Leaving on a jet plane

I love to see the world, particularly places I’ve never been to before. Later today, I’m heading to Kerala, India, for two weeks of vacation. I will go in with my eyes wide open, a camera in my hand, and a mind ready for every new experience.

In the weeks leading up to this trip, I’ve been reading about the fascinating history of India, but also re-watching the video from the South Asian Philanthropy Conference held a few years ago as part of the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy Canada‘s Inclusive Giving Project, which I proudly co-chaired.

I so enjoy learning about traditions of giving around the world (and then incorporating those traditions into my work). Do you?


Modernizing the relationship between charities and government

Earlier this month, I was invited to be a witness for a Liberal Senate Open Caucus on modernizing the relationship between charities and government in Canada. It was a rich discussion, and both the witnesses and senators were in agreement that we need to work together to support and grow philanthropy in Canada.

You can watch the session in its entirety here: Liberal Senate Open Caucus on Youtube

Canadian fundraising benchmarks

It’s a sad fact here in Canada that we don’t have much in the way of fundraising benchmarks. We’re often forced to turn to reports out of the United States to get some idea of how our direct marketing programs are performing.

Consulting firms like Good Works are able to compile their client data to poke away at possible trends, but unless we can put the data of hundreds or thousands of non-profits (broken down by sector) into our compilations the results aren’t going to be statistically valid.

But change is afoot!

Ten years ago, the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute established the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP). The goal of the FEP is to help non-profits be more successful by providing them with (free) reports and tools to track and compare their fundraising performance. The project partners with many of fundraising software companies in order to have plenty of data for statistically valid results (the FEP pulls from the data of 8,000 non-profits).

Some of this data comes from Canadian non-profits. But even more exciting is the fact that the team behind the FEP is currently raising funds to build a Canadian version of their tools, based on Canadian data. If you’re interested in supporting them, let me know … I have an in!

But even before that happens, the FEP tools are ones you should check out. You can download a Fundraising Fitness Test and Growth in Giving template where you very simply input your data and have the templates spit out trends, comparisons, retention rates, growth in giving statistics … the list goes on and on. You can also check out the results of FEP’s 2016 sector survey, and read through all sorts of other reports. All for free!

What other benchmarking resources do you look to when measuring and comparing your key performance indicators? I’d love to hear about them.

(first published over on the Good Works blog)