March 11, 2024

Donors as Long-Term Stakeholders

NYN Media’s Phenix Kim recently interviewed Sam Marks, CEO of FJC, about uses of Donor Advised Funds that center the unique business development needs of nonprofit organizations.  An excerpt is below:

Phenix Kim, NYN Media: One of the things you stressed was a shift in mindset regarding philanthropy, from something reactive to something more long-term, strategically. Would you mind elaborating on this?  

Sam Marks, FJC: A lot of nonprofits and nonprofit board members come to me for advice about fundraising. Many of them are encouraging their board members to go out and fundraise for the organization, [such as] end of the year campaigns or Giving Tuesday. And I think nonprofits often can get donations from the social circles [of board members] who will give to a nonprofit because they want to support their friend. I think the bigger challenge for nonprofits is to find the ways to engage potential funders in ways that hook them into an organization for the long-term, and get a donor to really fall in love with the organization and its mission and its impact. And that can sometimes take a long time. But those [donors] that do really fall for an organization and get to know the leadership, can be some of the most valuable long-term stakeholders for an organization and pull others into the nonprofit’s orbit. Particularly for the nonprofits that rely a lot on city funding, those payments are delayed and the city’s facing budget cuts. And it’s important for them to have other sources of funding that are more flexible and longer term to help them invest in the organization’s long-term sustainability infrastructure.

The profile notes that FJC continues to grow in philanthropic accounts and assets, even as its donors have increased their distributions of grants to nonprofits.  The interview also mentions examples of innovative uses of funds in DAFs, including donors using funds in their accounts to capitalize low-interest revolving lines of credit. Read the whole interview here.