Part 1 of this series focused on the need to identify and recruit potential capital campaign chairs several years in advance of a campaign. If they are not already serving as leadership volunteers in your philanthropy program, you can take the following steps:
- Invite these prospective campaign chairs and leaders to become involved in your program.
- Teach best practices in donor cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship.
- Emphasize the vital importance of listening to donors to better understand their interests and motivations.
- Roleplay solicitations to demonstrate calling for an appointment, presenting your case, working as a team, making the ask, and dealing with objections.
- Have them accompany you on solicitation visits so they can observe you in action, participate in the conversation, and become comfortable with the process.
- When they are ready, allow them to take the lead during the visit, and then critique their performance afterward.
- Evaluate their potential as leadership volunteers and donors.
- Strategically groom them for a leadership role.
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Keep smiling, you tell yourself.
Your CEO is informing you, the chief development officer, that your organization’s board just approved a major building project that hadn’t been on your radar. What also wasn’t on your radar: a $10 million capital campaign (or $25 million or $50 million) that’s needed to supplement other funding sources.
Maintain a good poker face, you think. After all, a well-planned, successful capital campaign will take your philanthropy program to a higher level.
And there’s more news: your CEO wants to break ground in six to 12 months if fast-tracked approvals can be secured. And who, she asks, should lead the capital campaign? Continue reading »
They spoke no English and hadn’t been shaving for too many years when they arrived in the United States soon after World War 2. The three brothers came here to build a better life for themselves and, once settled, they eventually combined their skills to open a small business carving cemetery monuments. They led quiet lives that didn’t include wives and children, and they were never known in their community much beyond the granite headstones that circled their business. Certainly, no one would have guessed that they possessed the means to leave almost $2 million to local charities. Continue reading »
Are you doing that annual dance with your CFO to keep professional membership and conference fees from being cut from your development/advancement budget? One CFO I worked with years ago eliminated the money from my budget, never to be seen again. He reasoned that since I didn’t need the funds that year (because he wouldn’t let me spend the money), then I certainly didn’t need them in the future. Okay then . . .
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There are a lot of studies, some positive and most negative, about the impact on giving based on the Tax and Jobs Act of 2017 passed and signed into law in December 2017. Although we don’t know what the impact will be as of yet, there are things we do know. Below is a summary of what you should know as a charitable gift officer.
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Frequently, we hear from clients that they just can’t seem to get the right message across to generate excitement or create a compelling need for donors to give. After reviewing their past attempts at connecting with their audience or looking over the direction they would like to go, sometimes we find that they are just too close to the organization to be completely objective about what is and what is not important to donors.
When this is the case, we encourage those developing the message to take a step back and remember why they became involved and/or have stayed involved with the organization. We ask what the key benefits that individual sees and feels, and how can we build on that feeling as we try to pique the interest in others? Oftentimes, once we realize what drives those closest to the organization, it’s easy to create a compelling message that others connect with and want to support.
The hardest part of crafting a message is recognizing the most relatable aspects of your organization and clearly showing how others are impacted or benefited by the work it is doing. Sometimes all it takes is a different perspective.
For us here in the Northeast, we are still waiting on Spring to really arrive. We are looking forward to warmer days, blossoms on the trees, the arrival of birds from their winter homes, and the start of EVENT SEASON.
Spring is such a natural time of year for organizations to host events – both annual and special events. Fun runs are great for community engagement and awareness. Golf outings allow sponsors who have been supportive of your organization to be recognized and to renew their commitment to your cause. Galas are opportunities to introduce your charity to a new audience through featured entertainment, exclusive venues, and pre-event publicity. There is a LOT of good that can come from an event, but that must be weighed against the work, time, and energy that goes into producing a successful event.
When planning something for your organization, be mindful of the commitment you are making of your staff and volunteers and be sure everyone is up to the task. Remember that there is always an upfront cost associated with putting on a great event and the proceeds from participants or attendees can’t always be guaranteed. A realistic budget is important, as is a clear marketing/promotional plan. Recruiting volunteers who have experience in running a specific type of event are key players in the process and should be recognized for their abilities and knowledge. Don’t forget the reason for putting on an event and don’t lose sight of the overall mission and vision of your organization. And, above all, try to enjoy the incredible special event you’ve worked so hard to realize.
A while back, we were working with a client whose membership had not been exposed to the idea of philanthropic giving as a culture. The client’s goal was to increase overall giving by the general membership in an effort to support the mission of the organization. For many years, it was assumed that dues and outside support were enough to sustain the amazing work the group is doing. Unfortunately, this was not the case and it was becoming more and more clear that they would not be able to maintain their level of quality work if something didn’t change to give them an increased revenue stream.
The idea of conducting a Capital Campaign was discussed and after a Feasibility Study was completed it was determined there was an opportunity to increase funding through the membership. But how?
The notion of conducting a formal Capital Campaign seemed almost too extreme to the leadership. Afterall, the members were not used to philanthropic giving and to immediately launch into a “campaign” could be viewed by some as aggressive. Instead, we decided the better approach would be to frame it as a shift in thinking. By taking some of the same elements as a Capital Campaign such as educating stakeholders, involving key influencers, and communicating the needs and benefits of the group, we are achieving the same results without raising concern or comfort level from those we hope to enlist in this effort. Creativity and flexibility are paramount in any fundraising initiative…think outside the box and don’t be restricted by names.