Tagged: Philanthropic Culture

A Good Time To Do Good

kindness-3“Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can.” ~ unattributed

There seems to be a dispute about whether or not this quote can be attributed to John Wesley or not.

In fact there’s a whole website dedicated to the quotes John Wesley did not say.

But who said it, doesn’t matter nearly as much to me as what the quote suggests.

Doing good.

Right now, using all the gifts at your disposal, no matter the circumstances.

No matter where you are, what time it is, who you are with and how much time you have left, doing good is a worthy endeavor.

Not just when you’re at the top of your game; when all the pieces are falling into place.

But do good when your bottom’s falling out.

When you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Do good when you don’t want to — especially when you don’t want to.

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

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Making A Difference Where It Matters To You

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Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you ~ Oprah Winfrey

Fundraising is FUN!

You get to meet and be inspired by so many wonderful people who want to make this world a better place. You get to match great need with needed resources.

You get to be part of something that is transformational.

You get to build community.

So make sure you’re aligned with an organization that answers a need you’re passionate about. One that mirrors your vision and values.

Making a difference where it matters to you, is just as important to a fundraiser as it is to a donor.

Are you making a difference where it matters to you?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

 

Two Simple, Yet Powerful Words…

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Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow ~Melody Beattie

A FEW YEARS BACK I got to do one of my favourite things.

I sat down at my desk with a list of ten names.

Each had made a recent donation to the non-profit organization I worked for.

These ten people contributed to the bottom line.

But there’s a deeper story.

About a week or two before this list hit my desk;

Ten people in the privacy of their homes thought about my organization.

They thought about the work that is done;

how it makes the world a better place;

they thought about their loved ones who receive quality care from our passionate and dedicated staff;

and then each one, in his/her own home, sat down and wrote a cheque.

That just blows my mind. It fills me with deep gratitude.

Armed with my list I had the privilege of calling each one to tell them that:

  • they made my day
  • we couldn’t do it without them
  • and thank you.

Turns out I made their day too.

Two simple, yet powerful words.

When’s the last time you said thank you?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

Building An Annual Plan From Scratch

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Having a good annual fund development plan keeps you focused on the work that needs to get done and raises money for your organization. But what do you do when you join an organization that has no plan in place? How do you build a development plan from scratch?

Something that has worked for me is to envision what an annual plan will look like a few years down the road and develop strategies to get there.

SO WHERE TO START?

Examine the current status and get…

  • a good understanding of current trends and challenges.
  • a good understanding of the organization’s fund development history.
  • a good understanding of its donors.
  • a good understanding of who the organization is and what it does.

Explore fund development opportunities including:

  • Monthly Giving program
  • Major Donors program
  • Planned Giving program
  • Direct Mail program
  • Acquisition and Cultivation strategies including, fundraising opportunities with strong calls to action, third-party fundraising, proposal writing, marketing and promotions
  • Strategies for particular constituent types, i.e., individuals, businesses, foundations, groups, etc.
  • Tools and processes, i.e., database implementation, policies, procedures
  • Writing a case for support
  • Creating a good story and photo bank
  • Writing fundraising copy for each program for use in newsletters, fundraising letters, website, etc.
  • Creating a philanthropic culture starting with the board, staff and other volunteers
  • Identifying and developing strategies for capital needs
  • Creating volunteer opportunities and
  • Developing engagement strategies for the community at large

Once you’ve created a document of all the possibilities, develop a timeline for implementation with particular emphasis and detail on the strategies you plan to implement in the next 12 months.

Starting from scratch, allows you to build a plan that is customized to the needs of your organization. Although there is a lot of hard work involved, implementing the organization’s first annual plan will yield positive results.

Have you ever built an annual fund development program from scratch? What are some of the important lessons you learned? What tips would you recommend to someone who is building an organization’s first annual program?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

Are You Having Fun Yet?

Fundraisers are some of the most inspirational people to be around – their enthusiasm is contagious!

Masters of building strong relationships, fundraisers tap into the passions of donors and create meaningful opportunities that move them to support worthy causes.

Yes, you do well working with others outside of your organization. But how do other departments, within your organization, feel about the development department?

I’ve been around long enough to know about inter-departmental tensions.

Tensions between finance and development; the balance between compliance and seizing opportunities.

Tensions between program delivery and development; the balance between client confidentiality and sharing inspirational stories that show how people’s lives are changed.

Our attempts to build solid fund development strategies can create divisive chasms between departments if we push our agendas through with a You-Wouldn’t-Have-A-Program-To-Deliver-Without-Funds-To-Support-It-So-Get-With-The-Program mentality.

This is problematic because your staff and board are your closest stakeholders. They are your inner circle. If you can’t convince your closest stakeholders on the importance of engaging and soliciting support from your community, your influence and impact with your external stakeholders will suffer for it.

How to put the FUN Back into Fund development

imagesSo how do you get staff on board?

How do you build a foundation on which to create an organizational culture of philanthropy that inspires participation internally?

I think the answer lies in the fundamental point mentioned above.

You are masters in building strong relationships.

Following are some suggestions to promote mutual understanding and strengthen working relationships between departments in your organization.

Sit down with each department leader and: 

  • find out what they’re passionate about.
  • ask them what is important to them in order to do their job well.
  • learn how their role fits into the bigger picture. 
  • explore how you can help them to succeed in their role.

Then explain your role to them. Share how support is raised by connecting the passions of donors with the mission of your organization – how it’s about meeting the needs of your clients with the resources supplied by those who care about your clients.

Then tell them your door is always open:

  • to discuss, address and solve tensions as they come up.
  • to develop ways to work together that are mutually beneficial and encouraging.
  • to hear their ideas and joyfully conspire with them.
  • to provide support and materials needed for them to share their new-found enthusiasm with others.

You build strong relationships. That’s what you do and you’re good at it. So why not create a safe environment where creativity and participation are enthusiastically pursued and a commitment to support each other is valued.

What are you doing to create a vibrant culture of philanthropy in your organization?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

Spending Your Energy Wisely, Compassionately and Encouragingly

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There’s a lot of work to do in fundraising, especially at this time of year!

So you will want to spend your energy wisely.

Not just wisely though; compassionately and encouragingly as well.

  • DO ask your faithful donors for yearend gifts
  • DO make it easy for donors to give in a way that is convenient for them.
  • DON’T make your donors jump through hoops because it makes your job easier
  • DO thank all your donors in a timely manner
  • DO let your donors know how they are changing the world through their giving
  • DO honour your donors’ mailing preferences
  • DON’T try to convince those who are not interested in your cause to support you. DO encourage them to pursue and give to the causes they are passionate about.
  • DON’T ask again, if you haven’t said thank you
  • DON’T bully or use guilt to keep a donor who has indicated they can no longer support you. DO thank them for all they’ve done in the past and wish them well.

In a nutshell, treat donors as you would loved ones. Remember that not everyone likes your cause and that there are many worthy causes out there for donors to support. There’s enough to go around.

I would love to hear your tips for healthy donor relationships. Please leave them in the comment section below.

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

Saying Thank You and Why You Need To Do It

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. ~ G.K. Chesterton

untitledIn a previous post, I wrote about Asking For Money and Why You Need To Do It. Equally important, is saying thank you.

As a fundraiser, you work hard to resource your organization’s programs by soliciting donations, volunteers and community support. You know that if you don’t ask, it’s not going to happen.

And if feels good to connect a donor or volunteer with a person in need, doesn’t it? It makes you feel good. It makes the donor/volunteer feel good. It makes the person in need feel good.

Equally important is saying thank you. It validates the generosity of the giver and endears her to you and your organization’s mission.

YOUR THANK YOU LIST

Thank your team

If you have a development team, remember to thank them for their hard work. Your job is made so much easier through the efforts of the people who process your donations, coordinate your volunteers, plan your events and engage the community through communications and the development of promotional collateral.

Thank your donors

This is a no-brainer. Send timely thank you letters and receipts. Send handwritten notes. Surprise them with thank you calls. Tell their stories in your newsletters and on your social media platforms.

Thank your volunteers

Thank those who work on your capital campaigns and other fundraising efforts. Thank those who give their time in programs that serve your clients. Thank your board. Thank those who provide professional services for free.

Thank your co-workers

Thank those outside of your department; those on the frontlines who are often the first face the public sees. Your peers in other departments who support your efforts. Your CEO who meets with donors and attends the events you ask him to go to.

Thank your community

When you host a gala, create a sponsorship event, or put out an urgent need request to the public; consider placing a thank you ad in the paper, on the radio or on TV. Tell the story on Facebook, blogs and other social networks.

Asking for help to resource your organization’s programs is critical to fulfilling your mission. Equally important, is saying thank you.

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.