Tag Archives: donation

Dear Housing Works Thrift Shops

On Thursday, Oct. 11 at about 5:15pm I intended to donate a bookcase clock to your Gramercy Thrift Shop. I had been carrying it around all day with Housing Works in mind.

While in the bag the clock unscrewed from its pedestal and I screwed it back in. The young woman accepting donations saw that and when I put it on the counter she laughed. The clock swivels in its pedestal and I surmise she decided it was broken and a worthless item.

When I asked her for an explanation she insisted, “Nothing is wrong” and chuckled when I accepted her offer of a donation form. Her unsuppressed snickering turned me off and moved me to withdraw my donation. She offered no apology or explanation.

She’s [description omitted]. The clock is 2 years old from Bombay Company.

Your thrift operations need to be more attentive to hiring and training.

I have donated to the Gramercy store previously and bought from there. My most meaningful purchases were a $250 chair with ottoman and a $100 file cabinet. I have bought smaller items as well.

Your inconsiderate employee cost you a donor and buyer.

I blog on philanthropy and fundraising. I may well blog this as an example of what not to do.

Sincerely,
Tony Martignetti

I emailed that to Housing Works’ vice president for development on a Sunday. He emailed me back on Monday:

So sorry to learn about your experience at the Thrift Shops. I’ve forwarded your email to our director of stores. I expect that you’ll hear back from her shortly.

Please know that we appreciate your generous support over the years and we hope that this experience doesn’t completely end our relationship with you. Staff training is very much important to us; however, we sometimes fall short of our customer service goals.

Feel free to call me at any time; my contact info is below.

Housing Works’ director of stores left me two messages on Tuesday. She was very apologetic. I called her back but we haven’t spoken.

Rather than an example of what not to do, which I anticipated, it’s representative of the right way to handle a customer complaint.

Well done, Housing Works.

Nonprofit Radio for July 6, 2012: Automated Accounting & From Online Engagement To Action

Big Nonprofit Ideas for the Other 95%

Listen live or archive:

Tony’s Guests:

Aaron Schmid
Aaron Schmid: Automated Accounting

Aaron Schmid is chief product officer at Bill Highway and he thinks a lot about accounting, so you don’t have to. He has ways to increase visibility; improve reporting; standardize if you have more than one office; automate; and integrate with your bank.

 

With Jay Frost on Fund Raising Day 2012
Jay Frost: From Online Engagement To Action

From Fund Raising Day 2012, Jay Frost, CEO of FundraisingInfo.com talks with me about moving people from engagement online to giving online. How to convert your social media friends into donors.

 
 
 
 


Top Trends. Sound Advice. Lively Conversation.

You’re on the air and on target as I delve into the big issues facing your nonprofit—and your career.

If you have big dreams but an average budget, tune in to Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio.

I interview the best in the business on every topic from board relations, fundraising, social media and compliance, to technology, accounting, volunteer management, finance, marketing and beyond. Always with you in mind.

When and where: Talking Alternative Radio, Fridays, 1-2PM Eastern

Sign-up for show alerts!

Here is a link to the audio podcast: 099: Automated Accounting & Online Engagement To Action.

Respect Small Donors

Wrapped Pennies by Ben Popken on Flickr
I emphasize it as a prime takeaway in every workshop, webinar and keynote I do: the best Planned Giving prospects are those over 55 who have a long, consistent giving history, and when you screen for consistency, ignore the size of the gifts.

Donors who give you only $5 a year–and have been doing it for many years–are outstanding prospects for a planned gift. You need to thank your small donors.

They may be testing you, to see whether you appreciate small donors, as they anticipate a larger gift. Or, they may be giving all they can (or all they feel they can) during life. Because they love your work so much, there may be a gift in their estate.

The savvy Planned Giving officer at New Jersey Institute of Technology knew this well. Monique Pryor wisely nurtured a relationship with Helen and John Hartmann, who had given NJIT around $25 a year for thirty years. Last week the college announced a $5 million gift from Mrs. Hartmann’s will, the largest in the school’s history.

You don’t thank small donors because they might some day be large donors. You thank them because it’s the right way to treat your donors.

Your small donors deserve your respect.

(My thanks to Maria Semple, The Prospect Finder, and a regular contributor to my radio show, for sending me this story.)

Nonprofit Radio for March 18, 2011: Legislative Lookout and APPrehensive

Big Nonprofit Ideas for the Other 95%

You can subscribe on iTunes and listen anytime, anyplace on the device of your choice.

Me interviewing Emily Lam and Perry Wasserman
Legislative Lookout:
I’ll discuss the possible change in the charitable deduction with nonprofit lobbyist Perry Wasserman. Perry is managing director of 501(c) Strategies, a Washington, DC-based lobbying firm that works exclusively with nonprofit organizations.

We’ll examine what Congress is debating that hits home for you:

  • Is the charitable deduction at risk?
  • What’s the fate of the IRA charitable rollover?
  • What are continuing resolutions, and why are they killing important nonprofit programs?

 

APPrehensive:
Should you develop a smartphone app for your nonprofit? Scott Koegler is our regular tech contributor and editor of Nonprofit Technology News. He will explain what it takes and how you get started.
    

Top Trends. Sound Advice. Lively Conversation.

You’re on the air and on target as I delve into the big issues facing your nonprofit—and your career.

If you have big dreams but an average budget, tune in to Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio.

I interview the best in the business on every topic from board relations, fundraising, social media and compliance, to technology, accounting, volunteer management, finance, marketing and beyond. Always with you in mind.

When and where: Talking Alternative Radio, Fridays, 1-2PM Eastern

Sign-up for show alerts!

“Like” the show’s Facebook page.

Here is the link to the podcast: 033: Legislative Lookout & APPortunity

Gift Possibility Remains For 2010 IRA Rollovers

There’s still a chance for your charity to get a 2010 IRA rollover, even though re-contribution is not allowed.

When I posted about the revived IRA charitable rollover, a question arose among the comments. Advisors wondered if those over 70 1/2 who had already met their 2010 minimum required distribution (or MRD, which most taxpayers use as their maximum distribution) could re-contribute to their IRA, then make a charitable gift. The purpose would be to take advantage of a provision in the Tax Relief Act that allows January charitable rollovers to count toward 2010 MRD. The IRS says “no,” because Congress didn’t allow for it. Here’s coverage from The Chronicle of Philanthropy and The Wall Street Journal (if you’re allowed in).

Yet, a gift possibility remains. Your donors who’ve met their 2010 MRD still can do an IRA rollover to your nonprofit (more precisely, it’s a “qualified charitable distribution”) this month, and make the election for it to count in 2010. They would have to distribute more than their 2010 minimum, with the extra going to you. They could do it up to the $100,000 annual limit and it would not be taxable income.

That’s a tough sell, I know, because so many people count the minimum as their maximum–the floor as their ceiling. (They live in a building where I would not want to buy; strictly a rental property). But, it’s a possibility you should consider. Someone who loves your work–a board member, perhaps–might be game. A particularly good prospect for this is someone with a multi-year pledge, looking to accelerate their payments. Or a donor willing to help you overcome a 2010 shortfall.

Another possibility: I have a client with a donor who has pledged his entire IRA to the charity, including distributions, but still owns it. Someone who has made that commitment may also be willing to get cash to you sooner than later. (We’re talking to him.)

Hey, I’m opening up a possibility where you probably thought one did not exist. Exploit as you see fit.