January 6, 2015

End of Year Fundraising Frenzy

The end-of-the-year fundraising crush went better than expected last year, and it wasn't all about the money.

Mary's Center raised over $600k from individual donors throughout the year, with 50% coming during the critical period between Thanksgiving and Dec. 31. Founder Maria Gomez says the dollar figure isn't drastically higher than 2013, but the number of individual donors went up from about 900 to 1,400. About 450 of them were new to the organization. “That's huge,” says Maria, whose strategy is to slowly get individuals to increase their annual giving. The average gift was a little larger than usual this year, going from about $250 to $440. The number of people donating stock also increased.

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Maria says the DC-based organization, which provides health care, education and social services, saw an increase in individual donors after a PBS special on undocumented children aired in the fall. Maria was interviewed by Judy Woodruff. The organization raised the rest of its $2M annual budget, about 30%, from corporations at its gala and golf tournament.

Maria also credits doubling the number of “cultivation events” the organization held for its increase in individual donors. The monthly events help educate current and potential donors, as well as Mary's Center vendors, on what the organization does and its biggest challenges. Maria says 2015 will be about building stronger relationships with individual donors and finding opportunities to tweak services and increase ways for people to volunteer their talents and resources.

Network for Good and Blackbaud have reported that online donations in December were up nearly 13% ($44.1M) over the same month in 2013. It's based on a survey of 10,000 nonprofits that use Network for Good, which provides online donation services for charities. The organization says it processed $9.9M in donations on Dec. 31, more than double what was given on Dec. 30. Nearly 43,000 people donated on the last day of the year, over 76% more than the previous day.

PETA also reported that it fared better in 2014. President Ingrid Newkirk credits the rise of the stock market at the end of the year. PETA shifted a substantial portion of its fundraising efforts to online initiatives. Ingrid says donors in 2014 were very interested in earmarking donations to end certain experiments on dogs and monkeys. They also wanted their money to go toward freeing wild animals like orcas, chimps and elephants from amusement parks, circuses and roadside zoos. 

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Drones and Other Tech Toys for Associations

Will drones start showing up at association events? Maybe not right away. But associations may start using beacons and virtual presenters. ASAE's technology association conference last month highlighted several new gadgets. ASAE CIO Reggie Henry says beacons are placed throughout a trade show to track where people are at any given time. It helped ASAE figure out one spot at the exhibition hall during the tech conference that wasn't all that popular. A food station was moved there to improve flow.

Virtual presenters may also come in handy at events, says Reggie. Using cameras and other equipment, a virtual person, who actually appears to be blinking and breathing, can be stationed in certain areas to answer simple questions and provide directions. Reggie says social access management is also of interest to associations. The technology allows them to grant visitors access to certain parts of a building using beacons and near field communications. As for drones, Reggie says some associations may think about using them to take pictures at events and stream footage of exhibit halls from unique angles.

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What You Don't Know About John Mitchell

Title: President/CEO, IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries.
Association/members: Global organization in 64 countries representing 3,600 members in all facets of printed board and electronics assembly.
Board makeup and meeting schedule: 10 board of directors and five board members, who are officers. Four meetings – two in person, two on the phone. 
Biggest revenue generator: Thankfully, not one single one. We have standards development, training and certification, conferences, trade shows, and market research that are equal contributors. Membership dues make up 10% of revenue. 
Challenges: When we started 60 years ago, there were just six printed circuit board companies. So constantly staying up on the latest changes in various aspects of electronics and keeping members informed. It's a bit daunting at times. 
Projects most proud of: When I got here in 2012, I changed the structure to better align with the mission. We set up a new “member success” division and reaffirmed the standards and tech group. Also elevated the government relations group. 
Foray into associations: Started off as an electrical engineer and then got an MBA. Worked internationally in the corporate sector and went to work for Golden Key International Honour Society. Also received doctorate in education. When the IPC opportunity came, it utilized my engineering, business, international, nonprofit, and training and education background. 

Hometown: Macomb, Ill. 
Current home: Milton, Ga. 
Travel schedule: Three weeks out of month to DC, Chicago, Asia and Europe. 
Schools: BYU, Pepperdine and University of Georgia.
First job: Detasseling corn.
Job in another life: Talk show host or stand-up comedian.
Person (living or dead) to meet: Albert Einstein or Steve Martin
Daily habit: I use the beginning of the day or end to plan or review, exercise and read. 
Favorite book: Read the Book of Mormon and Bible daily. Outside of scripture, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.
Favorite movies: Lord of the Rings; The Muppet Christmas Carol (during the holidays).
Favorite vacation: Branson, MO, for family reunion – 36 of us in one big cabin for Christmas. 
Bucket list: Visit Tibet and climb its mountains. 
Family: Married 22 years; five children (20, 18, 14, 11, 10). Oldest is in Latvia on a mission. 
Hobbies: Running, basketball, reading for business and personal growth, entertainment, movies, and family card and board games.
Startling fact: While at Bose, worked with Ferrari and got to go on the test track at 260 kilometers per hour (161 miles per hour). Also part of team that brought GPS systems to the US through Acura in 1992. 

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Meet 2015's Top Association Innovators – Jan. 28!

Get back to business this January by honoring some of the amazing talent from the association community. On Jan. 28, we'll celebrate those driving innovative tech solutions, revenue and fundraising initiatives, new events and programs, and other strategies for advancing their organization's mission. Hosted at Disruption Corporation in Crystal City, the evening includes great musicfooddrink and networkingEarly bird registration ends on Friday, Jan. 9. Sign up here

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What's your organization's 2015 plan? Tell Bisnow's Tania Anderson.