DMA Nonprofit Federation News Feeds
Kim Klein takes on the age-old question among nonprofits: “Boards! (hunh!) What are they good for?” Her answer is well worth the read.
Investment returns at private foundations continued their strong gains last year, rising to an average of 15.6 percent according to a new study by the Commonfund Institute and the Council on Foundations (CoF).
The 2013 Council on Foundations-Commonfund Study of Investments for Private Foundations (CCSF), which draws its data from a survey of 153 private foundations with combined assets of $94.1 billion, revealed that investment returns grew by double-digits for the second straight year after hitting 12.0 percent in 2012. This represented a huge increase from the -0.7 percent return in 2011.
In a joint statement, Vikki Spruill, President and CEO of the Council on Foundations, and John S. Griswold, Executive Director of Commonfund Institute, said, “This report contains good news for the country. With double-digit returns for the second year in a row, private foundations have regained solid financial footing positioning them well for community investment.”
Foundations that participated in the CCSF study also saw an increase in mission-related spending, with 56 percent reporting such an increase, up from 47 percent in 2012. Only 26 percent reported a decrease, down from 32 percent the previous year.
Overall, the average effective spending by foundations – measured by dividing the amount spent on mission by the market value of the foundation at the beginning of the year – rose to 5.5 percent in 2013, up slightly from 5.4 percent in 2012. Large foundations had the lowest effective spending rate at 5.2 percent; medium-sized foundations had the highest at 5.7 percent.
“As communities continue to recover, they look to government, businesses, and the philanthropic sector to help them find solutions,” said Spruill and Griswold. “As foundation assets continue to rebound, they have more resources to invest in programs that advance the common good.”
According to the CCSF, foundation size played a big role in determining the percentage of investment return. Those foundations with assets over $500 million had the largest return, at 16.5 percent. Foundations with assets between $101 and $500 million, meanwhile, realized an average return of 15.5 percent, while foundations with assets under $101 million reported an average return of 15.2 percent.
Among investment returns from specific asset classes and strategies in FY2013, domestic equities produced the highest by far-an average of 31.8 percent, double the 15.9 percent return reported for investments in international equities. Alternative strategies generated a return of 7.3 percent, while short-term securities/cash/other returned 0.1 percent. Fixed income produced a negative return in FY2013 of-0.7 percent, with Spruill and Griswold explaining that the gradual withdrawal of market support by central banks caused historically low interest rates to rise and bond prices to fall.
Other key findings from the CCSF include:
- 12 foundations reported having a debt of $42.4 million, down from $46.5 million in 2012 and $54.1 million in 2011.
- Median debt of these same organizations also fell, dropping to an average of $11.1 million after a high of $14.6 million in 2012.
- 25 percent of participants reported having a chief investment officer. This number rose to 58 percent among the largest foundations.
- 73 percent of foundations reported using a consultant for investment activities, down from 80 percent in 2012.
You can view the full CCSF report for free by clicking here.
Charities received less than two-thirds of the initial contribution to an annuity in the last five years, the lowest average reported in 20 years according to a new survey.
The American Council on Gift Annuities (ACGA) conducts its survey, Survey of Charitable Gift Annuities, every two years. The percentage of initial contributions remaining for charities reached highs of 95 percent and 98 percent in 1994 and 1999, respectively, before dipping to 86 percent in 2004 and 82 percent in 2009.
But the 64 percent reported in 2013 is a record-low residuum for annuities that terminated in the last five years.
“The lower average residuum reported in 2013 is troubling but tempered by the fact that investment results from 2008 to 2013 were strong,” according to the research in the report.
In the last fiscal year, 41 percent of charities reported a return of 5 to 10 percent and 37 percent reported 10- to 20-percent returns on annuity assets. The average return was 9 percent among 232 valid responses. Half of charities reported 10-year returns of 5 to 10 percent and 3 percent reported returns of 10 to 20 percent. The average 10-year return was 8 percent. Returns were “dramatically better” than those reported in the last survey, conducted in 2009.
About 13 percent charities that responded reported they transferred funds to gift annuity accounts during the past four years to meet state minimum requirements, compared with 15 percent that responded in 2009.
A donor who makes a gift annuity is likely to increase annual giving, according to 31 percent of organizations while 64 percent said it’s likely to have no effect. In a survey first, charities were asked whether an annuity is likely to include a bequest and 54 percent said it’s likely compared with 45 percent that said it would have no effect.
The average age of annuitants is trending younger, with the average age at the time of their gifts of 75 years old, younger than the average 79 in 2009, and the youngest on record. Of 5,752 annuitants reported, 57 percent were female compared with 43 percent male.
The share of deferred annuity contracts continues to increase steadily, rising from 6 percent in the 1994 study to 8 percent in 1999 and 2004, 10 percent in 2009 and 12 percent last year. “While representing just 12 percent of all gift annuity contracts, the share of deferred payment annuities has doubled since the 1994 survey,” according to the report.
Nearly a third of the charities surveyed reported issuing a flexible deferred payment annuity, up from 21 percent in 2009 and significantly greater than the 10 percent in 2004 and 5 percent in 1999. Flexible deferred payment annuities are deferred annuities where the annuitant can choose the payment starting data at a later time. Of those that offered deferred annuities, on average, charities have nine flexible deferred annuities in force.
New questions added to the 2013 survey to gauge how the Great Recession affected risk management policies, included asking whether charities expanded their ability to market gift annuities (18 percent) and if they caped the highest payment rate for new annuitants (4 percent).
Among the 378 organizations that responded to the 2013 survey, almost three quarters of respondents were classified as a college or university, religious organization or hospital/health related.
There are two remaining candidates to fill the shoes of Eugene R. Tempel when he retires as the founding dean of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy later this year.
While the university will only confirm that the search is ongoing and the intention is to have a new dean by January 1, 2015, The NonProfit Times has learned that two candidates remain for the position. Neither is from Indiana University.
Multiple sources have told The NonProfit Times that the process has not been as smooth as was expected. In fact, there has been some consideration as to under what terms Tempel might stay on for up to one more year if the new dean is not selected soon, according to multiple sources within the university and search process.
The search committee presented candidates to Charles R. Bantz, Ph.D., chancellor of the Indianapolis campus, known as IUPUI since it is shared with Purdue University. There were three finalists but one of them, from a university in California, has withdrawn his application, according to sources.
Andrew R. Klein, J.D., chair of the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy selection committee and dean of the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law, disputed the idea that the search has not gone as smoothly as hoped. He said the plan was to present a pool of candidates to the administration by mid-summer and that has happened. He said eight candidates were reduced to “those who came back to campus.”
He declined to confirm the number of candidates who made campus visits and the number of candidates still in the running for the coveted position in nonprofit academia. He cited a confidentiality pledge to the candidates who are still employed. “Chancellor Bantz is in consultation with President (Michael A.) McRobbie about the search,” he said. “The appointment of any dean is ultimately made by the Board of Trustees of Indiana University,” Klein said. “I am not involved in the conversations at this point, but I am certain that Chancellor Bantz is consulting with President McRobbie to make sure the administration presents a candidate to the board in which they both have confidence.”
The NonProfit Times has learned that the two finalists are males from Washington, D.C. Both have academic and fundraising backgrounds. Neither candidate returned messages so The NonProfit Times is withholding the names until receiving confirmation from them. One candidate is a vice president of development and alumni relations and the other works for a research association but also has international and academic experience.
One of the finalists is not Patrick M. Rooney, Ph.D., the school’s associate dean for Academic Affairs and Research and a professor of Economics and Philanthropic Studies. In a May 27 email to colleagues obtained by The NonProfit Times, Rooney wrote of the disappointment that he was “not selected as one of the finalists in the second round of interviews.” He also wrote in the email, “I am deeply disappointed by this decision. I have been told there is a very competitive pool of applicants, which should make all of us very proud of what we have created with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Finally, I will do whatever I can to help the new dean find their footing at the School and help them take the School to the next level. I hope you all will as well.”
The Lilly Family School is evolved from the internationally known Center on Philanthropy of the IU-Purdue University campus in Indianapolis, Ind. The school encompasses and expands all of the previous academic degree, research and training programs, including The Fund Raising School, the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, the Women’s Philanthropy Institute and International Programs.
The school is partnered with the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI and IU Bloomington, and colleagues in this field across IU and around the world to strengthen philanthropy. There were approximately 15 members of the search committee, which included members of the Lilly School board of advisors, core faculty members, school staff, faculty from other units of the university, a student and members of the community.
Tempel played an integral role in establishing the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s precursor, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, and served as the center’s executive director from 1997 through 2008, transforming it into a leading national resource.
An early leader in creating the field of philanthropic studies, Tempel was the first elected president of the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council, a national association of academic centers and programs that focus on the study of nonprofit organizations, voluntarism and philanthropy. He is professor of philanthropic studies and of higher education and adjunct professor of public administration at Indiana University.
People use the terms “Board” and “board member” interchangeably. But that’s just plain wrong!
How has nonprofit management curricula evolved, and are they meeting the demands of today’s leadership challenges?
Mid-level donors might live in a strange place in your development department. They’re not serviced with the same automation that your direct mail file is handled. They also most likely don’t warrant the personal touch of the major giving department.
“In spite of the fact that they’re producing revenue, they’re neglected,” said Cathy Finney, deputy vice president of strategic services at The Wilderness Society in Washington, D.C. “We’re not paying a lot of attention,” she said.
Finney and Newport Creative Senior Vice President Craig DePole presented a talk during the Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation 2014 Washington Nonprofit Conference. “You need to steward (middle donors’) commitment and loyalty,” said DePole. “They want to be more a part of your organization. On average, middle donors are on file for five-plus years after making a $1,000 gift.”
The first step is determining what exactly constitutes a mid-range donor. For the World Wildlife Fund, said DePole, it’s donors who give between $1,000 and $10,000 per year. Those donors are called Partners in Conservation. They need to make a single gift of at least $1,000 to be a Partner, and have another cumulative $1,000 within two years to stay in the program; otherwise, they’re funneled down into the regular direct mail program.
“All organizations will vary,” said Finney. “When looking at your program and the people to invite, look beyond RFM (recency, frequency, monetary value). Think about if you’ll include them based on cumulative gifts, a single gift or some hybrid. Utilize wealth screening and other qualifying overlay data.” Finney added that wealth screening can show false positives and miss prospects, so use caution.
Awareness was a struggle for WWF, said DePole. The organization did a survey of 30,000 donors in 2012. The survey revealed fewer than 9 percent of the donors in the Partners in Conservation program knew they were in the program. WWF decided to keep the name despite the low awareness. “People expected a name at that level,” said DePole. The survey also showed that members want access to organization leadership; they want to feel like insiders.
Mid-level donors at Finney’s TWS are called Advocates. She said her organization has an advantage in that all fundraising sits in the philanthropy department, which has a collective $26.4 million annual goal, so there are few issues of donor ownership. The program has 600 Advocates out of 125,000 members. Advocates enter the program by making $1,000 single gifts.
“Stewardship, cultivation and staffing are the most important pieces of a mid-level program,” said Finney. Advocates get fewer, higher quality direct mail appeals and renewals. “Stewardship is the most important thing we’ve done to increase the value of the program,” Finney said.
TWS added a dedicated Director of Advocates, with a special emphasis on donor migration: funneling advocates up and down to major gifts and membership, and receiving members and major donors. “It’s not just about moving people up from membership, but also down from major gifts,” said Finney. “There are people in the major gift portfolio that shouldn’t and don’t want to be there.”
The position has expectations for interactions per month and per year, and has a small travel budget. “She’s got 600 in her portfolio,” said Finney. “That’s high; you won’t find a major gifts officer who wants 600. But because she’s not going out to meet them all, it’s semi-manageable.”
Landing a job interview is hard work, and sometimes it can seem like it’s all luck. The reality is, however, that there is an art to getting the call from an employer. Below are three tips you can follow that will improve your chances.
Everyone knows that being unemployed is not fun, and it can be even worse if you have been out of work for a long period of time. Frustration is a powerful emotion and, when writing your resume and cover letter, it can impact the words you choose. The key to fighting this negativity is to prove to the employer that you are confident, knowledgeable, and that you will be an important addition to the organization.
Prove you are up-to-date
If you are counted among the long-term unemployed, you will have to show hiring managers that you are not rusty. If you want to impress them, review all the tools you used in past jobs, and make sure you’re familiar with all the relevant industry language. Another way to prove your worth is to connect with former co-workers on LinkedIn to get endorsements and/or referrals.
Explain long-term unemployment
Whether you like it or not, gaps in employment are a red flag to employers. You can help to ease their concerns by honestly addressing the issue in your cover letter. You should also be sure to mention any volunteer work you have done while looking for jobs as this will show that you have at least been staying busy.