Glossary

This Amplified Advancement Services Glossary (AASG? to start the acronyms) is built upon the work of John Taylor from the CASE book, Advancement Services – A Foundation for Fundraising, 2nd Edition (with his/their OK.) It will be added to the upcoming edition of this same book. I’d welcome your additions/corrections. See the link at the bottom of this long page to send updates.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


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AASP, and other abbreviations, acronyms, associations, and authoritative terms: (This  “alphabet soup” of acronyms is at the beginning of the glossary to get you warmed up.)

·         AASP, Association of Advancement Services Professionals
·         AAFRC,  American Association of Fund-Raising Counsel, Inc.
·         AAFRC, Trust for Philanthropy, American Association of Fund-Raising Counsel, Inc.,Trust for Philanthropy
·         ACFRE, Advanced Certified Fund Raising Executive
·         ACDP, Association of Christian Development Professionals
·         ACGA, American Council on Gift Annuities
·         ACO, Association of Charity Officers
·         ACUBO, Association of College and University Business Officers
·         ADRP, Association of Donor Relations Professionals
·         AFC, Association of Fundraising Consultants
·         AFP, Association of Fundraising Professionals
·         AGB, Association of Governing Boards; Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges
·         AGI, adjusted gross income
·         AHP, Association for Healthcare Philanthropy
·         AHP Foundation, Association for Healthcare Philanthropy Foundation
·         AIP, American Institute of Philanthropy
·         ALDE, Association of Lutheran Development Executives
·         AMDA, Art Museum Development Association
·         AMFIA, Associate Member of the Fundraising Institute . Australia, Ltd.
·         AMT, Alternative Minimum Tax
·         API, Application Program Interface
·         APRA, Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement
·         ASAE, American Society of Association Executives
·         ASOL, American Symphony Orchestra League
·         ASP, Application Service Provider
·         ATFA, American Telephone Fundraisers Association
·         BBB, Better Business Bureau.
·         BCA, Business Committee for the Arts
·         BDMS, bulk direct mail sort
·         BRE, business-reply envelope
·         CA, chartered accountant
·         CAAE, Council of Alumni Association Executives
·         CACG, Canadian Association on Charitable Gifts
·         CAE, Certified Association Executive; Council for Aid to Education
·         CAEDO, Canadian Association of Educational Development Officers
·         CAGP, Canadian Association of Gift Planners
·         CAHP, Certified by the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy
·         CASE, Council for Advancement and Support of Education; also Computer Assisted System Engineering
·         CDO, Chief Development Officer, or CPO as Chief Philanthropic Officer
·         CEO, Chief Executive Officer
·         CFC, Combined Federal Campaign
·         CFO, Chief Financial Officer
·         CIO, Chief Information Officer, or sometimes CTO, Chief Technology Officer
·         CFRE, Certified Fund Raising Executive
·         CGA, Charitable Gift Annuity
·         CPA, Certified Public Accountant
·         CLT, Charitable Lead Trust
·         CPA, Certified Public Accountant (also Cutting, Pasting and Altering)
·         CRT/CRUT, Charitable Remainder Trust/Charitable Remainder Unitrust
·         DAF, Donor Advised Fund
·         DBMS, Database Management System (or software)
·         DIKW, Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom, a decision making heirarchy
·         DO, Development Officer
·         FASB, Financial Accounting Standards Board
·         FAQ, Frequently Asked Questions
·         FTP, File Transfer Protocol
·         GASB, Governmental Accounting Standards Board
·         GPS, Geographic Positioning System
·         IRS, Internal Revenue Service
·         KPI, Key Performance Indicator
·         MGO, Major Gift Officer
·         MIS, Management Information System; sometimes just IS.
·         NACUBO, National Association of College and University Business Officers
·         NAIS, National Association of Independent Schools
·         NCOA, National Change of Address
·         NGO, non-governmental organization
·         NPO, non-profit organization
·         NTEN, Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network
·         RFM, Recency, Frequency, and Monitary
·         PEBKAC, Help Desk diagnosis = “Problem exists between Keyboard and Chair”
·         PGO, Planned Gift Officer
·         PICNIC, Help Desk diagnosis = “Problem in Chair, not in Computer”
·         POGO, the character from the eponymous comic strip by Walt Kelly who famously said, “We have met the enemy and he is us!”
·         SAAS, Software as a Service
·         TLA, Three Letter Acronym
·         URL, Universal Resource Locator
·         VSE Survey, The Voluntary Support of Education Survey

Accountability: The recipient organization’s responsibility to keep a donor informed about how it uses the donor’s gift.CASE- A/S2e

Accounting policy: A policy made by a gift-supported organization that specifies which types of gifts will be counted toward a campaign goal and which types will be excluded.CASE- A/S2e

Accrual Basis: in accounting (and in accordance with FASB 116), a method of recognizing income when it is “earned” and expenses when “incurred” and recorded regardless of whether cash has yet been transferred. (See cash basis).

Acknowledgment form: An impersonal printed card used to acknowledge relatively small gifts. (See receipt.)CASE- A/S2e

Acknowledgment letter: A letter sent by the recipient organization, or on its behalf, to the donor to express appreciation for a gift and identify how it will be used. An acknowledgment may be a form letter but is usually personalized. (See receipt.)CASE- A/S2e

Acquisition mailing: A mailing sent to prospects to attract new members or donors.CASE- A/S2e

Actual value: The price that property commands when sold on the open market.CASE- A/S2e

Actuarial: Use of statistical analysis, particularly for life expectancy, for future costs and obligations; often related to planned gift calculations as to returns and deductibility.

Address append: Using identifying data from your database, obtaining and adding (hopefully) newer/more current addresses to the institution’s database from a postal service or other address database. (See NCOA)

Ad Hoc: For a specific purpose or situation, often referring to “ad hoc” reports which are run as needed and tailored to a users specific need, rather than a “standard or canned” report which is run on a scheduled basis.

Adjusted Gross Income: (AGI) a calculation on IRS tax forms reflecting total income minus allowable deductions. Deductions for charitable donations are limited to a percentage of AGI. This percentage was 50% as of 2013-14.

Advance gifts: Gifts solicited and given (or pledged) in advance of a campaign’s public announcement. Such gifts are necessary to give a campaign momentum and show the organizers the likelihood of success. (See campaign.)CASE- A/S2e

Advancement: A term used to define the total process of advancing the mission, goals, and objectives of an organization or institution. The process includes development, marketing, communications, (in educational institutions) alumni or alumnae affairs, and advancement services. (See development.)CASE- A/S2e

Advancement services: A specialty that addresses the “back office” aspects of advancement, such as computer systems, gift regulations and compliance, maintaining policies and procedures, research, reporting, data integrity, etc. (See support services.)CASE- A/S2e

Advocacy: The process of supporting a cause or proposal to influence the future course of events. This is a key aspect of many nonprofit organizations.

AFP: The acronym for the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Based in Alexandria, Virginia, it’s a professional association for individuals responsible for generating philanthropic support for a wide variety of nonprofit charitable organizations. CASE- A/S2e For some of us more mature folks in the fundraising world we recall when this was the National Society of Fund Raising Executives or NSFRE.

AICPA: The acronym of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, a national professional organization for CPAs. Its mission is to provide members with the resources, information, and leadership to provide services in a professional manner for the benefit of the public, employers, and clients. It is based in New York City.CASE- A/S2e

Alumni/alumnae affairs/relations: In an educational institution, the advancement area responsible for serving as a liaison between the institution and its former students and for promoting the institution to that constituency.CASE- A/S2e

Alumni Community: Generally this is the community of graduates of a college or university. Automated alumni communities may allow targeted mailings, events, or other activities to encourage like-minded folks to participate and give more to their institution.

Alumni Directory: A digital or print directory of names, addresses, class years, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, activities on campus and other information to encourage communication among & between alumni. Directory companies will often bill the alumni for a printed directory so that the institution bears no cost in capture and publication.

Analytics: The systematic analysis of data and/or statistics to identify meaningful patterns in the information.

Annual fund: An annually occurring fundraising program that seeks unrestricted gifts for current-year operations.CASE- A/S2e

Annual giving: The yearly act of providing a gift to the institution, usually in response to an organized appeal. Annual giving creates the habit of regular giving. (See annual fund)

Annual report: A yearly account of financial and organizational conditions prepared by the management of an organization.CASE- A/S2e

Anonymous Gift: A gifts for which the donor may wish the value, his/her name, the purpose of the gift, etc. to remain anonymous. Systems should support each of these choices.

Appeal:  the targeted, coded, short-term efforts directed to specific audiences for specific fundraising purposes (often as part of a campaign objective.) The appeal or effort may be tracked as the “motivation” for a donor giving at a specific time in response to the appeal. Hence it is important to capture the appeal at a cumulative level as well as identifying the individuals who were sent the appeal. When gifts and pledges are received they must be identified with the appeal code to allow the organization to track both the efforts and the results of the appeal. (Bar codes or “scan lines” are typically put on appeal devices to facilitate the recording of return gifts from donors.) This provides management with feedback on both the individual responses to an appeal as well as the overall responses to the appeal. (Many systems provide a mechanism for summarizing costs at the appeal level so that management may capture and report ROI for each appeal.)

The schematic following the definition of “Campaigns” below shows the relationship of Campaigns and Appeals. Appeals are often/typically targeted to a single Campaign objective. (Note that the appeals may be under any of the Campaign Objectives, not just endowment as in the schematic.)

Appraisal: Valuation of a gift by an external source. An appraisal is usually arranged by a donor who is claiming charitable income tax deductions for gifts-in-kind (other than gifts of stock traded on a national exchange) if the total of such gifts is over $500. If the total of such gifts exceeds $5,000 ($10,000 for gifts of closely held stock), the donor should obtain a qualified appraisal with a summary on IRS Form 8283. (See valuation.)CASE- A/S2e

Appreciated securities gift: A gift of securities with a market value greater than the donor’s cost or basis. The increase in value generally represents a potential capital gain, which will incur capital gains taxes unless the property is given to a charitable organization (e.g., the donors gets a deduction for the appreciated value, but does not have to pay tax on the amount of capital gains.) The value of such a gift is established per IRS guidelines by calculating the mean between the high and low prices on the date it is transferred to the organization.CASE- A/S2e

Appreciation: (1) The increase in property’s market value over its original cost or tax basis; (2) gratitude for a gift.CASE- A/S2e

APRA: The acronym for the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement, formerly the American Professional Researchers Association. Based in Chicago, Illinois, it is an organization to foster professional development and promote standards that enhance the expertise and status of development research, relationship management and data analytics and information service professionals worldwide.CASE- A/S2e

Ask: the process of soliciting a gift; if the solicitor asks for both a Capital gift and an Annual Fund gift, it may be referred to as a “double ask.”

Ask Amount: the dollar value of the gift solicited

Auction: 1) An old fashioned way of selling things whereby a fast-talking guy at the front of the room describes an item and calls out price challenges, and the folks in the back of the room find out that by picking their nose or scratching their ear, they have bought the item. 2) a sale (typically public) at which property, goods or services are sold to the highest bidder

Audit: In accounting this is a review of an organizations financial statements and processes. In Advancement, this may be a review of advancement services operations to determine the quality of systems/software and procedures, the adequacy of staffing,  the quality of training and other aspects of controls, efficiency and effectiveness.

Audit Trail: documentation that confirms the accuracy of the flow and recording of financial and biographic  transactions.

Automated telemarketing: Use of a computerized dialing system that manages phonathon prospects on screen, either automatically (so that the technology essentially manages the prospect pool) or manually (so that it responds to the caller’s denomination of the pool). Organizations that use automated telemarketing do not use phonathon cards. (See phonathon card.)CASE- A/S2e

Automation: A highly technical implementation that usually involves electronic hardware; automatic, a; opposed to human, operation or control of a process, equipment, c a system; or the techniques and equipment used to achieve this.CASE- A/S2e


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Back-up: Both the act and the result of copying information on computer files so that in case of disaster, you still have a duplicate copy of the data. On-site backup may be maintained on the same computer or the same facility as the original. For extra security, many organizations back-up their data either to the cloud or to a device which is taken to an off-site location.

Basis: The purchase price of an item of property, minus depreciation allowed or allowable as a tax deduct plus improvements.CASE- A/S2e

Batch controls: Capturing the total number of transactions and dollar value of a set (say 50 or fewer) transactions and having the system confirm that is the right # and $ when processing is completed. The system may not post the transactions until the “batch is balanced.”

Batch processing: A system that takes a set (a “batch”) of commands or jobs, executes them, and returns the results, all without human intervention. This is in contrast to an interactive system in which the user’s commands and the compute responses are interleaved during a single run. CASE- A/S2eNote that “batch controls” which were expected in batch processing may (should?) also be use in on-line, interactive systems.

Benchmark: A standard by which something can be measured or judged. The most useful kind of benchmark is one tailored to a user’s own typical tasks.CASE- A/S2e

Bequest: Assets of personal property such as cash, securities, or other tangible property that a donor leaves a charity in his or her will and for which the donor’s estate will receive a charitable estate tax deduction at the time of death. A testamentary gift. (See testamentary and planned gift.)CASE- A/S2e

Big Data: Data sets of size bigger than can be handled by commonly used relational database management software. A 3V model of high volume, high velocity and high variety of data generally require new forms of processing and analysis to assist in decision making and insight discovery. Consider Google’s index of the web as an extreme example of big data. As this glossary expands, it may become a minor example of big data (but probably not.)

Biodemographic information: Data about constituents that provide biographical or individual preferences that are useful in creating a prospect or development profile. (See donor profile and prospect profile.)CASE- A/S2e

Boiler Plate: standard language used by consultants, grant writers, programmers, and others in multiple documents. For efficiency, it is created once and copied/modified to address common situations.  Hopefully these definitions will become boiler plate.

Book value: The amount of an asset stated in a company’s records, not necessarily the amount that it could bring on the open market. (See fair market value and market value.)CASE- A/S2e

Bounce back: The result of sending an e-mail to an invalid/outdated e-mail address or to a server which is out of commission. Hard bounces will never go through; soft bounces may sometime. (See Hard Bounce, Soft Bounce)


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C-Suite: Offices of the “chiefs” of an organization, CEO, CFO, CIO, CDO, etc.

CAE: The acronym for the Council for Aid to Education, formerly the Council for Financial Aid to Education Inc. Based in New York City, it is a nonprofit national organization dedicated both to enhancing the effectiveness of corporate and other private-sector support in improving education and to helping education institutions acquire private support more effectively. (See VSE Survey.)CASE- A/S2e

Caging: The process of receiving direct marketing returns by an organization other than the nonprofit to which they are donated. The “caging vendor” may open and process the mail, depositing checks, updating bio/demographic information, posting gifts/pledges to the nonprofits database, etc. They may also copy checks and remittance devices for subsequent review by the nonprofit. (See also Lockbox)

Campaigna connected series of operations designed to bring about a particular result  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/campaign

Campaign: an organized effort by a non-profit organization to raise funds through solicitation by staff/volunteers (personal solicitations or events), direct marketing (e-mail or mailing) and/or telemarketing. Campaigns may be categorized by:

  • Purpose/objective as the following examples:
    • Capital – seeking funding for “bricks and mortar,” capital expansion or renovation and meeting other needs demanding significant capital
    • Endowment – seeking more deferred/planned gifts to fund scholarships, chairs, or operations into the future,
    • Annual – seeking primarily unrestricted gifts which may be renewed each year
  • Organizational or Progammatic Unit
    • School or Athletics at a university,
    • Collections, programs or a specific exhibit at a museum
    • Research, Advocacy, or Service in a cause oriented organization
  • Approach (i.e., telemarketing, direct mail, etc.)

Note that a “Comprehensive” campaign may be an “over-arching” campaign including all the the aspects (purposes, approaches, organizational units, etc.) above. Any campaign may also have date-oriented “phases” as well, such as a private phase, a public phase and a wrap-up phase.

A Campaign code to be recorded in your system designates all of these purposes, units, etc. so that the organization can follow-up on the effectiveness of their campaign efforts.

The following schematic show the relationship between some of these campaign terms and appeals.

Another aspect of campaigns is the typical desire by management to establish goals or targets for the different aspects of the campaigns where the goals (and actual results) of the campaign roll up from lower levels to the higher levels up to the top.

Capital gift: A gift earmarked for endowment; building construction, renovation, or remodeling; equipment; or books and other non-disposable items.CASE- A/S2e

Carnegie Classification of Higher Education: Groupings of American colleges and universities according to their missions. As devised by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the categories are meant primarily to improve the precision of the Foundation’s research by clustering institutions with similar programs and purposes, not to establish a hierarchy among campuses.CASE- A/S2e

CASE: The acronym for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, the publisher of this book. Based in Washington, DC, it is an international association of institutional advancement officers who include alumni administrators, fundraisers, communications and marketing professionals, advancement services professionals, and government relations officers. CASE’s mission is to help these professionals advance the cause of education and enhance their institutions by bringing in support, be it in the form of money, alumni loyalty, public esteem, or new students.CASE- A/S2e

Case Statement: the presentation, written or verbal, that sets the rationale or basis for giving to a campaign or program.

Cash Basis: in accounting tracking income and expenses when cash is actually received or paid. For example, a pledge would not be recorded as a gift on the Cash Basis. Note that the VSE Survey for educational institutions is maintained on the cash basis. (See accrual basis.)

CFAE: See CAE.CASE- A/S2e

Challenge Gifts: “If you give in the next hour, Donor X will match your gift dollar for dollar!” A gift initiated either by the institution or donors, to encourage others to give – with a sense of urgency. Challenges are often based on a ratio – for every ‘new’ dollar raised, the challenging donor will give an additional two dollars. Challenges for gifts are also often promoted within a limited time frame, e.g., 1 day or part of one day in public broadcasting drives or 3 or 6 months in educational fundraising.

Charitable institution/charity: Any private institution or agency that operates on a nonprofit basis for the public good and therefore is exempt from taxation (though it must pay taxes on income from any commercial operations in which it’s involved).CASE- A/S2e

Chair:  (Endowed) See Professorship (Endowed).CASE- A/S2e

Charitable lead trust: A trust that makes payments, either a fixed amount (annuity trust) or a percentage of trust principal (unitrust), to a charity during its term. At the end of the trust term, the principal of the trust can either go back to the donor or to heirs named by the donor. (See planned gift.)CASE- A/S2e

Charitable remainder trust: A trust that makes payments, either a fixed amount (annuity trust) or a percentage of trust principal (unitrust), to whomever the donor chooses to receive income. (See planned gift.)CASE- A/S2e

CID: Constituent identification number.CASE- A/S2e

Circular Reference: Excel term. (See Reference, Circular)

Closely held stock: privately owned corporate stock that is not publicly traded on an exchange or in the over-the-counter market. (See securities.)CASE- A/S2e

Cloud: An informal synonym for the Internet; Cloud computing refers to the set of networks and storage where vendors deliver hosted services over the internet. This may include “software as a service (SAAS), platform as a service or infrastructure as a service. Such vendors routinely back-up mass data files.  Cloud computing allows users to maintain and access either special purpose software (i.e., fundraising, accounting, event management, etc.) or general purpose software (i.e., word processing, spreadsheets, presentation, etc.) remotely with a browser without keeping it on their own desktop or laptop computer. Cloud vendors provide open APIs so that their software/services may be more easily integrated to. (See SAAS)

COD: Computer-originated document, a feature that comes with a document-imaging system. (See document imaging.)CASE- A/S2e

Comprehensive campaign: A campaign in which all funds, whether designated for unrestricted, restricted, capital, or endowed purposes, are counted toward the goal.CASE- A/S2e

Constituency: A category of donors and prospective donors. A constituency could be made up of alumni, parents, members, staff members, or, in a broader sense, individuals, corporations, or foundations.CASE- A/S2e

Contact report/call report: A document filed after any contact with a prospect that outlines the content of the visit or phone call and indicates appropriate follow-up.CASE- A/S2e

Conversion: Changing computer programs and data from one language or software system to another.CASE- A/S2e Key step in implementation. (See Implementation)

Corporate foundation: The philanthropic organization established to coordinate, over a period of time, the philanthropic interests of a corporation. Such a foundation can be very specific about its field of interest, often limiting grants to causes related to corporate profit: (See private foundation.)CASE- A/S2e

Cost basis: The value of an item based on its original cost.CASE- A/S2e

Cost/benefit analysis: A financial determination of a program’s effectiveness in terms of expenses incur to produce revenue. In its simplest form, this is sometimes referred t, as cost per dollar raised.CASE- A/S2e

CRM: Acronym for Constituent (originally “Customer” in the for-profit world) Relationship Management system. CRM vendors have built complex environments allowing integration of numerous applications (e.g., gift processing, event management, e-mail marketing, volunteer management, etc.) with the CRM. Development system vendors often built all these applications and certain relationship management functionality. Systems are merging in functionality and completeness.

Crowdfunding: A form of online fundraising campaign which may be conducted by a nonprofit on its own behalf, or may involve individuals who fundraise for the organization, similar to peer-to-peer fundraising. Campaigns are typically for special projects with set goals and 1 to 2 month deadlines. Crowdfunding campaigns typically include reward levels (e.g., donors of $50 get a t-shirt, donors of $100 get a tour of the new facility). Many crowdfunding campaigns are “all-or-nothing” — if the goal isn’t reached by the deadline, donors are not charged for their pledges. This creates urgency for the organization and its supporters. (See Peer-to-peer fundraising)

Cultivation: The process of exposing prospective donors to institutional activities, people, needs, and plan: to the point where they’re interest enough to be considered ready to give at acceptable levels.CASE- A/S2e   (See Solicitation Cycle)


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Dashboard: A system analog to the automobile dashboard which shows on a single page dials, gauges and buttons (and text) highlighting key information about the state of either an individual’s effort or the entire organization’s efforts. (See KPI)

Database: A collection of information kept in one place and accessible by many users through the same service. A database is one component of a database management system.CASE- A/S2e

Data cleanup/scrubbing: Removal and/or compression of information in a database to improve its reliability and integrity. (See database integrity.)CASE- A/S2e

Database integrity: How complete and thus reliable, information in a database is. (See data cleanup.)CASE- A/S2e

Data Mapping: Often an Excel document showing the fields in an old system and how users wish to map them to the new system. Field names, attributes, validation rules, etc. are shown in the cross-walk from the old to new system.

Data Mining:  is the process of extracting patterns from data.  Data mining can be used to uncover patterns in data but is often carried out only on samples of data.  It is an important tool to transform data into information commonly used in a wide range of profiling practices, such as marketing, surveillance, fraud detection and scientific discovery.CASE- A/S2e

Decentralized development office: A fundraising department with staff members who are physically located throughout an institution (for examination in undergraduate and graduate school rather than in one main office.)CASE- A/S2e

Deferred gift: A donation that is arranged now and fulfilled later, usually a planned gift. An example would be when donors leave a provision in their wills to make a bequest: to a charitable organization. (See planned gift.)CASE- A/S2e

Deferred giving: Methods of donating that require nonprofits to wait a year or more before being able to use the gift assets. Deferred giving is now generally considered to be only part of planned giving. (See planned gift.)CASE- A/S2e

Development: A term used to define the total process of organizational or institutional fundraising. (See advancement).CASE- A/S2e

Development/advancement profile: See donor profile.CASE- A/S2e

Direct mail campaign: A fund drive conducted by mail, often for annual giving purposes. Such campaigns are frequently broad-based, with several mailings going out over a specified period. (See segmentation.)CASE- A/S2e

Document imaging: Storing records or graphic images in an electronic format. (See COD.)CASE- A/S2e

Donor Advised Fund: A fund set up, often with a brokerage, where charitable donations can be made and receipted. The donor can then later direct (DAF) gifts to a “real” charity.

Donor profile: A description of basic information about an individual contributor that’s based on research and personally provided information. (See biodemographic information and prospect profile.)CASE- A/S2e

Donor recognition: The policy and practice of thanking contributors for gifts, first through immediate acknowledgment by card or letter and subsequently through personalized notes, personal expressions of appreciation directly to donors, published lists of contributors, and other appropriate ways.CASE- A/S2e

Donor relations: An area of development that works with both contributors and prospects and oversees cultivation, recognition, and stewardship.CASE- A/S2e

DTC account: An account with the Depository Trust Co., a clearinghouse for electronic transactions of securities.CASE- A/S2e


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EDUCAUSE: An association formed from the merger of CAUSE and Educom to encourage the introduction, use, and management of information resources and technologies in teaching, learning, scholarship, research, and institutional management. It’s based in Washington DC, and Boulder, CO.CASE- A/S2e

Electronic screening: A computer process used to determine the giving potential of a wide range of prospective donors. The process, which helps identify top prospects who are loyal and have a propensity to give, provides prospect management and tracking guidance for your development staff. The research is done in online databases and on the Internet. (See prospect screening.)CASE- A/S2e

E-mail (or email) : Electronic mail has been in use for over 20 years as a means of digitally sending a message from its author to one or more recipients.  SMTP email addresses have the format NAME@DOMAIN.

Email or Electronic marketing: This is directly marketing a commercial message to a group of people using  email. It usually involves using email to send ads, request engagement, or solicit donations, memberships and/or event participation. It is meant to build loyalty, trust, or institutional awareness. Email marketing can be done to either purchased lists or current constituent database.

Endless loop: programming term, (See Loop, Endless)

Endowment: Funds that are kept intact and invested. The earnings or a portion thereof are applied to purposes the donor designates.CASE- A/S2e

Academic institutions such as colleges and universities will frequently control an endowment fund that funds a portion of the operating or capital requirements of the institution. In addition to a general endowment fund, each university may also control a number of restricted endowments that are intended to fund specific areas within the institution. The most common examples are endowed professorships (also known as named chairs), and endowed scholarships or fellowships.CASE- A/S2e

In the United States, the endowment is often integral to the financial health of private educational institutions, whereas public institutions are often funded partially or fully by state or local governments. Often alumni of the institution will contribute the bulk of capital to the endowment. By contrast, universities in the United Kingdom are frequently public rather than private institutions. There is therefore less of an endowment funding culture, with financial figures generally much lower. Endowment funds have also been created to support public secondary and elementary school districts in several states in the US.CASE- A/S2e

Engagement: Involving constituents in the institutions case, objectives and goals over time.

E-Philanthropy: Using the internet and e-mail to build relationships, cultivate donors and solicit gift on-line.

Event: A simple word with many meanings involving getting your constituents to participate in an activity sponsored and organized for your institution. An event may be as simple as a one-on-one meeting for coffee or lunch to interest them, cultivate them or solicit them for a gift. With more complex events such as an alumni reunion, they may have multiple sub-events: meals, presentations, watching a sporting event or participating in a golf tournament, and so on. Events may be of a fund-raising, a friend-raising or a thank-you and recognition nature.

Event Management Software: Software designed to address the needs of identifying, inviting, registering and otherwise tracking potential & actual participants. It may also track seating, meals, travel, speakers, premiums, etc.


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Fair market value: The amount for which an item or property can be sold in the marketplace. (See book value and market value.)CASE- A/S2e

FASB: The acronym of the Financial Accounting Standards Board of the Financial Accounting Foundation. Based in Norwalk, Connecticut, FASB sets the standards for financial accounting and reporting for nonprofits as well as the business world. The standards are used by corporations, charities, and other organizations that issue financial statements; by auditors; and by users of financialCASE- A/S2e

Fellowship:  Fellowships (endowed) are similar to scholarships, although they are most commonly associated with graduate students. In addition to helping with tuition, they may also include a stipend. Fellowships with a stipend may encourage students to work on a doctorate. Frequently, teaching or working on research is a mandatory part of a fellowship.CASE- A/S2e

Field: An area on a data record in which specific information about a constituent is located. Examples of fields include first name, salutation, and type of gift.CASE- A/S2e

File management: A method used to organize records, either on a database or in a physical location.CASE- A/S2e

Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB): since 1973,has been the designated organization in the private sector for establishing standards of financial accounting that govern the preparation of financial reports by nongovernmental entities. Those standards are officially recognized as authoritative by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) (Financial Reporting Release No. 1, Section 101, and reaffirmed in its April 2003 Policy Statement) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (Rule 203, Rules of Professional Conduct, as amended May 1973 and May 1979). Such standards are important to the efficient functioning of the economy because decisions about the allocation of resources rely heavily on credible, concise, and understandable financial information.  (http://www.fasb.org)

Financial Account Standard 116 (FASB116): Accounting for Contributions Received and Contributions Made (Issued 6/93), establishes accounting standards for contributions and applies to all entities that receive or make contributions. Generally, contributions received, including unconditional promises to give, are recognized as revenues in the period received at their fair values. Contributions made, including unconditional promises to give, are recognized as expenses in the period made at their fair values. Conditional promises to give, whether received or made, are recognized when they become unconditional, that is, when the conditions are substantially met.

This Statement requires not-for-profit organizations to distinguish between contributions received that increase permanently restricted net assets, temporarily restricted net assets, and unrestricted net assets. It also requires recognition of the expiration of donor-imposed restrictions in the period in which the restrictions expire. . [NB: It requires accrual rather than “cash” accounting of contributions for not-for-profit organizations.] (http://www.fasb.org/summary/stsum116.shtml)

Financial Account Standard 117 (FASB117): Financial Statements of Not-for-Profit Organizations (Issued 6/93),  establishes standards for general-purpose external financial statements provided by a not-for-profit organization. Its objective is to enhance the relevance, understandability, and comparability of financial statements issued by those organizations. It requires that those financial statements provide certain basic information that focuses on the entity as a whole and meets the common needs of external users of those statements.

This Statement requires that all not-for-profit organizations provide a statement of financial position, a statement of activities, and a statement of cash flows. It requires reporting amounts for the organization’s total assets, liabilities, and net assets in a statement of financial position; reporting the change in an organization’s net assets in a statement of activities; and reporting the change in its cash and cash equivalents in a statement of cash flows.

This Statement also requires classification of an organization’s net assets and its revenues, expenses, gains, and losses based on the existence or absence of donor-imposed restrictions. It requires that the amounts for each of three classes of net assets-permanently restricted, temporarily restricted, and unrestricted-be displayed in a statement of financial position and that the amounts of change in each of those classes of net assets be displayed in a statement of activities.(http://www.fasb.org/st/summary/stsum117.shtml)

Fund or Fund Account: the designation or general ledger code to which the donor actually makes their gift. It is important to recognize that even though your campaign is for capital projects and your specific appeal is for the library, but if the donor wants to give to scholarships for athletes or for a favorite exhibit that will be the fund that gets the gift. We will honor the donor’s wishes. And this is the very reason why a system must be able to record the distinct categories of Campaigns, Appeals, and Funds on each gift. (Your efforts don’t always lead to the results you desire/expect. But if you are raising more funds for your institution, this is still important.)

FundSvcs: a listserv used and shared by wise Advancement Services professionals to seek and provide their experiences in serving the Advancement community. This is a resource site created by John Taylor in 1852 (maybe later after Al Gore invented the Internet?) and now maintained by AASP. It may be found at www.fundsvcs.org.


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GASB: The acronym of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board of the Financial Accounting Foundation.CASE- A/S2e

Gift: A voluntary transfer of things of value, usually in the form of cash, checks, securities, real property; or personal property. Gifts may come from individuals, industry, foundations, and other sources; recipients can use them for unrestricted or restricted purposes. Charities make no commitment of resources or services in return for gifts, other than possibly agreeing to put the gift to use as the donor designates. (See personal property and securities.)CASE- A/S2e

Gift annuity: A contract between a nonprofit and a donor in which, in return for a donation of cash or other assets, the organization agrees to pay the donor or the donor’s designee a fixed payment for life, for which the donor can also claim a charitable tax deduction. (See planned gift.)CASE- A/S2e

Gift-in-kind: A donation other than cash. (See in-kind contribution.)CASE- A/S2e

Gift processing: The procedure of entering contributions into a database, thereby crediting the donor.CASE- A/S2e

Gifts versus Grants: Often a hot topic, and usually for no reason. Per the CASE Guidelines, gifts and grants are synonymous. In other words, you count both in your fundraising totals. Typically the only real difference in the two is that granting agencies sometimes require additional reporting. That does not negate counting. It is only when a “grant” results in the grantor receiving intellectual property or patent rights that counting is not permitted. Please see the CASE Guidelines, or the “Gifts, Grants, and Contracts” paper at the FundSvcs.org download site.

Giving Clubs/Societies: Recognition tools for encouraging additional giving to the organization. Such clubs or societies may be established for annual giving, cumulative giving, planned giving, initial giving, etc. These named clubs are ways to make donors feel special in their giving. The levels should be established to set targets for donors to strive to achieve; not easy for everybody to get in.  Levels that specific donors achieve are often reported in annual Honor Rolls. (See Honor Rolls)


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Hardware: The physical, touchable, material parts of a computer or other system. The term is used to distinguish these fixed parts of a system fromthe more changeable software or data components that it executes, stores, or carries. (See software.)CASE- A/S2e

Hard Bounce: A permanent e-mail bounce back because the recipient address does not (or no longer) exists, the domain name does not exist, or the recipient email server has blocked delivery. (See Bounce back)

Hard Credit: The legal or IRS-receiptable amount of a gifts. This is the dollar amount that flows to the organizations financial statements. (See Soft Credit)

Help Desk: A technical support resource found in either/both of Information Technology and Advancement Services. May assist with hardware, networks, and both general purpose/office (e.g., word processing, presentation, e-mail, etc.) and special purpose (e.g., advancement, accounting, membership, etc.) software.

Help Desk Software: Software that maintains inventories of office hardware & software, that provides FAQ’s and documentation for users, that tracks problem resolution & service requests, etc.

Honor Roll: Recognition listing of names of donors which have recently given to your organization. May be arranges by donation levels or giving societies. (See Gift Clubs/Societies)


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Import/export capability: Ability of a software program to bring in or transmit data from or to other programs.CASE- A/S2e

Implementation (or Installation): The phase of a system between selection and productive use. This will include facility and data center preparation, software installation, data conversion, system testing, user training, system acceptance, and cut over to live use.

Independent auxiliary: A company that is a subsidiary of another company but has its own executive officers.CASE- A/S2e

Infrastructure: Basic support services for computing, particularly national networks.CASE- A/S2e

In-honor-of gift: A donation that’s generally a tribute to a living individual and occasionally designated by the donor for a specific purpose. (See memorial gift.)CASE- A/S2e

In-kind contribution: A gift of equipment, supplies, or other property instead of money. The donor may place a monetary value on the gift for tax purposes. (See appraisal, gift-in-kind, and valuation.)CASE- A/S2e

Integrated software: A computer program that offers components that can be used in tandem with other programs.CASE- A/S2e

Interface: A boundary across which two systems communicate; a hardware connector used to link to other devices or a convention used to allow communication between two software systems.CASE- A/S2e

Irrevocable: Incapable of being recalled or revoked; unchangeable; irreversible; unalterable; impossible to retract. The term usually pertains to pledges or planned gifts.CASE- A/S2e

IRS: United States Internal Revenue Service. Key forms and publications with their specific definitions (found at www.irs.gov) include:

  • Publication 526, Charitable Contributions (see examples of deductible and non deductible contributions from Pub 526 in the schematic below)
  • Publication 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property
  • Publication 1771, Charitable Contributions Substantiation and Disclosure Requirements
  • Publication 598, Tax on Unrelated Business Income for Exempt Organizations

IRS Dedn Guidelines

(Sorry for the fuzzy image above. It is a reflection of fuzzy IRS guidelines.)

NOTE: many terms (i.e., services, deductible, contribution, etc.) have specific IRS definitions. As these can change at the whim of our President, Congress or the IRS, please refer to their documents for these definitions.


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Key Performance Indicator: (KPI) A set of quantifiable measures that an institution or entire industry uses to gauge or compare performance in terms of meeting strategic and operational goals. KPIs in Development include: cost to raise a dollar, participation rates, time in stage (in the moves management stages), etc.  An institution may present these in a Dashboard; our industry reports these in the VSE Survey.


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Laws: Sometime useful guidelines

  • Brook’s Law: Any software project that is behind schedule, will be made further behind by adding staff.
  • Murphy’s Law: If anything can go wrong, it will.CASE- A/S2e
  • Hunsaker’s Law: Murphy was an optimist.
  • Law of Location: No matter where you go, there you are.
  • Pareto’s Law: The 80-20 Rule which says that 20% of the people account for 80% of the work. (The 20% is mainly those of us in Advancement Services.) In Fundraising, the 80-20 rule often plays out as a 90-10 or even 99-1 rule where 1% of the donors give 99% of the money donated.

Legacy: A gift of property by will, especially of money or personal property; a bequest.CASE- A/S2e

Letter of intent: A statement of a prospect’s intention to make a specified gift or legacy; used when a prospect prefers to avoid making a pledge. Because it could constitute a binding obligation under some circumstances, the prospective donor should seek legal counsel before executing such a letter. (See pledge.)CASE- A/S2e

Life income gift: See planned gift.CASE- A/S2e

ListServ: An on-line community resource for like minded individuals allowing posting of questions and answers relevant to the community. (See FundSvcs as an example.)

Lockbox, or Lockbox Banking: A service provided by banks to institutions for the receipt of gifts and pledge payment from contributors. With the service, the payments made by donors are directed to a special post office box, rather than going to the institution. The bank will then go to the box, retrieve the payments, process them and deposit the funds directly into the institutions bank account. Processing may also include entry into the institution’s database. (See Caging)

Loop, Endless: (See Endless Loop)

LYBUNT: An acronym that identifies donors who gave Last Year But Unfortunately Not This year. (See SYBUNT.)CASE- A/S2e


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Mail campaign: See direct mail campaign.CASE- A/S2e

Mainframe: A term originally referring to the cabinet containing the central processor unit or “main frame” of a room-filling batch machine. The word was later applied to big iron machines after the emergence of smaller “minicomputer” designs in the early 1970s. Mainframes and the people who work(ed) with them are often considered as dinosaurs.CASE- A/S2e

Major gift: A large gift, probably of $10,000 or greater, usually meant for capital purposes.Each organization should identify the dollar level to categorize their major gifts. CASE- A/S2e

Market value: As pertaining to endowment, the book value plus undistributed yield. (See book value and fair market value.)CASE- A/S2e

Match back file: A file, often purchased, used to hold prospects during an initial mailing. Upon receiving a gift or a pledge from a prospect on this file, the biodemographic information on this file is added to the primary database with the new gift/pledge.

Matching gift: An eligible contribution by an eligible corporation on behalf of an eligible employee whose eligible gift to an eligible institution starts the process.CASE- A/S2e

Memorial gift: A contribution generally commemorating a deceased individual and occasionally designated by the donor for a specific purpose. (See in-honor-of gift.)CASE- A/S2e

Merge/purge: A computer operation that combines two or more files of names by using a matching process to produce one file that’s free of duplicates.CASE- A/S2e

MIS: Management Information System. A computer system, usually based on a mainframe or minicomputer, designed to provide managers with up-to-date information on an organization’s performance, such as fundraising totals.CASE- A/S2e

Mission statement: A concise description of the purpose of an organization.CASE- A/S2e

Moves management: A method of organizing donor cultivation that focuses on maintaining a strong, orderly relationship between donor and institution.CASE- A/S2e (See Solicitation Cycle)


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NACUBO: The acronym for the National Association of College and University Business Officers. It’s a Washington, DC-based nonprofit professional organization representing chief administrative and financial officers at colleges and universities. NACUBO’s mission is to promote sound management and financial practices.CASE- A/S2e

NAIS: The acronym for the National Association of Independent Schools. It’s a Washington, DC-based voluntary membership organization that represents private pre-collegiate schools and associations in the United States and abroad.CASE- A/S2e

NCOA: National Change of Address – a database of current addresses maintained by the US Postal Service. This information comes from the US population providing (upon moving) Change of Address information to the Post Office. Numerous vendors may provide address appending or correcting services from the NCOA database.

Network server: A computer, or a software package, that provides a specific kind of service to client software running on other computers.CASE- A/S2e

NGO: A non-governmental organization is created by “legal persons” who are not part of the government, but NGO funds are mostly raised by governments. Alcoholics Anonymous, American Bar Association, Greenpeace and Sierra Club are examples of NGOs.

NIMCRUT: A planned giving term meaning net income with make-up charitable remainder unitrust.CASE- A/S2e

NPO or Nonprofit Organization: A group that qualifies for federal income-tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or under other 501 classifications. (See Section 501(c)(3).)CASE- A/S2e Nonprofit organizations do not have “owners” as in the case of for-profit organizations.


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OCR: Optical Character Recognition. It’s a mechanism through which a computer identifies printed or written characters.CASE- A/S2e


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PCI: Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard and compliance; standards whereby nonprofits have outside vendors process credit card payments without maintaining donor’s card number in their database. PCI compliance is so much more than this; look it up on the web.

Participation: Percentage of solicited constituents who make gifts. Participation is calculated by dividing the number of donors by the number of constituents of record.CASE- A/S2e (Note that the US News & World Report uses “number of constituents of record” for its educational institutional participation rate and overall evaluations.  Other institutions may use number of solicited constituents. Stay with the program for your NPO group.)

Payment Gateway Provider:  An e-commerce ASP that authorizes credit card payments for your institution. Having a remote credit card provider facilitates PCI compliance so that you do not have to (because you do not want to) maintain credit card numbers in your database. The provider can also manage recurring payments as part of their service. (See PCI compliance)

Peer-to-peer (aka team or P2P) fundraising: Fundraising campaigns in which supporters fundraise on an organization’s behalf, often through athletic events such as runs, walks, and rides or other simulated events like “bailing a fundraiser from jail”. Participants typically set fundraising goals, plus create personal fundraising pages where people can give online and monitor the campaign’s progress. (See Crowd Funding)

Personal property: Cash, stocks, bonds, notes, paintings, furniture, jewelry, and possessions other than real estate. (See gift and securities.)CASE- A/S2e

Phonathon: A fundraising effort in which either volunteers or paid callers solicit gifts or pledges by telephone. Employed especially in annual fund campaigns.CASE- A/S2e

Phonathon card: A form that provides the phone solicitor with biodemographic information and a giving history for the prospective donor. (See automated telemarketing.) CASE- A/S2e

Phone append: Sending out parts or your entire database to obtain new/corrected phone numbers to be added into your database.

Pipeline: The set of development prospects with notes of who is working them, the stage of solicitation which they are in, and the anticipated value of proposals which they may fund.

Planned gift/planned giving: A type of charitable donation, requiring some planning, that’s popular because it can provide valuable tax benefits and/or income for life. The terms often refer to the process of making a charitable gift of estate assets to one or more nonprofit organizations; a donation that requires consideration and planning in light of the donor’s overall estate plan; or part of an individual’s major gift strategy, generally involving a bequest or trust. (See charitable lead trust, charitable remainder trust, deferred gift, deferred giving, gift annuity, and pooled income fund.)CASE- A/S2e

Planned Gift Examples – To oversimplify, there are generally two kinds of planned gifts: bequests and life income gifts. For bequests the donor gets a tax deduction; for a life income gift the donor also gets income for a period of time. See the following chart for examples. (NOTE CAVEAT:  We are systems folks. These examples are for general information only!)

Life Income Gifts

Type/Vehicle

“To the Charity”

“To the Donor”

“To the Final Beneficiary”

Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA) Cash/Assets to set up CGA 1) Tax Deduction 2) Fixed Income (a portion tax-free) Remainder to the Charity for purpose set by donor
Charitable Remainder Trust/Unitrust (CRT/CRUT) Cash/Securities to the Trust which may or may not be managed by the Charity 1) Tax Deduction 2) Variable income based on Trust value 3) Can add to Trust to increase #1 & #2 Remainder to the Charity for purpose set by donor
Charitable Lead Trust (CLT) Cash/Securities to the Trust; Fixed yearly payments to the Charity for purpose set by donor Reduced transfer taxes on principal to heirs Remainder to Donor’s heirs. All trust appreciation is tax-free.
Pooled Income Fund (PIF) Initial Cash/Securities into PIF which sets-up “units” of ownership 1) Tax Deduction 2) Variable income based on PIF Units to donor/other beneficiaries3) No capital gains on appreciated assets given Principal attributed to units goes to Charity for purpose set by donor

Bequests/Gifts

Type

“To the Donor”

“To the Heirs”

“To the Charity”

Bequest/Gift from Will Assets remain in donor control during lifetime; can change will Family gets set amount or % Charity gets remainder to purpose set by donor.
Giving from Retirement Plan Continue to take lifetime withdrawals Family gets set amount or % Charity gets remainder to purpose set by donor.
Gift of Real Estate 1) Tax Deduction on fair market value of RE 2) No capital gains on transfer Nothing Charity may use property or sell it to use proceeds
Gift of Securities & Appreciated Assets 1) Tax deduction for appreciated value 2) No capital gain taxes on appreciation Nothing Charity sells assets and uses proceeds

There are other types of planned gifts which are more complex than these.

Pledge: A verbal or written commitment by a constituent to make a gift within a specific time frame. (See letter of intent.)CASE- A/S2e

Pledge card: A printed form used by solicitors in seeking what is most often a legally binding commitment from a prospect.CASE- A/S2e

Pledge reminder: A printed form that the charity sends on regular schedule to a constituent who has made a pledge but has not completed full payment.CASE- A/S2e

Policy/Procedure: Guidelines for operation. Policies of an institution describe “what” is to be done; Procedures describe the step-by-step of “how” it is to be done. I will note that “data standards” or guidance as to what values required/allowed in which fields in your database might also be included in such guidelines.

Pooled income fund: A planned gift in which a charity accepts contributions from many donors into a fund, the charity keeps the principal, and the charity distributes the income from the fund to each donor or recipient of the donor’s choosing. Each income recipient then receives income in proportion to his or her share of the fund, and the donor receives a charitable income tax deduction. This form of trust is described in paragraph (5) of Internal Revenue Code Subsection 642(c). (See planned gift)CASE- A/S2e

Portal or Web-Portal: A web portal is most often a specially-designed web page at a site which brings information together from diverse sources in a uniform way. The portal may aggregate and present data from other web pages or multiple (on-site) databases such as a dashboard for DOs and managers, or a combination of both. With appropriate access security, the role of the user in an organization may determine which content can be added to the portal or deleted from the portal configuration. (See Dashboard)

Portfolio: Using an investment term, a development officer will have a portfolio of donors and prospects which they are currently qualifying, cultivating and soliciting.

PPA 2006: Pension Protection Act of 2006. Enacted in the fall of 2006, this act, among other things, established parameters for allowing certain withdrawals from Individual Retirement Accounts as “contributions” to some nonprofit organizations, as well as added, tightened, or changed regulations pertaining to the donation of specified in-kind property.CASE- A/S2e

Predictive Dialer: An automated feature of a telemarketing system which uses on-going statistical analyses to figure our how long calls are taking, how long it takes for people to answer, etc. to predict and call in advance to maximize caller productivity. If the stats are wrong/changing and the next caller is not available when the recipient answers, the dialer will hang up on them. WARNING: if folks called find out you are using this technology, they may never donate to your telethon again. It’s really annoying.

Premium: A tangible item or benefit that an institution gives in exchange for a contribution, such as a tie with the school logo or free tickets to attend an event. Depending on both its cost and fair market value, a premium could affect the tax deductibility of the original gift. (See quid pro quo, tax deductibility.)CASE- A/S2e

Private foundation: An organization established to coordinate, over a period of time, the philanthropic interests of a private entity such as an individual or family. Such a foundation can be very specific as to its field of interest, often limiting grants to causes related solely to the entity’s interests. (See corporate foundation.)CASE- A/S2e

Private support: Philanthropic support from sources other than the government.CASE- A/S2e

Professorship (Endowed):  An endowed professorship (or endowed chair) is a position permanently paid for with the revenue from an endowment fund specifically set up for that purpose. Typically, the position is designated to be in a certain department. The donor is allowed to name the position, which typically takes the format: First-name Last-name Professor of Department-name. Endowed professorships aid the university by providing a faculty member who does not have to be paid entirely out of the operating budget, allowing the university to either reduce its student-to-faculty ratio, a statistic used for college rankings and other institutional evaluations, and/or direct money that would otherwise have been spent on salaries toward other university needs. In addition, holding such a professorship is considered to be an honor in the academic world, and the university can use them to reward its best faculty or to recruit top professors from other institutions. Often, a donation of US$1–3 million is required to endow a professorship at the most highly-regarded private and (flagship) public universities.[citation needed] Similarly, at smaller state schools, donations in the low six figures may suffice.[citation needed]

The earliest “endowed chairs” were those established by the Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius in Athens in AD 176. Aurelius created one endowed chair for each of the major schools of philosophy: Platonism, Aristotelianism, Stoicism, and Epicureanism.[3] Later, similar endowments were set up in some other major cities of the EmpireCASE- A/S2e

Profile: See donor profile and prospect profile.CASE- A/S2e

Proposal: A written request or application for a gift or grant that includes why the project or program is needed, who will carry it out, and how much it will cost. (See RFP.)CASE- A/S2e A proposal may also offer how often and in what form results will be reported.

Prospect list: A roster of potential donors maintained by a development or campaign office.CASE- A/S2e

Prospect mailing: See acquisition mailing.CASE- A/S2e

Prospect management: See moves management.CASE- A/S2e

Prospect profile: A research report detailing all of the pertinent facts about a potential donor, including resources, relationships, and past giving. (See biodemographic information and donor profile.)CASE- A/S2e

Prospect rating: A procedure for evaluating the giving potential of various potential donors. The ratings depend on the judgments of knowledgeable people who are functioning as a special campaign committee or on assessments made on the basis of specific criteria.CASE- A/S2e Multiple ratings may address the capacity of the donor, the likelihood of giving, and/or the immediacy of the timeframe for giving.

Prospect research: A development office’s use of numerous reference sources to search for pertinent information about potential donors of all types. (See electronic screening.)CASE- A/S2e

Prospect screening: Identifying potential donors and assessing their ability and inclination to give through information gleaned from their peers. (See electronic screening.)CASE- A/S2e


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Quasi-endowment: Funds that are retained and invested and are either unrestricted or restricted. (See restricted gift and unrestricted gift.)CASE- A/S2e

A quasi-endowment, or fund functioning as an endowment, are funds merely earmarked by an organization’s governing board, rather than restricted by a donor or other outside agency, to be invested to provide income for a long but unspecified period, and the governing board has the right to decide at any time to expend the principal of such funds.  Separately from the endowment versus quasi-endowment distinction, there’s another 2-way categorization of restricted and unrestricted, which focuses on the use of the funds. As an example, a quasi-endowment might be restricted by the donor to supporting the tennis team; the use is restricted to one purpose, but the governing board could “invade principal” to support the tennis team.CASE- A/S2e

Query function: A user’s (or an agent’s) request for information, generally as a formal request to a database or search engine.CASE- A/S2e

Quid pro quo: A contribution in return for which the donor receives something back (benefit), such as a premium, which could affect the tax deductibility of the donor’s gift. In the original Latin, the term means “something for something.” (See tax deductibility.)CASE- A/S2e


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Receipt: An impersonal printed form sent to the donor that confirms a gift has been received and put toward its designation. (See acknowledgment form and acknowledgment letter.)CASE- A/S2e

Reference, Circular: Excel term. (See Circular Reference)

Research: See prospect research.CASE- A/S2e

Restricted gift: A donation for a specified purpose as clearly stated by the donor, for example, for academic divisions, athletics, or research.CASE- A/S2e

RFM: Recency, Frequency, Monetary, a quantitative measure of the likelihood of a direct marketing donor giving again in the near term.

RFP: Request for proposal. A written notice listing the requirements for submitting an proposal for a gift or grant. (See proposal.)CASE- A/S2e  Note that some buyers will request a RPQ or Request for Price Quotation, or an RFI or less formal Request for Information.


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Sabbatical: A leave of absence from the institution, usually given to academicians, but occasionally to administrators. The leave is generally devoted to research and ultimately the production of a paper, proposal, or publication.CASE- A/S2e

Scholarships (Endowed): An endowed scholarship is tuition (and possibly other cost) assistance that is permanently paid for with the revenue of an endowment fund specifically set up for that purpose. It can be either merit-based or need-based (which is only awarded to those students for whom the college expense would cause their family financial hardship) depending on university policy or donor preferences. Some universities will facilitate donors’ meeting the students they are helping. The amount that must be donated to start an endowed scholarship can vary greatly.CASE- A/S2e

Section 501(c)(3): The section of the Internal Revenue Code under which charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, and other organizations that meet the requirements are exempt from federal income tax.CASE- A/S2e

Security (data): Access and quality controls over data in your system. These may 1) prevent access to either data or reports by unauthorized users, 2) confirm that only valid data is being entered, 3) prevent duplicate data from being entered, etc. Batch controls are a type of security.

Securities: Evidence of property, such as a bond or a certificate of stock. (See closely held stock, gift, and personal property.)CASE- A/S2e

Segmentation: The process of dividing a constituency into groups to personalize the solicitation material as much as possible, usually for a direct mail campaign. (See direct mail campaign.)CASE- A/S2e

Shadow System: a copy or copies of the main database maintained by individuals or departments which are unsatisfied with central A/S services or database integrity. This causes complications as donors/prospects expect a single/central system at your institution and when they provide updates to one often the Main and the Shadow are not both updated.

Social media: includes web-based and mobile based technologies which are used to turn communication into interactive dialogue between organizations, communities, and individuals. Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein define social media as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.” Social media is ubiquitously accessible, and enabled by scalable communication techniques.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media)

Soft Bounce: A temporary delivery issue for e-mails sent. This may be because the mailbox is full, the e-mail server is offline, or your e-mail message is too large. (See Bounce back)

Soft Credit: A recognition credit recorded for a gift which will not  be receipted. Examples include donors given credit for the match made by a matching gift company, donors given credit where they have directed their “Donor Advised Fund (DAF)” to give to the charity, spouses of alumni donors may be given soft credits for the legal/hard credit gifts given by the alumnus. (See or search FundSvcs for many pages of details on this topic.)

Software: The instructions executed by a computer, as opposed to the physical device on which they run. (See hardware.)CASE- A/S2e

Solicitation mailing: See direct mail campaign.CASE- A/S2e

Solicitation Cycle: For membership organizations, they may do marketing to initiate a membership cycle of 1) Engage, 2) Join, 3) Keep Engaged, 4) Renew. For most charities seeking major gifts this cycle includes 1) Identify, 2) Qualify, 3) Cultivate, 4) Solicit, 5) Steward. Either of these cycles may be expanded or contracted based on the sophistication of the organization. The schematic below portrays these “Rinse, Lather, Repeat” cycles.

Source: Origin of the gift, such as an individual, corporation, or foundation.CASE- A/S2e

Steering committee: A group of leaders that bears overall responsibility for establishing a campaign or development program until a permanent campaign committee assumes this responsibility.CASE- A/S2e

Stewardship: A program of annual reporting to donors that tells how their gifts were used and often inspires repeat giving. (See donor relations.)CASE- A/S2e

Stock power: A written form giving the charitable organization the power to liquidate a gift of securities. (See securities.)CASE- A/S2e

Strategic plan/vision: A concise written statement of an institution’s future direction.CASE- A/S2e

Support services: Technical areas of a development program or fundraising campaign that deal with prospect research, mailings of appeal letters, gift processing, list preparation, clerical operations, reporting, and so on. (See advancement services.)CASE- A/S2e

Sustainer: A donor who agrees to make regularly scheduled donations of a specified amount by credit card/EFT/PayPal or through receiving a traditional reminder.

SYBUNT: An acronym that identifies donors who gave Some Year But Unfortunately Not This. (See LYBUNT.)CASE- A/S2e


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Tax deductibility: That portion of a gift that donors can deduct from their taxes, depending on their tax bracket and whether the charitable institution provided any quid pro quo services. (See quid pro quo.)CASE- A/S2e

Technology compatible: The ability of different systems, such as programs, file formats, protocols, and even programming languages, to work together or exchange data.CASE- A/S2e

Telethon: See phonathon.CASE- A/S2e

Testamentary: Of or pertaining to a will; bequeathed by will; done, appointed by, or founded on a testament or will. (See bequest.)CASE- A/S2e

Token value: A nominal price placed on a gift as a matter of form. The IRS publishes token values in its final bulletin of the year—for example, for 2007 you would check Rev. Proc. 2006-53.CASE- A/S2e


U | Top

Unrestricted gift: A donation made unconditionally and without any restriction; the reverse of a restricted gift. (See restricted gift.)CASE- A/S2e

User: Someone doing “real work” with the computer, operating it as a means rather than an end; or someone who applies a program, however skillfully, without getting into the internals of the program.CASE- A/S2e


V | Top

Valuation: The act of estimating value or worth; setting a price; an appraisal of the value of something. (See appraisal.)CASE- A/S2e

Vendor: A seller; someone who exchanges goods or services for money.CASE- A/S2e

Visualization: Presentation of data in a graphic or schematic form to assist in seeing relationships and changes over time. Representation may be a table, a pie chart, a histogram, a venn diagram, a mind map, or any of a number of other presentation forms.

VSE Survey: The Voluntary Support of Education survey published annually by the Council for Aid to Education. The survey includes detailed information on gift income, enrollment, endowment market value, and educational and general expenditures from colleges, universities, and private elementary and secondary schools. The figures are on private gifts and grants received from alumni, parents, other individuals, foundations, corporations, and other organizations. (See CAE.)CASE- A/S2e


W | Top

Web, WWW, Web Services, etc.: The Web consists of pages that can be accessed using a Web browser. The Internet is the actual network of networks where all the information resides. Things like Telnet, FTP, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), and e-mail are all part of the Internet, but are not part of the World Wide Web (WWW). This whole glossary is being maintained on the “Web” and you may have viewed it with a Web Browser.

Workflow: A defined (and should be documented), repeatable progression of steps (tasks, events, interactions) to accomplish work and to add value to your institution’s operations. Automated systems to track workflows identify the participants, steps, transfers of data, approvals, and timing of activities.


X | Top


Y | Top


Z | Top

Zip: (The last definition in this glossary) The amount given by a prospect which messes up your participation rate by adding to the denominator but not adding to the numerator.


Thanks to:

CASE (& John Taylor) for allowing me to start with the Glossary in the CASE book, Advancement Services – A Foundation for Fundraising, 2nd Edition, edited by John Taylor   Entries from this earlier glossary are marked by the superscript CASE- A/S2e
Used by permission of the CASE; not to be reused without their permission.

For all other definitions plus the graphics, schematics and weird humor, Charlie Hunsaker is to blame/credit (your choice.)   If you have any additions, corrections, suggestions or questions about this Glossary, please contact me at Glossary@riarlington.com Thank you!