ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

In the heat of summer having a bucket of ice water thrown on you may not be a bad thing. It’s a phenomenon that’s sweeping the nation – contagious fundraising spurred on by social media, sports celebrities, television hosts, movie stars and international performers. Everyone – it seems – is in on it. Well, except for the two of us. We are enjoying the summer heat with no ice water – but we’re giving to ALS anyway. Here’s the reason: we want to be “in with the in crowd.”

We’ve known of ALS – otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease – for decades. But no one has ever asked us to give to The ALS Foundation. There are so many worthy non-profits to give to, and like most people we have a limited budget. But, how could we not give when the nation is gripped with the ice bucket challenge?

In case you don’t know, here’s a quick overview of the challenge: someone challenges you to give to ALS. If you don’t, you have to have a bucket of ice cold water dumped on you. Even better: have it video-taped and posted on social media. Once you complete the challenge you have to challenge others to give or get wet. Here’s the thing: many people are doing both. It’s fun. The videos are hysterical. And the money is pouring in. The numbers from their recent press release are astounding. “As of Tuesday, August 19, The ALS Association has received $22.9 million in donations compared to $1.9 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 19). These donations have come from existing donors and 453,210 new donors to The Association.”

And ALS knows receiving gifts is just the beginning. “Our top priority right now is acknowledging all the gifts made by donors to The ALS Association,” said Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO of The ALS Association. “We want to be the best stewards of this incredible influx of support. To do that, we need to be strategic in our decision making as to how the funds will be spent so that when people look back on this event in ten and twenty years, the Ice Bucket Challenge will be seen as a real game-changer for ALS,” she continued.

The ALS Association is committed to communicating with donors and the public about future plans to spend the unprecedented amount of money it has received over the past few weeks.

So, should your nonprofit or college go viral with a “gimmick” to raise millions? Here are our thoughts: put the fundamentals in place first. If you can’t track and thank your donors, you don’t want thousands of donors: that can become a viral disaster instead of success.

Next week: more about the fundamentals.

Learn more at http://www.alsa.org. #IceBucketChallenge

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

Kentucky State University President Raymond Burse leads by example

Dr.-Raymond-Burse, fundraising, FUNdraising Good Times, HBCU Kentucky State University, KSU, Raymond Burse, leadershipHave you heard about Raymond Burse, the newly appointed interim-president of Kentucky State University who voluntarily reduced his salary by 25% in order to ensure that all university employees would make a minimum hourly wage of $10.25? That’s right, this HBCU president gave up a total of $90,125 so that 24 employees– some of whom were making $7.25 an hour – could receive a wage increase. On top of this he has pledged to give up additional salary to ensure no future employees make less than $10.25. He initiated the proposal to the university’s board of trustees and they made the changes to his compensation package.

“Who is this man?”, you may ask. He is a past-president of KSU (1982 – 1989), an attorney, and former vice president and general counsel at GE. In our minds he is also a master at generating good will and national media attention. His decision will directly improve the lives of impacted employees. It also shows that he has “skin in the game.” He is willing to personally sacrifice in order to advance the institution and its standing in the community. His action can help break down the walls that too often divide administration from faculty, staff and students, and the university from local residents. His decision reallocates existing resources and demonstrates commitment to the institution.

Our minds were racing when we heard the news. Too often we hear statements from nonprofit leaders that include “what can I do?” or “we don’t have any resources” or “no one knows about our organization.” Burse’s actions caused people all over the country to take notice. When we heard him interviewed on television he mentioned a result of his decision: people are making inquiries about enrolling and giving. These are two priorities that confront almost every institution of higher education. While his decision was a personal one based on what he believed was right, it has had national impact. He defined his agenda and presented it to the board of trustees.

When we look at Burse’s decision through the lens of fundraising we ask nonprofit leaders – including university presidents – to take time to contemplate and articulate your vision and to then do what you can do to bring that vision into life. Burse is an African American leader who took initiative. What actions can you initiate? Burse reallocated resources. What resources can you reallocate? Burse’s decision attracted positive attention and will certainly help to reposition KSU. What actions can you take that will reposition your nonprofit?

We believe Burse’s decision was an ethical one with many positive implications. What resources and relationships are available to your nonprofit that have not yet been fully utilized? Are there opportunities you are not yet taking advantage of? Take time to reflect and when appropriate, take ethical action.

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

The importance of processing nonprofit gifts within 72 hours

first 48 investigation,  fundraising, gift processing, gift acknowledgement, donor attrition, donor retentionAsking for a donation to your nonprofit is one component of fundraising. How that gift is processed once it is received is another. Both are important. Your actions can strengthen a donor relationship, or contribute to its demise. “The First 48” is a TV crime show that stresses the importance of the first 48 hours to the overall criminal investigation. Create guidelines for “The First 72” to keep fundraising on track. Letting gifts “pile up” and processing them once every week or two may appear efficient, but this process may require investigation!

Here are questions to answer when creating your First 72.

Is this a new donor or returning donor? If a new donor, ensure all contact information is entered or imported into database. If you know who solicited or referred the donor, record that information. If a returning donor, ensure contact information is up to date, name is spelled correctly, and you are not inadvertently creating duplicate donors. (Don’t laugh… Andrea Johnson, Andrea Tammy Johnson and Tammy Johnson may all be the same person!)

Who should thank the donor? Is an email enough? When should you send a letter? Who should sign it? Should a telephone call be made? By whom? Figure these things out in advance, and be consistent.

Is the gift an “unrestricted” or “restricted?” This refers to the wishes of the donor. This issue typically arises with larger gifts, when a donor requests that funds be used for a specific program or purpose. Make sure you honor your donors’ requests. More on this topic in a future column. For now, be sure to document gift restrictions and honor them.

What information will this donor receive in the future? Will they receive all communications? General communications plus those related to a specific area of interest? Add them to appropriate lists. Make sure they receive appropriate, timely print and electronic information going forward.

Does the donor have questions or concerns? Who will call or email the donor in order to respond? Don’t let these slip through the cracks! Related to this, was a premium promised? If yes, make sure it is sent out quickly. When a major gift is received make sure staff and leadership know the gift’s impact. Don’t keep good news a secret!

Finally, run gift reports each week and share with leadership and fundraising volunteers. This helps build fundraising momentum, and lets solicitors know who has made a gift so they can personally say “thank you.” Leadership can review these reports and make decisions regarding future cultivation and potentially increase a donor’s gift.

The First 72 is critical to sustaining and growing your donor base. Treat donors well from the beginning to avoid a donor attrition investigation.

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

How Fundraising Good Times column motivated fundraiser to raise $45,000

An Interview with Judy Davis – Part Two

Metal Museum  Gates, fundraising, FUNdraising Good Times, Metal Museum, first time fundraising, leadership

Metal Museum’s 10th Anniversary Gates

“I did not recruit leadership, instead I embraced leadership.” This is what we learned from Judy Davis membership outreach manager at the Metal Museum in Memphis. We were talking with Davis to learn how this column FUNdraising Good Times influenced her work in raising $45,000 for The 10th Anniversary Gates Campaign. This was a campaign to restore the beloved metal gates at the museum and the 331 rosettes that adorn them.

The campaign was launched in April 2013, but Davis “did not get involved with the campaign until November 2013 when I saw we needed more funds. I produced a timeline of events and presented it to my Director and the Public Engagement Associate. I took the Development Boot Camp workshops that were offered at the Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence and received advice from my previous manager that raised funds for the Memphis Public Library,” Davis shared. “I did not ask anyone to do anything I would not do and I tried to keep the momentum going. I tried to create an environment where all my coworkers felt they had a vested interest in the success of the campaign.”

She developed two questions to drive her fundraising. These were: “How do the Metal Museum gates impact the community?” and “What is your story as it relates to the gate?” These were derived from her desire for museum members and visitors to feel they had a personal connection with the gates.

Davis also developed a brand identity for the campaign that tied to the museum’s overarching brand. “I wanted the feel and color of gray (metal) but to focus on the gates not the museum. The stationary, invitations and thank you cards were one unit. The pieces were interchangeable but they could be put together as one.” She took the time to share her brand strategy with fellow staff, “I wanted to make sure that we all understood why and how to communicate that to the public.”

When asked what she would do differently next time, Davis responded, “Give myself more than seven months to raise a substantial amount of money. Have a volunteer front person, a voice, to help raise the funds needed.”

We share Davis’ story with you because it shows that one person can make a difference. Davis had been reading our column, cutting them out, and jotting down adjectives and catch phrases on index cards for easy reference. Here are a few examples: developed, branded, launched, raised = goal. She focused on tips such as “leadership is critical to the success of any fundraising efforts” and “communicate in words and action.”

Davis is ready for her next project: making the museum’s collection more accessible to the public. Stay tuned: she is a woman you are sure to hear more from.

Photo credit: Metal Museum. www.metalmuseum.org

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

$45,000 Raised by First Time Fundraiser

An Interview with Judy Davis – Part One

Judy Davis, fundraising, FUNdraising Good Times, Metal Museum, first time fundraising, leadership, ArtsMemphis

Judy Davis

We eat, drink and sleep fundraising. It’s what we love. We truly enjoy and embrace the people and organizations we work with. We get excited when clients take the tools we develop for them and put them to work. We cherish their successes and most importantly we celebrate their work. At the end of the day fundraising is all about attracting resources for nonprofit organizations and institutions that make a difference in people’s lives. While not every organization is in a position to hire fundraising counsel, there are so many people doing wonderful things who need just a few suggestions, or some new information so they can do a better job and raise more money. These are the people we write FUNdraising Good Times for.

This column is our way of giving back and sharing information about fundraising, fund development and the important roles of nonprofit board members, staff and volunteers. It was almost nine years ago that FUNdraising Good Times debuted in The Globe Newspaper in Oakland, CA. There are now 30 papers and two magazines from around the country that publish this column. This commitment on the part of publishers and editors demonstrates their commitment to growing the nonprofit sector and supporting the people who give their time and energy to serving others.

We cherish our readers, though most are unknown to us. As writers you don’t always “meet” your audience. But, we did recently met a reader who embraced us sharing “I read your column all the time.” We were conducting a workshop for the ArtsMemphis community engagement fellows when Judy Davis came up to us and shared that she raised $45,000 using suggestions from our column. That caught our attention and we had to learn more!

We learned that Davis, the membership outreach manager at the Metal Museum in Memphis, played an important role in The 10th Anniversary Gates Campaign. The museum was celebrating the 25th anniversary of the most beloved part of their permanent collection – the 10th Anniversary Gates. These are metal gates adorned with 331 unique rosettes that were contributed by over 200 metalsmiths from around the world. After 25 years of exposure to the elements the gates and rosettes desperately needed restoration. This required removing, repairing and cleaning each rosette, and then sandblasting and repainting the gates.

The campaign raised $45,000 by inviting museum members and visitors to “sponsor a rosette” with individual donations ranging from $100 – $500. Each rosette sponsor received a credit line in a catalog published to commemorate the rededication of the newly restored gates on Mother’s Day, 2014.

This was Davis’ first professional fundraising project and she was armed with inspiration and information from our columns.

Next week: The details!

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

Fundraising Fables: Retaining Fund Development Professionals

Why is it so hard tLeyna Bernstein, leadership search partners, fundraising, development director, hiring fundraising staff, recruiting fundraising staff, fundraising mistakes, fundraising careero retain fund development professionals? That’s the polite version of the question that has executive directors pulling their hair out, and nonprofit board members wondering “what’s going on?”

“One of the reasons we continue to see so much turn-over in fundraising staff is the pervasive misunderstanding of how fundraising works, shares Leyna Bernstein, founder of Leadership Search Partners. With this column we bring you excerpts from her column on Fundraising Fables. There are seven fables – Here are three.

Fable 1: We hire a development director to do our fundraising for us.

Fact: Success in fundraising comes from building a shared responsibility for cultivating and stewarding donors throughout the organization. The board and the executive director share accountability with the chief development officer. The job of your development director is to create the organization’s fundraising plan and oversee its implementation, not to make all of your asks. For this role, planning, coaching, managing and mentoring are more important tasks than solicitation.”

We couldn’t say it more succinctly. In our experience it is a lack of understanding of the fundraising process on the part of the executive director and board that leads to a harmful disconnect between nonprofit executive directors and development directors.

Fable 3: We will hire a fundraiser who will bring his donor rolodex with him.

Fact: Really? Do you give your money to the fundraiser, or to the cause? Ethical fundraisers are not going to “bring their donors with them”. While fundraisers may have existing relationships that can open some doors, and while having a fundraiser with exceptional relational skills is critical, it is your cause and impact that will attract investment.

There are two faces to this fable: sometimes the nonprofit who wants to “hire a rolodex” and other times a development professional is “selling” her rolodex. When making a hire don’t look to use another organization’s relationships – build your own, for most are not transferrable. We know of too many instances where candidates promote their relationships with donors/funders, forgetting that the relationships are really between donors/funders and the organization not the individual.

Fable 4: A track-record of big asks is an indicator of ability to be a development director.

Fact: Executive Directors and board members get in trouble when they hire major gifts officers and expect them to manage a department and build infrastructure. Many accomplished major gifts fundraisers are specialists and outstanding individual contributors. They are not necessarily suited to running a department and managing systems

This fable is also present within institutions of higher education. Failing to provide increasing levels of compensation and recognition to talented major gifts officers can lead them to apply for vice president positions which may not necessarily be a match for their skills.

Learn more by reading Fundraising Fables at http://leadershipsearch.com/blog.

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

Welcome home baby boomers!

Part two of a two-part series

African American male, baby boomers, community leadership, fundraising, community development, leadership development, AARP, AgingTalented leadership is always in high demand. The question is: where do you look for leaders, who are you overlooking, and how do you effectively sustain their involvement? When recruiting talent for your organization, business or municipality make sure you consider individuals over age 55. Here’s what we know – these “so called seniors” represent a growing percentage of the population, and many have experience, education, and connections that can transform communities and organizations. They can provide valuable leadership in the civic and nonprofit sectors, when called upon.

It is important to consider individual seniors for individual positions in organizations, agencies and businesses. It is equally important to create a local or regional organizational structure that attracts and engages older individuals who want to make an impact. In many communities there is an organized effort to attract and retain young leaders. A similar effort should be made to engage older residents. Care is taken when recruiting younger talent, and similar attention should be paid to the recruitment and engagement of older talent.

For example, when looking at community development, economic growth, transforming education, or increasing cultural opportunities “seniors” can be major contributors. Many have skills, experience and relationships that have been developed over years and decades. Those who had careers as corporate executives and managers have worked in communities across the country and can bring that national exposure and learning to your local community. They can play key roles on local and state civic boards and commissions. Their strategic thinking and board service in other communities can add value to local nonprofit boards.

Creating a structure that focuses on engaging the talent of seniors can yield financial and civic rewards. Such a structure can also serve as a formal way to “welcome home” those seniors who are returning to the community after careers in other parts of the country, or internationally. Consider this: What mechanisms are in place to engage people returning home, to introduce them to current stakeholders, and to facilitate their community engagement?

Evaluate local programs that target young, talented professionals for civic engagement. Could a similar program be developed for talented seniors? What structures can be created to welcome and engage individuals who had successful careers in other parts of the country, as well as those who worked regionally? What meaningful paid and unpaid opportunities are available? This is not a generation looking to “lick envelopes” – these are talented leaders who can strategically add value and help define solutions to pressing civic issues.

Take a look around and see who’s in town. Identify who is coming home and create a strategy to engage them. It’s mutually beneficial: a win for the community, and a win for seniors. Don’t let stereotypes render top local talent invisible.

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

Grow your talent pool: recruit people over 55

Part one of a two-part series

 boomers, baby boomers, senior citizens, employment, nonprofit employment, AARP, aging, Talent Pool People over 40Are you overlooking a valuable pool of prospective employees and volunteers? Are you unknowingly operating from out-dated stereotypes of “senior citizens” and leaving talent sitting on the sidelines?

In today’s lexicon “talent” means college educated individuals ages 25 – 35. Maybe 40. But in our experience that’s a limited definition. Here’s what we know. There are many talented individuals over 55 years old who are unengaged, their talent untapped all to the detriment of the communities they live in, and employers seeking a diverse and experienced workforce. Think about it for a moment: early retirement, buy-outs, downsizing, layoffs, corporate restructuring. These all result in skilled, experienced and well-connected individuals who are no longer part of the work-force. Many have proven themselves over-and-over again in the course of their careers. They are up-to-date on technology (despite rampant jokes to the contrary), understand corporate culture, know how to work-to-deadline, mentor, strategize, and innovate. They have been doing it for years!

Many of these individuals need to continue working either full-time or part-time. Others have secured their financial future but want to remain active in the workforce and in their community. Regardless of economics most want to give back, feel connected, and contribute. And many have the skills that nonprofits are looking for. “Soft skills” include the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously, strong written and verbal communication skills, networking, ability to work as a member of a diverse team, stability, excellent attendance, maturity, discretion, time management, decision making and more. Experience that easily translates to fund development and fundraising include sales, marketing, training and development, and team building.

If you want top talent for your nonprofit make sure you recruit in ways that result in an applicant pool that includes individuals 55 and over. If you want to attract and retain “seniors” as part of your team, take time to assess your own responses to seniors and look for organizational biases that could your workplace “uninviting.” Are younger managers experienced in managing people older than they are? What is the average age of your workforce? Will you be bringing in one older person or are there others already part of your team? Is your business culture inclusive, respectful and appreciative?

In terms of fundraising and fund development it is important to remember that many of the larger gifts given to nonprofits are made by individuals who are over 50. Having older people as members of your team is crucial. People who are well connected within your community are even more valuable. Add a history of sales or marketing and you may have struck it rich!

When looking for employees and volunteers take proactive measures to ensure your pool of applicants includes qualified, experienced and talented people over 55. The benefits are yours to experience!

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

Compromise, relationships and faith

Part three of a three-part series on private/public partnerships

Embrace, fundraising, public private partnership, how to build a private public partnership, Bayview Hunters Point Multipurpose Senior Services, BHPMSS,Saad&Shaw: What role should board members be prepared to play in developing such a partnership?

Cathy Davis: Board members have to be willing to accept greater scrutiny and more responsibility for understanding the legal implications of the partnership(s). There are many changing parts, so board members have to be willing to utilize the legal consultants and move forward at critical stages. They also need to increase fundraising capacity and promote the agency.

Saad&Shaw: In your opinion, what types of nonprofits are more suited to such partnerships?

Cathy Davis: Non-profits that are willing to take well-calculated risks are most suited to such partnerships. You have to be willing to be flexible and grow as the partnership grows. Everything will not go your way, and you have to be willing to compromise. Political connections are important for public partnerships that involve governmental assistance. The agency has to be strong enough to stand up for what is needed. It also has to be able to compromise when it is in the best interest of the project moving forward.

Saad&Shaw: In your experience, are these partnerships designed to be short or long-term relationships?

Cathy Davis: Partnerships are long term relationships that develop over time. They are with agencies, not with personnel of any of the partners because individuals change jobs. You must get everything in writing, so when individuals leave, the commitments remain. For example, due to his passing, we lost our Executive Director in the middle of the process. Our agency was committed and I was selected as the new Executive Director. Having worked hand-in-hand with Dr. Davis, my husband, I was committed to expanding the long term partnerships. Partnerships are also about relationships and you have to continue to cultivate them. When personnel changes, you enroll the next person on the importance of the project and the previous promises made.

Saad&Shaw: What can a nonprofit expect to achieve through such a partnership?

Cathy Davis: A non-profit can take on bigger projects with partners than they could do otherwise. They are able to expand their knowledge base by adding partners with specific expertise that the nonprofit does not have. Each partner has access to resources that the non-profit does not have access to on their own. Some funders require expertise that a nonprofit doesn’t have or the non-profit has yet to experience.

Saad&Shaw: How does a nonprofit begin a conversation about a private/public partnership? Who initiates this conversation? Where do you go to find out information and opportunities? How did it begin for you?

Cathy Davis: The executive director needs to begin the conversation and enroll others in why the partnership is needed and who will benefit. In our case Dr. Davis decided on the vision and then found people who would help. He bypassed people who said it wouldn’t work and went to those who supported the idea. You find the help you need by following through on leads and making friends along the way. Political allies need to be cultivated and connected to your agency’s mission. The more we put it out there, the more opportunities came our way. It was important to us as a community-based organization that we solicit the partners we wanted to work with. We interviewed our development partners and ensured that we were considered their partner, not their charity.

Saad&Shaw: What have your learned from your experience that you want to share with others.

Cathy Davis: Don’t quit until the miracle happens! Many times along it way, it did not seem that it would happen. Never lose sight of why the partnership exists in the first place. There are people depending on you to come through. At some point the project becomes bigger than you and bigger than your agency. It takes a strong partnership with the community to make a big project happen. Insert yourself and ask questions. It is important not to sell out your principles for the easy way or for money that has too many strings attached. You have to believe it will happen before it happens. When all else fails, your faith and passion for the mission will carry you through.

Learn more about BHPMSS at http://bhpmss.org/

Did you miss:

Part One: How to Create a nonprofit partnership with private and public sectors

Part Two: Accountability and Trust: Keys to Partnership

 

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

 

Accountability and Trust: Keys to Partnership

Part two of a three-part series on private/public partnerships

BayviewSeniorHousing, fundraising, public private partnership, how to build a private public partnership, Bayview Hunters Point Multipurpose Senior Services, BHPMSS, African American fundraising

Bayview Senior Housing

An interview with Cathy Davis, executive director of Bayview Hunters Point Multipurpose Senior Services, Inc.

Saad&Shaw: Based on your experience, what does a nonprofit have to have in place in order for a private/public partnership to work?

Cathy Davis: A non-profit has to have its house in order to work with other partners. For an African American agency the stakes are higher and the bar is raised higher because of the general lack of trust given to African American based agencies. You have to work harder with less and maintain your integrity at all times. That is just the way it is and surrendering to it allows you to be prepared in the ways you need to be.

The public sector requires a great deal of accountability and as non-profit we had to prove our capacity to provide services and then be able to step into the partnership. You don’t have to be perfect, but you have to be willing to change and be more accountable.

Each partner has to recognize their strengths and weaknesses and be willing to rely on the partner with the best expertise. At some point you have to trust each other’s expertise.

Saad&Shaw: What are the challenges that a nonprofit may encounter in creating a private/public partnership?

Cathy Davis: There are many challenges for a non-profit to be in a good negotiating position with public and private partners.   The board has to understand the process and be willing to risk the agency’s credibility and finances along the way. Ultimately there are no guarantees: taking on large projects requires a leap of faith. Be ready to be called a “sellout” or a “greedy” non-profit by others who are not willing to partner with for- profits or the City. You will be tested and asked to support the efforts of the City: this goes with the territory if you want funding from them. You will be told you are “too small,” you have no experience doing this, or you are “over your head” – often in subtle ways.

Saad&Shaw: What were the advantages of creating a private/public partnership?

Cathy Davis: We needed each other to make the project happen. As a local non-profit we know what the community needs and were able to garner political support. The developer had the financial clout and expertise to build it. The City had access to funding, understood the process of working with other city departments, and was able to sell the project to city officials. We were able to access $58million for our project through City, State and low income housing tax credits. Our agency had no history in housing development and we were able to create the partnerships to make this happen for the community.

Next week: Compromise, relationships and faith

Did you miss Part 1: How to create a partnership with public and private sectors

Learn more about BHPMSS at http://bhpmss.org/

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.