The Fundraiser's Toolbox
Edited Digest of FundClass Topic #23, November 2000
Facilitated by Sondra Delaripa
We welcome Sondra Dellaripa who will facilitate our class called "The Fundraiser's Toolbox." Sondra will define the five principles of fundraising: plan, collaborate, diversify, trend, and steward and help us learn the best ways to implement them for success.
Sondra has a wealth of experience in fund development, including seven years as a development professional and ten as a volunteer on a number of boards. She is a member of the National Society of Fundraising Executives.
Sondra is currently the Director of Development at The Governors Prevention Partnership in Hartford, Connecticut, where she has successfully researched, analyzed and implemented the first year of a three year strategic plan aimed at diversifying the fundraising efforts of her organization. Sondra has presented workshops for non-profit organizations across the state of Connecticut and will be presenting at the upcoming Blackbaud Conference on Fundraising in South Carolina in November.
Thank you for allowing me to facilitate this session. I am honored to be able to provide a resource for others like myself. Before we begin our discussion, a few housekeeping comments:
- First, this is a discussion not a lecture, and as such active participation by all fundclass subscribers (including you lurkers!) adds to the richness of the class for all. We learn by observing, sharing and creating dynamic conversations about all that we experience.
- Second, I think it would be very helpful for those participating in this topic to be able to have some basic background information from those involved in the discussion.
Therefore, if we could include three things in the body of our message when we first introduce ourselves in a conversation, those being:
- General size of your non-profit,
- The number of years you have been in fundraising (include volunteer years as well, they DO count) and;
- Your relationship to your non-profit (board member, development professional, Exec Director, etc.
- Finally, I believe a disclaimer at this point is warranted. I am a retailer of ideas, not a wholesaler. That is to say, our discussion will be based on the experiences and writings of many others, not solely my own. I heard a great quote recently and if anyone can tell me who wrote it I would be eternally grateful. It goes something like this "To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism, to steal ideas from many is research." Our Goal: In this discussion entitled " A Toolbox of Principles for Fundraising", we will:
- Understand the basic foundation of fundraising. By providing you with a toolbox of fundraising principles, rather than a how to book on the variety of ways to raise funds, we can allow for flexibility in types of NPO' and in organization size, as well as get the creative juices flowing for our own unique styles.
- Start a resource library of tools to use in planning and implementing our own fundraising program. These tools will be from reliable sources and will also lead to further exploration of the vast range of support available in fundraising.
- Spend some time talking about the fear of fundraising and if time permits will do a couple of exercises in "fundraising fear".
Over the next few days we will discuss what I call the five principles of fundraising. By analyzing our fundraising efforts and activities in reflection of principles we can ensure solid, retrospective efforts that waste no ones time, money or energy and can be used to achieve successful funding.
The five principles to be discussed are:
We can spend as long as we would like on each principle. Discussion can be specific, with real life challenges or can be about the principle itself and its value to development work. My next post will begin our discussion with the principle of Planning.
Lastly, before we begin, I would like to leave you with this thought:
THE SIMPLE SECRET OF FUNDRAISING
" Successful fundraising is the right person asking
the right prospect for the right amount of funding to help the
right project at the right time in the right way."
Let the discussion begin!
First of all, I am SO happy that this is beginning. I am completely new to fundraising. I have not got a CLUE as to what to do. My name is Ann, I am on the board of directors of the American Nystagmus Network (this is a rare & "wonderful" cureless eye condition that takes many forms, affecting many facets of one's life).
We have 15 board members and approximately 250 network members. We have a mailing list online and ask for $25 annually to support ANN. I am also on the finance committee. I have nothing to offer at this point. Except to say I have done a lot of reading (hard print & internet), have listened to a lot of folks online, and am being mentored by a solid professional that is currently working for the state of Washington -- I really need help. There are 2 others on the finance committee with me and neither of them, I don't think, really know what to do in terms of raising money. I am deeply concerned about our ability to raise money and cover expenses for an upcoming gathering in mid-summer of 2001. I will sure appreciate any guidance, suggestions, etc. I will most likely have questions as we go along.
My name is Joel and I am the Development Director for the YWCA of Topeka. My role as a one person shop is to focus on all avenues of fund-raising including, but not limited to, Planned Giving, special events, the annual fund, and our capital campaign. The YWCA of Topeka has 40 fulltime and about 60 part time staff. I have been in development as staff for a little over two years. I've been in Development as a volunteer for a little over 8 years.
Ann, you might try the Indiana center for philanthropy at (317) 274-4200, they are such pros at this.
My name is Philip. I am probably one of a few lurkers out there based outside the US. However, I believe fundraising is a global concern and our experiences may not be that far and uncommon. My involvement in fundraising started more than 10 years ago for small non-profit NGOs involved community and social development projects for poor people in developing countries like the Philippines. I used to write project proposals, send them to potential donor agencies, and sometimes carry them with me when I travel and go to donor's offices in Europe and other countries. (There was no email then!).
I am now working in a non-profit international organization called (hold your breath) the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources (ICLARM), also called by its short name, The World Fish Center. We have recently moved our research headquarters from Manila, Philippines to Penang, Malaysia. Our staff is multi-national and our project sites are in several developing (i.e. poor) countries. Currently, I am in charge of a project to fundraise for The World Fish Center for the construction of its research headquarters. A capital campaign was thought of as the best way to raise money in this regard. We are currently developing a strategic plan to diversify our funding sources as we increase our activities in our research, the overall aim of which is to help the poor uplift their living standards and economic condition by improving ways of using and managing fisheries and other aquatic resources. Our work is a bit technical but truly worthy of support, and I wonder how fundraising for such can be of interest to many other potential donors outside of our "traditional donors."
Having read literature about capital campaigns I am excited of this new way of fundraising and would appreciate all the help that you can all provide. I would be happy to share some of my experiences with you when the need arises. I look forward to a fruitful discussion.
And I am from Oregon, but not far away in North Thailand, where fundraising is a major chore, to do it all by email, and one of our project areas is a large fish farm for providing catfish for the most impoverished of Akha Hill Tribe villages. I work with 282 Akha villages in Thailand. The organization that I set up is The Akha Heritage Foundation. Have been at this ten years and funding is our chief bottleneck.
Conditions in the villages, naturally, are quite severe.
Anyone have comments on how fundraising in this kind of remote environment might be boosted?
Principle #1 Planning
A TOOLBOX OF PRINCIPLES
With these five tools, anybody, anywhere can be successful in fundraising.
Let's start with the first principle - PLAN
Why plan? We plan for a variety of reasons.
The first reason to plan is to keep fundraising on track. How do you now if your getting there if you don't know where you need to be? A plan can help us to assess proposed fundraising strategies, ideas and efforts. We will talk about trending a little later on, but keeping track of what we do and what works is crucial. We do not want to reinvent the wheel or spend every year testing ideas in fundraising. We want to get down to business, raising money. We also don't want to jump in willy-nilly with a flurry of fundraising activities. There are many valuable ideas and I am sure your group will want to do all of them. A plan can help to sort this out, without hurting feelings or igniting office politics. In our office we have adapted the following planning mechanism to direct our fundraising efforts:
All fundraising activities have three components:
- Anticipated Outcomes
- Strategy to achieve outcome
- Activities to implement strategy
Start with the Anticipated Outcomes. These could be based on the overall amount of dollars you want to raise, the segment of the population you would like to have donating, or the dollar amount of the gifts you are looking to receive (over $500 gifts etc.) Don't be afraid to include second level outcomes as well. Second level outcomes would be those that don't generate instant funding, but help to lay the groundwork for future funds, such as increased public awareness, donor list generation, etc.
Then with your fundraising group, discuss best strategy to be used to achieve the outcome your looking for. In our organization, our biggest challenge is helping our staff understand that certain outcomes having certain strategies attached. We finally used a social service model, inserting fundraising language where appropriate to educate on strategy. So for instance, if we want to increase our corporate donations, we discuss the strategy to best do that. This could include improving corporate communications, using peer contacts to increase contact, etc. Once the strategies are defined, then we can talk about the activities. Too often, well meaning folk begin with the activity. They may say, "Lets have a bake sale to raise funds" or "I heard a gala can raise over $100K in one night, we should do one". While their presumption may be correct, it is misguided without first looking at what Outcome they want to achieve and what strategy would best suit that outcome.
So, as in our previous example, to increase our corporate donations we may decide that using peer contacts would be our best strategy for this outcome. We can then decide to do a CEO breakfast or dinner. We might decide also to host a leaders brown bag seminar, partnering with the chamber of commerce or business and industry association. We may decide to create a presentation to be used in one on one meetings with the top level executive, their peer and a volunteer or development staff. A plan can help us to be focused and better define results.
- Planning ensures that revenue goals in the budget are realistic. Unrealistic budgets probably lead to more than half of the burnout experienced by fundraising staff, board and volunteers. Certainly we all want to reach for the stars. And it's also true that if we do not set our goals high, we may not achieve greatness. However, setting realistic goals, especially for new group members or new organizations, can lead to greatness. Nothing can feed the fire of funding faster than small successes. In our organization we have two budget goals: One is our realistic goal, the other is our stretch goal. The realistic goal is the one the board evaluates and reviews. Internally, used by staff and possibly the development committee, we also review our stretch goal. This is usually not more than ten percent of our actual goal.
- A plan can create a tool for assessing revenue expectations throughout the year. We all can sleep better knowing that there is a projected amount of funds coming in and where we expect them to come from, based on realistic expectations of solicitation returns in the coming quarter. Not knowing is an emotional train wreck waiting to happen. Before the year begins, we have identified the "Anticipated outcomes" we want to achieve and we have identified strategies and activities to reach these outcomes. We have also assigned each activity a realistic dollar goal as well as a stretch goal. In this way, we can flow month to month and make changes where necessary. If our CEO breakfast bombed, then we can look at our activities coming up to make up the shortfall.
- A plan can ensure that all those participating in the fundraising effort understand their roles. Write out job descriptions if necessary. Even if you do not hand them out, you can use them as a tool to educate your group and keep them on track. I have a job description for everyone involved in our fundraising effort, even if they do not think they are involved! This way, I have a clear picture of what to expect and ask from each, when the time comes.
Let's talk a bit about planning as a principle of fundraising: How do fundclass members currently use planning in their organizations or departments? Any success stories regarding the use of planning in development? Any horror stories? When and who is included in the planning process we engage in?
Our next post will talk about the pieces necessary in a planning process.
Planning is critical. I can't tell you how many fund-raisers, grant
proposals and capital campaigns fail because folks don't think through their goals for a fund-raising project. I've seen golf tournaments raise miniscule amounts year after year, sucking up tons of staff and volunteer time that could be spent actually raising money for the organization. But year after year the event goes on because the organizers think their goal is to put on a golf tournament rather than to make money.
This year I've been pleased to help organize our area's first annual Special Olympics Plane Pull. We started with me and three green and frightened volunteer organizers to whom this looked just way too big a project. We started 8 months ahead of time, set clear goals for the first year, put together a team of local people who didn't know what couldn't be done and they did it. We're looking forward to a crowd of 5-10,000 people next weekend and almost 200 exhibitors, an air show, car show, heavy media coverage and the biggest airport event of the year. I may even get to ride in the B-17 (I volunteered to be media liaison for all airplane rides - tough job but someone has to do it).
We won't make as much this year as we will next year, but $15,000 - $20,000 is a conservative figure for what we'll make just on gate receipts, not including having 20 teams of plane pullers at $500 each. The rest of our expenses are paid for ahead of time. We had to constantly think about how to maximize how much money we took in for each part of the fund-raiser. We had to split responsibilities pretty widely, but the team has done a magnificent job. But every week we meet we question each expense and look for a way to get it paid for so it won't come out of our profit for the event. We keep the team focused first of all on making money. Too many charity events focus on putting on the event without regard to cost. That's why a large local charity event actually lost money this past year. They brought in expensive celebrities and hoped the money from gate receipts
would offset the costs. It didn't.
Too often we do fund-raisers like someone putting gas in the car without knowing where the gas cap is. "I know," somebody says, "We could just pour gas all over the car and hope it will suck in somewhere." That sounds silly, but I've heard frighteningly similar statements from people organizing charity events. And don't count entirely on your staff will be able to run it either. First, they have the organization to run and probably don't have time. Second, nonprofit staff members are often the worst fund-raiser organizers because they tend to be soft-hearted and don't make hard-nosed business decisions very well. You want a successful fund-raiser, get a team of busy business people who know how to make money. Make them the core of the effort. Don't let your event get side-tracked by well-meaning do-gooder's who don't have any idea how to squeeze a dollar. Turn it over to people who know how to get things done and let them do it.
If you short any part of the process, planning is not the place to trim!
Tom, great words of wisdom. The non-profit mentality makes people lazy. I am a victim/product of that system however I am now in the UCLA Management Development for Entrepreneurs Program, rated #1 by Business Week magazine. It has been most helpful in thinking out side the non-profit box & thinking profit about non-profit. I recommend it to all.
First, a little background on me and my NPO:
My name is Lorraine. I'm on sabbatical from my "real" job as a systems analyst/project manager, working on a volunteer basis with a very small performing arts organization in Ottawa, Canada. Baobab Youth Performers' mission is to bring together young people of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, to celebrate the arts and humanity. Through drumming, dancing, singing, and cross-cultural awareness, members learn, practice and perform traditional music and dance of West Africa.
My original task was to develop Baobab's web site; but my role has expanded to be sort of an organizational consultant. This came about when I started reading about online fundraising, the essential qualities of an NPO's web site, etc. This lead to a lot of reading about fundraising in general, and I quickly realized that a lot of other questions had to be answered before we could create the web site.
Until now, Baobab has been too small to have any fundraising concerns (no rent, a volunteer Board, no paid staff except the artistic director, whose modest salary is covered by tuition and a few bake sales and raffles). Well, things have changed! In June 2001, the group will be travelling to the village of their artistic mentor, Dagbamete in the Volta Region of Ghana. Our goal is to raise $30,000 in the next 8 month to fund this trip....ack!!
Like Ann (our classmate of the rare eye condition group), I too am a novice fundraiser, and for the past 2 months have been reading and digging like mad. The first shock to my system was the realization that there are "fundraisers" and there are "FUNDraisers". Baobab's current volunteer community are great "fundraisers": high energy, soft hearts, smart, committed. Every year they have worked hard and successfully to keep morale high, increase community interest, and raise about $4,000 for the group's expenses and another $1000 for the clinic and school in Dagbamete. But suddenly, we need "FUNDraisers", of the type Tom and Mark describe: cool-headed entrepreneurial types, with nerves of steel and a clear focus on the bottom line. For many of us softie's, it is very scary to think about asking for a large donation from a potential patron. FUNDraising is whole different skill-set!
Sondra asked the question, Who is involved in the planning process. We've been spending a lot of time on that very question. In previous years the founder/artistic director and the board members have done all the planning and organizing for the season's events and performances. Planning was done on a year-by-year basis. This worked well because the group was small and didn't really have any ambition to grow. That has changed, and we need to change the function of the board. We need the board to provide more traditional leadership: vision, direction, long-term goals, strategic planning. Only when the larger context is in place can we proceed with campaign planning.
I read with great interest two previous FundClasses, "Marketing and Non-Profits" and "Making the Case", and as a result, our group is holding a brainstorming/visioning session this weekend. We now realize that before we can proceed with fundraising activities, we need to clarify the organizational values/goals, define our core values, develop a Case Statement, identify our target market, etc. This work is being undertaken by the board and a few key "friends" of the organization (such as myself).
I think the next step is then to establish a separate group, a Development Committee, who will take on the "FUNDraising" that is required to move us up to the next level. This Development Committee would be responsible for the campaign planning and execution. What is still unclear to me is how to populate the Development Committee with the right sort of volunteers.
"It has been most helpful in thinking out side the non-profit box & thinking profit about non-profit. I recommend it to all."
Which brings up a point. Nonprofits can (and should) make a profit. You just can't give your profits away to an "owner" or stockholder as a profit or dividend. In fact, you should make more than you spend. You need to build up your cash surplus until you have at least 3-6 months operating capital in the bank at all times. You should have a nice fat endowment sitting in a bank or mutual fund giving you interest every year to keep running your programs. That's good business, but how many of us do it besides universities and foundations?
HORROR STORY TIME: I worked for an agency that had a wonderful program. We employed 250 people, annually served 200-300 kids with multiple mental, physical and emotional disorders and had a budget of 6.5 million dollars. We were funded almost entirely by a single state agency. We had no endowment and up until the year I was hired as part of a new development team received less than $20,000 in donations per year. We worked like demons for a year and a half, had increased donations by 400%, had 2.2 million dollars in pledges toward a five million dollar capital campaign and had grants on the side for more than $50,000.
THEN BOOM! The state agency decided to cut 400 beds from their residential treatment center funding. The previous year, state regulators had emptied huge numbers of psych hospital beds in the state due to a major insurance fraud scandal. The hospitals (and their paid lobbyists) were crying for patients. Meanwhile, we had 176 residential beds filled with severely disturbed kids (not in locked hospital wards). Plus, in a classic case of "biting the hand that feeds you", my boss planned to testify before a state senate committee complaining about the agency we got all our funding from and who now planned to cut 400 beds statewide. I can hear the conversation down at the capital right now, "Hmmm, where could we cut 6.5 million dollars from the budget......."
So, we sent back the grants, wrote polite notes to the folks that pledged to our capital campaign, helped 250 people write resumes and sent most of our kids to psychiatric hospitals and spent a lot of time trying to comfort each other. That agency no longer exists. We handed back our license, because we couldn't afford to go on. It was a miserable thing I never want to go through again.
Think of your agency as a business. Your services are the product. Plan carefully how you will get people to buy your services. You never want to start a nonprofit on the "Field of Dreams" model. You better know how and why people are going to come BEFORE you build it. Every donation, government contract, fee for service, grant or in-kind contribution represents someone buying your services. It's not magic. It's BUSINESS.
What a story Tom, having worked in adolescent psych/drug hospital over the years & watched the closing down & all the bad planning exercises, I know what you mean. The place I work is the inner city Los Angeles Catholic school. We have done a lot of research & private donors are our key & celebrities.
So the lesson here is to not have a sole source of income, especially one as fickle as a government agency? I agree.
I volunteer at an animal shelter and "planning" has worked really good for the few fundraisers we have had over the past couple of years. We have a good turn out in all our fundraisers and the co-operation among all the volunteer's is great and greatly appreciated. But I think this class, on this subject will even improve some of the idea's we know and should learn more about.
Hello all, first by way of self-intro: I've been in development for more than 10 years and in public relations/marketing/communications for longer than I care to add up. In this class, I'm wearing the hat of consultant to Happiness House, a mid-sized agency serving people with disabilities. HH has recently hired its first community relations/development coordinator, and I am coaching both her and the Exec. Dir. They have been primarily state funded; just had their first annual campaign and have started to plan no 2; they also do an annual golf tournament which 'runs itself,' and now want to do a walk to kick off the annual campaign. The coordinator also just developed her first grant proposals. I'm pushing them more toward establishing relationships with major donors and prospects and away from the little-but-time-eating stuff. In line with that, we are planning a board retreat to get them more involved, and I can see that the outline in this class could be a good format for that. Ann, Lorraine, you might find Kim Klein's and Tony Poderis's ideas helpful - see the fundclass archives and then check out their websites. Kim's idea of 3 development committees (acquisition, retention, upgrade) rather than one - with every board member serving on one) is something HH is going to try. Glad this class is under way -
Before we discuss some important components in a fund development plan, just a few more thoughts and questions to throw out to the group:
Is there such a thing as too much planning? What are some of the downfalls of overplanning? What about flexibility?
No, I don't think there is so much overplanning. Strategic goals should match financial ones. Plan your work, work your plan. Of course at event plan but keep it human. :)
There definitely is something like too much planning. If the goals get out of focus and you spend most of you efforts on planning you're on the wrong track. But in most cases I've seen there was in deed a lack of planning.
I think one factor in planning is how much variability and factual
information there are of your prospective donors or constituents. If an organization does not know much about their prospective donors, their interests and characteristics then planning and projecting outcomes would be much more difficult. It is easy enough to plan for activities but not the outputs, which are the real measure for success in fundraising. My question is how do you deal with this variability and lack of information at the onset of planning. Should we go for thorough research and feasibility study first? Or should we come up with short-term plans (with minimal and very flexible goals) to test the waters, then make the strategic plan after some experience and additional information?
Seems like everyone these days are into Strategic Planning. Nothing wrong with that. A good strategic plan absolutely takes into consideration an organization's fundraising needs. The problem I see more and more is that strategic plans, after all the time and effort to produce them, are not being implemented. How many of you out there have a plan that took an incredible amount of time to prepare that is now just gathering dust on a shelf somewhere?
It takes leadership to gather an entire organization together to do effective planning. Strategic plans, however, often represent more change than folks are actually willing to commit to. It takes a truly strong and inspirational leader to get people to actually begin thinking and acting strategically. I hope this class will provide some leadership tips on how we deal with this.
Yes, plans do stay on the shelf that's why mine is right on my office wall next to the computer so I am forced to look at it.
John makes a valid point:
The problem I see more and more is that strategic plans, after all the time and effort to produce them, are not being implemented. How many of you out there have a plan that took an incredible amount of time to prepare that is now just gathering dust on a shelf somewhere?
How do we move from creating the plan to implementing the plan? How do we keep energy up during the plan implementation stages? And how do we keep our plan "on track"?
Two critical components to any development plan are:
- Knowing your organization
- Having a Case Statement
Both of these will help to lend direction to your plan as well as help to define the strategic movement from plan to implementation. Let's talk a little about them and discover some valuable resources online:
- Knowing your organization. Thanks to Tony Poderis, there is a great tool to use before we initiate any planning. Simply called "Know Your Organization" it can found at his website at http://www.raise-funds.com/a98forum.html. He also has a number of other valuable tools to use in planning. Additionally, many NPO's do not look outside their organization to discover who they are, which can be a critical mistake leading to money lost and goals missed. We'll talk more about breaking down our "Silos" in Principle #2 - Collaborating. But for now, consider enlisting volunteers, program recipients and others such as your vendors, donors and even those not connected to you, to get a balanced perspective on who you are as an organization.
- Having a Case Statement. This fundclass listserv recently tackled this concept. I am certain you can find it in the archives. What is a Case Statement? It is NOT your mission statement. A Case Statement can be described as a story or narrative an organization uses to describe itself to its audience. But more than that it is a picture of words used to call to arms, to motivate and to excite your donors and prospective donors to become involved. In the corporate arena this could be called a "trustmark". It is the image your closest donor has of what good you providing with their dollar. The website http://www.mapnp.org/library/ has a number of good articles and lessons on developing a case statement, as well as general articles on planning in fund development.
Finally, what do we mean when we talk about a fund development plan and what should it look like? A development plan is the map we will use in pursuing our funding. When our plan is finished we should have a clear idea of :
- What outcomes we are trying to achieve?
- What strategies we will employ to reach these outcomes?
- What activities we will use to employ these strategies?
- How much funding we can anticipate from each activity?
This map will allow us to focus on building relationships with our current and future donors. It will be the grease for the fundraising wheel.
And what should this map look like? It has been my experience that each organization designs their plan according to their needs and cultural norms. While my plan may be defined by Board, Corporate, Individual and Foundation giving, another NPO may define their plan through Annual campaigns, special events, and other markers. The way you structure your plan should make sense for your organization, which is why knowing your organization is so critical. Some resources to help you in the structure of your plan:
- InnoNet has a very comprehensive online workbook in which you can create a Fundraising Action Plan that identifies activities, responsibilities and timelines to make sure you meet your fundraising targets. They can be found at http://www.innonet.org/
- Also, a full resource of articles on development plans can be found at http://www.nonprofits.org/npofaq/
So, some final thoughts on Principle #1 in our fundraisers toolbox - "PLANNING". Planning should be the starting point for any NPO seeking funds. A plan should include a full understanding of your organization, as well as a compelling case statement. A plan should define your Outcome, your strategy and only then should your activity be planned. A plan should spell out how much and where your money will be coming from for the year.
As Mark, one of our fundclass members, mentioned in his post earlier "plan your work and work your plan"
Stay tuned for our discussion on Principle #2 in our Fundraisers Toolbox - COLLABORATION
I have a DUMB question. Well, it's not dumb, it's just that I feel dumb asking it. But I shouldn't. Where can I find a good example of a case statement? I just attempted to put one together, am having someone take a look at it to see what I can do to enhance it...any help is appreciated. I know I asked some similar questions previous & got some answers, but...
The website http://www.mapnp.org/library/ has a number of good articles and lessons on developing a case statement, as well as general articles on planning in fund development.
I see a strategic plan as only a tool to get nonprofits to start planning. There are many organizations that seem to just let life happen to them instead of planning and taking a proactive approach to their future. By setting attainable goals and then identifying ways to reach those goals the organization is able to plan the next step and make sure everyone is on the same page and going in the same direction.
After developing the plan and goals, I might suggest putting it away until an occasion arises where a decision needs to be made regarding a direction to take. The plan is then the guide to help answer the question of what to do. I don't see a strategic plan as a daily tool, but as an annual tool that helps guide the mission.
To me, the plan should be ever changing as the world around the organization changes. It shouldn't be something carved in stone, but a tool that is used annually to see if the goals are still the same, if the ways to reach a goal could be improved, or if a goal should be dropped or added.
I guess this my official intro to the group. My name is Ruth, and I am the annual fund director for Catawba College, a small, private school in North Carolina. I've been here for about 18 months, the total time I have under my belt as a fundraiser. I do grant writing, direct mail solicitation, and I run the telemarketing program. Catawba has about 1300 students, and we are in the fourth year of a five-year, $56.5 million capital campaign. If you'd like, I can mail you a copy of both our full and mini-case statements. We've been very successful so far, and are over $47 million at this point. From the beginning, there has been extensive planning, and even after four years, we have managed to stay fairly true to those plans. Also, there is more information on our website at www.catawba.edu/campaign/campaign.htm
P.S. I think the class is great! Thank you to all of the behind the scenes people who make this thing work. It has really helped my over the last year and a half!
Good info and discussion on Principle #1 Planning. Please feel free to continue the conversation on planning issues. During our next discussion, some of you may see the principle of planning as relevant to the principle of collaboration or any of the remaining of the five principles.
PRINCIPLE #2 Collaboration
Fundraising can be a three ring circus! Not literally that is, although some of us may feel as if we are in all three rings of the circus at once - but by thinking of fundraising, and by extension collaboration in our fundraising efforts, as a three ring process, we are able to conceptualize the components needed to ensure our success. Let's look at the three ring model as applied to first Internal and then External collaboration
Internal collaboration will look at collaboration of departments within a non-profit organization. Of course, collaboration can occur within a fundraising department as well, amongst departments such as Annual giving, Major Gifts, etc. But lets look across the entire NPO first.
Ring #1 in our three ring collaboration model:
The first ring is the fundraising department. Within this ring operates all of the plans and activities that lead to funding for the organization. The primary function of the fundraising ring is to raise and steward donors.
Ring #2 in our three ring collaboration model:
The second ring, overlapping the first ring of fundraising, is the communications department. Within this ring operates all of the publicity, image branding, and written materials of the organization. The primary function of this department is to coordinate the development of all information about and from the organization.
Ring #3 in our three ring collaboration model:
The third ring, overlapping the first and the second ring, is the program (or programs) of the organization. Within this ring operates all mission based activities of the organization.
If we were to draw this three ring model on paper (which sadly, I cannot do here) it would have a central point of convergence for all three rings. It is in this convergence point that NPO's achieve their synergy and success.
Lets think about and share some ways we have or could experience this kind of three ring internal collaboration in our organizations. As an example to get us started - In our organization, our fundraising department (Ring #1) recently worked with one of our program departments (ring #2) to create a prevention service phone system. This system would be a cause related activity (Ring #1) with a national telephony provider, with the provider donating to our cause in return for their affiliation. The phone system would provide a much needed service (Ring #2) to our community. In addition, the launching of this service would be a town hall meeting, with involvement from the major media outlets(Ring #3) in our state. Additional image branding through our communications department (Ring #3) would come in the form of prepaid telephone cards for this service to be distributed, with our and the sponsors logo on them (Ring #3 and Ring #1), as well as a series of articles about the service and its impact on our community. Fundraising, program and communication working together as one. Synergy and success.
Sondra , sorry you have lost me in your example. Here's my interpretation of your example [my comments in square brackets]:
"In our organization, our fundraising department (Ring #1) recently worked with one of our program departments (ring #2) [should be #3?] to create a prevention service phone system. This system would be a cause related activity (Ring #1) [should be#3?] with a national telephony provider, with the provider donating to our cause in return for their affiliation. The phone system would provide a much needed service (Ring #2) [should be#3?] to our community. In addition, the launching of this service would be a town hall meeting, with involvement from the major media outlets(Ring #3) [should be #2?] in our state. Additional image branding through our communications department (Ring #3) [should be #2?] would come in the form of prepaid telephone cards for this service to be distributed, with our and the sponsors logo on them (Ring #3 and Ring #1), as well as a series of articles about the service and its impact on our community."
Sorry Lorraine, you are absolutely right, my rings got crossed in the translation from a visual document to a word picture.
However, the principle remains the same :) !