Monthly Archives: October 2011

The 1% Matter more than you know…

New Study Says Charities Could Lose Up to $3.2-Billion From Obama Tax Change

Pretty disturbing read… Especially given the tough environment that we are now in, regarding real capital gains being made by our wealthiest benefactors. Only those in the know truly have any appreciation for the “real” 1% Compensation Story… It’s not what it seems, however the bandwagon of discontent mounts daily.

Jobs vs. Jobs, which are of MORE value?
The article above makes reference to “paying for the recent jobs plan”… As a reason to change charitable tax policy for those over the $200/$250k adjusted gross income. Economist “for” the Jobs Plan have grossly underestimated the value of a non-profit job. If in fact their legitimacy of this plan rests in any way on the fact that non-profit jobs are acceptable collateral damage, their economic background ought to be brought into question. They are terribly mistaken.

If we examine closely the “kind” of job that would ultimately replace said non-profit jobs, the question remains who will benefit most, and who will suffer most. Sustainability is of most concern. Aspiring benefactors that want to help us change the world have a philanthropic passion of fire that never goes out. On the other hand, governments take in revenue and without 100% accountability spend revenue, but passion is never the root of government spending. Given the special interest argument, legislative directed spending is mostly self serving.

100% of the time non-profit jobs are more sustainable. They are mostly privately underwritten, passionately supported, and filling voids governments (local & federal) should not be spending our tax dollars on. If the net-net is zero jobs why do it anyway.

Our fiduciary as fundraisers…
As fundraisers and non-profit professionals we have a responsibility to speak up, and more importantly speak out. The “squeaky” wheel always gets the oil in these matters. I’m elated that the current Senate sees these matters our way.

I don’t have a single benefactor whose net worth or earning is below $250k… The one consistent question that I get these days is “How will the University plan for a change in the charitable tax code?”. Because there are too many variables it’s almost impossible to address at this point. Doing nothing seems to lack logic, but with such great uncertainty it’s pretty difficult to pick a broad enough strategy to address the long term concern.

However, what I have done is talk to my benefactors about their long term giving plan as it “might” relate to the change in the tax code. Because the current proposal speaks in very specific terms relative to percentages of adjusted gross income, it’s pretty easy to reverse-calculate the charitable deduction breaking points for those benefactors that are adversely affected by the change. My advice. Lengthen the terms of your commitments to lower the year over year pledge payments.

Here are just a fews ways in which elongating the term creates benefit for non-profits: higher probability that the commitment will be completed, increased stewardship opportunities, ample time for re-gift planning, and last but not least another opportunity to talk about estate planning provisions for your cause.

Speak up… And speak out!

Go IRISH, beat Trojans.


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Balancing Act: Family and Fundraising

Family First…
One of the single greatest advantages of fundraising work is our (my) ability to involve my family in our development work.

The Tight End
No pun intended, but I must say that my wife is by far the greatest fundraiser in our family. She doesn’t even have to try! When she is in the room all is well. One of the strategies that I often use with other couples is “divide and conquer”. I find that most of my male benefactors lever me [with their wives] to truly explain why we visit so often, and just how we plan to address “their” philanthropic aspirations.

Wives are usually the last to be engaged and cultivated, but first to be stewarded in my book. It just works. I divide and my wife does the rest. She does what comes naturally; talks about our kids first, and lastly about how much I travel. When men hear that its mutually exclusive. When women hear that… well you figure it out. I often joke with my benefactors and threaten to bring their most respected priest to the ask… Now the secret is out of the bag, my wife is the real force to reckon with.

Remember, the Tight End is commonly referred to as a Quarterback’s security blanket. I do agree!

The Kicker
Special Teams can make or break any football team. For this part of the team no position is more important than the kicker. Tough to find. Impossible to replace. When they miss it rips your heart out. When they hit it brings a big ol’ smile to your face. Haven’t yet figured it out… The kids! Yes, my kids are fundraisers too. It’s truly a team effort.

I recently attended an Upper East NYC Tea Party (for 12 ppl). Yes, it was as exclusive as you presume… Attendees were a who’s who… And the spread so delightful! Here comes Tony with his entire family [of 5] in tow (they were invited too). Three quick minutes into the Penthouse and our 2 month old son decides to “febreeze” the place with his lovely aroma. Number 2!!! Get it? The kicker! What a start to the visit…

Two hours later, and not a single peep out of our son. The kid was an absolute angel. I truly believe that everyone in the room forgot that he was even there. Suffice to say our host could not have been more accommodating. By the time we departed our son had become the life of the Tea… The kicker! All smiles as we stepped into the elevator to hit the street top. All smiles… Impossible to replace.

I hope that I’m not the only fundraiser dumb enough to involve family in our work… LMAO! It just works… And yes, sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.

Live, Laugh, Love… Most of all Forgive!

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