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/
The 2016 World Wealth Report from Cap Gemini is out and available for download here. Cap Gemini report that Asia-Pacific recorded robust HNWI population and wealth growth rates (9.4% and 9.9%, respectively), highest across the globe, and edged past North America to become the region with the highest HNWI wealth of $ 17.4 trillion. The population of HNWIs in Australia increased from 226k in 2014 to 234.4k in 2015
Find the wealth (and the PAFs) already in your database
We're constantly adding new names and data to our Wealthscan screening database: it now numbers nearly 45,000 prominent and wealthy Australians including many PAF trustees. We are also now including where available the latest information on PAF assets as well, so if you want to find out which PAF trustees are already in your database, and how much money that fund contains, consider a Wealthscan screening.
New service - Prospect Rating
Constraints on time and resources make it vital to be able to prioritise your prospects once you have identified them; with this new service FR&C will assess the linkage, interest, and financial ability of the people in your prospect pool, enabling you to set priorities effectively. Contact us for more information
JB Were recently published their latest review of giving in Australia, looking in particular at the trends shown by the NAB Charitable Giving Index, and noting the continuing growth in the number of PAFs registered (now totalling almost 1400). The report can be accessed on their website here
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!