The Lutheran Foundation: Building a Healthier Community grant process change

Lutheran logoThe Lutheran Foundation’s Building A Healthier Community (BHC) grant process is changing as follows:

  • Grant Workshops will be offered in November 2017.
  • If you intend to apply in the next BHC grant cycle, you must submit a Concept Paper.
  • Concept Paper deadline is December 15, 2017 (noon).
    • A Committee reviews and determines if the organization should proceed with submitting an application.
  • Foundation staff will send an email to the Grant Contact with notification of the Committee’s decision.
    • If you are notified to proceed, the link to proceed with the application will be available through the Grant Portal.
  • Grant Application deadline is March 1, 2018 (noon).
  • Decisions will be made by June 30, 2018.

Giving Statistics for Generation X and Y

Are certain generations an enigma to you? Well, Society for Nonprofits’ magazine Nonprofit World recently published an article about generational giving. Their angle is to learn and share how and why each generation gives so that we in the nonprofit sector can better approach fundraising.

Below is a breakdown of some of the statistics.

Generation X Generation Y
U.S. population 62 million 83 million
Birth years 1960-1980 1980-to the present
U.S. workforce 32% 25%
% Donate 58% 56%
Average annual contribution $796.00 $341.00
How they learn about charities 1st – mainstream media 1st – mainstream media
2nd – word-of-mouth 2nd – word-of-mouth
Best way to solicit By a friend By a friend

peopleSo how do you engage the Generation X and Y donors? The article gives six tips:

  1. Host events for young professionals.
  2. Recruit for board and committee roles.
  3. Engage in multi-channel communication.
  4. Ask young professionals to engage their peers.
  5. Offer tiered membership structures.
  6. Provide philanthropic resources and trainings.

To read the full article, stop by the PCNRC and check out the periodical – Nonprofit World, Volume 34, Number 2.

Being a Smart Donor

At the end of April we participated in the national Money Smart Week campaign. The purpose of this event is to promote public awareness in helping individuals manage their finances. Our take on the matter was how to be a smart donor. So you may ask, how do you make smart donations? Well, let me share with you what you can do.

  1. donateGive to charities you already know.
  2. Make sure the charity is the correct one.
  3. Is your gift tax-deductible?
  4. Give donations locally.
  5. Volunteer for a charity before giving.
  6. Research the charity.

Also, beware donating online. There are lots of scams out there! Here are some other online specific smart donor tips.

  1. Check the organization’s website and look for their mission statement, address, board of directors, EIN number, and/or 990.
  2. Be sure the website has encryption technology before typing in your credit card information.
  3. Keep a paper copy of your donation.

Engaging College Students in Philanthropy

What can nonprofit organizations do to engage college students in philanthropy?2016-03-30 09.09.10

There are a plethora of new and old ways that college students can participate in philanthropic efforts. While the philanthropic contributions from current college students may differ from traditional methods, they are none-the-less vital. So, what can your nonprofit organization do to engage passionate students in philanthropy? Here are some suggestions!

Find Us on Social Media
In my experience, the largest obstacle for college students to engage in philanthropic efforts is the lack of readily available resources. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) is by far the best way to reach college students. Sharing events, links to online donations, and information about local philanthropic efforts is a fantastic way to get information about nonprofits to college students. (We spend a lot of time on social media, if you hadn’t noticed.)

Interact With Us on Social Media
For college students, it’s not enough to see what organizations are doing—we want to feel involved! We want our voices heard. Posting on Facebook is a great start to engaging college students, but you can’t stop there. It’s important to engage with college students on social media—‘like’ Facebook status that mention you, tag event attendees in your Facebook and Twitter photos, retweet reactions to your events and programs.

Let Us Donate Online
Online shopping is a miracle. As a college student, it’s saved me time and energy that I simply don’t have. Online shopping is also phenomenal for nonprofits. Online donations offer an easy way for college students to contribute to local or national nonprofits without leaving the comfort of their beds. Additionally, offering monthly donation options is a great way to maintain a relationship with college students. I know I can’t donate $100 at one time, but I can definitely donate $10 a month throughout the entire year.

Work With Our Universities 
Many colleges and universities offer service learning opportunities to students. Service learning focuses on civic responsibility and community involvement. There are few things better than helping a great cause while receiving course credit for it. Working with universities is a great way to introduce college students to what philanthropy is and how they can get involved.

Listen To Us
We’re young, passionate, and excited to help organizations and causes we care about. So, please, listen to us! Create opportunities for college students to contribute ideas to your organization—whether it be an online suggestion box, events on college campuses, or an online survey. This is a great way to gather new ideas and find new board members.

Good luck recruiting and engaging!


Fun Philanthropy: Examples from The Harry Potter Alliance

Katrina Pieri for wordpressWhile perusing the internet a while back, I stumbled upon The Harry Potter Alliance. This nonprofit originally piqued my interest because I’m an undying fan of J. K. Rowling’s series. Anything that includes “Harry Potter” in the title is bound to attract my attention. I realized, however, that it’s really worth discussing why this nonprofit has been so successful since it was founded in 2005.

  •  Quick Facts:
    • The HPA’s vision is “A creative and collaborative culture that solves the world’s problems.”
    • The HPA’s values include such statements as “We believe in magic,” and “We celebrate the power of community–both online and off.”
    • The HPA has completed many successful campaigns, such as “A partnership with Walk Free that engaged over 400,000 fans and resulted in Warner Bros. changing the sourcing of their Harry Potter chocolate to be 100% UTZ or Fairtrade.”
    • The HPA features chapters across the world, the members of which participate in the HPA’s campaigns. Currently, there’s only one chapter in Indiana. It’s located in Greenwood. Wouldn’t it be great if someone started a chapter here in Fort Wayne?

Factors of Success

In my humble opinion, there are at least four main factors contributing to the HPA’s success. The first one is the HPA draws power from fan activism. Fan activism refers to civic or other engagement that stems from a fan culture. A fan culture often centers on popular literature, movies or tv shows, video games, or other forms of media. By way of an example, think of the fans who attend (in large hordes) such events as Comic-Con, often dressed up as their favorite characters.

The HPA is able to mobilize large groups of people from within the Harry Potter fan culture. These fans already identify greatly with the book (and often movie) series; by connecting a well-organized nonprofit with the Harry Potter universe, it’s almost guaranteed that some members of the HP fan culture will seek involvement.

The HPA is very much intrinsically tied to the Harry Potter Universe. The HPA doesn’t just make a few references to the magical, fictional world created by J. K. Rowling. On the contrary, it ties everything in with the HP universe, starting with its name. For example, in 2014 the HPA established a grant for local chapters and named it the “Granger Grant for Excellence in Community Organizing.” This references one of the main characters in the book series, Hermione Granger, and is immediately recognizable to anyone who has read the books/watched the movies. The organization’s stated values provide even more obvious references: “We believe that the weapon we have is love,” for example, is an overarching theme in the series, and also the downfall of the villain Lord Voldemort.Canva HP Blog Post

The HPA’s recognizable connections to the HP universe make the organization even more appealing to members of the fan culture. Perhaps its greatest asset is that it actually ties some of its causes and campaigns to the HP universe. In the book series, social injustices run rampant in the magical world of witches and wizards, and Harry Potter and company do their best to fight said injustices. The HPA therefore allows fans to feel like they’re following in Harry’s footsteps; they’re also trying to improve the world, just as he did.

The HPA taps into the power of youth. As you might guess, the HPA attracts large numbers of youth. The local HPA chapter in Indiana, for your reference, is based out of a high school. Youth are particularly enthusiastic and full of energy. So, the HPA is a classic example of tapping into youth philanthropy.

Lastly, the HPA makes philanthropy FUN! This factor should not be overlooked. The HPA turns charitable work, such as campaigning for fair trade chocolate or net neutrality, or collecting books to donate, into a fun activity. More than anything else, it encourages people to tap into their creativity and explore a reality that merges a fictional universe with progress in the real world. As the organization states in its values, “We know fantasy is not only an escape from our world, but an invitation to go deeper into it.” For those fans who were saddened by the end of the HP series, the HPA provides an avenue for the HP universe to live on, and for its fans to also accomplish great deeds in the name of Harry Potter.

Americans as Philanthropic

What makes us Americans? Is it our patriotism? Citizenship? David Allison, Smithsonian’s Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs said that philanthropy is part of what it means to be an American.

The National Museum of American History is launching a new initiative to explore giving in America. With money from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and David M. Rubenstein, the philanthropic initiative will consist of an annual symposium, endowment of a curatorial position, and a longer term exhibition titled “Giving in America.”

america as a flagGiving in America has always been present. We can look back through history and see examples from religious organizations to universities. Harvard in 1643 is credited with the first fund drive in America. Cotton Mather in 1702 writes one of the earliest book on American philanthropy. St. George Society was created in 1770 to help impoverished New York City colonists. The list goes on.

As we have begun our year end campaigns, remember that giving has always been and will continue to be the American way.







What does it take to be a leader?

Bradford Smith, President of the Foundation Center gave a riveting presentation in October 2015 for the Network Days Conference held in New York, NY. His talk was about being a leader and three traits one would need to be successful. Now, Mr. Smith did not give the usual list of characteristics – honesty, communicative, integrity, confidence, etc. Instead, he gave three powerful characteristics with visual and auditory examples. The three of Mr. Smith’s important powerful leadership characteristics are (drum roll please):

  • Vision
  • Energy
  • Improvisation

Vision is key as Mr. Smith said, because of the world in which we live. Technology is short term and we become reactive. Leaders need to have an idea of how to get to the future, a non-reactive process. A leader needs to spend time to find the path ahead.

tazA leader needs an enormous amount of energy to move toward a vision. Mr. Smith compared the amount of energy need to Taz, the animated cartoon character in Warner Bros.’ Loony Tunes. After playing a short cartoon clip, he reiterated that a significant amount of power is required to fulfill a vision and to keep at it when the wind is blown out of your sails.

The last characteristic Mr. Smith discussed was improvisation. He put it quite simply – “you have to improv to get where you want to go.” There is an art to fulfilling a vision and part of it is not knowing exactly all the pieces. A leader needs to be able to move forward in the moment without a prepared script. Mr. Smith compared improvisation with music. Musicians compose and even perform using improvisation. In our sector there are disruptions in funding, natural disasters, etc. and leaders need to be able to improv to get to your destination.