Tag Archives: new year

How to recruit fundraising volunteers

fundraising, fundraising planning, , 2014 fundraising, new year, fundraising tips, how to grow your fundraisingSuccessful fundraising requires qualified volunteer leadership. Whether you are launching an annual campaign or a capital campaign you need a campaign chair who is committed to your cause and willing to put in the time required to achieve your fundraising goal. The ideal chair makes your goal his goal. He is well respected, has a track record of leadership in local and regional fundraising campaigns, and the financial means to make a leadership-level gift. He is someone people cannot say “no” to, and he hates to fail. He allocates the necessary time to lead and manage the campaign, and provides pro-bono services. He is comfortable making the case and asking for gifts. He both attends and leads campaign meetings, bringing out the best in others, and encouraging all to give to their capacity.

If you are wondering where to find such an individual, we suggest looking at your existing relationships, starting with long-term donors and current major donors. Consider current and former board members and advisors. Reflect on the well-respected leaders in your community and create a list of those who might benefit from being involved with your campaign. Remember: not all volunteerism is altruistic! A commitment to your organization’s mission is critical, but self-interest could also be a driver.

Here are a few examples. A bank president may have lost a grandchild to domestic violence and wants to interrupt the cycle and save others from such grief. An alumnus may want to enhance her profile in anticipation of a future run for state-wide office. A business leader from another part of the country may be relocating her business operations to your community and needs to build relationships and goodwill. You may be surprised at what drives people’s intentions and who wants to support your fundraising.

As you recruit your chair, share your fundraising plan with him. Give him time to review your plan so he can determine if he has the time, connections, and willingness to make it work. Ask him who he wants to support his efforts: Let him invite others to join his fundraising team. He may have a circle of colleagues he works with who can “make things happen.”

While it takes time to identify, solicit, and engage your top fundraising leadership, your efforts will yield results. An engaged and qualified chair can do more for your campaign than an enthusiastic chair who lacks experience and connections.

Here are the top three things to remember in regard to fundraising leadership. First, leadership is critical to the success of any fundraising effort. Second, fundraising must be volunteer-driven, with strong, experienced leadership. Third, people give to people.

Leadership is key to fundraising readiness: we invite you to assess your fundraising readiness for free at www.saadandshaw.com

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.

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Three tips for fundraising success

fundraising, fundraising planning, , 2014 fundraising, new year, fundraising tips, how to grow your fundraisingProper planning can set you up for fundraising success. Visualize your success, feel it in your heart, and then make sure the prerequisites for fundraising success are in place before you start soliciting. Here are three tips to launch your 2014 fundraising in the right direction.

First, create a clear, concise, and compelling case for financial support that ties back to the organization’s strategic plan. Your case should be a short, and easy-to-read, forward-looking document that communicates what you are raising money for and how the funds will be used. It should communicate the projected impact of your organization and how a donor’s or funder’s support will make a difference in the lives of those you serve or advocate for. The “case” is used as the basis for verbal and written introductions and solicitations of time, services, goods, and money. It should drive the content of your marketing campaigns. Fundraising is a competitive endeavor — if you are not raising funds for your organization, someone else is raising money for theirs. It is important that your nonprofit can make the case for its impact, value and what makes it unique.

Second, complete a fundraising feasibility study or survey. You know the value of your nonprofit, but do your current and potential donors feel the same way? Are you sure that the fundraising priorities you set match the priorities of the giving community you seek to engage? Can you count on your donors for continuing – and increasing – support, or are they in the process of revising their giving priorities? A fundraising feasibility study or survey will provide you with information from those who have the finances and influence to impact your fundraising in a positive or negative way. This should be conducted by an outside firm for confidentiality. There are many reasons why people can’t or won’t personally share with you their true assessment of your nonprofit and their willingness or capacity to give. An outside firm can talk with current and potential donors and provide a confidential report. Such a report typically includes an assessment of how much your nonprofit could expect to raise, how your nonprofit is perceived by the giving community (including strengths and challenges), what would influence increased giving, and who could provide volunteer leadership and funding.

Third, develop a time-phased fundraising plan. This should be more than a spreadsheet. While spreadsheets can track activities your plan should be more robust. It should include roles and responsibilities for staff, board members and volunteers; the fundraising methods you will use and expected revenue (and costs!) for each; a gift chart; and milestones that hold all parties accountable for consistent progress.

Next week: How to recruit fundraising volunteers. In the meantime, we invite you to assess your fundraising readiness for free at www.saadandshaw.com

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.

Four tips for a successful fundraising year

tips for fundraising success, fundraising, fundraising planning, , 2014 fundraising, new yearHappy New Year! Are you beginning 2014 with your hopes pinned on a bountiful new year? Does your vision of December 2014 include smiling faces as you toast members of your fundraising team, celebrating a year that broke fundraising records? Are you dreaming of fundraising success, or are you planting seeds that can bear fruit this year and for years to come?

We suggest giving your dreams a strong foundation: put in place the prerequisites for fundraising success. There are 18 things you can focus on throughout the year that will help ensure fundraising success in 2014 and for years to come. This column focuses on four: agreement, commitment, teamwork, and a budget.

Start with agreement. Do the leaders of your organization agree on the fundraising priorities and how much needs to be raised?  Are the goals in line with your nonprofit’s strategic direction? Does everyone understand the current financial position? Are the goals realistic? Is there an understanding of where the money could come from? Are there contingency plans in place in case initial donors or funders are unable or unwilling to give at the level your nonprofit anticipates?

Move on to commitment. Your board might approve a budget that depends on the organization raising a specific amount of money, but that is not the same as being committed to ensuring the funds are raised. Leaders demonstrate commitment through their own personal giving. If board members won’t give, why should anyone else? Involvement is another way to demonstrate commitment. Are board members willing to host friendraisers and fundraisers? Talk with current and prospective funders? Introduce your nonprofit to a new circle of potential supporters?

Board participation is critical, but no board can achieve fundraising success on its own. A larger team is required. Engage those who can make a difference in your nonprofit’s fundraising by asking them to join a fundraising leadership team. Invite donors, local business and community leaders, your employees, volunteers and those who benefit from the work of your nonprofit to lend their skills, enthusiasm and relationships. Colleges, universities, private schools and charter schools should always engage alumni. Set up weekly or monthly meetings for the team and make sure there are clear and well defined roles for each team member.

Make sure the annual operating budget includes funds to support your fundraising efforts. The old saying is true: it takes money to make money. Successful fundraising requires the consistent allocation of time, money and resources. Take the time to determine how much can be allocated to fundraising, and set realistic expectations regarding how much can be raised.

Over the next few weeks we will introduce additional prerequisites for fundraising success. In the meantime, we invite you to assess your fundraising readiness for free at www.saadandshaw.com.

Image courtesy of jannoon028 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.

Anticipating 2014 Fundraising Success

Part two of a two part series (Read Part One: 2013 Fundraising Reflections)

fundraising, fundraising planning, fundraising strategies, new year, Nonprofit ResourcesIn our last column we asked you to reflect on your fundraising for the past year and to record your answers to three questions: What have you done well, which activities or strategies didn’t meet expectations, and were your goals realistic. In anticipation of the coming year, we suggest you use the wisdom gained from your reflections to lay the groundwork for 2014.

#1. Lead with your strengths. As you anticipate your fundraising activities for 2014 build on those things you did well in 2013. If special events are the revenue driver for your nonprofit, stay with that. Find incremental ways to build on what is already in place. In order to protect your nonprofit’s revenue in the future, make sure you also allocate time and resources to building other fundraising programs. For example, to grow your individual giving program you can begin identifying and following up with individuals who attend your events to determine which donors and underwriters are interested in other forms of giving and engagement. If your nonprofit has built a strong annual campaign, allocate time and resources to identifying potential major donors and deploying strategies designed to engage them in higher levels of giving.

#2. Rethink strategies that didn’t meet expectations. Not every fundraising strategy is a success the first time you work with it. If there are strategies that worked that well in 2013, review your reflection notes, and discuss the challenges and potential adjustments with other members of your fundraising team. Identify changes for 2014. Consider setting “check points” – times during the year when you will review the strategy, your progress, the extent to which the identified changes are being implemented, and whether or not they are effective. You may find that your changes can increase revenue. You may determine the strategy is not one that should be pursued, even with the modifications.

#3. Make sure your fundraising plan includes timeframes, roles and responsibilities, and a budget. Too often a fundraising plan is a wish and a prayer. Goals are identified, but the people, time and money required to achieve the goals are unavailable. If your nonprofit wants to “ramp up” its fundraising, it will need to ramp up its investment as well. Take the time to determine who will be responsible for taking the lead in ensuring specific goals are met within an agreed upon timeframe. Write up responsibilities for all team members. Create a budget and ensure the funds are allocated.

Upcoming columns will focus on the prerequisites for fundraising success – the 18 things we have learned through our work that are the foundation of a strong fundraising program. As you prepare for 2014 take some time to read our two books: they are available on Amazon.com, easy to read, and written for you.

Merry Christmas!

Photo credit: Beth from Flickr

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.

New Year – New Career – Fundraising. – Part Two

Part two of a two part series

In the first RolesResponsibilitiespart of this series we encouraged you to consider a career in fundraising. It’s a career that gives you a “voice at the table” and introduces you to those who have the resources to make change.

People in fund development and fundraising help influence service delivery, public policy, education, research, advocacy, and more. Success in fund development can bring you to the decision making table. It’s also excellent preparation for serving as an executive director.

“How do I start?” you might ask. If you are can secure work with a hospital, college, or public radio or television station you can learn the systems and procedures that represent best practices.. Working in fundraising for one of these institutions can provide insight into the different strategies and activities that comprise fundraising.

Another way to gain experience is to volunteer as a board member or fundraiser for an organization you believe in. If you are interested in learning through doing, be sure to interview the leadership of the organization and tell them your goals. Also, make sure their fundraising is well-organized and effective, and is a program you will actually learn from.

You may also find that your private or government sector experience is transferrable. The following is an overview job titles and responsibilities within the nonprofit sector. Knowing the terminology and responsibilities can help you assess career opportunities and the extent to which your skills may be transferrable.

  • Chief Development Officer, Vice President for Development – executive charged with fundraising management.
  • Data management specialist – enters fundraising-related data into a database and generates fundraising management reports.
  • Development Assistant – provides administrative support to staff, board and volunteers.
  • Development Coordinator – coordinates fundraising activities. Specific responsibilities vary from organization to organization.
  • Grant writer/Proposal Writer – researches foundations, corporations and government agencies that make grants in the areas your organization specializes in. Writes proposals that meet funders’ objectives and reports required by funders.
  • Major Gifts Officer – cultivates and solicits major gifts. Works with board members and high-level volunteers. Major gifts can range from $2,500 to $250,000 to $2,500,000 or more.

The following fundraising activities can be filled at the coordinator, manager or director level depending on an organization’s needs and the skills of the individual. As you review consider how your experience could be of value to a future nonprofit employer.

  • Alumni Relations –engages alumni and encourages annual giving that increases over time.
  • Annual Campaign – secures gifts from individuals on an annual basis often ranging from $25 to $2,500.
  • Corporate and Foundation Relations – identifies, cultivates and solicits individuals within corporations and foundations responsible for grant making, underwriting and sponsorships.
  • Direct Mail – creates, manages and grows direct mail programs that encourage current and prospective donors to give through the mail or online.
  • Donor Relations –sustains and strengthens relationships between donors and the organization. Encourages continued giving and shares giving opportunities that match a donor’s giving priorities.
  • Membership – develops and manages programs that enroll members who pay a fee in exchange for benefits or services.
  • Special Events – designs and/or manages special events ensuring they are financially profitable.

We wish you every success in your career!

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts” and the “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success: The 18 Things You Need to Know as a Fundraising Professional, Board Member, or Volunteer”. Follow on twitter @saadshaw