What’s Your Why?

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Are you currently developing or refining your case for support? Maybe you are preparing for a capital campaign or defining the case for a major gift initiative. If you have recently completed a new strategic plan or finished crafting your development plan, you may be revisiting and updating the overarching case for your organization.

(By the way, for some great ideas on successful development plans, check out my colleague Susan’s post from a few weeks back, Does Your Organization Have a Development Plan?)

Two of my current clients are in the process of developing their case for support in advance of an upcoming capital campaign. For each, the identified campaign priorities come from of a recently completed strategic plan so there is a high degree of confidence in their merit and a solid rationale for the actions to be taken. However, the most crucial element in making the case for each is answering, “the Why?”

Or, as a donor we were testing the priorities with said recently, “And the impact will be… what, exactly?”

While it is still absolutely true that people give to people – not to organizations or to projects – it is also 100% accurate to say that without clear and meaningful impact, donors will look elsewhere with their philanthropic investments. Think about that for a second.

Today’s donors have access to more information and, quite frankly, to more charitable organizations than ever before. At the same time, donors are more sophisticated and/or discerning about where and how they want to invest in making the world a better place.

The days of donors making significant gifts simply because they know you and “you do good work” are over. They want to know what impact their investment will have in the lives of the people you serve, on the environment or in our communities. It is really no different than when making a financial investment in the market. In that instance the impact they are seeking is having their money grow and, in your case, they need to understand how their money will change and/or save lives.

IMPACT ⇒ INSPIRES ⇒ INVESTMENT

So, no matter what you are looking to raise funds for, whether it’s to support scholarships, restore an historic building, expand programming or whatever your goals may be, the case that will grab your donors’ attention and compel them to action is the one that offers a compelling vision for the impact their investment in your good work will have. Make it abundantly clear to them how their philanthropic support is going to help alleviate a problem they care about solving and I promise you, the next step you’ll need to take will be drafting a great letter of gratitude.

If you want to send me an example of an inspiring case for support that you and your team have created, I’ll compile the ones we receive and share them in a future post.

by: David Gee, Associate Vice President, HUB Philanthropic Solutions

Summertime and year end planning

Susanna Decker, Senior Consultant, HUB Philanthropic Solutions

I always enjoy the summer – going to the beach, BBQ’s with friends, bike rides – but summertime, for those of us in the non-profit world also means putting our plans together for our new fiscal year that kicked-off on July 1.  So, if you haven’t already taken a look at your development plan from last year and made some tweaks and adjustments, now is the time to do it!

A good development plan is a like a roadmap…you need one to guide your activities along the way so that you can achieve your results.  So, here are some things to consider when making or adjusting your new plan….

Clearly Define Goals and Responsibilities

One of the most important things you can do to ensure fundraising success is to make sure that your plan includes specific goals and responsibilities.  For example, you may want to increase the revenue of your annual Gala by 15 percent this year.  Or, this year, you would like to increase your major gifts by 10 percent.  So, where do you start?  The best approach is to have a strategy outlined as well as who is responsible for making this happen.  Clearly defined goals and responsibilities increase accountability, they make expectations clear to staff, volunteers and board members, and they allow you to correct course if milestones aren’t met.

Try Something New!

As fundraisers, it is our job to continue to think outside the box and try new things to benefit the organizations in which we work. Take a good hard look at what has worked well and what has not.  Is it time to change-up or stop hosting that “signature” event that you’ve held for the last 10 years?  Try something new and test your donor’s response.  Did you generate new donors or connect with more friends as a result?  If so, keep it.  If not, try something else next year.

Keep your Plan Out – Track your Progress

Sometimes the easy part is to tweak and adjust your plan each year.  But, once we’ve done this…keep the plan out front and center.  Do you know how many visits you need to make each week?  How many touch points you need to make to cultivate your donors each month?  Do you have a thermometer to visually track your corporate gifts to your Gala?  Track and show your progress!  Use your plan with your staff, your Board and your Executive Director so that you can see the progress you and your team are making.  As you move further into the year, your plan can also indicate where more of your attention needs to be directed.  Enjoy the dog days of summer and get your plan ready to go for a great fundraising year ahead!

Get in Gear with Campaign Prep

2015 Capital Campaign Workshop Invite v9 FINAL

by Kristin Short, Senior Consultant – HUB Philanthropic Solutions

Often times, organizations wait too long to consider and prepare for a Campaign.  The Campaign is often reactive not proactive.  For the most successful Campaigns, organizations should start laying the groundwork 24 to 36 months in advance.

Getting ready for a Campaign can be divided into three areas.  First and foremost, your leadership is key to your success.  Do you have 100 percent of the Board committed?  Through Board investments, you will need to raise 25 to 35 percent of your overall campaign goal.  Your second area of focus is the Case for Support.  Your case for support must show a real need and must be compelling, urgent, and relevant.  Your third area of focus is donor engagement.  Do donors feel compelled? Do your donors feel connected? Do your donors feel acknowledged?

So you are considering a Campaign — now what?  The Indiana University Lilly Family Center on Philanthropy created a Campaign Readiness Assessment with the following 20 Critical Success Factors.

  1.  The organization’s leader has been on the staff for a minimum of 24 months and is clearly respected by peers, Board members, and donors.
  2. The Board is up to the full complement of membership as allowed in the by-laws.
  3. The organization is on solid financial footing with prospective major donors.
  4. The organization has a minimum of 3-5 months of reserves built into financial portfolio.
  5. The organization’s existence is solid, viable, and clearly articulated to prospective donors.
  6. There is wholehearted agreement between staff and the Board regarding the worthiness of the project – and both are willing to work together to bring the project to fruition.
  7. The project meets a valid need.
  8. The case for the project has emotional and dramatic appeal and the need is urgent, relevant, and compelling.
  9. The organization has successfully met the annual report objective in the past two years and has a strong degree of support from a large number of constituents.
  10. The organization has had stable, consistent and strong leadership in Development.
  11. In the past two years, the organization has operated within a balanced budget.
  12. The organization has prepared a carefully developed pro forma budget and has projected that, when the project is completed, it will generate sufficient income to help make it self-supporting – or – there will be funds from other sources to offset expenses.
  13. The organization’s database is managed to its best ability, with clear, concise and accurate information.
  14. The Board is able to give individually and via corporations (if a personal or family-owned company) 30-35% of the overall campaign goal.
  15. The organization is able to identify the 20 major gifts that will produce 40 percent of the campaign goal.
  16. The organization is able to identify and list 300 sources that are most likely to provide the largest gifts for the project and the Board is able and willing to make introductions and serve as advocates for the project.
  17. During the past 12 months, the organization has maintained a written plan to actively cultivate the top 200 sources – and significant contact has been made with each at least twice during this time.
  18. On the Board, there is one person of sufficient strength, stature, influence and affluence who would be willing to chair the campaign.
  19. The organization is able to identify someone of sufficient strength, stature, influence and affluence who would be willing to accept the Honorary Chair or Co-Chair role for the campaign.
  20. The organization will be able to recruit sufficient volunteers to mount a successful campaign effort.

During a Campaign, a spotlight will shine on your organization.  You will uncover all things good and all things not so good.  You will have the opportunity to fix your weaknesses and make changes for the better.  In the end, after a Campaign effort, your organization will be stronger and more prepared to meet the needs of those you serve.

This blog is a summary of the Getting in Gear: Capital Campaigns & Major Gift Initiatives Workshop, presented by  HUB Philanthropic Solutions at Hub in Chicago on June 4, 2015.

HUB Philantropic Solutions presents: Getting in Gear: Preparing for a Capital Campaign

2015 Capital Campaign Workshop Invite v9 FINAL

Join us as HUB Philanthropic Solutions presents our complimentary nonprofit Workshop”Getting in Gear: Capital Campaigns & Major Gift Initiatives.”   At this workshop, you will learn what steps your organization must take before embarking on one of these significant endeavors, as well as answering the following questions:

  • How do I know if my organization is ready to launch a capital campaign or major gifts program?
  • What are the critical steps to ensure success?
  • How can we best prepare to share our story and engage with key constituents, including major donors?

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
This workshop is geared toward Executive Directors, Board Members, Chief Development Officers and any senior staff members.

Thursday, June 4, 2015
3:30-5:00 p.m. (Seminar)
5:00-6:30 p.m. (Reception)
HUB International Midwest
55 East Jackson, Floor 12 | Chicago, IL 60604

TO REGISTER TODAY
• CLICK HERE

For additional information contact HUB Philanthropic Solutions here 

https://www.hubinternational.com/midwest/west/consulting-services/

Food for Thought

by Susan Bottum, Principal

It’s dark when you drive to work and dark when you drive home.  The temperature is hovering around zero (on a good day) and there is snow on the ground.  Sad, discarded Christmas trees wait by the side of the road.  Yes, it is January in Chicago!  Time to put down our collective heads and plan for the year ahead.

Perhaps you are considering a campaign in 2015.  If so, the idea may be overwhelming.  Last week, my colleague George wrote about setting goals for the new year.  He recommended starting by taking small steps – setting an overarching goal and breaking that down into specific actions – so you do not get overwhelmed and you can begin to see progress.  You can take the same approach with a campaign.

Indiana University School of Philanthropy highlights “Twenty Critical Success Factors” for a capital campaign.     Take a look at this list; chances are, your organization is more prepared than you think.  That said, this list will also help provide a framework to help you prepare now and ensure you are ready when the time comes.

And speaking of campaigns, please “SAVE THE DATE” for Tuesday March 10, when we will conduct our next non-profit seminar.  The topic?  Capital Campaign Readiness, of course!

Happy New Year.

“Twenty Critical Success Factors” for a capital campaign. 

1 The organization’s leader has been on the staff for a minimum of 24 months and is clearly respected by his/her peers, Board members and donors
2 The Board is up to the full complement of membership as allowed in the by-laws
3 The organization is on solid financial footing with prospective major donors
4 The organization has a minimum of 3-5 months of reserves built into its’ financial portfolio
5 The organization’s existence is solid, viable and clearly articulated to its’ prospective donors
6 There is wholehearted agreement between the staff and the Board regarding the worthiness of the project – and both are willing to work together to bring the project to fruition
7 The project meets a valid need
8 The case for the project has emotional and dramatic appeal and the need is urgent, relevant and compelling
9 The organization has successfully met its’ annual support objective in the past two years and has a strong degree of support from a large number of constituents
10 The organization has had stable, consistent and strong leadership in the Development operation
11 In the past two years, the organization has operated within a balanced budget
12 The organization has prepared a carefully developed pro forma budget and has projected that, when the project is completed, it will generate sufficient income to help make it self-supporting – or – there will be funds from another source to offset expenses
13 The organization’s database is managed to its’ best ability, with clear, concise and accurate information and strong leadership
14 The Board is able to give individually and corporately (if a personal or family-owned company) 30-35% of the overall campaign goal
15 The organization is able to identify the 20 major gifts that will produce 40% of the project goal
16 The organization is able to identify and list the 300 sources that are most likely to provide the largest gifts for the project.  The Board is able and willing to make introductions and serve as advocates for the project
17 During the past 12 months, the organization has maintained a written plan to actively cultivate the top 200 sources – and significant contact has been made with each at least twice during this time
18 On the Board, there is one person of sufficient strength, stature, influence and affluence and he/she will be a desirable candidate to chair the campaign
19 The organization is able to identify someone of sufficient strength, stature, influence and affluence who would be willing to accept the Honorary or Co-Chair role for the campaign
20 The organization will be able to recruit sufficient volunteers to mount a successful campaign effort