Out and About: Consumer Action equipped with New Strategies

Audrey Perrott of Consumer Action attended Georgetown University’s New Strategies Program for Nonprofit Executives.
Published: Monday, April 06, 2020

Audrey Perrott, Consumer Action’s director of strategic partnerships, spent a week last month at Georgetown University’s New Strategies Program for Nonprofit Executives. Her attendance was sponsored by JPMorgan Chase.

The four-day advanced training forum, managed by the university’s McDonough School of Business “Business for Impact” arm, offers non-profit staffers the opportunity to learn more about increasing and diversifying their organization’s revenue streams in order to help address some of the world’s most pressing social issues.

Perrott joined New Strategy’s March class of 55 non-profit executives from around the country to hear from experts in the non-profit and philanthropy fields—along with Georgetown’s business school faculty—on best practices in cause marketing; strategies to increase non-profit earned revenue; ways to use predictive analytics to improve individual giving levels; options for deferred and major gift funding; common challenges in funding, such as fewer/less government grant resources; and much more. The training program included a mix of lectures and interactive small group discussions.

The co-director of Georgetown University’s New Strategies program, Curt Weeden (a former Johnson & Johnson vice president), shared “insider” information on strategies for securing corporate, as well as foundation and donor-advised, funds (DAFs). Weeden emphasized DAFs as a critical component of any modern strategic non-profit fundraising program.

DAFs have grown increasingly popular over the last five years (and may be offered as investment options through employers). In a DAF arrangement, an individual or employee can choose to give or invest tax-deductible charitable donations through community foundations, wealth-management firms (such as JPMorgan Chase Private Bank) or brokerages (such as Charles Schwab or Fidelity) that manage charitable funds. The donor maintains control over the investment funds as they mature, and eventually allocates the funds to charitable causes of his or her choice. In order to remind non-profit leaders about DAF sponsoring organizations as a potential source of grants, Weeden brought a “DAF-fy” Duck mascot to visit the class.

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Consumer Action's Audrey Perrott poses with "DAF-fy" Duck and Curt Weeden

After the forum wrapped up, Perrott reflected on how insightful and accessible the Business for Impact faculty and facilitators had been, and the plethora of useful resources they had provided to attendees. “Participants gathered to discuss new revenue strategies, but we also got the added benefit of cultivating strategic alliances with other mission-driven and passionate professionals,” she said.

Ongoing access and networking opportunities with the expert speakers and non-profit executives, even after completion of the program, is a hallmark of the New Strategies program.

Participation in the New Strategies program is by invitation only.

Perrott said she is “grateful for the opportunity to explore the ways Consumer Action can grow its revenue stream to advance our critical mission of helping people assert their rights in an increasingly complex marketplace. I look forward to putting all that I’ve learned into action.”

 

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