Tag Archives: fundraising

How to write targeted proposals

Last week’s column focused on six basic things you should know before writing a proposal. With this column, we address three more nuanced things to consider.

Writing Targeted ProposalsSome nonprofits create a “boilerplate” proposal and send it out to as many foundations and corporations as possible, hoping to “get a hit.” That is one strategy, and sometimes it is appropriate. Making small modifications to a standard proposal is efficient, particularly when seeking to secure sponsorships and smaller grants. In general, we suggest a more targeted approach.

Here are three things to consider:

  1. What percentage of your revenue do you project will come from foundations or corporations? We recommend building diverse revenue streams. This is important for long term reasons such as having other revenue streams should foundation/corporation giving contract. A shorter term reason to diversify your revenue is that it signals financial health to foundations who are reviewing your proposal.
  2. What percentage of your operating or program budget are you requesting from a specific foundation? Looking to one funder for the majority of your funding sends a red flag to many funders. They have responsibilities they have to consider: one of those is what will happen to your organization or program if they need to reduce or eliminate their support. Does your proposal include a discussion of who you will be approaching for additional funds? Are these realistic potential funders, or foundations you would like to approach but don’t yet know if they will consider your request? This information helps a program officer evaluate your proposal and your ability to deliver on some or all of the deliverables. When developing your project or organizational budget be prepared to answer the question “what if you don’t secure all the funds that you need?”
  3. Is your nonprofit a strong match with the priorities of the foundation you are writing to? For example, if a foundation seeks to reduce poverty in a specific area, it looks to fund nonprofits with a track record of work in that area, that have accountable and effective leadership, and strong community relationships. This is in addition to effective programming and a proposed evaluation method.

These are the business decisions that should be made in advance of submitting a funding request and communicated through your proposal. This is the work of the board and executive leadership, and not the work of fundraising staff and volunteers. It is work that supports fundraising success and that takes time.

Looking for foundation support – “we’ll get a grant” – as a cure all for revenue shortfalls is not a fundraising strategy.

Fundraising is competitive, and as a nonprofit leader it is your responsibility to understand the funding landscape and to proactively address the serious questions that funders will ask.

Related Posts:

  1. The role of the business plan: An interview with Jan Young http://saadandshaw.com/strategic-plan-business-plan/
  2. Business planning for nonprofits: Learn the basics http://saadandshaw.com/business-plan-basics-for-nonprofit/
  3. Benefits of using a business plan: http://saadandshaw.com/the-role-of-the-business-plan-benefits-of-using-a-business-plan/
  4. Ten things you need to know about proposal writing http://saadandshaw.com/grant-writing/
  5. Cultivating foundations http://saadandshaw.com/bringing-home-the-money/
  6. Six things you should know before writing a proposal – http://saadandshaw.com/six-things-you-should-know-before-writing-a-proposal/

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles 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.

Six things you should know before writing a proposal

 Writing ProposalsSummer reading is highlighted in Oprah and other magazines each year. A good read is great to enjoy on the beach or curled up on a lawn chair. But what about a good summer write? That’s right –start writing now to help the money come in at the end of the year, or perhaps next spring. That’s how it’s done. Writing proposals now prevents future complaints such as “how can I write that proposal in just three days?” It’s called planning ahead.

Here are six things you should know before writing a proposal.

  1. What type of funding are you seeking? Do you want a grant for a specific program, general operating support, equipment purchases, an advocacy campaign, or for a building (capital project)? Most organizations are looking for funds for multiple projects at the same time. For example, unrestricted or general operating funds are most coveted as they provide an organization with the greatest flexibility. But many foundations now seek to focus their giving more narrowly, and while they may want to support your afterschool health program, they may not be willing to fund outreach that helps ensure you reach the target group of children you want to engage.
  2. How much money do you need to raise in total? How much do you expect to raise from foundations? Corporations? Government sources? Individual donors? Many funders want to see a diversity of projected revenue and they look for it in your proposed budget.
  3. What is your projected impact? What will be different if your organization secures the funds it is seeking? Be specific.
  4. What types of written materials do you have that can help inform the proposal writing process? Ideally you have a case for support that you can draw from. If not, you will need access to your mission statement, vision statement, organizational description, program description, projected evaluation method, impact and – again – budget.
  5. Where could the money come from? You can begin your funding research using The Foundation Center’s online resources (fconline.fdncenter.org/ ). You can pay a small fee for access from your computer, or you may be able to use the database at your library as many libraries subscribe providing you with free access. When you identify a potential funder, review their guidelines closely before you begin writing. Make sure that your project and organization meet the funder’s requirements.
  6. Review the required attachments. Make a list of what you will need to provide. This often includes your 501c3 letter, audited financials, an organizational budget, a project budget, board list with affiliations, and sometimes a list of other projected funders for the project. The attachments alone can launch a mini-crisis if you try to pull these together two hours before the proposal is due.

Start now, and reduce future stress.

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee 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.

Nonprofits: Annual Meetings are Important

SaadandShaw, nonprofits, annual meetingsHow does your nonprofit report on its work? How do you share your vision, work and impact? Do you send an email? Create an annual report? What about an annual meeting that brings together your stakeholders? Are you up to it? Can you make the time? Our perspective: how can you not afford the time?

The work of your nonprofit is at the core of all you do. Ideally, your work is driven by your vision. And, ideally your board takes the time – periodically – to reflect on your vision. Does it need to be adjusted? Do programs need to be eliminated, modified, or introduced so you can best live into your vision in a changing environment? Do you need to modify your strategies, partnerships, or the very way you are organized?

These are a few of the important questions for a board to grapple with. The process is important, and so is the process of reporting out to your constituents. Who exactly are these “constituents?” They’re the people you serve, your donors, funders, vendors, staff, fellow board members, faith leaders, elected officials, government workers, community leaders, teachers, neighbors, and leaders of local businesses and major corporations. They are as diverse as the community you live in.

With a continuous focus on the people we serve and advocate for, it is understandable that taking the time to create community “report outs” and listening forums may not always be a number one priority. But it’s critical.

You have to share your vision, direction, impact and thinking with those who support you and those who work alongside you in an effort to create a better world, or a least a healthier community. Some organizations will create an annual report – print, electronic or both. Others share updates regularly via email, Facebook, or their website.

Here’s our suggestion: consider hosting an annual meeting. We recently attended the annual meeting of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis (WFGM) and were impressed. The board of directors took the time to craft a concise agenda that shared their vision and current work with their stakeholders. What was so refreshing was that board members made the majority of presentations. They opened the meeting, the clearly and concisely communicated their vision for the next five years. They named it Vision 2020 and they shared their history, vision and process of collaboration with a diverse group of stakeholders.

These were live people talking to live people, sharing their collaborations in a clear, concise and compelling way: WFGM seeks to reduce poverty in a specific zipcode by 1% a year for the next five years. Board members spoke to an audience of neighbors and community stakeholders about a major undertaking and invited their support. Take the time to share your vision – you’re worth it.

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.

Customer service-Is this a nonprofit priority?

How do you measure customer service? Can a nonprofit organization, college or university use the same processes that a retail business would use?

 Nonprofits are increasingly asked to focus on the people they serve. This is not news. So many employees, volunteers, board members and executives at nonprofits are all about the people they serve. They are passionate, compassionate, committed, and resourceful.

But how do people who are “served” actually feel about the “service” they receive? That’s something that donors and funders often want to know. “Customer service” is also critical to management and board leadership: they want to know how well the organization is delivering on its mission and vision, and where improvements are needed.

And, let’s be clear – customer service is of critical importance to people who are “served” by nonprofits. Many times organizations do the best they can with the resources available to them. But what if that’s not good enough? And who decides?

To learn more we talked with Lewis Rambo, PhD. “Typical customer service propositions for firms like Target, Walmart, Macy’s, Amazon, and countless other “brick and mortar,” and Internet-based merchandisers are fairly straightforward. But many nonprofits – including colleges and universities – have missions that are complex and often underfunded.” That’s how he began our conversation. Rambo should know, his experience includes years of helping organizations with the challenges of reframing their visions and changing their cultures.

“Higher education – for example – is increasingly asked to improve its customer service. However, a college or university is not a retail outlet. Because of this it is important that higher education host strategic conversations among their many stakeholders in order to arrive at a common understanding of exactly what “customer service” really means for students, administrators, faculty, staff, parents, and the countless other members of the broader community of stakeholders who have both realistic and unrealistic expectations of the institution.”

He continued, with this example, “The missions of educational institutions are often dauntingly complex. They often pit admission requirements, mandated programs of study, required courses, examinations, and the legally determined responsibility as ‘In loco parentis,’ to name just a few; against launching a set of ‘one size fits all’ initiatives to try to ‘super please’ its many different ‘customers.’”

Rambo encourages institutions to “discuss the undiscussable.” That means encouraging the many constituents of an organization to express their ideas, concerns, fears, biases, and experiences prior to launching a customer service program. This can help the process of defining customer service benchmarks. Without this you may end up measuring the “wrong” benchmarks, or trying to satisfy a constituency whose satisfaction can only be measured in the long term. Our perspective: engage your constituents. Take the time to create a process that will work. It can be challenging, but it’s worth it.

Learn more at bit.ly/1IcF3cp

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.

Giving USA: Who supports nonprofits

Giving USAThe numbers are in: Americans gave an estimated $358.38 billion to charity in 2014. That’s 7.1 percent over 2013, and the fifth year in a row that giving increased. Individuals – that’s you and me – continue to give an estimated 90% of all gifts. Here’s how it breaks out: individual gifts represented $258.51 billion (72% of the total). That’s you – your tithes and offerings at church, your online gifts, support for walkathons, the checks you write, stocks you transfer – every $25 gift and every $2.5 million gift. We also gave $28.13 billion through bequests – the money left to charities in your family members’ wills. Finally, those with the ability to give to foundations gave another $41.62 billion.

Giving USA 2015: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2014 breaks down last year’s giving and the numbers are amazing. In 2014 the amount given to charity was the highest total in the 60 years that the report has been produced. Researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, the report is published by Giving USA Foundation.

Here are a few more details: Foundation giving totaled $53.97 billion, (8.2 percent higher than 20130 and  corporate giving was $17.77 billion (up 13.7 percent from 2013).  There were some large gifts – individual gifts ranging from $200 million to one of almost $2 billion given by technology entrepreneurs.

Where did the money go? Most went to religion ($114.90 billion), then education ($54.62 billion), human Services ($42.10 billion) , health ($30.37 billion), arts/culture/humanities ($17.23 billion),  environment/animals ($10.50 billion),  public-society benefit ($26.29 billion), foundations ($41.62 billion) and international affairs($15.10 billion).

Giving to human services continued to increase as did giving to education. Individuals increased their support of giving to civic and civil rights organizations, and to community and economic development.

Those who read this column regularly know how much we stress the case for support. Here’s how W. Keith Curtis, chair of the Giving USA Foundation ties the case to increased giving: “The growth can be attributed, in part, to the ways charities have been working smarter during daunting times. Nonprofits increasingly are making sure they have strong cases for support, communicate frequently with donors and provide proof of the impact charitable gifts make.”

Related to this, the report notes that donors are “more and more” interested in knowing the strategies nonprofits use and the impact their dollars make. Nonprofits are being asked “more and more” to be accountable for what they do with donations. The good news: many organizations are collecting more data and becoming more transparent.

Here’s what we know: your gift makes a difference. Together our gifts change lives and communities. The nonprofits we support require our support. Let’s keep giving.

More information at http://bit.ly/GivingUSA2015

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.

Excuses: the scourge of nonprofit fundraising

stop excuses, Saad & ShawHow do we stop using excuses as a conversation starter, or icebreaker when starting a meeting? We all know people who start conversations by making excuses for why they are late, unprepared, and haven’t completed what they committed to do. First comes the excuse; then comes a focus on the content of the excuse. A meeting to review fundraising progress can turn into a discussion of traffic, construction, family illnesses, the weather, and before you know it 15 minutes have passed.

Excuses send the wrong message to people who are serious about meeting. They have come prepared and are ready to work. These could be staff, board members or volunteers. One thing is certain: they didn’t show up for excuses.  The fact that your organization is a nonprofit doesn’t mean that excuses should be tolerated. Excuses cannot be a part of our culture. We have to rethink how we communicate.

Here’s why: excuses turn people off. When you invite someone to work with you on your fundraising, they are giving their valuable time. They assume you are serious about fundraising and want to get things done. You will run people off is you spend 10 minutes trying to remember what people committed to at the last meeting, and another 10 minutes discussing why those things didn’t get done.

We are telling you the truth. Organizations large and small are always seeking talented people to join their fundraising campaigns. What many don’t know is that disorganization and excuses can keep all but the most dedicated of people away from the table. They don’t have the time to waste.

These words may sound harsh, but they are the truth that is not told. If you want to grow from one level of fundraising to another look at how you conduct meetings, how you hold each other accountable, and the extent to which excuses dominate the meeting.

What do we mean by accountability? Doing what you say you’re going to do, and doing it by the time you committed. Oh, did we mention doing a good job?

If you lead with excuses you can stop. Set realistic timeframes. Make commitments you can keep. Get support for developing better time management skills. Whatever it takes, stop leading with excuses. Make your word your bond.

If your team members lead with excuses, check in with them in advance to see if they need assistance and are progressing in a timely manner.

As a manager and leader of volunteers you have to be focused, upbeat and set a positive tone. Be a motivator. Be creative. Have a plan B and a plan C. Be prepared: show the people you are working with that you value their time. Your leadership should be infectious and elevate your volunteers to the highest level.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles 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.

You want to build a building

fundraising, FUNdraising Good Times, capital campaign, campaign planning, building campaign, Saad&Shaw Owning a building can be a turning point in the life of a nonprofit. A building represents positive attributes: permanence, ownership, longevity, visibility, stability, status and achievement. You can control your destiny, make improvements, and expand when needed. You have an asset to leverage for future projects. No one can make you move.

Fundraising for a building is also a milestone. In addition to securing funds for annual operations, you will need to simultaneously raise funds for the building. Questions regarding strategy, leadership, and financing need to be addressed. A new building may require an expanded or new board, especially if your current board doesn’t have the experience, connections, and fundraising expertise required by a capital campaign.

The process of planning for a new building can be longer than anticipated. Knowing your organization’s needs is the first step. Creating consensus is the next. Then come discussions regarding location, and whether to purchase or renovate an existing building, or build a new one. Sooner or later the discussions – and decisions – will center around money.

There are fundraising questions to be answered such as: Where will the money come from? Will our current donors continue their annual support and make additional gifts for the building? Who will lead the campaign? How much money do we need to raise?

The fundraising goal should derive from your building and/or renovation plans. But how do you create a realistic goal? “It could be that a new building will create even more challenges than the ones the organization faces in its current location.” This observation was raised by Sam King, senior vice president and financial advisor at Pinnacle Financial Partners in Memphis during a recent conversation. An experienced banker, fundraiser, and nonprofit board member he has a list of questions for nonprofits to consider as they begin the process of planning for a capital campaign.

Here are a few: In addition to constructing the building, can you raise enough money to sustain the building? How will you cover increased utility and maintenance costs year-over-year? How will you fund improvements and repairs? If you take a mortgage, how will you service the debt? Can your organization qualify for a mortgage?

“Will a new building hurt your organization? Will you have a big building with no programming? Will a new building create problems greater than those you face now? If you intend on raising all the money first, how long will it take to have “cash in hand” – no pledges? And what happens if you don’t raise all the money that you need?”

King raises important questions based on years of experience. Take the time you need to make the right decisions. Ask others who have gone through the process to share their guidance. This is a big decision – make it a positive one.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles 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.

Supporting fathers and fatherhood

Father, Fatherhood, Fathers DayIt’s time for Fathers’ Day. Time to lift up fathers and fatherhood. And time to ask ourselves how we honor fathers in our daily lives, the work of our nonprofits, and through our business and public policies. News headlines spotlight the phenomenon “absent fathers,” seeking to assign blame for the many challenges we face as a country and as communities.

What’s often missing is a discussion of public policies and investments that can impact, support or disempower fathers, as well the personal decisions we make that can be hard to overcome. We shy away from sensitive issues of how court ordered child support and divorce decisions can keep fathers from fully engaging with their children, and with fulfilling their financial and emotional obligations. Many of us have perceptions of fathers that don’t match with reality. A father is a father even if he is not in the children’s home and is not the breadwinner. A father is a father regardless of whether he is gay or straight, employed, incarcerated, intelligent, handsome, rich, or poor.

Here’s our suggestion: Let’s focus restoring the dignity of what it means to be a man and a father. For example, there are deep stigmas associated with incarceration and too many men – especially African American and Hispanic men – are incarcerated. The consequences and stigma of incarceration often continue for a lifetime and impact men’s immediate and long term ability to father. You can’t vote, you can’t get a job, you don’t earn enough, your birth family may not welcome back, your children may not know you. You may feel you don’t have anything to “bring to the table.” Part of being a father is being a man. Supporting fatherhood includes, for example, supporting men’s ability to recover from incarceration, build new lives and engage their children.

As nonprofit leaders and concerned community members, we can encourage schools, nonprofits and faith organizations to look at their programs and explore if and how they are serving fathers – especially young fathers – and encouraging connections between fathers and their children. We can encourage the organizations and institutions we are personally involved in to become part of the solution.

In that process we need to remember that fatherhood can be expressed in so many different ways. We can’t get stuck on the image of a traditional father: that can hold us back from helping real-life dads be part of their children’s lives. As donors we can look for organizations – especially grassroots ones – within our communities that are active in supporting men in their roles as fathers. We need to support faith based initiatives as well as those programs that support fathers who may not have or want a faith affiliation.

For Fathers’ Day honor your favorite father by making a gift in his honor to an organization that supports fatherhood.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici 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.

Grant Proposal Submitted, Now What?

 fundraising, FUNdraising Good Times, nonprofit proposal, proposal writing, foundations, Saad&ShawYou’ve written the perfect proposal. You submitted it on time. Perhaps you carefully reviewed the guidelines and found that your organization is a perfect match for what the foundation is seeking to achieve through its grantmaking. Or maybe a program officer reached out and personally asked your organization to submit. Maybe your nonprofit or university has received consistent funding over the years, and you have submitted your annual request – on time, of course. But you haven’t heard a word.

You should have heard by now. The proposal guidelines gave a date for when funding decisions would be announced. That date is now in the past. Days have passed. Weeks. A month. Ninety days. What do you do?

You could send a follow up email, or place a call inquiring on the status of your proposal. That’s a straight-forward and appropriate action. Let’s say you do, and you learn “the board meeting has been pushed back” or “we haven’t made a decision yet.” Now what do you do?

Here’s our suggestion: keep fundraising. Act as if you still have to meet your fundraising goal, even if you feel your proposal is a “sure thing” or a “slam dunk.”

For each gift or grant you are pursuing, have a “Plan B” and a “Plan C.” Here’s what we mean: if your nonprofit has submitted a grant to a foundation for $50,000 make sure you submit other proposals to other foundations or individuals in amounts that are equal to or greater than $50,000. And, don’t count each gift as if it would be received – use a 3:1 or 5:1 ratio of submitted proposals to funded proposals. Colloquially we call this “hedging your bets.” In fundraising terms we refer to this as “making sure you meet goal.” Aggressively work on alternative prospects who could give gifts or make grants equal to or greater than the gift or grant you are “waiting on.” Don’t put all your eggs in that one basket.

There is no way that every proposal you submit will result in a grant. Even if you’ve been given all the signals that “things are moving ahead.” Count only those gifts you can take to the bank.

While you can’t count money you don’t have, you can make sure you are ready to implement your proposal when the funds are received. Have you identified the personnel you need? Do you have an evaluation process in place? Has your team created a detailed project work plan to guide their activities and ensure that project goals are met on time?

Here’s the position you want to avoid: sharing with the board that you were unable to meet the organization’s fundraising goal because a certain grant “did not come through.” Hedge your bets, be aggressive, meet goal.

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono 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.

Your fantasy fundraiser

Tired of hearing about fundraising challenges? Maybe it’s time to hire your fantasy fundraiser!

Fantasy fundraiser Saad&ShawThe work of your nonprofit is critically important. You’re helping young people choose the right path in life. You are challenging new forms of discrimination and civil rights violations. The teenagers enrolled in your math and science program are the engineers of tomorrow. Our seniors are protected from fraud and abuse thanks to your organization. And disaster relief is provided around the globe because of volunteers here in the United States.

Your nonprofit’s mission and vision are the drivers for important work. Volunteer efforts play a critical role. Yet, many times your work requires cold hard cash. Why doesn’t the money just show up? And, why, if you hire a fundraiser – or a fundraising team – can’t they meet the ever increasing fundraising goal?

Tired of reality? Let’s play fantasy fundraising! It’s easy and fun. You can hire anyone you want to do anything you want for your nonprofit. The sky’s the limit. Do you need a fundraising professional who can produce the most unique and exciting event ever heard of? One who can also market value-rich sponsorship packages and sell out the event? Write that down.

What about a professional who can build a social media presence and sustain an engaged following for your university or college? Someone who interacts with your young alumni, keeps them up to date, creates fun and competitive giving opportunities and – at the end of the year – shows you a documented increase in alumni giving. Write that down.

Maybe your fantasy is a fundraising professional who is a well connected multi-tasker. She knows everybody. Young professionals and highly placed executives admire her and want to be in her presence. She is a wiz at technology and in just two weeks identifies the right software to run your fundraising back office, tests its reporting functions, migrates existing data, finds those old spreadsheets and enters all the data into the new system. She also finds that stack of business cards, knows everyone personally, places a call to each, records their interests and sends each a copy of your most recent newsletter. At lunch she secures two $50,000 gifts. You love her!

We all have fundraising dreams. We want the money to show up so we can focus on the important work of the organizations and institutions we believe in. It’s understandable. Fundraising is hard work. It requires planning and the right team of professionals and volunteers. And, it can be undermined by fundraising fantasies.

Fantasy thinking can keep us focused on wishes instead of plans. The difference is this: wishes come true magically; plans require involvement, creativity and consistency.

Take the time to dream big and then take the time to plan. Your dreams can come true.

Image courtesy of digitalart 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.