Fresh Research, a NonProfit Times Podcast show

Fresh Research, a NonProfit Times Podcast

Summary: A Podcast by The NonProfit Times: The Leading Business Publication For Nonprofit Management

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 Episode 16: M+R Benchmarks Study | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 22:19

http://thenonprofittimes.com/fresh-research-podcast/FreshResearchEpisode16.mp3 The 13th annual M+R Benchmarks Study is chock full of data almost as far as the eye can see. That’s what happens when you analyze 4.4 million emails sent to 37.5 million email addresses, more than 7 million online gifts and $376 million raised, all from a variety of 135 nonprofits of all shapes and sizes around the United States contributing data. The big takeaway this year was that online revenue was essentially flat, with growth of just 1 percent. It’s the first time in 13 years that the average revenue growth was in the single digits; in 2017, the same group of nonprofits reported online revenue growth of 23 percent. But there’s a whole lot more to the 71-page report. We break it down in this episode with Will Valverde, creative director at M+R and author of the study. Some of the topics he touches on include monthly giving (a 17-percent increase last year) and its impact on online revenue (16 percent, up from 13 percent in 2017), some reasons that might explain why online revenue was flat last year, and other, new aspects to this year’s study. You can access the complete M+R Benchmarks Study here and follow along during this episode. There’s the usual data around email messaging, list size, open rates, revenue and more, and for the first time, the study looks at Facebook Fundraisers and comes up with averages while we also discuss some of the outliers among different subsectors. Another new wrinkle in this year’s report examines online donor retention. The highest retention rate was found among gifts between $250 and $500, according to the study, and Valverde explains some more behind the numbers on distribution of revenue and donors for each of the past three years. “Online giving is not just a small donor program,” Valverde said. “But we can’t ignore the fact that many mid-level donors…there’s a lot of room tactically to address their value and opportunity of these folks,” he said.

 Episode 15: Reciprocity Decays Over Time | File Type: audio/wav | Duration: 23:44

Waiting a month to ask for a gift decreases the likelihood of a donation by 30 percent. That’s according to research on positive reciprocity that looked at more than 18,000 donation solicitations by a university hospital system. “Field study of charitable giving reveals that reciprocity decays over time” was published by Judd Kesssler, associate professor of business economics and public policy at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Co-authors were Amanda Chuan, now an assistant professor at Michigan State University, and Katherine Milkman, also of Wharton. In this episode of Fresh Research, Kessler talks about the details of the paper, which examined donation requests made by the hospital system via email to a set of former patients in the fourth months after their first hospital visit. An extra 30-day delay between the “provision of medical care and a donation solicitation” decreases the likelihood of a donation by 30 percent. They used donation solicitation data on adult outpatients who visited the hospital system between May 2013 and April 2015. “Donation rates decline as the time separating a patient’s hospital visit and solicitation increases,” according to the study. “It shows that the percentage of patients who donate decreases considerably (from almost 1.5 percent to 0.4 percent) as the time delay separating the visit from a solicitation increases. This decline over time holds for both the first and last presolicitation hospital visits.”

 Episode 14: Donor-Advised Fund Grants In A Recession | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 29:51

Donor-Advised Funds (DAF) have become one of the fastest-growing vehicles for philanthropy over the past decade or more. They’ve also become a lightning rod in the debate about charitable giving. Some have gone so far as to call DAFs “The Wall Street takeover of charity” while others have called for a change in how DAFs are regulated. Commercial DAF accounts have seen billions of dollars of contributions each year and also seen increases in distributions year-over-year. Danielle Vance-MacMullen, Ph.D., and Dan Heist, Ph.D., tried to put DAF distributions in context over the past decade in their paper. They join the podcast to discuss “Understanding Donor-Advised Funds: How Grants Flow During Recessions.” Vance-MacMullen is an assistant professor in Public and Nonprofit Administration at the University of Memphis. Heist will be a professor at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. A

 Episode 14: Donor-Advised Fund Grants During Recessions | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 29:48

Donor-advised funds (DAF) have become one of the fastest-growing vehicles for philanthropy in the past decade. They also have become a lightning rod in the debate about charitable giving, described by skeptics as a “Wall Street takeover of charity.” Other critics argue that that donors can receive a tax deduction for contributions to their DAF account but the money can potentially be years away from going to an actual charity. There also can be issues of transparency when it comes to donors and tracking specific distributions and contributions. Danielle Vance-McMullen and Dan Heist join this episode of the Fresh Research podcast to discuss their recent paper, “Understanding Donor-Advised Funds: How Grants Flow During Recessions,” in which they examine payout rates and flow rates of DAFs over the past decade. A .pdf of the 51-page paper can be found here and executive summary here. The paper compiled Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data over a 10-year period (2007-2016). Almost 1,000 DAF sponsors were examined among three categories: national, community foundations, and special issue. Growth during this time has been dominated by commercial DAF sponsors but community foundations often feature the oldest DAFs. Vance-McMullen, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in public and nonprofit administration at the University of Memphis. Heist recently completed his Ph.D. at the Un

 Episode 13: Anatomy of a Mega Merger | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 22:15

Two of the two largest data and information nonprofit organizations in the United States announced a merger on Feb. 1. The Foundation Center and GuideStar will become Candid after almost two years of discussions on a merger that has its origins at least a decade in the making. Brad Smith, president of the Foundation Center, will be president of Candid, and Jacob Harold, president of GuideStar, will be executive vice president. The two joined the Fresh Research podcast for the inside story of why the timing was right for a merger, what to expect over the next few years, and what they’ve learned in the process. The Foundation Center was launched in 1957 and GuideStar in 1996.  The organizations’ combined revenue in Fiscal Year 2017 was $36.5 million with the projection to be roughly $38 million for Fiscal Year 2019. There are no layoffs expected among the combined 210 employees.

 Episode 13: Anatomy of a Mega Merger | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 22:15

Two of the two largest data and information nonprofit organizations in the United States announced a merger on Feb. 1. The Foundation Center and GuideStar will become Candid after almost two years of discussions on a merger that has its origins at least a decade in the making. Brad Smith, president of the Foundation Center, will be president of Candid, and Jacob Harold, president of GuideStar, will be executive vice president. The two joined the Fresh Research podcast for the inside story of why the timing was right for a merger, what to expect over the next few years, and what they’ve learned in the process. The Foundation Center was launched in 1957 and GuideStar in 1996.  The organizations’ combined revenue in Fiscal Year 2017 was $36.5 million with the projection to be roughly $38 million for Fiscal Year 2019. There are no layoffs expected among the combined 210 employees. “In the short-term, the changes are surface level. You see on both of our respective legacy websites we’ve added ‘by Candid,’ as an indication that we’re part of something bigger,” Harold said during this month’s episode. “Many years down the road, it’s going to be profoundly different, and we’re going to be integrating multiple streams of data, multiple tools and services, trying to make it global. The experience of the data will be quite different. And our challenge is to navigate between that short-term stability….and our ability to change toward the long term,” he said. “This always was and always has always been an initiative driven by the two organizations,” Smith during the 20-minute episode. “This was never driven by a funder. And both Jacob and I worked in foundations and I think we have a few of those on our watch, a few shotgun weddings. This was not a shotgun wedding.”

 Episode 12: Gilded Giving + Giving Circles | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 23:22

More charitable giving than ever is coming from high-income households while the donor universe has been shrinking for years. Those are some of the concerns identified in “Gilded Giving 2018: Top Heavy Philanthropy and Its Perils to the Independent Sector and Democracy.” Chuck Collins directs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. He co-authored the report with Josh Hoxie and Helen Flannery. He discusses some of the findings, such as, households earning $200,000 or more now account for more than half of charitable deductions, compared with 30 percent in the early 2000s; and the number of households giving to charity declined from 66 percent to 55 percent between 2000 and 2014. He also talks about the reports recommendations, including a universal charitable deduction, setting a lifetime cap on tax-deductible charitable giving and reforming rules around donor-advised funds (DAF). *** Giving collectives are estimated to have donated as much as $1.3 billion to charity over the years. “Giving Circle Membership: How Collective Giving Impacts Donors” is a recent report from the Collective Giving Research Group. Julia Carboni is an assistant professor, public administration and public affairs, at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.  Jessica Bearman is principal of Bearman Consulting. They are among the founding members of the Collective Giving Research Group, along with

 Episode 12: Gilded Giving + Giving Circles | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 23:22

More charitable giving than ever is coming from high-income households while the donor universe has been shrinking for years. Those are some of the concerns identified in “Gilded Giving 2018: Top Heavy Philanthropy and Its Perils to the Independent Sector and Democracy.” Chuck Collins directs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. He co-authored the report with Josh Hoxie and Helen Flannery. He discusses some of the findings, such as, households earning $200,000 or more now account for more than half of charitable deductions, compared with 30 percent in the early 2000s; and the number of households giving to charity declined from 66 percent to 55 percent between 2000 and 2014. He also talks about the reports recommendations, including a universal charitable deduction, setting a lifetime cap on tax-deductible charitable giving and reforming rules around donor-advised funds (DAF). *** Giving collectives are estimated to have donated as much as $1.3 billion to charity over the years. “Giving Circle Membership: How Collective Giving Impacts Donors” is a recent report from the Collective Giving Research Group. Julia Carboni is an assistant professor, public administration and public affairs, at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.  Jessica Bearman is principal of Bearman Consulting. They are among the founding members of the Collective Giving Research Group, along with

 Episode 11: Volunteer Rates + The Philanthropic Closet | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 28:02

http://www.thenonprofittimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Fresh-Research-Episode-11.mp3 Part 1: Robert Grimm & Nathan Dietz Where are America’s volunteers? That’s literally the question posed, and answered, by a new study from the Do Good Institute at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy: “Where Are America’s Volunteers? A Look At America’s Widespread Decline in Volunteering in Cities and States.” Robert Grimm, director of the Do Good Institute, and Nathan Dietz, associate research scholar, examine volunteer rates from 2002 to 2015, down to a state, county and metro level. They found declining numbers nationwide, including a drop in volunteering rates across 31 states, including historically volunteer-rich states like Minnesota and Utah. Not one state saw an increase in the volunteer rate. Rural and suburban areas, which historically have higher levels of social capital than urban areas, saw the biggest declines, down about 5 percent between 2004 and 2015. Volunteer rates tended to drop in metropolitan areas with fewer places to volunteer, in places where people may be less likely to know their neighbors, and in places where there is more economic distress. Part 2: Lyle Matthew Kan One out of 10 LGBTQ people said they have left their job at a nonprofit due to an environment that was “not very accepting.” As many as one-third said they were depressed at work because of an unwelcoming work environment. Lyle Matthew Kan is director of research and communications at Funders for LGBTQ Issues. He discusses  

 Episode 11: Volunteer Rates + The Philanthropic Closet | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 28:02

https://www.thenonprofittimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Fresh-Research-Episode-11.mp3 Part 1: Robert Grimm & Nathan Dietz Where are America’s volunteers? That’s literally the question posed, and answered, by a new study from the Do Good Institute at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy: “Where Are America’s Volunteers? A Look At America’s Widespread Decline in Volunteering in Cities and States.” Robert Grimm, director of the Do Good Institute, and Nathan Dietz, associate research scholar, examine volunteer rates from 2002 to 2015, down to a state, county and metro level. They found declining numbers nationwide, including a drop in volunteering rates across 31 states, including historically volunteer-rich states like Minnesota and Utah. Not one state saw an increase in the volunteer rate. Rural and suburban areas, which historically have higher levels of social capital than urban areas, saw the biggest declines, down about 5 percent between 2004 and 2015. Volunteer rates tended to drop in metropolitan areas with fewer places to volunteer, in places where people may be less likely to know their neighbors, and in places where there is more economic distress. Part 2: Lyle Matthew Kan One out of 10 LGBTQ people said they have left their job at a nonprofit due to an environment that was “not very accepting.” As many as one-third said they were depressed at work because of an unwelcoming work environment. Lyle Matthew Kan is director of research and communications at Funders for LGBTQ Issues

 Episode 10: Executive Teams + Income Inequality | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 19:07

https://www.thenonprofittimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Fresh-Research-Episode10.mp3 Part 1: Libbie Landles-Cobb Only about half of nonprofits surveyed agreed that their executive team communicates to others. Two-thirds agreed that their teams focus on the right work or use their time effectively. Now, that’s not Michael Scott-level executive management but it could use some work. The Bridgespan Group has come up with what it calls the first comprehensive study of effective executive teams. “Increasing Nonprofit Executive Team Effectiveness” was written by Libbie Landles-Cobb, a partner in the San Francisco office, is co-author, along with Henry Barmier and Kirk Kramer. The results draw on a diagnostic survey of more than 360 nonprofit executive team respondents and dozens of interviews with nonprofit CEOs, coaches and consultants. Bridgespan created a sequence of five steps, formulated as questions, that executive teams can implement as a guide to increase their overall effectiveness: Is the CEO effectively managing the executive team? Is the executive team focused on the most important work? Does executive team composition support its ability to do the work Do meeting and communication processes support superior decision and execution? Does the team’s dynamic foster the right conversations and results? Part 2: Nicolas Duquette Nicolas Duquette, an assistant professor at the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California (USC), recently published “Inequality and Philanthropy: High-Income Giving in the United States 1917-2012.” The paper looks at giving and income of top income groups over the past 95 years, including giving versus inequality and giving versus tax rates of the top 0.1 percent of tax returns. He found that giving by high-income households has moved inversely with income inequality and talks about some other observations from looking at different periods of time within the past century. He also discusses some theories on what impact the changes from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act might have on charitable giving this year and next.

 Episode 10: Executive Teams + Income Inequality | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 19:07

http://www.thenonprofittimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Fresh-Research-Episode10.mp3 Part 1: Libbie Landles-Cobb Only about half of nonprofits surveyed agreed that their executive team communicates to others. Two-thirds agreed that their teams focus on the right work or use their time effectively. Now, that’s not Michael Scott-level executive management but it could use some work. The Bridgespan Group has come up with what it calls the first comprehensive study of effective executive teams. “Increasing Nonprofit Executive Team Effectiveness” was written by Libbie Landles-Cobb, a partner in the San Francisco office, is co-author, along with Henry Barmier and Kirk Kramer. The results draw on a diagnostic survey of more than 360 nonprofit executive team respondents and dozens of interviews with nonprofit CEOs, coaches and consultants. Bridgespan created a sequence of five steps, formulated as questions, that executive teams can implement as a guide to increase their overall effectiveness: Is the CEO effectively managing the executive team? Is the executive team focused on the most important work? Does executive team composition support its ability to do the work Do meeting and communication processes support superior decision and execution? Does the team’s dynamic foster the right conversations and results? Part 2: Nicolas Duquette Nicolas Duquette, an assistant professor at the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California (USC), recently published “Inequality and Philanthropy: High-Income Giving in the United States 1917-2012.” The paper looks at giving and income of top income groups over the past 95 years, including giving versus inequality and giving versus tax rates of the top 0.1 percent of tax returns. He found that giving by high-income households has moved inversely with income inequality and talks about some other observations from looking at different periods of time within the past century. He also discusses some theories on what impact the changes from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act might have on charitable giving this year and next.

 Episode 9: Nonprofit Overhead + Global Trends in Giving | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 20:05

Part 1: Jason Coupet and Jessica Haynie Nonprofit overhead seems to be the most popular way to evaluate nonprofits, although even watchdogs that made program and expense ratios a focus are trying to come up with other ways to measure an organization’s effectiveness. Jason Coupet, assistant professor in the department of public administration at North Carolina State University, and Jessica Haynie, a third-year doctoral candidate, poke holes in the idea of nonprofit overhead as a way to rate a charity but also come up with alternatives. Their paper titled “Toward a valid approach to nonprofit efficiency measurement” first was published in the journal, Nonprofit Management & Leadership. The duo used financial and operational data to rank the efficiency of hundreds of Habitat for Humanity affiliates using the overhead ratio but also employed two economic models that measure efficiency: Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and Stochastic Frontier Analysis (SFA). Part 2: Heather Mansfield and Jim LeFevre The 2018 Global Trends in Giving Report surveyed more than 6,000 donors in 119 countries. It asked donors of all ages and backgrounds about everything from giving online and social media to crowdfunding, monthly giving, #GivingTuesday, and much more. Heather Mansfield, founder of Nonprofit Tech for Good, and Jim LeFevre, senior director of marketing at Public Interest Registry, talk about just a few of the data points in the study that nonprofits should take note of ahead of this year’s giving season. There are statistics galore in the 28-page report, which breaks down responses by gender, generation, gift size, religion, and trends by continent, and concludes with 25 key findings. Some of the new questions in this year’s report include tribute gifts, how crowdfunding might affect the size of a gift donors make to a charity, and whether they use Facebook fundraisers. The Global Trends in Giving Report is a sister publication of the Global NGO Technology Report.

 Episode 9: Nonprofit Overhead + Global Trends in Giving | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 20:05

Part 1: Jason Coupet and Jessica Haynie Nonprofit overhead seems to be the most popular way to evaluate nonprofits, although even watchdogs that made program and expense ratios a focus are trying to come up with other ways to measure an organization’s effectiveness. Jason Coupet, assistant professor in the department of public administration at North Carolina State University, and Jessica Haynie, a third-year doctoral candidate, poke holes in the idea of nonprofit overhead as a way to rate a charity but also come up with alternatives. Their paper titled “Toward a valid approach to nonprofit efficiency measurement” first was published in the journal, Nonprofit Management & Leadership. The duo used financial and operational data to rank the efficiency of hundreds of Habitat for Humanity affiliates using the overhead ratio but also employed two economic models that measure efficiency: Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and Stochastic Frontier Analysis (SFA). Part 2: Heather Mansfield and Jim LeFevre The 2018 Global Trends in Giving Report surveyed more than 6,000 donors in 119 countries. It asked donors of all ages and backgrounds about everything from giving online and social media to crowdfunding, monthly giving, #GivingTuesday, and much more. Heather Mansfield, founder of Nonprofit Tech for Good, and Jim LeFevre, senior director of marketing at Public Interest Registry, talk about just a few of the data points in the study that nonprofits should take note of ahead of this year’s giving season. There are statistics galore in the 28-page report, which breaks down responses by gender, generation, gift size, religion, and trends by continent, and concludes with 25 key findings. Some of the new questions in this year’s report include tribute gifts, how crowdfunding might affect the size of a gift donors make to a charity, and whether they use Facebook fundraisers. The Global Trends in Giving Report is a sister publication of the Global NGO Technology Report.

 Episode 8: Too Many Nonprofits? + Nonprofit Collaboration | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 17:35

Part 1: Rebecca Nesbit and Laurie Paarlberg Hardly a day goes by when someone isn’t questioning whether there are too many nonprofits in the United States. True, there are more than 1.5 million organizations, twice as many as two decades ago, but a group of researchers looked beyond the aggregate numbers to try to answer the question: Are there too many nonprofits? “A Field Too Crowded? How Measures of Market Structure Shape Nonprofit Fiscal Health” was published earlier this year in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, a publication of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA). In the first segment of this episode, we talk with Rebecca Nesbit, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Public Administration and Policy at the University of Georgia’s School of Public & International Affairs, and Laurie Paarlberg, Ph.D., the Charles Stewart Mott Chair on Community Foundations at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. They were joined in the research by Robert Christensen, Seung Ho-An and Justin Bullock. Keep an eye out for the October issue of The NonProfit Times for a more in-depth story on this study. Part 2: Mirae Kim Small nonprofits find themselves in a classic chicken-and-egg dilemma. They need full-time staff to build organizational collaboration but they need to invest in full-time staff to form and maintain collaborations. A recent study found that nonprofits with at least one full-time staff member are much more likely than those without any full-time staff “to be involved in formal collaborations that can help them obtain funding and meet client needs.” Mirae Kim, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Public Management and Policy at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, leads the Nonprofit Organization Research Panel (NORP). With Shuyang Peng of the University of New Mexico, she researched human resources capacity and collaboration among 229 human service nonprofits with annual gross receipts of less than $500,000.

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