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.
In December of 2017, President Trump signed into law the Tax Cuts and Job Act. The law does not change a taxpayer’s ability to deduct charitable contributions as long as they are itemized deductions. But because of the increased standard deduction, it is likely that the number of taxpayers who itemize their deductions will be smaller and it could possibly impact future donor contributions. Continue reading »
As we wrap up 2017 we are grateful for the many clients we work with and the incredible people we meet each day who make our world a better place. While the landscape of philanthropy is always changing to consider the economic and social climate, the one constant is the underlying goal of non-profit organizations to improve the lives of others through the generosity of their supporters.
Continue reading »
“How can we find new sources of funding?” is one of the questions we get from our clients quite often. Across all types of not-for-profit organizations, most development teams are constantly plagued with this challenge.
Continue reading »
This week we are headed to the CASE Europe Annual Conference in Birmingham, England. CASE (the Council for Advancement and Support in Education), works with its members to develop stronger relationships with alumni and donors, raises funds for campus projects, produces recruitment materials, markets member institutions to students, aims to diversify the profession, and encourages the support of education.
Continue reading »
With the month of July behind us, it is inevitable that we start thinking about Back to School. While most students take the summer off, and many teachers try to leave their work behind for a few short months, Development Offices on campuses across the country are busy at work all summer long.
Continue reading »