Tag Archives: giving circles

Nonprofit Radio for July 31, 2023: Giving Circles


Sara LomelinGiving Circles

What are giving circles, when did they begin, how do they work, why do they shift power dynamics, and where’s their value for your nonprofit? Sara Lomelin has made these spread throughout the world as CEO of Philanthropy Together.


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[00:00:25.92] spk_0:
And welcome to tony-martignetti Nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite Heb Domino podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with us. I’d be stricken with mono neuritis if you caused me pain because you missed this week’s show. Here’s our associate producer, Kate with the highlights.

[00:01:19.70] spk_1:
Thanks, tony. This week we have giving circles. What are giving circles? When did they begin? How do they work? Why do they shift power dynamics and where’s their value for your nonprofit? Sarah Loin has made these spread throughout the world as ceo of philanthropy together on Tony’s take two. Thank you were sponsored by donor box with intuitive fundraising software from donor boxx. Your donors give four times faster helping you help others. Donor Boxx dot org. Here is giving circles.

[00:02:14.39] spk_0:
It’s a pleasure to welcome Sarah Loland to nonprofit radio. She believes that everyone, everyone can be a philanthropist, a philanthropy disruptor. Sarah has traveled the world, speaking about the power of collective giving, she’s an expert in diversifying philanthropy as founding ceo of philanthropy together. Sarah is growing a movement of people powered philanthropy to fund grassroots nonprofits shift power dynamics and promote widespread philanthropy. She’s on the National Council of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University’s Lily Family School of philanthropy and the board of Directors of Giving Tuesday and battery powered. Her company is at philanthropy together dot org and she’s at Sarah underscore Lome. Welcome to nonprofit radio.

[00:02:26.68] spk_2:
Sarah. Thank you so much, tony. It’s a pleasure to be here with you and I love how you start the, the, the energy of how you start the podcast because, you know, um I’m like that and sometimes I feel like I’m the, you know, the person with all the energy in the world and i it’s very refreshing to, to see you there. Well, thank

[00:03:31.10] spk_0:
you very much. Yeah, I, I’m, I’m not one of these. Uh I’m very excited to have Sarah Loin with me today. My excitement, you know, that’s, that, that’s not, that, that, to me, that’s not excitement. So, yes, my pleasure. Uh Yes, high energy, both of us, high energy. So giving circles, giving circles. This is so interesting to me. I wanted to speak to you and then we were on a panel together and then your associate reached out to me and asked if I asked if I would have you as a guest. And I was thinking, yeah, I’ve been trying to, I’ve been, uh it’s, I’ve been on my to do list for maybe six months or so. So, uh I’m grateful that all these factors brought us together giving circles a, a around the pandemic. Is that, is that where they got started or is it before

[00:03:35.09] spk_2:
then? Well, ok. Well,

[00:03:38.09] spk_0:
ok. Oh, well, they go back hundreds of years. I know that too. Ok, that’s true. All right. Giving acquaintance with giving circles, please. I’m talking too much.

[00:05:03.05] spk_2:
No, no, no, no, no, you’re, you’re fine and, you know. Yeah, let’s start with what, what is the giving circle? Right? So again, circle is, you know, a group of people with shared values that get together to create change is um a very effective form of philanthropy that has existed, you know, for many, many, many, many years, they are not new, they are not American, they have existed, you know, the whole idea idea of people banding together to give together is as old as humanity itself. So, you know, there are giving circles all over the world in many, many different cultures. Um Here in the US, the, the the model of a giving circles, as we know, it kind of started getting some spotlights around the eighties. And uh most given circles here in the United States are led by women. So 70% of given circles are led by women. And to this date, like the last research around giving circles, the last, the last landscape research uh was done in 2016. And we saw in that research that there were about 100 and 50,000 people involved in about 1600 given circles at that point that had donated $1.3 billion in the past couple of decades. And that’s throughout,

[00:05:14.01] spk_0:
that’s throughout the world

[00:05:15.84] spk_2:
that, no, that’s only us. Oh, that’s us.

[00:05:18.97] spk_0:
16, 1600 giving circles $1.3 billion. Yeah. How many people, how many people in those six

[00:06:40.87] spk_2:
150,000? Ok. So, the great thing is that now, you know, because when you think about research of 2016, it feels like it’s, you know, from 100 years ago, we are just, you know, we’re in the middle of uh updating that landscape research. Actually, the, the, um the survey just closed at the end of May. So we will have the new, the new report in a few months. And, uh you know, are we know anecdote anecdotically that there are many, many more giving circles and many more people uh involved in them. And uh and we would just want to have, you know, the, the numbers to prove it. But to go back to your question around the pandemic, the pandemic was uh a great moment for giving circles in a, in, in a weird way, right? Uh Because a lot of people, I mean, what all of us were stuck at home and many people were thinking, OK, what is, what is mine to give? Right? I don’t want to feel helpless. What can I do from my living room? And we saw many hidden circles getting started uh that didn’t have, you know, geographic barriers. So I will be contacting my cousin in, you know, Ohio and my nephew in New York. And we were started giving circles uh you know, to support different causes. So there were many given circles that were started during the pandemic.

[00:07:05.83] spk_0:
You like to talk about the, either I, I some place I saw four someplace I saw 54 to 5 features or, or like sort of steps of, of your, your giving circles. So let’s talk about those, either four or five, however you break it down.

[00:07:22.63] spk_2:
Yes. So yes, what do you need to have a uh a, a giving circle, right? Because the giving circle model is super flexible. You and that’s the beauty of it. You can, it’s

[00:07:42.22] spk_0:
like, it’s like, it’s like giving Tuesday. It’s no surprise that you’re on the board of giving Tuesday. There’s a lot more nonprofits involved in giving Tuesday than I’m sure they can quantify. Uh it’s, it’s flexible, it’s open ended. They give you some tools and then you go,

[00:11:19.04] spk_2:
so you go, you go, you know, you will, you will, you will set the rules that you know, fit with your group, right? So, but there are certain things that you should have. So the first of all is a sense of belonging, right? Create a sense of belonging. This is not solo. Phil is collective giving. So you need a group a group which share values that gets together and you know, they discuss their individual values of the members, you know, what are those values um that guide your giving right and find between the group, what are the common values that will guide the, the group? Um After you talk about, you know, the the values that will guide you giving us a group, then you open a space for discourse and this is something that I love about giving circles because it’s a very good way to practice democracy for us. Uh Like right now, you know how many times we don’t even talk to our neighbors anymore, right? We have become very, that the world has become very polarized. And a given circles, a giving circle creates an opportunity for people with different backgrounds to get together and hear different perspectives and get behind the cause even if they think, you know, very differently in a lot of ways so that you open a space for this course. Uh the group will, you know, decide on a cause that they want to support and they will start, you know, evaluating organizations or, you know, initiatives or leaders that they want to support. So that’s kind of the second step. And then the third step is to give with trust. There’s a lot of trust inside, you know, the giving circle model. Why there is um you know, the pooled money or everybody’s pulling their, their, their funds before they even know where the money is going, right? So there is trust in the process, there is trust with one another with the members of the group. And the whole idea is that that trust will get transferred to the leaders on the ground. Because at the end of the day, you and I and all the audience knows that who knows what the community needs is, the community and the leaders working with the community, not the donors, the donors, we don’t know, we need the are the leaders on the ground to guide us, right? So what we want every given circle is to really create a trusting relationship with their, with organizations that they are going to support. And we always say that we need to give us if we give, we were giving to a family member, right? When you look people in the eyes, when you build an authentic relationship with the organization or the cause that you want to support things change. And II I know you, you know this, but that from all the billions of dollars of philanthropic dollars, the, you know, the majority of the funding goes to just 5% of the nonprofits, right? It goes to the big large nonprofits living so many nonprofits. I under

[00:11:34.95] spk_0:
I think you said in uh in your ted talk, 88% goes to 5% 5% of the, the the largest 5% of nonprofits. 88% of the, of, of, of the, that’s in incredible of the gifts in the US. Yeah. That’s, uh that’s staggering.

[00:14:04.75] spk_2:
Yes. Like, you know, if you think about like, uh women and girls issues, right? Only 1.4% I think it is right now goes to women and girls issues. If you think about women of color, women and girls of color, it’s not even 1% you know, for the LGBT Q community is one, it’s 0.3% of philanthropic dollars go to support those causes. So it’s like, you know, it’s on all of us to change that. So going back to the steps of the of the giving circle, you know, giving with trust. So, you know, after the the giving circle gets together and they decide and they discuss and they come to a decision of where they’re going to give their gift and they give it the fourth step. And for me, the most important is to, to act in abundance, right? To don’t let’s not just stop with the financial contribution, but go beyond the dollars. So we always say in given so-called, you know, uh language or lingo that we give our five tes, we give our time, our treasure, our testimony, our ties and our talent, right? And so that is the whole idea how can we as given circle members be elevating all the work that the causes that we care about too. And for example, talking about you know, your ties, each person is part of different networks, right? You are part of, you know, your family, you are part of, you know, a company or you know, a nonprofit, you are part of a community opening doors to these nonprofits and nonprofits that you care about, the costs that you care about and put it in front of your networks. Sometimes it’s a lot more important than a grant that you can give or a donation that you can give. Also, you know, elevating the message of nonprofits for something as simple as I am going to subscribe to this nonprofit newsletter. I’m going to, you know, share uh their event on social media. You know, we, we start creating visibility for those small nonprofits that are, you know, totally invisible for.

[00:14:23.92] spk_0:
Yeah, they, they don’t, they don’t get the attention. Yeah. All right. I, I have a, I have a bunch of questions. I wanted you to, I want you to explain through, you said we’re, we’re pulling our money before we know where the, where, where it’s gonna go. So I, I understand that trust. Um it’s also a little risky. Like I would be, I see I would be a bad giving circle member because if it didn’t, if the money didn’t go where I voted for, because I assume we’re voting. If it didn’t go to the vote cause I voted for, I’d be like, oh, I’m not, I, I mean, I wouldn’t pull my money out. I would, but I would be so upset but I, you didn’t go for my cause. So I would be a bad giving circle member. II, I think I would be a bad one.

[00:16:10.07] spk_2:
Tony. The whole idea of a giving circle to be part of a giving circle is that you are putting your individual decision in the back burner because you are deciding to be part of a group. So you, I I, you know, I managed many giving circles throughout the years. Um and I always said during grants night to the members, like please come with an open heart and an open mind because maybe that organization that you are rooting for is not going to get the crap, but you need to leave the room today feeling happy with the decision of the group because you are part of this group, right? And, and yes, you know, and you will have time to lobby and to, you know, advocate for, for the organization that you care about and maybe it’s not going to happen this time, but maybe in the next grand grand cycle, it is going to happen. And again, you’re not about giving circle member. There are other, there are some given circles that actually allow um the the the the members to I’m making up numbers. But for example, you’re going to give, you know, $1000 each member is going to give $1000 the moment, uh, the grants are allocated, uh, 800 is going to go to the decision of the group, but you will still, will have a small amount that you can give to the organization for your choice. So again, you can, you can figure out the rules that. Oh,

[00:16:36.33] spk_0:
ok. So hybrid, right. Ok. All right. So I, I wouldn’t, you know, I’m, I’m exaggerating but I would, I would, I would support the, I would support the decision of the group. OK. But there is a lot, there is a lot of trust. You are. Uh do, do I, I guess this is a question for the each individual circle too. Like does everybody have to give the same amount?

[00:16:47.59] spk_2:
Very good question. And then if you different

[00:16:49.85] spk_0:
amounts, do you get a, you get more votes? Like do you get, if you give 20% of the, the total, do you get 20% of the vote or do you just get one vote? How we can make, we can make that all up, right? We could do it

[00:19:29.14] spk_2:
ourselves. Yes. Because for example, there are many given circles that, you know, there’s a set donation, right? And everybody gives the same. So everybody has one vote. There are other given circles that have um different donation levels in terms of maybe um they’re trying to attract, you know, younger people. So if you’re in your 20 you give this amount, if you’re in your thirties you give this amount if you’re in your forties, this amount or also, you know, in terms of career uh uh development, um there are other given circles that have a floor of the nation like, ok, the floor is $500 but there’s no ceiling. So maybe some members are giving, you know, 5000 or 10,000, but they are still get one vote. And with that extra donation, they are supporting, getting other voices into the given circle and kind kind of sponsoring part of the membership of another given circle member, but they still get one vote. And there are other given circles that do what you mentioned, like there are different membership levels. And if you know, if I’m at the lower level, I get one boat. If I’m on the second, you know, tier, I get two boats. If I’m on the third tier, I get three boats. But that I would say is a very few number of giving circles do that. The majority is, you know, it’s one person, one vote doesn’t matter how much people are giving. There’s another super cool model that um more progressive giving circles are doing that, you know, talking about trust. This is very rooted in trust. Uh There’s a giving circle in New York called Rat Fund and uh it’s a group of friends and what they do is the donation amount is one per it’s 10% of their income. So there is a lot of trust among them because I’m not going to ask, hey, tony, show me your W-2 like, you know, it’s or your tax return, right? It’s like, you know, there is trust that everybody is given what they are able to give and there are also other given circles that there is not a set amount is OK. Everybody gives, you know, something that it’s, you know, significant for you and

[00:20:21.30] spk_0:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. OK. Those are all interesting. All right. Thank you. Thank you. Um You talked about AAA relationship with the organization where the, the money is going or maybe in some cases where the majority of money is going because you said you could reserve a little, some circles might reserve a little bit for individual gifts. Um So are we inviting, we are inviting nonprofits to come and present? So the, is that a way of doing it? And then like, how do you open this relationship with the? You don’t just, you don’t just send a check? It’s a lot more than that. Obviously, even your, even your last, your last thing, you know, your last step, you said engagement, uh you know, beyond, you know, giving five Ts and it’s not just treasure. So, but talk about the relationship and might you have nonprofits come and talk to the, make their

[00:21:14.93] spk_2:
pitch in a lot of cases. Yes. Yes. And we don’t call it a pitch because, you know, we want to get away from, you know, kind of the, the, the, the, the shark, the Shark Tank, we don’t want the shark tank competition. But yes, you know, uh, the, in a lot of cases, nonprofits get invited to present to the group and, um, in most cases when a nonprofit gets invited to present it because they are going to get a grant. Um, you know, thankfully, uh, the, the more and more I see given circles is that everybody is compensating nonprofits for their time. So if they are asking a nonprofit to fill out, you know, uh a proposal or come to present or whatever is because they are going to get something. Um We work a lot with groups uh to, you know, talk about trust based philanthropy and how you can, you know, do a lot of the homework as a donor, as a giving circle in the background without, you know, taxing the nonprofit with OK, we’re going to, you know, a site visit and you have to deal with 50 of us. You know,

[00:21:38.45] spk_0:
it turns into a, a grant, it turns into a grant proposal then, yeah. Yes.

[00:23:43.71] spk_2:
Yes. So, but you know, to your point, yes. You know, in a lot of cases the nonprofits get invited to present. So there is this, you know, like face to face, right? And I can tell you, for example, the um in the case of I work eight years at the Latino Community Foundation in San Francisco. And uh and I, and I started the Latino Giving Circle Network there. And so I, I did, I, I was, you know, part of many, many, many grants nights and they were incredible because, you know, the moment you, the moment people hear directly from, you know, the, the executive directors of a nonprofit and have a chance to like, really, you know, kind of like, feel what, what the work entails. It’s, it’s another, another dynamic, right? And, and also, you know, it’s a lot of um I’m not going to say humanizing because it’s not humanizing, it’s getting closer to the work. And uh many times the day after grants night, I had some nonprofit leaders that were, that were coming to present calling me saying, hey, can I join the giving circle like as a donor? Like I love this and many of them joined and I did, on the other hand, many giving circle members that they, you know, they started volunteering with the nonprofits, became board members of the nonprofit or, you know, took some of the trainings, like we have been supporting an organization that um supports um survivors of domestic violence. I have had four members of my guinea circle on that board and they started as volunteers. And you know, so for nonprofits, this is, you know, a big opportunity opportunity to also engage more people around your local community. It’s time for a

[00:24:38.37] spk_1:
break donor box. What makes donor box stand out. We heard it last week from Jenna Lynch. It’s a fundraising platform built with fundraisers for fundraisers. They have the Ultra Swift donation form that makes giving four times faster and it cuts down on drop off. They’re a comprehensive fundraising platform along with the Ultra Swift donation form. There’s event ticketing, peer to peer text to give and the new donor box live kiosk so your folks can swipe tap or dip to pay at events. They’re committed to customer support and they understand nonprofits because they all have nonprofit backgrounds. Donor box helping you help others. Donor Boxx dot org. It’s time for Tony’s take two.

[00:27:55.53] spk_0:
Thank you, Kate. And my thanks to everyone who has brought us to 650 shows and the 13th anniversary last week’s show was great fun. But I wanna amplify my, my gratitude to, to you, to our listeners, our 13,000 plus listeners each week. I’m glad, so glad that you’re getting value that you’re bringing subjects to your CEO to your vice president or to your board that we’re, we’re just introducing new thinking for you, even if you don’t need to share it with anybody, just so glad that we are able to give you value. And I’m so grateful that you’re a listener. Grateful to our, our insiders. You know, there’s about 1000 1100 people that I email each Thursday that welcome me into their inbox each week. And uh And I’m grateful. Thank you to our insiders. The guests, the guests, the show would be nowhere with the guests. These smart savvy, bright folks who come, they share their time, their wisdom, their thinking for your benefit. They, they, they want to do the same thing that you are doing, helping small and midsize nonprofits. That, that’s, that’s where you’re all situated, that’s where you’re situated. You’re the ones I’m channeling each week thinking about who should be the guest and what would you want to know from that guest? Uh And remember it’s, it’s not just the time on the show, but it’s the time that the guests spend working with me to, to narrow the topics schedule, you know, back and forth all that. So they, they devote a lot of time. My thanks to our probably over 1000 now uh guests and the team, the great team, uh Kate as associate producer, Clare, as creative producer, music from Scott Stein, Mark Silverman, our web guy, Susan Chavez, our social manager. They’re both excellent. Both been with me for many years and I should have given a special shout out when I was talking about the guests. I should have given a special shout to Jean Jean Takagi. Of course, our legal contributor, Amy Sample Ward, our technology contributor because they just come month after month show after show, so generous with their time. All those folks, all of you folks. My thanks, my thanks for getting us to 651 shows and, uh, this week and the 13th anniversary, thank you. That is Tony’s Take two Kate.

[00:27:57.55] spk_1:
We’ve got, but loads more time now let’s get back to giving circles with Sarah Loma.

[00:28:06.82] spk_0:
I could see how these giving nights would be very moving. I, I, I’m sure, I’m sure there’s tears in some, you know, tears of joy. You know, the collective came together the, the, the bad apples like tony-martignetti, you know, he got put aside

[00:28:21.59] spk_2:
and, you know, he

[00:28:23.02] spk_0:
got asked to leave, he got asked to leave and that, no, no, no. But

[00:28:27.60] spk_2:
uh I could

[00:28:31.36] spk_0:
see, I could see how these would be very moving events.

[00:28:59.54] spk_2:
Yes. No, totally. One time. Imagine, like we, um we uh hearing from an organization that uh works with refugees and, uh, and does, you know, uh legal help, et cetera, et cetera. And um we were working with them around, you know, an advocacy campaign and they were doing like a uh registering to vote uh campaign, right? With young people. And this young guy came to present and he, he was undocumented and he was, you know, leading a lot of these campaigns in colleges, getting people to register to vote because he said, you know, be, be my voice. I don’t have a voice, I cannot vote but you can. So, you know, those kind of things. It’s like, of course there were tears in this, you know, in these nights? Yeah.

[00:29:28.81] spk_0:
Uh Is there a directory of giving circles that, that folks can look to see if there is one in their community or, or more than one

[00:30:35.92] spk_2:
great question? Yes, we have on our website which is philanthropy together dot org. We have the global directory of giving circles. So you can put your zip code or you know, some keywords. Um And you will find giving circles near you or you know, around the cause that you care about. If you don’t find one, you are invited to start your own and we offer free trainings every single month. Um It’s a 90 minute training to, it’s called launch pad, launch pad for you that gives you all the tools to start your own giving circle. And not only that because you, you may think, well, you know, 90 minutes is like you get all this information and then what um you are invited after that to be part of, you know, we do monthly group coaching, one on one, you know, coaching sessions with our staff, everything is free of charge. We have a donate what you give, what you can or what you want kind of model because what we want at the end of the day is to have more people engaged in, in, in giving.

[00:30:55.13] spk_0:
Are you finding community foundations are sometimes supporting these giving circles or, or spon sponsoring or encouraging

[00:32:14.35] spk_2:
these uh great question too. So a lot of um there’s a lot of giving circles that are, that are hosted by community foundations um because, you know, uh to in order to manage donations, right? A lot of giving circles are part of a community foundation. They are a program of, of a community foundation or hosted by them, like fiscally sponsored by a community foundation. Many community found nations have seen the, you know, the benefit of having given circles when they are trying to also grow and strengthen that ecosystem around them, right in their community, many very tiny community foundations when there is not like a big culture of philanthropy in their community find that starting giving circles, it’s a great way to, you know, to attract people and to teach them around philanthropy. And also for a lot of community foundations when they are trying to diversify their, you know, the their, their community of, of donors and, and people that participate in other programs. So we also offer a program for community foundations for Jewish Federations for any faith, you know, uh based organization or philanthropic um intermediary that’s called launch pad for hosts. And that one, we offer it once a year. So it’s uh it’s usually in February and it’s like a six week um program.

[00:32:30.31] spk_0:
Oh, that’s more extensive. OK. But

[00:32:32.19] spk_2:
yes, yes, because we go through everything and, and you know, even the, the, the what we want is a win-win situation for the host organization and the giving circle. So there’s, you know, a lot of nuances there.

[00:32:58.48] spk_0:
Yeah. Yeah. More extensive for the host. Yeah. Organizations. Um, are you finding many gifts to individuals? Like, maybe it’s a, maybe it’s an artist or, uh, you know, or, or a startup nonprofit, you know, or someone who wants to start a nonprofit. But they’re, they’re not there yet. Are you finding many donations there?

[00:33:49.79] spk_2:
More and more? And actually that is something that changed during the pandemic, right? Because when we saw a lot of mutual aid societies, you know, popping up um a lot of giving circles uh so that, ok, you know, we are giving to nonprofits. Yes, but we also want to give to individuals. Um There is a great network of giving circles that it’s called the Awesome Foundation. Um and the Awesome Foundation gives $1000 at a time to awesome projects and most of those projects, they are individuals and, and, and leaders and initiatives. So the money gets moved really fast and, and they have chapters all over the US. Um And Canada,

[00:35:06.26] spk_0:
I could see how this would be such a boost to that. You suggested, you know, giving uh creating a AAA giving culture in a, in a small town or, you know, or, or, or diversifying. These are, these are points you just made, I’m just amplifying them, you know, uh encouraging folks of color to come together. Uh I know from your TED talk, you know, there are, there are uh uh there are, there are uh Pacific Asian Pacific Islander giving circles. There are Black giving circles. There’s all around all kinds of faiths. You, you mentioned Judaism. Yeah. Uh Your TED talk I think mentions Muslim Muslim giving circles. Um So, you know, bringing people together in the, in the community and of course, you know, it could be nationwide too. You had said, you know, your point earlier about the, the, the being the virtual possibility. But, but I love the idea of bringing folks together in the community because they, because they know what, you know, they want, they know what the needs are, they, they, and, and, and we’re all gonna have to sacrifice a little bit. But in the end, we all come together for where each of our, like each of our individual giving circles intersects with everybody else’s giving c individual giving circle. And that’s where the, that’s where the larger giving circle is giving at the intersection of all our individual circles.

[00:37:53.85] spk_2:
Totally. And also, you know, I feel that the, the, one of the most important parts of giving circles is that giving circles function as seat, you know, seed funders for a lot of small grassroots nonprofits, right? So that those small, you know, local nonprofits that are, you know, totally invisible from big philanthropy. They may get some money here and there from small, you know, local businesses, they get, you know, some individual donors. But a giving circle is that kind of, you know, seed funder for different projects. And then many small nonprofits lever touch that because if they, you know, they have been supported by a giving circle for a couple of years, they can go to a foundation and said, hey, you know, by the way, this and this given circle has been supporting us, it’s like a seal of approval too, right? And also, you know, something that I wanted to mention that I feel that it’s key, more and more nonprofits are just focusing on the big gifts and I get it. You know, I’m, I’m a fundraiser. So I know that sometimes you think like, ok, there are 24 hours on the day, you know, or we need to, I need to focus on, on the big gift instead of the little gifts, right? But that I think it’s a mistake and why is that we need as nonprofits, we need to diversify our funding because what is going to happen when you’re a big gift, changes, you know, changes uh their mind and you are going and there that big gift is not going to come and you are in trouble if you take the time to really create a big number of supporters, a big ecosystem of everyday givers around your organization, you, you know that that is, that has a ripple effect and it’s going to be great in the future, you know, every time people come and say well you know give in circles. Yeah, they’re cute. No, we’re not cute. It’s we’re awesome. We’re really powerful because you know, engaging, especially younger, the younger generations, right? If you get people, young people passionate about your cause that young person in 10 years, in 20 years, that may be you know, the new whatever whatever entrepreneur, the director of ex corporation and we and but we we need to start somewhere, right? So telling everybody to focus on everyday givers is key,

[00:38:10.64] spk_0:
this is empowerment, you know, this is, this is what, what we’re doing. Uh nonprofit radio, big nonprofit ideas for the the other 95% this is who you’re talking about. Because 88% of the gifts go to 5% of the nonprofit. So we’re talking to the same audience, the other 95% are having to split up 12% of all the, of all the formalized giving and, and, and institutional giving and we’re, we’re trying to democratize here.

[00:38:41.02] spk_2:
Yeah. And also, you know, for, for the fabric of our society, I feel like because again, like if we, if we keep telling people that can donate $50.20 dollars, uh you know, your gift is not important.

[00:38:48.89] spk_0:
That that’s terrible, that’s terrible practice.

[00:39:01.10] spk_2:
Uh Yeah, because you know, they will come, you know, the bill the next billion or to, to give the billions and decide what is worthy of funding. It’s bad because then we have people that are not going to be engaged in giving and in generosity and in volunteering and that is dangerous for a country.

[00:40:52.87] spk_0:
I could take it a step further. And, you know, because my work is planned giving fundraising and I am routinely saying to clients and to folks that I’m training in webinars that you’re small donors that are consistent that you. Uh and I don’t care if the average gift I’ll give even smaller than you. I don’t care if their average gift is $5. But if they’ve been doing that for many years, like eight gifts out of 10 years or for some nonprofits, it could be 20 gifts in 15 or 20 years. But the, but at a, at a smaller dollar level, they are a terrific prospect for a planned gift because they’re always thinking about you and sometimes maybe multiple times in one year. It’s not even just a single single gift in per year. But those small dollar donors are your, are your very, very good plan giving prospects. Of course, your wealthy donors are too. We’re not excluding them naturally. But, but those small dollar donors who give consistently and do it over many years, they become your planned giving donors and the average, the average gift in a will in the US is $35,000. Nobody, nobody leaves $5 in their will. So, uh so it’s all the, all the more important to be cultivating and encouraging small dollar donors. You know, and some people like to say, modest gifts. I, I, you know, I just say they’re small and, and we’re not commenting on the person’s character, they’re not small people, they just give small gifts. Uh so call it what it is small gift, but they are still, they are still valuable and you’re absolutely right in the future, they can become very, very different types of donors. And my point is they could become very good planned giving donors

[00:41:04.37] spk_2:
totally, totally. And also, you know, for me giving circles are again this like a civic engagement, incubators for sure. Yeah.

[00:41:10.87] spk_0:

[00:41:27.15] spk_2:
civic engagement, incubators, people that participate in giving circles, I mean, there is research behind it that people tend to give more even, I mean, in the given circle and then outside the giving circle and they tend to participate more civically, you know, being part of their neighborhood association, being part of the PT A being part, you know, and that’s what we want, we need engaged people, we cannot, you know, deal in this time with, you know, people just looking at their phones and that’s it.

[00:42:08.78] spk_0:
Yeah. No, they, you’re right, engagement, community engagement, civic engagement. You’ve got me thinking about, so we’re talking about giving circles and planned giving. I’m thinking, what about planned Giving circles? I don’t know if there’s something that I don’t know. Well, but planned giving is all individual like, it’s my, you know, it will be based on my will or my life insurance. But we’d have to think about a way to for there to be a collective planned gift.

[00:42:47.93] spk_2:
But you know what you might be on something because for example, we could start planned, like, and this could be great for nonprofits around, you know, a specific, like maybe ethnicity or faith or, you know, a specific issue. It’s like you may like those board members or those, you know, recurrent um donors, right? Like they can become part of like a learning community, like a given circle and they can be a pledge, right? They can be kind of like a pledge of a, right? They, they

[00:43:27.20] spk_0:
could be that they each make their own commitment but again, they’re, they’re coming together to support the community and to learn together and share ideas together and then they each make their own, their own commitment. But there’s, there’s still the, there’s still the collectivism of, of a giving circle just that the, the, the, the the ultimate gifts are, you know, I’m, I’m doing, I’m doing this one and or maybe they would come together and say, you know, we love this cause. Well, I’m gonna, I’m gonna devote some of my estate, my, some of my will 5% or 2% to this cause and let’s all do it together. I mean, there, there could be that it could be that kind of collectivism too. So I have to think planned giving circles. I don’t write off that idea that, no, no, no,

[00:43:31.15] spk_2:
no, no, no, no, I’m going to actually think more about

[00:43:52.34] spk_0:
plan giving circles. Yeah, we should, we should talk more about that. Um, all right. What about other nonprofits? So, we, we talked about community foundations and how they could be enablers and hosts and sponsors but other nonprofits. Um, I mean, they could, they, you could encourage giving circles in your community. You could try to find the giving circles that are in your community already and maybe reach out to them. What, what, what do you see as the overlap between nonprofits and giving circles?

[00:46:27.32] spk_2:
Totally. So what we have seen is, you know, different nonprofits in, in a certain community working together, right? To create like, you know, again, what you want is to create a strong ecosystem of donors, right? So it’s not about competition, but maybe collaboration with other nonprofits. Um There are nonprofits that are starting giving circles to support their own nonprofit, right? And you may be thinking well, but then it’s not really a very, you know, traditional giving circle because they’re, the group is not deciding uh between different organizations. Yes. And they may be deciding among different projects. So there are some nonprofits that have different projects and they create given circles or donor circles inside, you know, their, their community. And uh and each, you know, each circle will support different projects inside the nonprofit. Um Also, um I mean, again, it’s a really uh uh some organizations, uh the way that, that the way that we have seen it is they’re starting giving circles, like, for example, if they have scholarships, right, uh if they are giving scholarships, but the scholarship uh amount is too large for a single donor. Well, you know, they are encouraging their, their community to create these giving struggles and kind of, you know, give together one scholarship. Um Yes, but, you know, we get uh we get uh calls from many nonprofits because yes, it is a very good way to, to create um this strong, you know, group of supporters because I am going to tell you that a given circle member is not your regular donor is, you know, is someone that is not passive, they are not going to send a check and call it a day. They will be a lot more involved and they will advocate a lot more. So that is, you know, that is the beauty of, of it. Um for some nonprofits, maybe they say my God, no, I don’t want to, you know, to love these people engaging. Um but for, for a lot of nonprofits, it’s something that is, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s working and we actually, because we get so many um calls from different nonprofits. Uh One of our projects for this summer is to tweak one of our programs, the one that we offer for community foundations, but tailor it for small and medium size nonprofits.

[00:46:48.44] spk_0:
So you have launch pad, you have launch pad training uh for like host, host training for small and midsize nonprofits.

[00:46:54.35] spk_2:
We will have it, we will have it in the fall. We’re working on it this summer to just like tweak the curriculum and we will have it in the fall. Ok.

[00:47:03.99] spk_0:
Ok. Uh What have I not asked you about that? Uh that you wanna, you want folks to know?

[00:50:05.79] spk_2:
Well, also, you know, we at philanthropy together um we are this umbrella organization and we work with all the networks of giving circles. So there are many, many networks of giving circles around the globe and here in the US. Um So, for example, you know, we talked about uh the faith based giving uh networks, right? The American Muslim Community Foundation amplifier, which is uh a net work of uh giving circles based on Jewish values. There are many networks of giving circles based on ethnicity. So the community investment network is around black and people of color given circles. Uh A PP uh Asian American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy has uh given circles. Uh the Latino Community Foundation. Um they are political given circles. So um future now has a network of hundreds of political given circles. Um The women’s Given circles, there are many networks of women’s given struggles. So, Fios is a very strong one that, you know, encompasses thousands and thousands of women giving uh together women rights is another network of women’s giving circles that the donors are based in the US, but they give internationally. Um There is also 100 who care Alliance, which has hundreds of chapters. And the model is very easy to follow because it is 100 people given $100 every quarter. So they give, you know, at least $10,000 every quarter. And there are groups of only women, only men coed teenagers, we have seen a lot of teen of groups of teenagers giving together. So, you know, anyway, there’s many, many given circle networks that also if, if people can want to start a giving circle, I encourage everybody to look at the networks because they offer you, you know, support webinars community around the the different, you know, ethnicity or faith or, you know, values, right. Right. And the other thing I think the last thing will be that um this year we’re super excited because uh we added kind of a a second focus around collective giving. So we focused the first few years just on giving circles. Now we’re working also with collaboratives, so collaborative funds. Uh and these, you know, it’s groups of individual donors or institutional funders that get together to tackle the specific costs, right. And these collaboratives, they move from, you know, a million, a couple of million dollars to hundreds of million of million of millions. So we’re excited to, to be working with them too and, and, you know, kind of creating a community and a space for them to learn from one another.

[00:50:18.23] spk_0:
Some of those are, are combinations of individual and institutional funders. Yes. Oh, interesting.

[00:50:30.52] spk_2:
All right. Yes. Yes. Like for example, you know, Ted has the audacious audacious project and they um this year they granted $1 billion to 10 organizations and the donors are a combination of um individual donors or families and a couple of institutional donors. Yeah.

[00:51:09.34] spk_0:
Mm mm All right. Why don’t you just leave us with uh some, some uh inspiration around giving circles, some something positive. Uh Even if you’re just repeating something we’ve already said leave folks with uh something, something upbeat and, and empowering.

[00:51:29.71] spk_2:
Yes. OK. So don’t, don’t think of, you know, don’t think too much. It’s not rocket science like people, it’s not rocket science just do it. It’s, it’s a lot of fun and I feel that it’s also why, you know, uh people gravitate around giving circles because it’s a lot of fun. It’s, you know, is, is social, is community and we know that, you know, the issues and the problems of this world are overwhelming and huge giving should be joyful, the act of giving should be joyful and giving together is joyful. So, yeah, and you know, for whatever you need, reach out to us, you know, engage with us and, and thank you tony for, for having me,

[00:52:44.45] spk_0:
Sarah. She’s uh ceo of philanthropy together at philanthropy together dot org. Check out the uh launch pad training, whether you’re starting a uh whether you’re a starting on your own or your uh community foundation or, and then for the host training and then in the fall, there’ll be something for small and midsize nonprofits and the ongoing training all at uh all at philanthropy together dot org. And uh Sarah is at Sarah underscore lo Mein. Sarah. Thank you very much for sharing all this. I I love it. Thank you for, for your expertise. Thanks for your energy. Thanks for what you’re doing to empower communities and individuals to come together. Thank you very much.

[00:52:49.27] spk_2:
Thank you so much, tony and yes, you know, I’m going to put my arms like you put it because yes, thank you.

[00:53:06.56] spk_1:
Next week, leadership lessons with Steve Johns on his new book. If you missed any part of this week’s show, I’d beseech

[00:53:10.52] spk_0:
you find it at tony-martignetti dot com.

[00:53:28.73] spk_1:
We’re sponsored by Donor box with intuitive fundraising software from donor Boxx. Your donors give four times faster helping you help others. Donor Boxx dot org. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. I’m your associate producer Kate martignetti. The show social media is by Susan Chavez, Mark Silverman is our web guy and this music is by Scott Stein.

[00:53:45.68] spk_0:
Thank you for that affirmation. Scottie be with us next week for nonprofit radio, big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.

Nonprofit Radio for January 23, 2015: Five Words To Better Fundraising & Giving Circles

Big Nonprofit Ideas for the Other 95%

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Jen ShangFive Words To Better Fundraising

Jen Shang

Jen Shang is a professor at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. She’s a philanthropic psychologist. Her research found five words that can raise your telemarketing revenue.




Maria SempleGiving Circles

Maria Semple

How do you find giving circles in your community and connect with them? Maria Semple is our prospect research contributor and The Prospect Finder.




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Hello and welcome to tony martignetti non-profit radio big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent. I’m your aptly named host. Oh, i’m glad you’re with me. I’d suffer with glamour. You alone? Afraid this? If i was forced to filter the concept that you missed today’s show five words to better fund-raising gen shang is a professor at the centre on philanthropy at indiana university. She’s, a philanthropic psychologist. Her research found five words that can raise your telemarketing revenue that originally aired on may eighteenth twenty twelve and giving circles how do you find e-giving circles in your community and connect with them? Maria simple is our prospect research contributor and the prospect finder on tony’s. Take two. I’m a thought leader. We’re sponsored by generosity. Siri’s hosting multi charity five k runs and walks. Here is my interview with professor gen shang from may twenty twelve. Wish with me now is dr gen shang. Hello, jan. How are you? Good. How are you? I’m very well. Jen is an assistant professor at the centre on philanthropy at indiana university. She is a philanthropic psychologist. She’s been published in many journals, including experimental economics, economic journal journal. Of marketing, research and marketing science. Her work has also been covered in the new york times and the chronicle of philanthropy, and she is the author of the book fund-raising principles and practice, which is available at amazon dot com. And i’m very pleased that her research in her work brings to the show welcome, jim. Thank you. We’re talking about five words to better fund-raising what was the research that we’re talking about it? So when we study how prime ing people’s idea of more identity come potentially influence, how they give andi when we say more identity, really, what we mend is how carrying kind, compassionate, helpful and friendly people think they are okay, there that’s interesting their moral identity. Yeah. Okay. That’s the that’s. The research will let, uh, what was specifically how did you conduct the research? So this is when during public radio stations on air front drive. I’m sure your listeners are quite familiar with this form of fund-raising this was bloomington bloomington public radio in indiana, right? Yeah, yeah, that steering our bling on radio on their front drive in ah, november, where they’re deejays kind of inter. Interrupt the programming and say things like, you know, here is that i remember and if you could give us this amount and here’s the thing you give, some people call in, and then half of the people who call in they are asked, you know, how are you, anouar renew a member of the station, and then there are thanked for either becoming or being a member of the station and the other half of the donors when they call in there asked exactly the same question, but when there are thanked there think for being kind and carrying member of the station were becoming a helpful and friendly member of the station. Okay, so what we found is that when people are think with those moral adjectives, then they increase their giving, but this is only significant with female, but not mayo donorsearch okay, let’s, let’s, be very clear. What are the five words that you used in your research is caring, compassionate, in-kind friendly and helpful. Okay, that actually reminds me of the used to be a boy scout. I still have an eagle scout kayman eagle scout that just reminds me of if i didn’t mention i’m an eagle scout. Thiss reminds me of the scout law you didn’t know the boy scout law, probably unless you have boys trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. So you’ve got you’ve got two or three of those in there. Yeah, that did. You did you derive your your moral adjectives from the boy scout oath? I scott law no law, not the oath. That’s, this is the law. Pardon me. This? Sure. Some off of the participants that participated in the orange inal study where these adjectives war generated they were members of the boy scout. Ok, well, there’s a it could be some overlap, but we don’t know if that’s cause and effect that’s just that could just be coincidental. There were hundreds of people who were asked to list all possible adjectives they can possibly use to describe any moral person. And then we could. And the researchers off that really orange? No study collected the most often used adjectives by most people. Okay, i see. Those are the adjective that’s. How you came up with your caring, compassionate, friendly kind and helpful. Okay, let’s. See, the the research is on ly but only impacts females. Not so. Men are not influenced by the moral adjectives, not the set that we not these five. Hopefully, they’re influenced by the scout law, if their boy scouts, because otherwise, it’s, don’t be a scout if you’re not going. Teo, reverent and helpful and courteous and kind and cheerful, cheerful so. But women are the majority of donors, isn’t that right? Yes. Two thirds ofthe most non-profit donors are female donors. Okay, so so using your research, we can impact two thirds of the giving population. Yeah. Okay, so these people were thanked using one of the moral adjectives, but they hadn’t, but they hadn’t made their gift yet. So what were they thanked for? They were thanks for calling. Uh, as soon as they were called in. As soon as they call in there. Asked whether they want to be a new member of the station or their existing member station. And there are thanked for either becoming a new member or being a member. Okay, so you thank for either being becoming or being a member or you. Thanks for being our becoming a caring, compassionate, etcetera member. O okay, yeah. So do we know whether this applies to written solicitations? Well, we’re we’re currently testing different forms of recon communication. And what we do there is, you know, you mean one of the key things if people were to apply. This technique is not the fact that, you know, they need to write down this five wars, but they need to engage people in thinking about these words, and i think one of the main reasons why our research turned out in the way that it did is because people were asked to answer a question first and that they’re thinking in response to what they think they are already. So when we apply these techniques in return context, what we had to ask people to do is not just to have kind carrying floating everywhere in the letter, but instead only on the renewal forms we want people to say i and then people find their name like gen shang, i wanted to give this much right. And then when i signed my gen shang am fining on those words you’re signing on those words what you mean, like they’re the words are below the below the line where you put your name, the words are actually in the in the box, in the background of that box where i started durney oh, so there’s sort of shaded in the background exact, like a like a watermark. That’s, right? Okay, but this is research you’re just testing this. You don’t have results from from this written written. Test yet? Well, actually, we we dio look at me. I’m way behind. Okay, but the result is that you know, people see exactly the same thing. And half of the people are asked to print their name almost worse. And the other half are asked to sign their name on those words. And we found a marginally statistically significant results. Where if people signed their name, they give more than if they printed their name on those words. Very interesting. But did you also did you also test that against there? Not being any words. Yes, it’s hyre than not having anyone. Okay, definite. Alright, just making that clear. Okay? Yeah. Okay. Yeah, but what’s important there is that when people sign their names, they’re more active in thinking about their identity, who they are. But when they simply print, they don’t think about being both kind and caring compassion. People ask much as if they signed the stamp, their own it and the answer. Those were very interesting. That is very interesting. So, so what’s really driving the effect we think at this point it’s. Not necessarily that non-profit professionals know about those words, but they have to. Think of ways to tap into people’s sense of who they are. And the link those central sons of who they are into those morally, you know, promoted kind of product. What kind of increase in fund-raising did you see in your research? Well, in the first study, it was a ten percent increase in, uh, female donors, um and that’s average give, say about huh? Eighty seven dollars, in the control group where people are simply think and is about one hundred when people think us moral towards okay. And in this direct meaning that we just had it tested it’s about, like, a five percent increase, they’re the average e-giving is much smaller because his christmas appeal so the average amount is, like thirteen pounds and, um, you know, eighteen dollars. But then the effect is about fifty piela it’s about twenty dollars. Okay. And also with women in the only only only an increase for women in the in the writing, or that does that apply to men also in the written form that that that that’s okay, so men are not immoral? No, no. At least not in a written sounds. Yeah, by no means that i think i’m just extrapolated i’m just taking a natural sametz seems like a natural conclusion for your research is that men in conversation are immoral. Well, not that that wouldn’t be how i know i know what i hope not know you’re using more different it’s a very different sense of saying something versus we were just not successful in bringing their own sense of morality to the front, so diplomats make a decision such a diplomatic, academic that’s beautiful, but really mentally moral no, of course, that’s an irrational conclusion, i really i think it is our failure on our part, so what we actually would like to test in the future is to tap into moral values that male might be more likely to engage in, like, responsible loyals strong take leadership pride, yeah, i think you’re i think you’re wasting your time with those just bein sports and cars i think is and booze, i think that’s where you really should be starting, you know, have a little budweiser icon that people sign and watermark that people sign over that will that’s going to get that anheuser busch logo. You know those of this? Where you want to be a corvette? You know, sign your name over this watermark of a corvette that will, i think that’s, where you’re going to see market market change in mark changing giving, we need to take a break right now. Gen shang, assistant professor at the centre on philanthropy at indiana university, is going to stay with me. We’re going to keep talking about five words to better fund-raising stay with us, you’re tuned to non-profit radio tony martignetti also hosts a podcast for the chronicle of philanthropy fund-raising fundamentals is a quick ten minute burst of fund-raising insights published once a month. Tony’s guests are expert in crowdfunding, mobile giving event fund-raising direct mail and donor cultivation really all the fund-raising issues that make you wonder, am i doing this right? Is there a better way there is? Find the fund-raising fundamentals archive it. Tony martignetti dot com that’s marketmesuite n e t t i remember there’s a g before the end, thousands of listeners have subscribed on itunes. You can also learn maura, the chronicle website philanthropy dot com fund-raising fundamentals the better way professor gen shang is with me. Jenn, you are a philanthropic psychologist. What is that here? Well, it’s, i’m interested in studying why people do philanthropy and what, uh, the doing of philosophy might do to their own life. Nasco what it might do to their own, like how it makes them feel how it makes them feel. How does that help them discover who they are defined their meaning in life and it’s, not a field i’m acquainted with. So how many philanthropic psychologists are there? Well, i only know one of me, but i’m sure they’re so yeah, you had some of these. Have you had some campaign to systematically eliminate all the other philanthropic psychologists? Well, actually, i haven’t done so because i would rather their mohr. Okay, you not the violent academic that’s a maybe you were the the that one percent violence academic, but that’s, not you. No, i was just, um, you know, i was the first graduated philanthropic phd from the canal philanthropy. In that sense, it’s, because the field didn’t exist aren’t annoying. Okay, out of the five people that we graduated already from that program, i was the only one who had a psychology background. Okay, there’s running through your research and you’ve mentioned it just obliquely a few times i want to spend a little time on it is feeling better, feeling better about giving and and reinforcing one’s beliefs about themselves. So say, say so let’s. Talk about that. Yeah. So, for example, in this some more identity e-giving research what we did after we did the experiment on the air it’s we send donorsearch survey and we asked them on the scale one tonight. How? Carrying. Actually, you think you are and then people silk road number like seven. And then we ask them on a scale of one tonight, how ideally would you like to become caring? And then people probably circle my i really, really want to become really, really caring. And then what we did is we calculate the difference between the two each we call more identities discrepancy. And then we link this number to the same person’s contribution history to the same radio station. And what we found is that the more females give the smaller. This gap is between their actual and their ideal morally identity. But this relationship does not exist. For males. So what this means is that the act of giving itself actually can potentially help female donors to rich. They’re more ideals and that’s. Great. Yes. To teo, get closer to what they believe of themselves already. Right? Exactly. Okay, yeah. Um, again, men out. Liars. You know, they don’t care how they feel. They don’t. They don’t have feelings. I don’t know what they’re thinking. They don’t know what they’re not giving that it’s. Unbelievable. What? What a disappointing gender. Well, what they’re thinking, what they’re giving couldn’t really be measured with the set for measurements we have. So i think the next step in my research is trying to find ways where we can find what men are thinking. Right? Well, there’s the cars and sports and booze that you know it’s. Okay, um, let’s. See? So this is academic research that can be immediately applied. And tha the telemarketing part, right? I mean, so is there any reason to think that if if the organization is calling out that there would be any different result? Uh, no, actually, we way are currently conducting any marketing. I don’t have the results yet. Okay, but because we don’t think there’s any reason why it wouldn’t work so you could be calling out and thanking someone for and thank someone for having been a a friendly or kind or helpful donorsearch the past and would you consider giving this year? Is that does that? Does that sound right to you? Yeah. Yeah, but what they need to do is they make sure that thing is somehow linked two people sense of their donation or they’re being a donor and that, i think, needs to be set right before they asked people to give again. Oh, right before okay. All right. Before you right at the beginning of the park. Or, you know, without knowing anything about the donor without asking them to at least answer one question to engage. Ok. Ok. So a little engagement, but then right before the ass. This this thanking right? Using one of the five moral adjectives two out of using to okayo. Excellent. All right, so you have to use two of the five? Yeah. We never has to. Just one because we’d be bilich virality is a complicated constructs he need, you know, multiple kind of ways to get to it. Excellent. Okay, so it’s friendly and kind or whatever. Yeah, any two out of five, you know, to avoid driving, fund-raising okay, and i’m going to say them again. Okay, i understand i’m going to say them again one more time. Caring, compassionate, friendly, kind, helpful. Do not do not go to the scout law, because it will lead you astray. They’ll beam, or that aren’t on the list that then then r this is sort of suggesting that, you know, we should be not so reliant on anecdotes and tales of what good fund-raising is. But try to rely on hard research as much as possible. Yes, definitely. Absolutely. Teo, any coat? Don’t make a piece of research. Okay. Okay. Where can people learn more about your research? Well, they can first search jin xiang on the web, and the first link comes up. Should be my website. All my published papers are on there. Okay, let me let me just tell people you’re last name is spelled s h a n g, right, gen shang. Okay, god, please. And then we my collaborator adrian. Sergeant who is the only chair anywhere on fund-raising we collaborative, lee maintain a public information website and it’s called www dot study fund-raising dot info. Okay, study fund-raising dot info. Exactly. So if if people just go there, we provide updated information about what research is is relevant in what domain. And, you know, we update that pure ops degree, and there we try to change all the academic language to a way that it’s more easily accessible. Gen shang is an assistant professor at the centre on philanthropy at indiana university jen, thank you so much for being a guest. Definitely. Thank you, it’s. Been a real pleasure. Thank you, thank you live. Listen to love. I am a p recorded today, so i can’t send actual live listen lover doing pre recorded live. Listen, love, live listeners. You know who you are, you’re the one’s, listening live, and i’m very, very grateful. Thank you very much for all the listeners and all the country’s checking in today podcast pleasantries to everybody listening every other time on whatever device you are, pleasantries to the ten thousand of you. Have tony’s take two and maria simple are next first generosity siri’s, the host, multi charity five k runs and walks. They have a charity support team, which is a team of people actual people that you talk to. This is not a bad team, but they help you in real time with your fund-raising you call them up and you talk to them on the phone and of course generosity siri’s has ah, online tools, a dashboard and all the management tools that you need online. But there’s this charity support team people you talk to to help you engage all the runners and walkers that you’re going to have helped to motivate them to that they’re asking all their networks, teo sponsor them, which all improves your fund-raising the charity support team generosity siri’s has events coming up in northern new jersey and miami. Talk to dave lynn, pick up the phone, talk he’s the c e o tell him from your your from non-profit radio. You’ll find him at seven one eight five o six. Nine, triple seven and of course, if you prefer, they are on the web. Naturally, everybody is generosity. Siri’s dot com i was dubbed a thought leader last week. Bye causevox the article is six dot leaders you need to follow, and the others are damp. A lotta sashadichter who’s been a guest on non-profit radio ken berger has also been a guest. Susan mcpherson and our own amy sample word, social media contributor here and ceo of inten so two thirds of us have been on and ah, a couple of us regularly are non-profit radio two thirds we got the article is six thought leaders you need to follow and it’s on the blogger at causevox cia, usc vox dot com very grateful to them, and i appreciate their support of non-profit radio they didn’t even know it and they were supporting non-profit radio where ubiquitous that’s tony’s take two for friday, twenty third of january show number three of the year. Maria semple is with me you know her she’s, the prospect finder, a trainer and speaker on prospect research. Our website is the prospect finder dot com and her book is panning for gold. Find your best donorsearch prospects now she’s our doi end of dirt cheap and free ideas you can follow her on twitter at maria simple fremery a simple how are you? I’m doing very well. How are you today? Very well to its happy new year for you and me. Because we haven’t talked in the new year. Yes, yes, i’ll tell you, i’m having a little trouble hearing you. Okay, well, trouble hearing me, uh, is it gonna work or you want to call back, or can you hear? Ok, well enough. I can hear you well enough. Okay, well enough will have to suffice. Sorry about that. You’re not on any unusual phone device, are you? Had said or anything? I am on the usual usual. Okay. Okay. I’m on the usual two. I’m here. Okay. All right. Uh, let’s. See about these, uh, e-giving circles. Well, let’s, let’s. Make sure everybody knows. I think i think these air pretty commonly understood, but let’s, make sure just in case what what’s e-giving circle. You know, tony basically e-giving circles really just a philanthropic vehicle where individual donors can pool their money and perhaps other resource is and really decide together where to give that pool of money away, too. So it’s a way for people to, um, to amplify their giving and really feel like even though they don’t consider themselves perhaps to be a major gift donor-centric sables them to feel like they can have a much stronger impact with their dollars in the community, and we could be talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants. This is not like people chipping in five or ten bucks, but some of the giving circle gifts that i saw are really well into six figures. Oh, yes, absolutely. You know, they really do vary in size, but i would say kind of for the most part, they seem to have a minimum what i want to call entry level to be in that circle and the e-giving circles all themselves can decide what that e-giving level will be. But it is definitely, you know, an amount that’s much higher than a five or ten dollars gift level that’s for sure. Yeah, way looking into this and thinking about it makes me think of knitting circles. But it’s ah it’s different than knitting circles where well, they may be knitting things of great value, but just kind of seemed to me like, you know, the entry level would be like we said five or ten dollars. But and then some of the some of the e-giving circles, the people are quite wealthy, and they themselves are donating six figures to the circle. And then the circle is making million dollars grants. Yes, it really is fascinating. I mean, when even, you know, with the research that i did to prepare for this article, um, you know, i was looking at various places like new york times is even written on this back in november of twenty thirteen and so there’s a lot of people just google e-giving circles so they’ll find ah lot of articles have been written not only through the new york times, but the chronicle has had quite a number of articles where they focused but on this idea of e-giving circles. And so i just thought it would make an interesting discussion for ah topic for your show, because, of course, non-profits you know, they need to be aware that the circles exist and how do you come to the attention of the circles? Okay, we’re going. We’re going to come to that. And i know you’re in e-giving circle and we, um, actually i know. So we have a little extra time more than usual today, so we’re going we’ll have a chance to talk about your own experience in your giving circle. I see it looks like these air, mostly for women, not exclusively, but mostly women’s circles. They are very popular amongst women and, you know, of course, because of my own association to a group of women in a giving circle, you know, i really thought that that was just, you know, the predominance of it. But then i came across an article in the chronicle that was only done within the last year, back in july of twenty fourteen, and the article talked about how they’re also very popular amongst minorities and younger donors, so that was intriguing, you know, that goes my knitting circle analogy, right? And, you know, non-profits are forever trying to figure out how do we engage that next level of generation of donors? And how do we engage a younger pool of donors might really be a great way to do that. So you’re s o there are circles of women who are younger and guys who are younger, too. Yeah, okay, we’ll get we’ll get to that. To, um and also these circles are not onl e-giving cash there’s other levels of participation. Yeah, i mean, you know, you can decide how how in depth you want to participate in the circle. Some people would really prefer just to write their check annually and really have very little interaction with the circle. Other people want to be much more engaged in deciding how the funds will be dispersed and again e-giving circles have various ways that they decide how that’s going to happen from perhaps an annual gathering where there’s a vote taken on a very select pool of non-profits that have been filtered out bye, perhaps more of an executive committee of that e-giving circle. Or they might be coming together and meeting quarterly to try and decide on looking to fix certain things that are going wrong in their community and trying to identify well what are their non-profits that are actually addressing these issues and what seek them out and actually contribute to those organizations, and then also in terms of support to the organization, going beyond money, the mentor ship is a possibility volunteering at an organization that the circle is supporting, yes. Absolutely so. So think about, you know, the level of engagement. And perhaps the gift amounts to those circles might increase the more engaged you have that person as a volunteer within the giving circle and perhaps volunteering then for the organizations to whom wth e-giving circle contribute. So there’s, i was reading something about managerial support. Basically the the executive director of ah small non-profit that initially got a grant of fifteen thousand dollars. Then she was going on to a a larger grantcraft petition which got it, which she won for over two hundred thousand dollars and the giving circle that had initially supported her. I was giving her marketing and presentation advice for the for the pitch to the larger foundation. Yes, yes, i saw that same article. I mean, it really is fascinating how the whole thing khun really continue to have this this ripple effect. And you know, when you think about circles and then you think about the ripple effect right of ah, concentric circle. If you if you throw a a pebble into a pond, you can really see how it can have so many different ways of impacting the community and the e-giving circle itself. Yeah. It’s, it’s really interesting people are getting more involved through giving circles than just giving money and and often it’s smaller. Very often, it seems like smaller organizations that can use that extra level of help beyond just cash. Yes, absolutely. All right. Um, well, that’s that’s diving a little bit, too. What a non-profit could be doing tio discover local giving circles well, you know, certainly networking within their own communities. I think we’ve talked about this before on the show in terms of china identify major gift prospects. It’s it’s kind of that same process if you’re not out there and attending perhaps local chamber events and other events, maybe even meet up, look for meet ups where you’re going tohave on meetup dot com where you’re going tohave ah ah gathering of people like minded people around, maybe high tech ventures or real estate investors, things like that, you know, you you might come across somebody who is then, you know, talking about ah particular e-giving circle in the community. So i think you just have to get yourself out in the community and literally in front of and shaking hands with some. Of the people who are probably in these e-giving circles and without getting out there and learning about them, um, it’s going to be more difficult to find them? Of course, you know, we’ll talk during this interview about some ways to find them online as well, but there is just there’s nothing to substitute that getting out there and shaking hands and meeting people to find out who the movers and shakers are don’t think this is an interview. That’s so formal is it’s a conversation? We’re friend okay? Yeah, as our diane of dirt cheap and free, you’re a very big advocate of the local chambers of commerce groups and meetings, right? Yes, absolutely. You know, it’s it’s that that shoestring budget mentality, i suppose, um and, you know, trying to figure out how do you make the most of your time and the resources that you have available to you? Yeah. Okay, on da. All right, so you need to be out in the community. You couldn’t even be asking your existing donor and volunteer base. I mean, start with start with the people. You know, a swell is going to the broader community. But start with people who, you know, are close to the organization already asked them if they know of e-giving circles in the community, whether they remember or not. Yeah, i think this would make a great discussion as part of a board meeting. Or perhaps, why don’t you take a look at some of the websites that we’re going to be discussing today and maybe bookmarking some of them and sending them along to your board and keep volunteers and asking them if they’re aware of any e-giving circle? So not only are you going to keep your antenna up for them, but you’re going to want to, you know, bring this to the attention of of your board, um, so that they’re aware that they should be looking for these. They’re out networking in the community? Yes. Excellent. Okay, what do we have online? Wise online? Why say i found a number of things. So i found out that there was a report called connected teo give. That was done by a new organization called jump start lab. And what they were doing was they were looking to do research about giving circles and in particular, within the jewish community and as a result, they actually launched a website uh, which is called when they make sure i get the name of the website correct. And while maria simple searches for the website, well, ah, we’ll do a little tap dance on dh hope that she finds her notes very quickly on giving circles, and this is connected to give this is a place to find the connected to give report, is that right, maria? Yes, so it is. It is connected to give report, but the website itself and i’m almost there hang on one moment, though it’s called amplifier. Um, so the website is amplifier giving dot or gq, and so if we’ve got any jewish charities who are listening in on this call, this is a web site they’ll definitely want to go to because it hasn’t you have an opportunity not on ly too learn about giving circles, but there are ways to figure out how to be, how to come to the attention of them through this particular website. So again, i think it’s kind of interesting that this has this has come about for the jewish community, and i wouldn’t be surprised if we’re now going to start seeing other web sights. And this again came to my my attention through an article that i found in the chronicle. Okay, but so are you saying that site is devoted to e-giving circles for the jewish non-profits and communities? Yes, exactly. Okay, specifically. All right. Do we have one for the for the catholics? I you know what martignetti martignetti martignetti here. If i was anything, i would e should be guys like i would be eyes or anything for them. I haven’t delved into id. Let’s, let’s put it this way. I haven’t actually come across any articles that deal with this particular topic, but that would be something interesting research whether we have any more secular. Well, i’m sure you have some secular websites. Um, no, that would be the one that i would say would be most secular. But there are a number that have to do more with women’s collective e-giving. In fact, one of them is called the women’s collective e-giving grantmaker sze network. And that website is double u c g n dash network dot org’s. And they are all about women powered philanthropy. And so you actually can go. Too there’s. They actually have a map of the united states, and they actually outline, you know that the thirty eight, they call them independent collective e-giving groups, and they say that they over have over seventy, six hundred women in those particular groups. Okay, that would be an interesting website. Check out and again, that was w, c, g and hyphen, network dot or ge. Okay, let’s. Ah, marie, let’s, go out for a break. I just got a correct you on one thing. Secular, secular means it’s, it’s, not religious. So i was asking if you had other nonreligious ones, which you just get very about that’s. Okay, that’s. Okay, uh, we’ll go out for break maria semple, and i’ll continue our talk on giving circles and also going to hear about her personal experience in one stay with us. Like what you’re hearing a non-profit radio tony’s got more on youtube, you’ll find clips from stand up comedy tv spots and exclusive interviews catch guests like seth gordon. 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As one fan said, tony picks their brains and i don’t have to leave my office fund-raising fundamentals was recently dubbed the most helpful non-profit podcast you have ever heard. You can also join the conversation on facebook, where you can ask questions before or after the show. The guests were there, too. Get insider show alerts by email, tony tells you who’s on each week and always includes link so that you can contact guests directly. To sign up, visit the facebook page for tony martignetti dot com. Oppcoll rob mitchell is going to be a guest next week when we’re talking about thea atlas of giving twenty fourteen fund-raising analysis and their twenty fifteen forecast. So see, the show is the show, it does not just fall together contrary to belief, the things things are actually planned out here, okay? Because it’s not seen mario so morris amore websites for ah, from our doi end of dirt cheap. Okay, sure. So one of the other things that i came across was a report that was done in two thousand seven. Tony, i know one of the questions that you had for me and preparing for this show was, well, exactly how many e-giving circles are there in the united states and or perhaps internationally, and you know what? How much money are they giving away? Um, so i tried to dig deep and hard to find the answer to that, and of course, it was kind of heart to catalogue all of them. But there was a study called more giving together the growth and impact of e-giving circles and shared e-giving and it was released in two thousand seven, and what they said was that as of two thousand six so you can imagine that was a number of years ago. There were four hundred catalog e-giving circles in forty four states, and ah, a lot of them had raised, you know, a lot of money they had raised at that point over eighty eight million dollars since their inception. That was nine. And that was nine years ago. Yeah, cells, i’m quite certain that it has probably grown quite a bit, but one of the sights that i was able to find that actually had giving circles listed by state is called e-giving circles dot or ge so that’s an easy one to remember. Okay? And you can actually look state by state and try and find those particular e-giving circles. So i think it be great for the non-profits listening on this tio two checks us out because not only do they list, um, state by state, but they do have a couple of global e-giving circles listed here as well. Um, a lot of them are actually based in the u s, but they’re e-giving they’re focused on giving is international. Yeah, okay, excellent for international. But but you also want to be paying attention to the ones that maybe in your own, much closer to you in your own community vicinity with e-giving exactly e-giving circle e-giving circles dunaj i’m based in new jersey, for example, and i see that there are three listed here, the one that i’m part of is not even listed on here. So mom it’s the one that i’m part of it not listed on here, you can imagine there are probably, you know, a number of others that aren’t listed here as well. I can’t imagine that i and i know for sure that there are at least there’s mine and another chapter called i think it’s called impact one hundred, based in new jersey that are not even listed on here, so they probably have not even been able to compile every single one of them, even on this website. Either that or you’re living in some kind of a fantasy world, some kind of e-giving circle fantasy world where you imagine these circles around you, but they don’t really exist, and sometimes they overlap. But you wouldn’t know if you were in that fantasy world, so well, i’ll give you the benefit of doubt since i know you will presume that that’s, not the case. I will assume i should say we’ll assume that that’s not the case. Uh, all right. So so it’s even more than they list, but they’re not keeping up. They’re not keeping up to date. You got to get your own circle listed. Well, that that’s? Yeah. That’s part of my purpose. And i came across this research i thought always gotta get are listed here. Um, how would you recommend approaching? And we’ll get a yeah. You know, you could bring in some of your own experience to, but how would you recommend approaching these giving circles? They may and may not have websites or, you know, they don’t have program officers. How do you, uh, how you gonna get in there once you find them? I think. It’s, you know, it depends on the e-giving circle itself. Some might have a more formal website and process maybe even a grant application process for approaching them. Others, if you can at least find out who perhaps some of the people are that are kind of heading up. That e-giving circle. You can go the lincoln route, right? Why not? Try and make a connection with them on lincoln and have that turn into a cup of coffee to discuss you know what your non-profit is doing and letting that giving circle know that their particular mission that they’ve outlined happens to coincide with thie services and programs that your particular non-profit provides. How would you get to the membership? The names? How how is that possible? Well, some of them actually will have website, and then through that they’ll be usually in about us link so so think of it is researching a foundation, for example, where you confined, you know who the contact person is to reach out to if you were going to be submitting a grant application and so forth. But if they don’t have any way to contact through the website, i’m sure you could probably at least find a name of a person connected and again, just google that name, and you’re very likely to come up to, at minimum there lengthen profile, okay? And then this is where the board could be helpful, too. Even if you’re not able to find a name of a member, if you can least find the name. Of the circle, as you suggested earlier, you could float that to your board say, you know not just do you know of any circles in the area, but we’ve identified a couple here’s the ones we can’t find any of the members or here’s a couple member names we did find, you know, can you help us out in any other case? Yeah, yeah, you got a cz you’ve suggested before with with prospect research using using your boards networks? Absolutely. And, you know, one of the other things that i thought would be interesting because one of the reports that i read actually alluded to this is why not have as a non-profit why not launch your own e-giving circle, right? So you probably have somewhat of a form of this already, but this could be another interesting e-giving vehicle for your non-profit so you might be calling it something like a e-giving society right now, and you know it, maybe just changing the language around it. Um, do people want to belong to societies? Where do they want to belong to circles? There’s, there’s definitely a different connotation, i think. And and maybe you want to have both i don’t know, but i think it be kind of interesting for a non-profit to se gi, you know, i’ve done some research, i’m not finding any e-giving circles that we can approach in our community, so, you know, let’s, consider launching our own and coming up with that minimum gift amount that it would take to join that giving circle, and then what are the parameters around? What will membership in that giving circle include if we start this at our organization, i think that could be on effective way to start a new, major gift giving level in the year twenty fifteen for the non-profits on the call, okay? Ah, well, you and i are calling you know, they’re listening all different methods, but i’m, um i’m mincing, i’m being quibbling with you? Um, yeah, now interesting. Ah, okay, you’re kind of conflating what are typically called recognition societies with what we’re talking about giving circles that is that that’s sort of what you’re doing? Yeah, i mean, you could certainly start your own and, you know, try and find out well, what are some of what they’re actually guide? Um, that particular website that i mentioned amplifier they’ve actually got some really terrific resource is on there, even though this is meant for the jewish community. There’s still a lot of great resource is on that site that i came across a lot of great downloads that talk about how to start e-giving circle, what are some of the, you know, guidelines that you want to put around the circle? Here’s a sample letter that you can send out letting people know that e-giving circle has been started, so they did. I would say that that is going to be a really good resource, regardless of whether you’re in the jewish e-giving space, because you’re going to be able to garner a lot of free resource is right there in creating your own giving circle through your non-profit let’s, let’s, talk a little about your own experience what’s the name of your new jersey e-giving circle so i’m part of one that is part of united way of northern new jersey. They have women’s leadership council, and through that we have the leadership e-giving circle, which entails a one thousand dollars annual commitment tooth e-giving circle and like any good major gift level. Ah, uh, donation. You can actually spread that out throughout the year. You can attach it to a credit card and so forth. So it is definitely a way to get people in the circle if you can break it down for them in that way. Because you said and that’s the one part of you said yours is a women’s only circle. Is that right? Yes. That’s correct. Why’s. That why’s that, i suppose, uh, i mean, i was born in new jersey. Suppose i wanted to join that or some other man, but i like to use me as an example. Center of the universe. Um, suppose i wanted to join what? On what basis would you reject me? You know what? We probably wouldn’t reject any man. Now i need it just happens to be the name of of the order. You know, the organization and that that united way it’s set up. They have women’s leadership councils all across the united states. Um, i have not attended any of the events and so forth outside of my own region, but i’m quite certain they probably do have some men connected, you know, at various levels. Um, i know that. We had an event recently where we did have and very much welcomed a man teo, join us in a small event that we had to go and, um all right, well, that’s encouraging, i’m glad i’m glad he was very much welcomed. Also, uh, how does your circle decide what organization organizations it’s going to support each year? So when we launched, it was about it was just under five years ago, we decided that we would focus on getting women more financially stable and an education being a way to do this, but we’re actually partnering up with the local community college here, the raritan valley community college and their educational foundation, so through that were able to help what we’re calling the nontraditional student with some gap funding. So the colleges, perhaps providing the scholarship assistance and so forth, and we’re providing some of the gaps funding needs that that particular student might have that’s going to hamper their ability to complete that educational process. So it’s typically in a lot of cases, it’s, the single mother returning to school for education and looking and has perhaps, you know, want at least one child at home and is looking to yet get some additional funding in place to make that education happens. No might might mean child care or whatever, whatever it takes. Your circle then is only supporting the raritan valley community college well within win women’s leadership council in northern new jersey were connected with a number of community colleges. Also centenary college in north west new jersey. So that’s, the way that were structured is is partnering up with a community college and college is focused around the topic of education, economic, that specific, that specific issue. Now we have just like a minute and a half left or so. How often does your circle meat we meet? Probably on average quarterly throughout the year, and then we stay in touch through email the rest of the time. How do you decide which of the colleges you’re going to make grants to? And we just have about a minute left maria again. It’s very localized here in somerset county were were partnered up with already raritan valley college, so that that was decided pretty early on in the e-giving circle history, okay? And the larger organization is supporting other community college is not your not your individual circle. Okay, right. But circles can decide toe support. Multiple charities. Certainly that’s. Just that’s. Just not the way yours is going. Okay, correct. All right. Thank you very much, maria. Thank you, e-giving circles cool. You’ll find her at maria simple on twitter. And her sight is the prospect finder. Dot com again. Thanks, maria. Thank you. Next week, the atlas of giving as i mentioned the twenty fourteen fund-raising analysis and twenty fifteen forecast. And along with the ceo rob mitchell, we’re gonna have professors paul schervish and doug white. If you missed any part of today’s show, find it at tony martignetti dot com generosity siri’s you know that good things happen when small and midsize charities come together for a fundraising event. Generosity. Siri’s dot com. Our creative producers claire meyerhoff. Sam liebowitz is the line producer show social media is by susan chavez, susan chavez, dot com and the remote producer of tony martignetti non-profit radio is john federico of the new rules. Our music is by scott stein you with me next week for non-profit radio big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent go out and be great. What’s not to love about non-profit radio tony gets the best guests check this out from seth godin this’s the first revolution since tv nineteen fifty and henry ford nineteen twenty it’s the revolution of our lifetime here’s a smart, simple idea from craigslist founder craig newmark yeah insights, orn presentation or anything? People don’t really need the fancy stuff they need something which is simple and fast. When’s the best time to post on facebook facebook’s andrew noise nose at traffic is at an all time hyre on nine am or eight pm. So that’s when you should be posting your most meaningful post here’s aria finger ceo of do something dot or ge young people are not going to be involved in social change if it’s boring and they don’t see the impact of what they’re doing so you gotta make it fun and applicable to these young people look so otherwise a fifteen and sixteen year old they have better things to do if they have xbox, they have tv, they have their cell phones me dar is the founder of idealised took two or three years for foundation staff to sort of dane toe add an email address their card. It was like it was phone. This email thing is fired-up that’s why should i give it away? Charles best founded donors choose dot or ge somehow they’ve gotten in touch kind of off line as it were and and no two exchanges of brownies and visits and physical gift mark echo is the founder and ceo of eco enterprises. You may be wearing his hoodies and shirts. Tony talked to him. Yeah, you know, i just i’m a big believer that’s not what you make in life. It sze, you know, tell you make people feel this is public radio host majora carter. Innovation is in the power of understanding that you don’t just do it. You put money on a situation expected to hell. You put money in a situation and invested and expected to grow and savvy advice for success from eric sacristan. What separates those who achieve from those who do not is in direct proportion to one’s ability to ask others for help. The smartest experts and leading thinkers air on tony martignetti non-profit radio big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent.