Thursday, June 24, 2010

Current Events

Drop off a bag of used clothes that will help the Marty Lyons Foundation with a fundraiser. More information below:

Sponsored by: Herald National Bank
Collection Dates: June 23—July 8, 2010
Time: 9 am to 3 pm
Location:58 South Service Rd,Ste 110Melville, NY 11747
Funds raised from the clothing drive will be used to help The MartyLyons Foundation, established in 1982, to fulfill the special wishes of children who have been diagnosed as having a terminal or lifethreatening illness.
Denise Vitelli
(631) 479-2290

Wednesday June 30, 2010 8am – 1pm
Not - For - Profit Update
Cerini & Associates, Hilton Long Island, Melville

Tuesday, August 3, 2010 6:30pm
Location: Tribeca Rooftop
This favorite annual event offers fantastic food, wonderful music and a panoramic view of downtown Manhattan and the Hudson River. Experience sunset on a Tribeca Rooftop and take the opportunity to introduce friends and business associates to the needs of Friends of Karen families in one of the top event locations in the city.
For more information contact

Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy to have Tony Martignetti, Esq as guest blogger!

I am happy to have Tony Martignetti, Esq as guest blogger to share very important insights on Planned Giving. I'm certain this blog is a great learning opportunity for nonprofit organizations and I'm grateful to Tony for sharing his wisdom.

8 Tips To Get Your Planned Giving Going
By Tony Martignetti, Esq.

In the midst of our recession, lots of nonprofits wish they had started a Planned Giving program 10 years ago. And don’t want their successors 10 years from now to wish the same.

Planned Giving is fundraising from your donors’ estate and retirement plans and these gifts bring cash to you at the donor’s death, in most cases. This is long-term fundraising, not suitable to fund next year’s salary budget or your 5-year capital plan. But, these gifts can be quite valuable and help you build rock solid relationships with your donors.

You don’t need a million dollar annual budget to get started in Planned Giving. Let’s shatter that myth right now! There’s plenty that smaller nonprofits can do to get in the game.

With small organizations in mind, here are 8 ideas to get you going:

Start with bequests. A charitable bequest in a donor’s will is one of the easiest ways someone can include you in their estate plan. Alongside bequests to spouse, children, grandchildren and other loved ones, there is a gift to your organization. Someone who puts you next to their grandchildren really loves your work. They love it so much, that they’ve probably been giving to you consistently through the years. Which leads to my next tip.

Look for age and giving consistency. Promote bequests to those who are 55 years or older and have strong consistency in their giving. Pay no attention to the size of their gifts. If you have someone who has given just $10 a year, and they’ve been doing that for, say, 8 of the past 10 years, they are a great prospect for a gift in their will. They have always thought of you, year after year, and they are likely to think of you in their will—if you ask. Some of our clients have had consistent, low-level donors for 20 or 30 years. Those are outstanding prospects!

Sure, larger consistent donors are also strong prospects, but don’t ignore your small, consistent donors. I want to shatter the myth that estate plan gifts are only for the wealthy. Enormous gifts make the headlines (like Joan Kroc’s $1 billion bequest to the Salvation Army several years ago), but the vast majority of estate gifts come from committed donors of modest means.

Maybe stop with bequests. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. For lots of organizations, a bequest marketing program IS their Planned Giving program—and that is quite respectable. For every nonprofit, regardless of size, bequests are around 85% of their planned gifts anyway. Bequests are the bedrock of any planned giving effort, so if you need to stop there because of budget and time constraints, that should not stop you from getting in the game. Here are a few more bequest marketing ideas:

Start with your board. For any new initiative, board support leads the way. Look for 100% participation from your board members, irrespective of their age. Even trustees under 55 can put you in their will. These are (or should be) your most committed donors, those who most love, admire and support your work. You should be able to brag to all your constituents that each board member has included the organization in their will.

Use direct mail. For reaching your broader bequest prospect pool, use direct mail if your budget allows. There is nothing stronger than a heartfelt, sincere testimonial letter from someone who has included your nonprofit in their will already (a board member, perhaps), to appeal to your loyal, long-term donors to do the same. If you don’t yet have someone to sign a testimonial, a letter from the executive director can be persuasive.

Make it personal. If you use direct mail, personalize your letters. That means using “Dear Mr./Ms./Mrs./Miss/Dr.” and staying away from “Dear friend.” A person’s will is a sensitive and personal matter and your letter should convey that.

Use all communications. If you have a newsletter, put in a sidebar to encourage bequests. Do the same in your annual report. You might include your legal name and federal tax ID number (also called an Employer Identification Number, or EIN). That way people can act on their own by sharing that information with their attorney when they prepare or revise their will. Including short appeals in materials you’re already planning to send will save money on printing and postage and still get the word out.

Say “thank you.” When a donor informs you that they have included you in their will, write another heartfelt letter—this time to say “thank you.” Then work to keep them close to the organization so they don’t change their mind. (Nationally, only about 6% of bequest donors change their minds, but you don’t want your donors to be among them.) Make sure your planned gift donors get regular communications from you, and are invited to events. If you find yourself reaching 10 donors, think about starting a recognition society. After getting permission, list their names in your annual report, on the same page where you have that sidebar encouraging more bequest gifts.

Your small nonprofit need not be intimidated by Planned Giving. You can have a very credible program that starts—and maybe ends—with bequests. I am writing a six-article series on Planned Giving for Guidestar this year. Here is my second article if you want to follow along.

Tony Martignetti, Esq., Martignetti Planned Giving Advisors, LLC
© 2010, Martignetti Planned Giving Advisors, LLC

Tony Martignetti, Esq. is managing director of Martignetti Planned Giving Advisors, LLC, a planned giving consultancy that works with a wide range of educational, cultural, advocacy, social service, religious, and healthcare institutions to create donor opportunities by building planned gift programs where they don’t exist. You can find him on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Business Minded Nonprofit Organizations

In the last two months, I have read numerous articles on the nonprofit sector regarding trends, ideas, new concepts, and concerns that have surfaced in the industry -- especially in light of current economic times. Truth is, the nonprofit sector in the United States employs 1 in 14 people; and in 2008 U.S. Charitable Giving totaled $307 billion dollars. The nonprofit sector is adapting and changing, proving it is still vital by providing a tremendous benefit to our society.

On February 2, 2010 Shelly Banjo and S. Mitra Kalita wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal titled "Once Robust Charity Sector Hit With Mergers, Closings." ( The authors were articulate and honest about the nonprofit sector. Much of what is written in this piece, are quips and comments I have been speaking on for the last few years. In the article, Paul C. Light, a professor at New York University's Wagner School of Public Service states, "There were too many poorly performing nonprofits. There were very many niche nonprofits devoted to small slices of a problem and they needed to be merged." Nonprofits need to take into consideration revenue, expenses, marketing and accounting. In addition, there is a tremendous amount of competition for the philanthropic dollar. Merging nonprofit organizations that have common missions and goals can result in increased exposure, service and funding. For years, business minded professionals who have served in advisory and board of director capacities for nonprofits have been expressing to the organizations they need to be 100% business minded.

This article also portraits a consolidation success story. In Chicago, Big Brother Big Sisters was consistently avoiding financial concerns by increasing revenue from private funding. Relying less on United Way they merged with Chicago metropolitan area small chapters and the organization has evolved stronger and healthier. They have attracted new donors, recruited board members and created new efficiencies. I believe the Big Brother Big Sister model is a great example of organizations coming together, combining their resources to solve financial issues but remain focused on the mission of the organization.

Nonprofit organizations contain the same important business entities that for profit companies do – accounting, sales, marketing, and operations. In today's economy, it is important nonprofits remain competitive and one of the best ways to do this is through education. Business West Online, the business journal of Western Massachusetts published an article on March 30, 2010 on the importance of nonprofit staff, managers and executives to examine benefits of higher education, more specifically an MBA targeted to nonprofit organizations and nonprofit management. (

The article's author, Georgia O’Brien, writes about a conversation she had with Kathryn Carlson Heler, professor of Business Administration at Springfield College. The college offers an MBA with two concentrations, one of those concentrations is in nonprofit management.
Heler says, “The definition of a nonprofit today is that of a mission-based business, and those two words sum it up,” she explained. “They have to run like a business, they have to show a profit, and they are under many of the same rules and regulations that any small business is. Most nonprofits are selling a product,” she continued, “and they’re marketing a product. And for social entrepreneurs, they’re looking for new ways to raise money beyond the annual campaign.”

Donors, key leaders and board members are looking for innovative ways for nonprofits to stand out, raise money, attract new support and at the same time, truly be self sufficient. Boards that are governing nonprofits want to see for profit thinking and they want professionals with diverse skill sets steering the organization. Springfield College is not the only school in the United States to offer a nonprofit MBA, a variety of colleges and universities are offering similar programs. For some programs, the student is one that is coming straight from completion of their undergraduate studies – deferring their job search in a luke warm market a bit longer. However, programs of this nature are also seeing career change professionals, in addition to people that have spent careers in the nonprofit industry and being encouraged to freshen up on critical skills.
Between business - minded individuals running nonprofits and a cluster of nonprofit MBA gradutes out in the field – the nonprofit sector will truly benefit and thrive.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Olympic Games -- 2010

On one hand the Olympic games are over, but truly, they are not over. Another set of athletes will start competing shortly.

How many of us are aware that the Paralympics begin on March 12th? Olympic style games for athletes with a disability were organized for the first time in Rome in 1960, now called Paralympics. In Toronto in 1976, other disability groups were added and the idea of merging together different disability groups for international sport competitions was born. In the same year, the first Paralympic Winter Games took place in Sweden. Today, the Paralympics are elite sport events for athletes with a disability. They emphasize the participants' athletic achievements rather than their disability. The movement has grown dramatically since its first days. The number of athletes participating in the Summer Paralympic Games has increased from 400 athletes from 23 countries in Rome in 1960 to 3,951 athletes from 146 countries in Beijing in 2008. Keeping with the theme of recognizing the achievements of people with disabilities, below you will find a few nonprofit organizations in the New York area that serve a variety of adults and children with both physical and developmental disabilities.

Camp Paqauatuck -- a summer camp for children with special needs situated on beautiful grounds in Center Moriches, Long Island.

Adults and Children with Learning and Developmental Disabilities -- ACLD is a leading not-for-profit agency on Long Island that proudly serves the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

Best Buddies -- Long Island -- nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Eden II / The Genesis Programs -- Eden II / Genesis Programs has been a leader in the effective intervention and education of individuals on the autism spectrum for over 30 years.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Five Tips on Giving to Haiti Disaster Relief

5 Giving Tips for Haiti Disaster Relief

1. Determine what kind of relief you want to support.What matters most to you? "Disaster Relief" has many components - medical assistance, emergency housing, provision of potable water, feeding the hungry, sending in search and rescue teams. Decide which one(s) you would like to support.

2. Do a bit of research.Use Guide Star and Just Give to find out more details on a nonprofit you are considering for a donation. Make certain that the nonprofit you choose is a 501c3, which ensures that they are considered a charitable organization, eligible to receive tax deductible contributions and have filed the necessary application with the IRS.

3. Options.
Listed below are just a few nonprofit organizations that are conducting Disaster Relief Efforts:

~~American Red Cross
~~United States Fund for UNICEF
~~Catholic Relief Services
~~Oxfam America

4. Consider making your gift in a few weeks or months. As time passes and the new stories, reporting and media around the tragedy may slightly diminish, help will be needed then as well. We certainly saw this in the case of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

5. Questions? Need help with your research and / or some guidance? Call me or email me. I am happy to help.