Year-end Wrap Up 2022

As the year draws to a close, I wanted to send holiday greetings to my readers. Thank you for following Carolyn’s Nonprofit Blog. This year alone, 12,900 visitors from more than 100 nations have visited its pages. As you may have observed, I have installed a Google Translate widget in the margin, and that is because – since its inception in 2011 – my blog has attracted a global following, from Qatar to Iceland, from the UK and Canada to Greece, Denmark and Switzerland. Welcome and again, thank you for visiting.

The past few years, our world has been changing in so many ways that I stopped sharing a “predictions” post with the year ahead in mind. I do believe the information on Carolyn’s Nonprofit Blog remains current in all respects from my humble standpoint of more than 35 years of hands-on work “in the trenches” of nonprofit fundraising and communications. I routinely update the more than 1,000 links shared herein. They provide additional perspectives, discussions and resources from others, thereby providing balance to what I share from my own experiences.

This year has been busy, as I help an all-volunteer nonprofit ramp-up for a major gift campaign in the months ahead. Modernizing the organization’s infrastructure with a more outward-facing perspective has been a big part of my work. Since returning to live and work in Austin, Texas in the summer of 2013, I diverged from working with traditional large institutions to helping younger “off the radar” nonprofits attract major gifts. I find this work to be satisfying, and I do hope that major gift donors will invest in smaller nonprofits – which are the majority – because they are engines of innovation and genuine caring.

The work of small nonprofits can truly be life changing. Yet by the books – if they are all volunteer – their actual income and expenditures are not reflected adequately on traditional tax returns. And so many donors and professional advisors look at budget size to determine the merit of an organization. This is a problem for our sector and it is why I urge nonprofits in this situation to carefully track their volunteer hours and share those with the public wherever they can, multiplying those hours by the Independent Sector calculator of value.

Volunteers in the United States hold up the foundation of civil society. They help their neighbors, serve their communities, and provide their expertise. No matter what kind of volunteer work they do, they are contributing in invaluable ways. In its newest Value of Volunteer Time report, Independent Sector, with the Do Good Institute, announced on April 18, 2022 that the latest value of a volunteer hour is estimated to be $29.95, which is a 4.9% increase from 2020 to 2021. Read the full report for national and state-by-state data on volunteer hours.

Independent Sector

I enjoyed speaking this year during the Crescendo Interactive Practical Planned Giving Conference in San Diego. You can view my slide presentation without my verbal commentary on YouTube. My focus was not surprisingly on tackling major gift fundraising in-house and how to do that effectively. My presentation was based on my own experiences and I hope the many nonprofit professional support organizations will take a good, hard look at the consulting industry and how they are supporting what may be an old and ultimately ineffective way to ponder, prepare and organize major gift campaigns.

Earlier in the year, I shared my background and how I became a grant writer, with Qgiv. My slide deck is also available on YouTube. This presentation may not be what you’d expect! I worked my way up through the ranks and did not take a university course nor secure an advanced degree to become a nonprofit fundraising executive. You can find a written discussion in a prior post on this website.

Articles listed in the main menu of Carolyn’s Nonprofit Blog (see the top of the website in the dropdown menu), include a number of discussions about grant writing specifically. Check them out! And as with most things, I can only speak for myself and my own experience, which is the main concept behind my blog: it is truly authentic and hopefully, its contents will be helpful to you.

My volunteer work continued this year as well. After six years of coordinating the TechSoup Connect Texas Chapter (a partnership involving NTEN: Nonprofit Technology Network, TechSoup and Capital Factory), I stepped down last fall, as work required my full attention. But I have joined the TechSoup Ambassador program, as I am a strong advocate for making use of new technologies and for supporting TechSoup and its global efforts to “build a dynamic bridge that leverages technology to enable connections and innovative solutions for a more equitable planet.” It is free for nonprofits to join TechSoup and to then avail themselves of the many discounts on tech software, hardware, training and more.

I also continued to curate the Twitter feed of Citizens’ Climate Lobby Austin Chapter @cclatx. One of the ways our world is changing has to do with climate and this is worrisome from a global perspective. I urge everyone to join the CCL national community platform, which is free of charge, and to avail yourself of the latest information about climate change from many different and nonpartisan perspectives.

Tying back to TechSoup for a moment, if you do not yet have a disaster preparation and recovery plan in place for your nonprofit, check out TechSoup’s resources. I helped develop the online course and I recommend it highly. If your organization would like to have a seminar hosted by TechSoup – and I believe the curriculum does apply readily to business communities as well as to nonprofits – please reach out anytime via my secure contact form, or to TechSoup directly. My experience is that nonprofit staff think they are prepared, but they really are not. There are some cost-effective ideas, resources and insights shared in the course and in the free TechSoup downloads.

Very best wishes to you and yours for a successful year-end fundraising season and for a happy New Year!

Carolyn M. Appleton

December 2022

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