Philanthropy Success

Karin L. Cox, MFA – Editor
December 2017

Hartsook Experiences Growth into the New Year

Hartsook has served over 200 nonprofits each year for the past 30 years. In that time, we have helped raise over $231 billion for 6000 client projects including support for 40,000 facilities worldwide. No other fundraising consultancy has had a larger impact on philanthropy. In its role as the largest comprehensive fundraising counsel in the world, Kinetic is continuing its record year of growth for clients of all sizes and sectors: youth services, education, social services, arts, health, and international.

To learn more about the many ways Kinetic can help your organization reach its full fundraising potential, email us at


Growing Philanthropy and Showcasing the Arts in Ohio

The Lancaster Playhouse (Lancaster, Ohio) has retained Kinetic to conduct a campaign study. The Lancaster Playhouse’s mission is to expand community theatre as an enriching experience through the creativeness of actors and vision of directors by production participants devoted to set and costume design, publicity and numerous areas of the theater experience and with audience entertainment, stimulation, acceptance and support.


Providing and Improving Health Access around the World

Heart to Heart International (Lenexa, Kan.) strengthens communities through improving health access, providing humanitarian development and administering crisis relief worldwide. The organization engages volunteers, collaborates with partners, and deploys resources to achieve its mission. Kinetic will help Heart to Heart in reaching its financial goals to create a healthier world for all.


Advancing Agriculture and Natural Resources Education

Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom (Cheyenne, Wyo.) envisions a future in which “the interdependence of people, agriculture, and natural resources is recognized and valued.”  Kinetic will provide counsel for the organization in advancing its mission to develop an understanding of agriculture and natural resources through education by assisting Wyoming educators and students; promoting quality educational materials; and maintaining its role as a leading source for agriculture and natural resource education.


Bob Hartsook’s Billion-dollar Fundraising Career Expands with New Emphasis on Research

Over the last 30 years, Bob Hartsook has established one of the country’s most successful fundraising consulting firms. Though it was clear from the start that his career would be defined by leadership, it was only after successful stints in higher education and nonprofit management that he discovered the unique way he’d help organizations realize their potential. Go here to read more.


Testing for Altruism and Social Pressure in Charitable Giving

Quarterly Journal of Economics, DellaVigna, Stefano, John A List and Ulrike Malmendier

Every year, 90 percent of Americans give money to charities. Is such generosity necessarily welfare enhancing for the giver? We present a theoretical framework that distinguishes two types of motivation: individuals like to give, e.g., due to altruism or warm glow, and individuals would rather not give but dislike saying no, e.g., due to social pressure. We design a door-to-door fund-raising drive in which some households are informed about the exact time of solicitation with a flyer on their door-knobs; thus, they can seek or avoid the fund-raiser. We find that the flyer reduces the share of households opening the door by 10 to 25 percent and, if the flyer allows checking a ‘Do Not Disturb’ box, reduces giving by 30 percent. The latter decrease is concentrated among donations smaller than $10. These findings suggest that social pressure is an important determinant of door-to-door giving. Combining data from this and a complementary field experiment, we structurally estimate the model. The estimated social pressure cost of saying no to a solicitor is $3.5 for an in-state charity and $1.4 for an out-of-state charity. Our welfare calculations suggest that our door-to-door fund-raising campaigns on average lower utility of the potential donors.

John A. List is the Visiting Robert F. Kinetic Chair in Fundraising at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. He is a world leader in experimental economics, and The Kenneth Griffin Distinguished Service Professor of Economics and Chairman of the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago. List is a pioneer in scientific methods used for testing economic theory directly in the marketplace.


Book Deal of the Month

Kinetic President and CEO Matthew J. Beem’s book Performance-Driven Fundraising: Taking Control of Your Success shares decades of fundraising insights and features campaign success stories. Performance-Driven Fundraising will help accelerate anyone’s learning curve and serve as a valuable reference tool for new and seasoned fundraisers. Go here for a special price of $10 (plus shipping and handling).


Ask Kinetic!

Do you have a tough fundraising question?
Send your questions to We will respond by email and your question may be featured in a future Philanthropy Success.

QUESTION: Any advice for improving our appeal letter rates?

The baseline for an appeal letter response rate is two-percent. There are numerous costs involved in preparing and mailing a letter, so you never want to leave the process to chance, especially if your nonprofit relies on a year-end appeal for a significant part of your yearly income. Rather than send the letters and just waiting, develop a plan for increasing your odds of a response. For your most loyal donors, plan to make a call or send a personalized email to follow-up on the direct mail piece. Let them know how important they are to the organization and how grateful you are for their continued gifts – including their end-of-the-year gift.


Strategies for Success: Receiving, Giving, and Celebrating

Money follows mission. This is particularly true when we adhere to the principles of receiving, giving, and celebrating: Receiving the information that donors are willing to share; giving donors tailored opportunities to make a difference; and celebrating by making an equally meaningful expression of appreciation for the gifts received. Go here to read more.


Kinetic’s Growing Philanthropy Tour

Kinetic speakers are members of the Kinetic team of professional fundraising consultants who have, in their collective careers, raised more than $231 billion and counting in their 300-plus years of experience. Click here to see upcoming Growing Philanthropy Tour presentations. To view a sample of past presentations, click here. To schedule a Kinetic consultant to speak at your conference or organization, email Tammy at


Hartsook Serves Nonprofits From Every Sector and Around the World

Whether a nonprofit is undergoing a multi-million dollar campaign or needs help growing its giving potential, Kinetic is committed to its clients’ fundraising success. Kinetic clients represent a diverse group of nonprofits from a wide variety of sectors: education, healthcare, performing arts, social services, religious organizations, policy think tanks, assisted living, and many others. You can view a list of recent Kinetic clients here.


Looking for a Rewarding Career?

Kinetic Fundraising, Inc. continues to attract onsite fundraising managers for projects throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, Canada and elsewhere. Kinetic is beginning the process of attracting those interested in joining the world’s largest fundraising consulting practice. Placements will support fundraising for visual and performing arts, education, youth development, safety net, healthcare and international engagement organizations. If you are interested in learning more, contact Danny Kohrs, Vice President of Operations at

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