found that young Latinos often lag behind every other group on traditional measures of engagement, especially in voting and volunteering. However, Latino youth are highly engaged in other ways, such as protesting. The report utilized data from the 2006 Civic and Political Health of the Nation Survey, and several other sources. To preview the report as a .pdf file, go to: www.civicyouth.org

February 10 - 16, 2008

Foundation Expenses and Compensation Trends

A new report issued jointly by the Urban Institute, the Foundation Center, and GuideStar entitled What Drives Foundation Expenses and Compensation? presents the findings of a three-year study to analyze the expense and compensation patterns of the 10,000 largest foundations in the United States. It finds characteristics such as foundation type, size, and operating activities are important factors for understanding differences in foundation finances. Despite the economic downturn and the volatility of the stock market during the study years (2001 to 2003), the patterns of foundation expenses and compensation are clear and consistent over time. This is the first large-scale, long-term, and systematic study of independent, corporate, and community foundations’ expenses and compensation patterns and the factors behind them. Key findings include:


Foundations differ greatly in their structures, resources, and operating characteristics and these differences significantly affect their expense levels.


Employment of staff is the single most important factor affecting expense levels, followed by staff size and level of program activities.


Most foundations do not compensate board members; those that do are most often staffed and independent.


The status of the economy and the stock market affect assets and giving levels, which in turn affect the charitable administrative expense portion of qualifying distributions.  

For a copy of the full report, go to: www.foundationcenter.org

February 3 - 9, 2008

Online Charitable Donation Trends

Network for Good, a processor of online charitable donations for more than 1 million nonprofits, released a report, “The Young and The Generous: A Study of $100 Million in Online Giving to 23,000 Charities”, analyzing the $100 million dollars donated to 20,000 groups through its site and affiliated sites since November 2001. Report findings include the following:


Online donors tend to be young with a median age of 38. Offline donors tend to be over the age of 60.


More than half of online donors are female and most have given to a charity before.


The most generous online donors came from Washington, D.C., New York, and Connecticut.


Most popular organizations in 2005 were disaster relief and international groups with $24.5 million going to tsunami relief, Hurricane Katrina, and the Pakistani earthquake. Animal-related organizations ranked third, followed by human services and education.


The number one reason donors say they give online is convenience: it is easier than writing a check.

To view the report as a .pdf file, go to: www.groundspring.org

January 27 - February 2, 2008

Lesbian and Gay Grantmaking by U.S. Foundations

Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues has released Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Funding by U.S. Foundations, a report for Calendar Year 2005. Grantmaker support for LGBTQ issues reached an all-time high of $52.8 million in 2005. Report highlights include:


In 2005, 199 U.S.-based grantmakers awarded 2,560 grants supporting LGBTQ issues totaling $52.8 million dollars.


Independent foundations continued to provide the majority of LGBTQ funding in 2005.


The combined funding of the top ten foundations represented 48 percent of the total grant dollars awarded, a decrease of 10 percentage points from 2004.


The top 10 foundations by number of grants awarded accounted for 48 percent of all the grants made in 2005.


Foundations that are among the top 50 U.S. funders by asset size awarded 15 percent of the LGBTQ grants in 2005.


Ten non-profit organizations received more than one-quarter of all dollars granted.

To download a copy of the report as a .pdf file, go to: www.lgbtfunders.org

January 20 - 26, 2008

Study Finds Nonprofit Leaders More Effective than Corporate Heads

The Nonprofit Quarterly has released initial findings of a research study that reveals that nonprofit leaders may well be more effective than for-profit leaders. An article detailing this landmark study and its results is published in the winter issue of The Nonprofit Quarterly. The study was conducted last year by Community Resource Exchange (CRE), in partnership with Performance Programs Inc. (PPI).

Over 2,500 management leaders in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors were studied through feedback surveys submitted by peers, direct reports and managers with a total of 22,859 respondents. The study shows that nonprofit leaders significantly outscore their for-profit counterparts across the board in 14 out of the 17 dimensions of leadership practices. These dimensions include persuasiveness, risk-taking, demonstration of effectiveness and vision. For-profit leaders score higher in only three dimensions.

Go to: www.nonprofitquarterly.org

January 13 - 19, 2008

How Cultural Heritage Organizations Serve Communities

This Urban Institute report authored by Carole E. Rosenstein focuses on the work of nonprofit cultural heritage organizations. Across the United States, nonprofit cultural heritage organizations serve communities by helping people to remember their shared experiences and aspirations, building and sustaining a sense of community through fairs, folklife programs, public celebrations of music, food, and holidays. This report uses Form 990 data to examine the finances and programs of these organizations. It finds that cultural heritage organizations tend to be small, to blend program areas, to make cultural difference central to their work, and they show important program and organizational variation across ethnic groups. These key characteristics should be taken into account when supporting cultural heritage organizations. To download a copy of the report as a .pdf file, go to: www.urban.org

January 6 - 12, 2008

Foundation Giving Trends 

Health and education received the largest shares of foundation grant dollars in 2006, according to the Foundation Giving Trends Preview. Contributing to this growth were a number of exceptionally large grants awarded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This snapshot report provides a first look at 2006 grantmaking patterns. Among other key findings: international affairs posted the fastest growth in grant dollars between 2005 and 2006. A detailed analysis of these findings will be published in February in the 2008 edition of Foundation Giving Trends. To download a copy of the preview report as a .pdf file, go to: foundationcenter.org

December 30, 2007 - January 5, 2008

Nonprofit Governance Policy Changes

The governance landscape of the not-for-profit community has changed dramatically since the implementation of Sarbanes-Oxley. Today, 87 percent of not-for-profit organizations have created new governance policies compared with 20 percent in 2003, according to Grant Thornton LLP's fifth annual National Board Governance Survey for Not-for-Profit Organizations. Some notable board governance policy changes that organizations have made include:


92% of respondents have implemented new accounting policies and procedures, compared to only 59 percent in last year's survey.


Almost nine out of 10 (87 percent) respondents have adopted a written investment policy, compared to 63 percent in 2006.


Only 30 percent of survey respondents have a policy in place requiring the board or one of its committees to review the organization's Form 990, but this remains an emerging trend.

Go to: www.grantthornton.com


To view 2007 Trends of the Week, click here.

To view 2006 Trends of the Week, click here.

To view 2005 Trends of the Week, click here.

To view 2004 Trends of the Week, click here.


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