We've put everything we know about researching PAFs into a new article: you can download it here
New in February 2021: Everything you always wanted to know about PAFs but didnt know where to look.........
We've put everything we know about researching PAFs into a new article: you can download it here
A summary of recent events and the results of Philanthropy Australia’s survey of grantmakers
Everyone has been in plenty of webinars these past few weeks as we all strive to get a handle on what is happening in the not for profit community and the best ways to move forward. It seems not surprisingly that different sectors are affected very differently from one another, with some organisations seeing an upsurge in donations, including major gifts, while others are talking about drastic drops in income.
Meanwhile, members of the Neilson and Ainsworth families and other philanthropists stepped in to offer multi-million dollar support to save Sydney’s Carriageworks from collapse, Philanthropy Australia has partnered with Australian Communities Foundation to create a Covid-19 national funding platform where charities can post their costed projects to be considered for funding, and a group of arts and culture philanthropists combined under the auspices of the Philanthropy Australia Arts Funders Network to provide a $1.5m support program of smaller grants to artists and arts workers.
In his April report for JBWere, Where to From Here: the outlook for philanthropy during Covid-19, John McLeod predicts that after growth of almost 5% in each of the last two years, total philanthropic giving in Australia will fall by about 7% in 2020, and by a further nearly 12% in 2021, taking the total figure back to 2012 levels. Specifically in relation to foundation and structured philanthropy, he suggests that the main downward effect of giving is likely to be seen in the year following a major equity market fall, and also suggests that, as in 2008, we will see a slowing in the rate at which new PAFs are established.
This week, Philanthropy Australia surveyed their grantmaking members on their response to the challenges of Coved-19, with some very interesting results.
Of 101 surveyed, 88% were changing their granting approach in response to C19; responses include increased flexibility, untying restricted funding, increasing support, and establishing dedicated C19 grant programs
Specific initiatives have also included funding additional capacity-building in digital, supporting advocacy work for vulnerable groups, providing expertise and mentoring, and offering non-financial support
Interestingly, it isn’t all going to existing partners – 60% say they are offering grants to new partners around C19, with nearly 40% saying they will increase 2019-20 funding amounts and less than 8% saying they will decrease funding. The picture for 2020-21 is less clear, with the majority saying either that funding will stay at the same level or that they have not yet considered this question. 22% are saying they will increase funding in 2020-21.
It seems likely that some of the increase will be related to the actions government has taken to encourage PAFs and PuAFs to give more than their required donation percentages, in return for the ability to proportionately decrease future distributions, and does raise the question of what the longer term effect will be on distributions, especially as these foundations will expect that their investment income will be affected by any economic downturn.
Related to this, 30% of respondents say they have already decided to use, or are considering using, capital to offer loans or other social finance options to increase support.
On the question of whether the value of their corpus has declined since C19, 32% say that it has, and it will result in lower distribution levels, although a higher number, 51%, said it has, but they will maintain giving levels.
Both of these things have the potential to affect longer term levels of giving.
Anecdotally we’re hearing that some organisations are holding back from asking for gifts, especially major gifts, often due to board members thinking it is inappropriate right now; at the same time we are hearing great success stories from those organisations who think about their core purpose and stay in clear and open communication with their supporters about the needs they are addressing.
We’ve even heard that some major donors who will never accept invitations to physical events are showing up to Zoom meetings or engaging in long and productive phone conversations. One of the really interesting outcomes from the present time will be to see how far innovative organisations maintain the new and productive methods they’ve come up with to keep fundraising. And the thing we do know, is that it’s vital to keep fundraising.
It may be a difficult time to recruit new donors unless you are an organisation with a purpose directly related to the current crisis, but it’s more important than ever to maintain your links to existing supporters, whether they are individuals or foundations, and to deepen your understanding of who your supporters are.
2018 – another landmark year in Australian philanthropy
2018 was another landmark year for Australian philanthropy, continuing the transformation that we have seen in the Australian giving landscape over the last half-dozen years.
The biggest philanthropic news came at the end of the year - the loss of Stan Perron, already an extraordinarily important donor in WA, will not mean the end of his philanthropic legacy, with the bulk of his $4 billion fortune going to his foundation.
This bequest will make a big difference in several ways. Firstly, from a giving perspective it means we now have another very large foundation on a similar scale to the $4bn+ Paul Ramsay Foundation. Secondly, of the three Australians who have now given or pledged over $1bn (Paul Ramsay, Andrew Forrest, and Stan Perron), two are from WA - a rebalancing of philanthropy's centre of gravity away from the eastern states.
The two biggest gift announcements of the year were both for $100m:
• Judith Neilson announced a $100m gift to support the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.
• Andrew and Nicola Forrest's Minderoo Foundation announced a $100m commitment to their Minderoo Ocean Research (MOR) Initiative, with a range of partner organisations.
Early in 2019, we also saw Australia's biggest ever fundraising campaign meet its target, as the University of Sydney announced it had reached its $1 billion objective, an unprecedented landmark in Australian philanthropy.
Big gifts in higher education in 2018 included:
• $30m to LaTrobe University from an anonymous donor, helping the University to reach its $50m campaign goal, and set a new target of $100m
• $30m to the University of Melbourne from Jane Hansen and Paul Little
• $16.4m from the Paul Ramsay Foundation to the University of Newcastle
• $13.5m from Andrew and Paula Liveris to the University of Queensland
• $10m from Marcus Blackmore and Caroline Furlong to Southern Cross University
• $10m from Len and Margarete Ainsworth to Western Sydney University
• $10m from the Kinghorn Foundation to the Australian-American Fulbright Commission to support Fulbright Future Scholarships.
In other higher education news, Monash University launched its largest ever fundraising campaign, with a target of $500m.
The Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation was much in the news - while ANU withdrew mid-year from negotiations to establish a Ramsay-funded degree in Western Civilisation Studies, the University of Wollongong reached an agreement to establish a degree, worth a reported $50m in funding over eight years.
The Ramsay Foundation itself announced a major change with the appointment of a new CEO, Professor Glyn Davis, taking over from inaugural CEO Simon Freeman.
In the arts, we saw another landmark project meet its target as the Art Gallery of NSW successfully concluded the capital campaign for its Sydney Modern project, exceeding its $100m target, and foreshadowing an intended art acquisition campaign to be launched in 2019.
With one major arts project coming to fruition, another was being announced, with Victorian premier Daniel Andrews signalling a major redevelopment of Melbourne's arts precinct, with ambitious philanthropic support needed to see the project through.
In the health sector, big gifts included:
• The Paul Ramsay Foundation's gift of $11.33m to the Burnet Institute's Eliminate Hepatitis C Australia Partnership
• The late Geoffrey Carrick's bequest of $9.85m to the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Children's Hospital Foundation
• A $5m gift by Carl and Wendy Dowd to the Florey Institute, matched by another $5m from Florey Chairman Harold Mitchell
• $2.5m from Neil Balnaves and the Balnaves Foundation to the Menzies School of Health Research's Hearing for Learning initiative
In sport, Hawthorn FC major donor Geoff Harris made a lead gift of $10m in support of the club's move to Dingley.
Finally, 2018 was notable not just for the financial contributions made by Australia's philanthropists, but also by their involvement in public advocacy. Perpetual's Caitriona Fay summed up 2018 as 'the year philanthropy fought for democracy.' And Philanthropy Australia's Sarah Wickham noted the support given by The Myer Foundation, The Snow Foundation, The Fay Fuller Foundation and The Wyatt Trust to the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) Raise the Rate Campaign to reduce poverty in Australia.
In total, we counted more than 80 publicly announced gifts of between $1m and $100m in Australia last year, and FR&C's updated list of Australian $1m+ donors can be found here.
When we started this list in 2011, there were 100 $1m+ donors, and Australia's biggest giver was an Irish-American, Chuck Feeney (still near the top with US$368m in Australian giving).
That list now contains 350 donors, two of whom have established foundations with assets in the billions, and two more who have pledged to give away at least half their wealth.
Expect more changes in the years ahead!
Happy to announce that we have added a screening database for New Zealand not for profits to our range of services. We've tested it with organisations in education and charity sectors with good results. If you're interested in screening your NZ names, please get in touch!
Australian philanthropy has seen big changes in the past five years. 2013 was a record year for Australian giving, with over 50 $1m+ gifts made publicly for the first time, the record for Australia's biggest donation being broken three times, and Andrew and Nicola Forrest becoming the first Australians to join the Giving Pledge, publicly promising to give away at least half of their wealth.
Since then, we've seen major philanthropy continue to grow in Australia, and 2017 was no exception. Here are some of the big gift announcements from last year:
FR&C's list of Australian $1m+ donors now features twelve $100m+ donors, seven $50m+ donors, 62 donors with known or estimated giving of $10m+, and another 55 with known giving of $5m+. The total list stands at 334 and can be found here.
Here's How to Fine Tune Your Major Gifts Program...
....is the heading of a very kind article that Roewen Wishart wrote about our book last year, published in Fundraising & Philanthropy magazine
Here's a link
And here's the article
Roewen Wishart explores the ins and outs of starting/refocusing major gift fundraising and finding essential linkages so you can fine-tune your major gifts program.
Australian major gifts and capital fundraising will benefit for years from the publication of Understanding Major Donors: A Guide to Prospect Research for Australian Fundraisers by Charlotte Grimshaw, Molly Masiello and Conor McCarthy.
Fundraising managers and major gifts specialists face the challenge of how use the information generated by prospect research and apply it to decision-making, priority setting and planning. Here are two vexed questions, and some answers.
Choosing where to start or how to refocus
Fundraisers commonly face one of two problems. One is: how to start a major gifts program with an established mass donor and/or ‘founding donors’ base.
A converse is: how to refocus a major gifts program that has become swamped with too many prospects and staff time spent on activity that doesn’t generate enough ‘hot prospects’.
Major gifts staff are trained to look for potential and to understand the need for cultivation steps to build donor engagement. It’s easy therefore to ‘hang on too long’, hoping that a donor’s or prospect’s engagement can be built.
In both these cases, a new (or revisited) method of linkage, ability and interest scoring is a good place to start. The method covered in chapter four is a good practical guide. It suggests a five-point scale for each of the three criteria (effectively from ‘nil or nothing known’ to ‘very strong’). And it makes the important point that financial ability warrants extra weight; a donor with relatively weak demonstrated linkage and interest but very large giving ability warrants more attention than another donor with the same ‘total score’ but only moderate ability.
I have found two important additional factors for organisations both large and small. First, the LAI score needs to only be sufficient to identify the relatively strong and relatively weak. If current resources allow, for example, one full-equivalent major gifts officer, my observation is that about 80 donors and prospects is about the maximum portfolio size in which each can receive the attention warranted. (This can be more in some organisations which can extensively support major gifts officers with prospect research and administrative back-up.)
The LAI scoring process usually starts with an apparent pool of ‘unqualified prospects’ (for example, anyone who gave $500 in the past three years, excluding peer-to-peer sponsors). If there are 150 unqualified prospects, a LAI scoring with just 0 to 2 for each criterion may be enough to select 80. But it there are 500, a more ‘finely graduated’ scoring from 0 to 5 makes sense.
The point is that more time and judgement is needed when the graduations of the scoring are more specific. It is best to do this stage briskly, and get on with finding linkages and testing personal cultivation
The second factor is the need to establish a regular review of prospects in a portfolio. Sometimes no personal, quality cultivation step is possible – due to a donor’s preference for privacy, busyness, low interest or absence of personal linkage. If this is unchanged after six months and several different attempts, it might be time to cease personal cultivation and try new possible prospects.
Note for context here that LAI rating is most relevant to major gifts programs that are ‘staff driven’, that is, where all three criteria are necessary to ‘get off square one’.
In case of capital and capacity campaigns that are more ‘volunteer advocate’ driven, interest becomes less important as an initial filter, and personal linkage of those advocates and ability to make a big gift are the starting point. Usually, big gifts will only result where genuine interest is subsequently built by cultivation. But at the start, linkage and ability can be enough.
Often the single longest delay factor in approaching top prospects (even a charity’s own donors) is getting face to face. Often, the donors with the biggest ability to give are the busiest and hardest to reach. Chapter 8 gives good guidance. Note: LinkedIn continues to grow in value for this purpose, although don’t rely on your own LinkedIn account to find connections to a prospect. LinkedIn currently only shows mutual connections to a prospect who is ‘second level connected’ to you.
Well-prepared phone technique can help get that first meeting. A solo major gifts officer in an organisation with no prior major gifts positions recently arranged a meeting with a BRW 200 individual who had only ever signed an online petition for the organisation.
This happened by applying prospect research that identified a location of the charity’s activities of close interest to the donor, and a few well selected questions about how the donor’s business activities might overlap with the charity’s.
But most of the time, it’s personal linkage that can get you face to face when the usual offerings (invitations to tours, board cocktails etc) don’t work by themselves. The tours and thank-you events still work (to motivate, appreciate, affiliate) but it’s a personal invitation by a person of influence that will increase the acceptance rate.
An interesting side note here is that several experienced UK and Canadian fundraisers have commented on how different Australia is – donors simply not giving an RSVP or accepting then not coming with no notification, is very frequent by comparison.
Which linkages found by prospect research are most effective?
Charlotte Grimshaw, Molly Masiello and Conor McCarthy’s Understanding Major Donors: A Guide to Prospect Research for Australian Fundraisers is priced at $30 and available from fundraisingresearch.com.au.
Roewen WishartRoewen Wishart CFRE is Director of Xponential and has 25 years’ experience in fundraising. His specialties are fundraising strategy, major gifts and capital/endowment campaigns, gifts in wills, ethics and boards in fundraising.
Capgemini have published their annual World Wealth report for 2017, reporting on numbers in high net worth individuals around the world, their asset allocations and estimated worth. Australian numbers continue to grow, although not as spectacularly as in some recent years. You can review the stats and download a copy of the report from their website here
The Australian Major Performing Arts Group has released the results of its annual philanthropy survey, showing that income from donations, corporate sponsorship, and fundraising to our major performing arts companies grew by 15.2 per cent in 2016.
The survey showed revenue from these private streams grew by $12.6 million to a total of $95.7 million from 2015 to 16. It reveals a huge increase in philanthropy and corporate sponsorship over the last 15 years, more than tripling from its 2001 figure of $30.3 million.
You can find the report and more details on the AMPAG website here
This week the Australian Financial Review published its 'Philanthropy 50', Australia's top individual givers in 2016, compiled by John McLeod: you can find the list and accompanying articles here
We’ve heard a lot recently from the UK about the discussion on privacy with regard to prospect research, so we thought it might be useful to summarise a few points and draw together some relevant web links.
The UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) fined two charities in December for data protection breaches. Both charities paid the fines while publicly disagreeing with the ICO’s assessments. The way these fines have been reported in some quarters have implied that activities such as data screening, or appending phone numbers to donor records, are not permitted under UK legislation, which is not the case. The key issues were about transparency to donors, and about whether these activities came within the definition of the data holder’s ‘legitimate interest’ and so constituted ‘fair processing.’ The ICO further outlined its position on these issues at a conference last month, and is considering possible penalties for another eleven UK charities.
Charities in the UK have expressed concern about the judgmental tone of remarks made by the ICO representative about charities’ practices which the charities felt were inappropriate and misleading and which lead to headlines like this “The UK Information Commissioner’s office (ICO) has slammed a number of big-name charities, including the RSPCA and the British Heart Foundation, for 'wealth screening' donors. “
As the UK prospect research firm Prospecting for Gold commented last month: Wealth screening is not and never has been illegal. Nor is prospect research. The key is to make sure you meet the requirements of the Data Protection Act so you can lawfully undertake these activities.
And the Commissioner herself in her speech to the February conference said:
“Let me be clear. It’s not that the activity is against the law but failing to properly and clearly tell your donors that you’re going to do it, is.”
UK charities are also concerned that the ICO’s views on these issues do not necessarily agree with those of the NCVO, as expressed in their guidelines on charities’ relations with donors published in September 2016
How much of this debate is relevant for us here in Australia?
As in Australia, the UK data protection laws require that data holders inform their data subjects if they intend to append to their records information provided by third party suppliers. If you look at your telco supplier’s privacy agreement you will probably find a statement like this: We may also collect personal information from other companies that are able to disclose it to us, if it's not practical to collect it from you. For example, we buy or obtain personal information from trusted sources to help us identify people who might be interested in hearing about our products. (Optus privacy statement).
At FR&C we remind clients in our written materials of this obligation to disclose: the relevant Australian Privacy Principle information can be found in APP 5 at https://www.oaic.gov.au/agencies-and-organisations/app-guidelines/
What the ICO actually said
These are the links to the two penalties levied in December
This is the ICO’s page for the public about the practices they criticised
This is the ICO’s paper produced for the meeting they held with selected charities in February https://ico.org.uk/media/2013426/fundraising-conference-2017-paper.pdf
This is a recording of the Information Commissioner’s speech at the conference https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/charity/
This is the link to the guidelines the ICO issued after the meeting
Some other good commentaries:
Factary’s posts on the situation here https://factary.com/category/fundraising-research/
And Chris Carnie’s blog here https://factary.com/category/chris-carnies-blog/
The UK Researchers in Fundraising Group’s newspage here http://www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk/groups/sig-researchers/news/
We try to keep up to date with news on developments in and reports on philanthropy in Australia and post it here: if you have something to share, please send it to us!