Tag Archives: fundraising strategy

The Seven Roles of a Winning Fundraising Team

fundraising, FUNdraising Good Times, basketball, fundraising teams, fundraising strategy, Saad&ShawIt’s that time of year – basketball every night! The games get better and better. Fans are loyal, excited and stressed. People on the east coast stay up way too late. Everyone is wearing their team’s logo. The playoffs are on! If you’re a fundraising fanatic you are inspired as you imagine your fundraising team performing with the precision of your favorite basketball team.

In the NBA the coach develops a game plan. In fundraising, it’s the fundraising plan, strategic plan, business plan – or a combination of these – that serve as the game plan.

Read: How to Have a Winning NBA [Fundraising] Team

Before each crucial game NBA coaches scout their opponent. In fundraising, you prepare by researching potential donors. What are their interests and philanthropic priorities? Their current – or prior! – relationship to your organization? Don’t take your team onto the court unprepared!

Good coaching is key to both the NBA and fundraising. Basketball teams have a head coach: in fundraising coaching can come from consultants or the chief development person.

Great teams have loyal fan bases who are with them whether they are up or down. These fans believe in the team, their talents, resources and ability to prevail. With fundraising, there is a constituency that believes in your case. They feel you have all the elements to succeed, or that you are getting there. As in basketball, good fundraising teams feed off the energy. The community gives to your campaign, introduces new donors and encourages you to be successful.

Basketball teams reward their fans with fan appreciation gifts and events. You need to do the same. It’s called stewardship.

Good teams practice, practice and practice. Good fundraising programs are always educating, training, and orienting their leadership, staff and volunteers. They consistently communicate, sharing an easy-to-understand message and clear examples of impact. They don’t take anything for granted.

Basketball teams are big on stats: the number of points, how they compare with the competition or prior years. Same in fundraising. It’s time to get big on data: use it to compare your activities and results. Review it closely, make adjustments to your strategies and tactics and increase the odds of meeting your goal.

Let’s talk about recruiting. NBA teams have scouts out on grade school courts – or so it seems. What about your organization? What is your recruiting strategy? Where will your talent come from? You need more than one superstar: you need a winning team. How are you cultivating your next fundraising hires, your new board members and advisors?  And don’t stop at scouting: winning teams keep their top talent. You know what that means: time to invest in building and reinforcing your current talent and helping them to be the best they can.

Image courtesy of stockimages at 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.


Year End Reflections – Part Two

fundraising, FUNdraising Good Times, fundraising strategyLast week we shared a little of the history of this column. We hope we conveyed why we are committed to these weekly writings, and most importantly our belief in you, our readers. While we have met very few of you in person, we hold you up before us in our minds as we write. When we have the opportunity to meet you in person we are always delighted. Now and then people come up to us in the grocery store or on the street to let us know they read our column. Others let us know when we meet in business settings. Now and then we get an email or phone call.

Here’s who we think of as we write. We think of people who are committed to nonprofit organizations, those who volunteer, those who provide executive leadership, and those who are charged with fundraising. We think of receptionists and vice presidents, long-term donors and committed alumni. From our experience we know that some of you are well connected professionals, others are grassroots activists. Some are devoutly religious, others are more secularly focused. We conjure up the diversity of your life experience, and the diversity of the organizations and causes you believe in. Mostly, we salute your humanity, your leadership, and your willingness to get involved. We want you to succeed.

That’s what drives us to write each week. You. As we prepare to celebrate 10 years of writing this column we look back at its evolution and the diversity of topics we have addressed. We share them with you here to encourage you to look for past columns on our blog www.FUNdraisingGoodTimes. As you prepare for 2015 there may be columns you missed with content that can help you.

For example, early columns focused on “how to” topics. These included how to create a case for support, how to create a fundraising plan, how to write a proposal, how to solicit a gift, and how to host a friendraiser. We moved into guidance and suggestions related to ensuring special events generate revenue, recruiting board members, and the difference between staff-led fundraising and volunteer-led fundraising. We expanded into interviews with philanthropic leaders, donors, bookkeepers, technologists and grant writers. Guidance grew to include topics such as “answer the phone” and “how to keep a fundraising job” and “how to sabotage your fundraising.” We highlighted organizations that were successful in their fundraising. The prerequisites for fundraising success have been featured throughout our columns, and in fact our book Prerequisites for Fundraising Success is an outgrowth of this column.

As you prepare for 2015, contemplate what you are willing to do in support of nonprofits you believe in. If you would like us to address a specific topic, let us know. We’ll get busy writing.

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at 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.

FUNdraising Good Times Year End Reflections

Year end reflections, fundraising, FUNdraising Good Times, fundraising strategyAs 2014 comes to an end, we find ourselves reflecting on our work and this column. They are both intertwined: FUNdraising Good Times is one way we help nonprofit organizations and institutions position themselves for fundraising success. To the uninitiated, fundraising can appear either easy or hard. Confidence and fear typically drive these stances. What is needed is a healthy dose of both, and lots of planning. In our work locally and across the country we help organizations large and small build the prerequisites for fundraising success. We help bring together board members, executive directors, fundraising professionals, and volunteers for the purpose of honestly assessing where they are, what they need, and where they want to go.

That’s what we seek to accomplish with this column as well. We write to stimulate healthy conversation, to encourage volunteer leaders and nonprofit executives to hold each other accountable, and to share some of the technical or how-to information specific to fundraising.

We began writing FUNdraising Good Times in October of 2005 when we lived in the San Francisco, CA Bay Area. We approached Vernon Whitmore and Eleanor Boswell Raine of The Globe Newspaper Group with the column concept. We knew that many of their readers worked for nonprofits, made financial contributions, and depended on the work of these organizations. We also knew that readers served as board members, were called upon to lead fundraising campaigns, and were forced to make difficult decisions when adequate funding could not be secured. We also knew that many struggled without access fundraising counsel. We wanted to fill the gap, for free, 500 words at a time.

As we anticipate our 10th year writing this column we remain ever grateful to Vernon and Eleanor for our launch. We now reach readers across the country through 28 papers, two magazines and our blog FUNdraisingGoodTimes.com. The issues that drove us to begin writing this column are those that sustain us in all aspects of our work. We want to help nonprofit organizations and institutions bring their visions and missions to life. We want them to succeed. And we want them to be thoughtful stewards of the resources they have access to.

We encourage board members to increase their involvement, and we encourage nonprofit staff to invite board members into the fundraising process from the very beginning. Most importantly we encourage all nonprofit leaders to ask the hard questions: is our work making an impact? What if we invested in new technology or marketing? Do we need to do things differently, to innovate? Are we meeting a need? And critical to fundraising, where will the money come from?

You are our readers. We appreciate your work. We want you to succeed. Tell us what you want us to write about in 2015. We’ll get busy.

Image courtesy of njaj at 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.