Digital and Social Media Transform Nonprofits

November 17, 2015

Yesterday I received an infographic showing how digital and social media have transformed communications and fundraising in nonprofits across the country. It was nicely done, so I’m sharing.

The infographic examines ways that new channels are quickly, and dramatically, changing how people engage with nonprofit organizations.

According to MDG Advertising, infographic creators, take-aways are:

  1. Nonprofits are all-in on digital — 3 of 4 top engagement channels are digital: websites, email campaigns and social media; the only non-digital channel in the top 4 is in-person events.
  2. Online giving is on the rise — online giving has risen 13% in the past 12 months, with the biggest jump in donations coming from social media fundraising (up +70% compared with last year).
  3. Facebook is the foundation of social success — 81% of nonprofits say Facebook is the most important social network for their organization; Twitter ranks second.
  4. Peer-to-peer fundraising is growing fast — 33% of online donations are made through peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, which encourage individuals and teams to rally for a cause.
  5. Websites are engagement hubs — traffic to nonprofit websites is up 11% on average since 2013, with most organizations now using their sites as hubs to provide information, accept donations and aggregate social posts.
  6. Email remains a powerful workhorse — nonprofits say email campaigns account for an average of one-third of all revenue raised. Email has the best return on investment of any marketing tactic: $40 for every $1 spent.
  7. Giving days are big — in Minnesota, Give to the Max Day raised more than $18 million in November 2015. Nationally 2014 Giving Tuesday donations spiked by more than a third compared with 2013; 4,300+ organizations raised more than $26.1 million.

2015 Trends: How Digital and Social Media Have Transformed Nonprofits [Infographic]
– Susan Stehling, communications and media specialist

How To Measure Social Impact?

November 12, 2015

17123254699_c2f412c9ee_mToday on the blog we welcome Karen A. Florez, C.F.A. and manager of investments at The Minneapolis Foundation. Karen reports on the Mission Investing Network Forum held at the Northwest Area Foundation on October 20. The forum addressed “How to Measure Social Impact.”

Northwest Area Foundation hosted a full house of diverse attendees representing a wide range of area nonprofit leadership, staff, board members, consulting firms and financial institutions.

Amy Jensen, investment director at Northwest Area Foundation, kicked off the event by sharing the decision-making process, experiences and lessons–learned as her organization evolved their Impact Investing model. There was plenty of audience participation with good discussion, questions, sharing of resources and wading through industry acronyms. Most of the organizations represented in the room are rapidly expanding the time and resources they put toward mission-investment endeavors. We are clearly growing a valuable network in this community!

Amy then led a panel presentation and discussion with Tom Woelfel, PCV Insight, and  Tim Bubnack and Hope Mago, HCAP Partners. A wide range of insights, ideas and suggestions flowed from this dialogue.

Discussion Takeaways:

  • This is a collaborative effort and we are all learning as we go along. Leverage the capabilities and resources available as you build your program.
  • Be flexible with the partners you choose to work with. Talk with partners about values and culture early on, and really take time to get to know the people. Carefully evaluate if they are a good fit for your organization and mission.
  • Get samples of reports that potential partners are creating, ask how their strategy came to be, how long they have been doing it, what impact measurements they document and what they ultimately do with that data.
  • Establish the social metrics you wish to measure in advance of initiating a program. Content around the numbers is increasingly important.
  • Start measurement early on and try to set expectations of what you consider to be good quality data. The first steps are the most challenging and the most significant effort is in getting started with staffing, strategy, priorities and documentation. It may not feel perfect, but just do it!

The program ended with another round of great discussion and plenty of casual conversation after we adjourned.

Enormous thanks to Amy Jensen for planning and executing a very strong, relevant and thought-provoking event!

Photo: Flickr CC

Steve Joul Supports Endow Minnesota

April 13, 2015

endow-joulSteve Joul, president of the Central Minnesota Community Foundation, has lent his voice to support Endow Minnesota legislation currently before the Minnesota House and Senate.

Joul’s foundation hosts many funds doing good work in Central Minnesota, including the Good Samaritan Fund, the Women’s Fund and several area education foundations.

As he explains, “Collectively, the foundation and its affiliate partners today hold more than $110 million of private philanthropic resources dedicated to making our communities better places to live.”

See what Joul has to say about how Endow Minnesota (HF1530 in the Minnesota House and SF1399 and SF1400 in the Senate) would benefit the communities that these partners serve.

His commentary appears in the St. Cloud Times.

Annual Grantmaker Rankings Released

March 24, 2015

numbersMCF today released its annual rankings of the top grantmakers in Minnesota based on cash grants paid in 2013.

The top five Minnesota grantmakers by grants paid in 2013 were:

  • Target Foundation and Corporation ($148.6 million);
  • General Mills Foundation and Corporation ($105.7 million);
  • The McKnight Foundation ($86.4 million);
  • The Saint Paul Foundation and Minnesota Community Foundation ($65.6 million); and
  • Cargill and The Cargill Foundation ($59.6 million).

This is the third consecutive year that these five organizations are Minnesota’s top grantmakers.

Of the 50 top grantmakers by grants paid in 2013, 47 also appeared on the 2012 list. Cash giving by the top 50 grantmakers totaled more than $1.2 billion.

Grant Dollars Distributed Beyond Minnesota
Almost 60 percent of the cash giving by the top 50 grantmakers was designated to organizations based outside of Minnesota.

Corporations Give More than Cash
In order to ensure that grantmakers are compared consistently, in-kind and other noncash contributions are not included in the rankings, but MCF invites large corporate grantmakers to self-report information about noncash contributions.

MCF’s 2013 annual rankings are based on the amount of cash grants paid by funders during fiscal years ending June 1, 2013, through May 31, 2014.

The annual rankings lists include:

The complete Minnesota Annual Grantmaker Rankings and the methodology used to complete them can be found at

More Charitable Giving Research Online
Late last year, MCF released its Giving in Minnesota, 2014 Edition research, which is a comprehensive analysis of annual giving trends by Minnesota foundations and corporations between June 1, 2012, and May 31, 2013. See for information about grantmaking to specific subject areas, geographies, beneficiaries and more.

– Susan Stehling, communications associate

Photo cc onegoodbumblebee