Fundraising is an art. Fundraising is a science. The right strategy for your funds development efforts combines best practices and creativity. Together with each client I craft a strategic fundraising plan and help to put in place.
Each project is unique, but at the foundation of our work together are best practices. I bring over a decade of experience in a wide range of fundraising efforts. My experience includes:
- Capital campaigns
- Direct mail
- Individual giving and annual appeals
- Major gifts
Your nonprofit has unique needs, style, opportunities, and challenges. That’s why creativity is important. The more you know the “rules” the better you can bend them to your needs.
My consulting work with clients spans three categories:
- Fundraising Strategies / Development Plans
- Design and management of specific fundraising projects
- Training and coaching for both staff and boards/volunteers
Fundraising Strategies and Development Plans
The right development strategy for a nonprofit organization of any size must balance three things:
- Clearly identify goals and tactics
- Be flexible to serve you even as circumstances change, opportunities and challenges arise
- Be a sustainable and realistic plan that your unique set of skills, talents, and resources can accomplish.
Gone are the days of strategic fundraising plans that designate only a set a budget goals for the next five years. The plans social justice organizations need are clear, flexible, and adjust as your needs change.
The process begins with discovery. We’ll create an understanding of where your fundraising really is (not just how it feels to you). We will look at what has worked, what hasn’t, and what others in your space have done. Sometimes organizations are so worried about raising the money right now, that they have a clouded image of their efforts. Together we’ll clear the air and identify the tools and resources at your disposal. We’ll draw a clear picture of your current situation so that we can move forward.
From there we’ll put together a series of strategies and tactics to reach your target audience, engage your donors, and build a culture of philanthropy around your mission. An important piece of this is identifying goal and metrics that actually help you track and improve your efforts. It is not enough to know you need to raise $1,000,000 (or $10,000) from individual donors, you need to know how you’re getting there and what the signposts are along the way. I encourage my clients to measure things like
- meaningful interactions
- new prospects
- understanding of mission
But what is most important is that we create a plan that you can actually put in place. You need to have the time, resources, and enthusiasm to get the work done. We will create a sustainable strategy that removes the barriers so many of us face. Clear calendars, goals, and processes, all help demystify fundraising and help you focus on the work you can do.
Design and Management of Fundraising Projects
Whether it’s a capital campaign or an event, sometimes your just need support for a specific project. I like to roll up my sleeves, create a plan of action, and bring in the right people to help you get the job done.
We’ve all been there. You have an event planned but no one to do the work, or you’ve just decided to launch a capital campaign and need to get it moving. Or perhaps it’s a month until your fiscal year ends and you are way behind on your goals. That’s where I step in. We’ll draw a straight line from where you are to where you need to be. When appropriate I’ll bring in the right specialists and the right tools for the job. In all cases I’ll make sure to be right by your side, making the calls, writing the memos, figuring out the logistics.
Training and Coaching Boards and Staff
Ultimately, it is up to staff and volunteers to get the job done. Working with your leadership, we’ll design a training or coaching program help everyone work at their best.
Supporting your staff at all levels is an important part of success in fundraising. Burnout is high, stress is common, the pressure is on to bring in the money. As a coach I work with staff at all levels to stay focused, ensure they have the resources they need, and help them develop the skills necessary to get the job done. Providing support on call or on a schedule, my goal is to help people be their best. For some it requires a proscriptive style, giving them clear direction when needed. For other clients I am a sounding board and offer an outside perspective.
Coaching is not being a friend – it’s being a dynamic resource able to see things from a different perspective. I bring the experience that comes from working with a wide range of executives, boards, and development teams. I also bring a variety of tools I’ve developed for different situations, like how to avoid triangulation, and how to move from sultivation to solicitation.