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Find news you can use on a variety of topics; opportunities to raise money, changes in postage rates; statistics and facts that impact volunteer programs; and more.

~ January 2006 ~ Topics


Curtailing Advocacy
Do You Know Your Donors?
Ready for the Boomer Volunteer?

Curtailing Advocacy

The US House of Representatives has passed legislation (HR1461) that would disqualify nonprofits from receiving money from a new housing fund if they have lobbied or carried out advocacy activities—such as voter registration. The provisions to curtail advocacy activities is aimed at controlling a 5% fund for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that is earmarked to promote low-income housing for needy families. The bill will be moved on to the Senate banking committee for action.

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Do You Know Your Donors?

The Kettering Foundation of Ohio financed a study of how well nonprofits understand the minds and behavior of potential donors. The report, compiled by Public Agenda, was the result of six focus groups, and interviews with 15 officials of nonprofits around the country. The focus groups were made up of men and women who were civically engaged and had donated at least $300 to charity in the past year. Here are some results.

  • Overall donors were enthusiastic and positive about nonprofits, especially small and local ones.
  • Donors have a long memory when it comes to scandal or waste at nonprofits.
  • Donors dislike fund raising tactics that look like the corporate world—slick brochures, frequent mailings, high profile events, and telephone solicitation.
  • They are also concerned with excess executive pay.
  • Nonprofit officials are consumed with public policy debates, while donors rarely understand or care about them. Not one donor in the focus groups ever checked a charities tax return (as an example).

The full report is available at "The Charitable Impulse" (http://www.publicagenda.org).

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Ready for the "Boomer" Volunteer?

The push is on to bring the baby boom generation into volunteering. There are big grants to organizations to demonstrate how best to do it (The Corporation for National and Community Service is providing $1.5 million) and ad campaigns to attract those citizens born in 1946 (first year of the "baby boom") as they turn 60.

This month the Harvard School of Public Health and MetLife Foundation are planning major print and TV ads to encourage baby boomers to volunteer.

The ads will feature boomers nearing 60 who are reinventing their lives and giving back to their communities. And it will use new vocabulary to attract people. Boomers are not fond of terms like "elders" or "seniors." The marketing team is exploring such terms as "The Third Age" or "The Second Half."

It is expected that this cohort of volunteers will expect different types of volunteer positions than their parents. They want more control and responsibility for addressing serious community issues and problems. Is your organization ready with new positions and terms for these energetic volunteers?

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