Donors More Discriminating and Pro-active in 2010

If you think the crisis in Haiti isn't affecting your fundraising or your donors, think again. The enormity of the challenge to help Haitians has called attention to the quality of the organizations delivering the relief. Donors, especially those capable of large gifts, are asking for more proof that organizations are worthy of their donations.

Sean Stannard-Stockton, founder of Tactical Philanthropy Advisors, is suggesting to his clients that they ask the following questions before making a giving decision: How does the organization advance its mission? How does it measure success? How does it adapt with challenges or mistakes? In turn, nonprofits need to be ready with that information. "You don't need to convince me that your cause is worthy of a major gift, convince me that your organization is worthy," he says. "While high net worth donors are not necessarily looking for quantitative proof and data, they do want clear answers: What do you do? Why do you do it? And how do you know it is going well?" he explains.

Be prepared for more questions like these from donors and board members in 2010 and beyond. You can answer questions before they are asked if your website is up to date and does a good job of laying out the case to those who are considering a donation. In the wired world of 2010, most donors visit a charity's website before they make the first gift and again before they increase the size of their gifts. Many donors are actively looking for organizations that they can trust with their philanthropic dollars rather than waiting to be asked. Make sure that your front door to the world, your website, is welcoming, informative, and fresh.

We can help your organization's message stay fresh, compelling and informative!

A Note From Russ:

Now that 2009 is behind us and 2010 is under way, it is important we all know that philanthropy is as important as ever. No matter how big or how small your organization corporations, small businesses and individuals want to help. Our eyes were opened this year with Haiti and the call for help. We as a world responded in ways no one could have ever imagined. The giving light was ignited. The Hodge Group experienced this first hand with our clients. I want you to know that we look forward to a year of continued giving and the many new opportunities in which we can help.

Russ Hodge, CFRE
Managing Partner

Give Back. Go Green. What you recycled in 2009 is new in 2010!

Used Electronics

recycled into:

Medals for the Vancouver Olympics [more info]

Blue Jeans

recycled into:

Building Insulation [more info]

Used Rubber Tires

recycled into:

Concrete Sidewalks [more info]

Glass Bottles

recycled into:

Buildings [more info]

Plastic Bottles

recycled into:

New Clothing, T-Shirts [more info]

Aluminum Cans

recycled into:

New Cans, Cookware, Lawn Furniture and Building Materials [more info]

Broken Glass

recycled into:

Countertops, Road Paving [more info]

Contact us for ways The Hodge Group can help your organization!

Tax Tips for 2009

When sending any fundraising appeals this spring, take the opportunity to alert your donors to some important tax advantages that they can still take on their 2009 returns. At the same time, be careful not to offer tax advice that can't be backed up by official IRS statements. Even if the deduction doesn't specifically apply to your organization, donors will be grateful that you are providing useful information. We've included a few useful items below.

Haiti Relief – People who give to charities providing earthquake relief in Haiti can claim these donations on the tax return they are completing this season, according to the Internal Revenue Service. Taxpayers who itemize deductions on their 2009 return qualify for this special tax relief provision, enacted Jan. 22. Only cash contributions made to these charities after Jan. 11, 2010, and before March 1, 2010, are eligible. This includes contributions made by text message, check, credit card or debit card. [irs article]

Non-cash donations – Donations of clothing and household items are actively being sought by charities that operate thrift stores. The economic downturn has created a spike in their sales over the past two or three years. Those who donate such items should keep a record of the items and the fair market value which is the amount a customer would pay for the item in a thrift store. Be careful not to overstate the value of an item given to charity, the IRS does closely watch these types of tax deductions. If you claim more than $500 of non-cash donations, you will have to file a separate form detailing the items. Make sure to get a receipt or acknowledgement letter for your charitable donation that includes the date of the donation.
Source: George Lund, “Tips for Claiming Charitable Donations as Tax Deductions.”

Volunteering – Volunteers have two options in determining what amount of money they can get a tax deduction for:


Direct expenses, such as the cost of gas and oil - OR


The standard mileage rate, which is 14 cents a mile

Volunteers can also deduct the full cost of tolls, parking fees, cab fares, bus fares, etc. that were accrued in charitable service. It is crucial to maintain good records of mileage and other travel expenses. The IRS recommends that volunteers keep the following records for each trip you plan on deducting:


The date


The name of the organization you were helping


If using standard mileage rate: the number of miles you drove to volunteer


If using actual expenses: receipts and proof that the costs accrued were directly related to a charitable purpose


Receipts for any additional costs, such as tolls and parking

Need help with Spring Fundraising Appeals? Contact The Hodge Group.

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