Taking the Pulse of a Community

CT Town Group Image

By Sharon Danosky

More than any other single organization, community foundations have a strong understanding on the wants, needs and aspirations of a community.

Strictly speaking, community foundations bring together resources from individuals, families and businesses to support the nonprofits in their communities. In reality, they do so much more. From helping emerging philanthropists to maximize their contributions to building capacity in the nonprofit sector, community foundations play an integral role in addressing community needs and improving the lives of all those who reside there.

They also take the pulse of the community. They understand how its residents are doing and where there are gaps in services and opportunities.

I have had the privilege of working with many community foundations and I continue to be impressed by the depth of their work and their commitment to improving the lives of those living in their communities. Recently, I was fortunate to attend an event for one of the foundations where they launched their 2019 Community Wellness Index. Many community foundations across the state undertake such studies within their communities on a regular basis. The wealth of information found in these studies is invaluable – for nonprofit managers, boards of directors, community leaders, philanthropists and even consultants.

Therefore, I have decided to share links to these studies below.

I hope it brings greater understanding of the community where you live.

The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven

Connecticut Community Foundation

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation

Hartford Foundation for Public Giving

Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation

Valley Community Foundation

 We want to hear from you! If there is any topic you would like us to explore, please send your inquiries to info@danosky.com! See more of our blogs to read more of what we’re passionate about!

No Man Is an Island: Social Determinants of Health

Social Determinants of Health Pie

By Sharon Danosky

One thing we have learned from the community indices published by community foundations, is that nothing operates in a vacuum.  So it makes sense that wellness is not a function of good healthcare alone.  There are many determining factors that contribute to wellness and every nonprofit plays an integral role.

We all know that eating well and staying active, getting a flu shot, regular check-ups, not smoking, and getting enough sleep all influence our health.  Good health is also determined by social and economic opportunities.  Having access to good food, clean water, quality education; being safe where we live and work all influence our health as well.  So does the nature of our social interactions, our self-image, and our mental health.  It is all connected.   Which also means none of our nonprofit organizations work in a vacuum.  Collaborative and collective impact initiatives over the past several years have begun to address the systemic problems that focus on the many-faceted aspects of the human condition.   Every nonprofit plays a role in ensuring a health community.  More and more, they are finding creative ways of working together.  I believe we are entering a time where we will see more meaningful and deliberate collaboration around mitigating the factors that deteriorate our health and sense of well-being.  I think it is an exciting time – and healthy time – to work in the nonprofit sector.

To learn more about the Social Determinants of Health click here.

Danosky & Associates works with nonprofit organizations to facilitate collaborative and collect impact initiatives designed to break down barriers and work toward systemic change.

How Do You Say “Thank You”…

19152376 - man holding thank you word in palm

By Sharon Danosky

By the time this newsletter hits your inbox, your appeal has been sent, you’ve tallied Giving Tuesday and you are in the throes of ensuring that all the funds you could potentially raise before the end of the year are coming in.  Great!

So while you are busy asking for money – have you given any thought to how you are thanking the people who gave to you.  I’m sure everyone is sending out the perfunctory letter with the mandatory IRS disclaimer.  Most of those are filed or even discarded as quickly as that junk mail they received.  So, let me ask … How are you really thanking the people who give to you?

  • Will your donor truly know how much you appreciate their gift?
  • Will your donor understand the impact they are having?
  • Will you thank your donor in a way that is personal and meaningful?
  • Will you delight (and even surprise) your donor when you thank them?
  • Will your thanking them inspire them to make another gift – maybe even a larger gift?

The average nonprofit loses about 57% of their donors every year – half of the donors who give to an organization do not gift again.  Why?  I think it is because we do not communicate with them in a meaningful way or acknowledge the difference their gifts made.

In this season of giving, let us enhance our own abilities to give thanks in ways that inspire.

We want to hear from you! If there is any topic you would like us to explore, please send your inquiries to info@danosky.com! See more of our blogs to read more of what we’re passionate about!

Communications Assessments: Looking Within to Communicate Out

Communicating to a Group

By David Deschenes

“When you consider our limited staff and marketing budget, we put out a LOT of information – bi-annual fundraising letters, quarterly newsletters, flyers, and an annual report. We also send more than 30 e-blasts a year and have a robust presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It’s all important, timely and informative communications. But we’re struggling to keep up with it. We rely on other departments to get us at least the starting content for our collateral, and we often can’t get it when we need it. We feel like we’re always scrambling or trying to ‘wing it’ with content that’s owned by others.”

This was one of the primary concerns we heard at our first meeting with a new client who had hired us to conduct a communications assessment – a top-to-bottom audit of all current marketing and communications efforts in practice by the organization. [Read more…]

RETENTION MATTERS

By Sharon Danosky

If I were to give two words of advice to nonprofits and their fundraising teams it would be this: RETENTION MATTERS!

After GIVING USA 2018’s report forecasted a long, hard road ahead for fundraisers, Non Profit Quarterly analyzed the data from last year’s Fundraising Effectiveness Project and noted “The study found that the number of people who gave in 2018 fell by 4.5 percent while the acquisition of new donors fell by 7.3 percent. For smaller nonprofits without connections to wealth, this trend should be considered a warning, especially within the context of slow or flat growth in individual giving overall.” [Read more…]