Show Me The Money!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

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By Howard Benson, posted October 5, 2013

As a community leader, you’re probably asked as often as I am about the current level of difficulty in raising money due to the sluggish or uncertain economy. My standard answer is that it’s not been any easier, or, for that matter, any more difficult than when all of America’s economic signals were green lights.

We know that an important, urgent cause with the right leadership behind it can be funded in any economy; it’s only a matter of the level of funding available. We routinely raise impressive sums in economically stressed communities when we position the project as a critical need, and our client is seen as well led and capable of making a measurable impact. Conversely, our feasibility studies have yielded prudent “no-go” recommendations for campaigns in wealthy, thriving communities where prospective donor/investors view our client’s cause as a low priority and our client bereft of “asking rights.”

You’ll be encouraged to know that, nationally, there has been a general uptick in charitable giving in the past few years. A study conducted by the Giving USA Foundation, whose research NCDS has helped fund over the years, reveals these useful nuggets from the most recent data:

  • Corporate giving increased by 12.2% in 2012
  • Individual giving rose by almost four percent
  • As a percentage of America’s GDP, charitable giving amounts to 2%
  • In the past decade, total giving increased by $78.78 billion
  • Gifts to arts, health, religion and other activities totaled $316.3 billion, up from $305.5 billion in 2011
  • The categories gaining the largest increases in giving were the arts, environmental, and animal related causes

You can access more information on America’s giving patterns by visiting

My takeaway from the statistics is this: As always, it is the failure to ask, and to ask in a compelling, strategic way that affects giving, not the state of the economy. Who will you ask for a serious financial commitment today?

Category: NCDS Blog

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“As the smaller chamber operating in the shadow of a larger, very aggressive one nearby, the North Myrtle Beach Chamber committed to take its game to the next level.  You and the NCDS team not only drove the creation of a bold new multi-year strategy, you generated buy in and a huge boost in revenue.  A great side benefit of launching and funding a new initiative was NCDS’ identification and engagement of a cadre of new leaders who had never really participated, much less invested at significant levels.  Your methodology works, and your experience in hundreds of other communities paid off for us in a major way.  So much so, we plan to kick off the next multi-year campaign this year.   In my book, NCDS remains the ‘gold standard’ for community development fundraising.”

Marc Jordan, CCE, President & CEO • North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce Convention & Visitors Bureau

National Community Development Services, Inc.
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Atlanta, GA  30339
Phone: (404) 231-0730