Reward for Collaboration

May 29, 2008

There are so many new opportunities with unique ways to find funding online that have never been there before. I’ve decided to promote some of those larger and more creative awards on my site. So if your organization is looking for a grant of some kind I will have a place you can go to find some of the more creative and online specific ones. You can find more information about grants & competitions by visiting the Grants page.

You may remember a recent article I published called, Competition or Collaboration. I recently heard about an award that rewards organizations that are working in collaborative. What a great idea! Here are some details:

The Lodestar Foundation is funding a competition called The Collaboration Challenge.

[They are] awarding $250,000 to the collaboration (two or more nonprofits) that present the most compelling evidence as to how business was streamlined, a cause advanced or a group’s quality of life was improved by virtue of the collaboration.

The money will be split between the organizations involved in the collaboration. You can nominate any nonprofit (including your own) but the collaboration must have been going for 18 months before the nomination. Nominations will be accepted June 1 to July 21 for a full list of requirements and suggest a nominee visit The Collaboration Challenge website.

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The Wellspring Foundation: Org of the Month

May 26, 2008

I am excited to promote The Wellspring Foundation as this month’s Org of the Month. I personally give to this organization and am amazed at the things they are able to do. Please read more about the organization below or watch their compelling video. If you want to do more for the organization: Become a fan on Facebook; Give a gift to support children in Rwanda (thru CanadaHelps or Network for Good); They has specifically asked for grant writing tips or connections to new grant opportunities.

In a few sentences what is your non-profit about? And what areas do you serve?

Wellspring is seeking to empower a new generation of leaders in Rwanda through quality, Christian values based education. Since 2004, we have offered training to hundreds of teachers, established a Professional Development Center, developed a model Christian school called the Wellspring Academy, supported the growth of the 800 member Association of Committed Teachers (ACT) Rwanda, and launched an innovative community-focused solution for school transformation called Whole School Development.

What are the major fundraising programs you have?

Right now we are directing major gifts towards the completion of the Wellspring Academy Secondary School and monthly gifts are going towards supporting the transformation of 8 national schools, 172 teachers, and over 10,000 students. Donors can give online by credit card, by check, through stocks, or bequeaths and are either individuals, foundations, churches, schools, or businesses.
I wanted to make a short plug to give for just $70 per month you could support the transformation of a school classroom of over 60 children. That breaks down to only $14 per child I am making a $70 gift every month do you want to match me and maybe together we can fund all the classrooms in the school (thru CanadaHelps or Network for Good).

What sector do you raise money for (health, poverty, arts, etc.) and how is that different from raising money in another sector?

Overseas education…the challenging part of raising money for overseas project is that very few people we are approaching have the opportunity to experience Rwanda for themselves and so we have to create a deep connection to this place halfway around the World. Improving education is also a long term process. People who support us are able to see how their gift will be multiplied, even though it may not be fully realized until several years down the road.

What geographic area does your charity serve and where is it located?

Rwanda (we are located from the capital city Kigali)

Any tips on how to approach donors in your area?

Build long term meaningful relationships in which people can feel part of what they give towards. If you create raving fans, instead of merely donors, your work will be multiplied far more quickly and you will not be limited to the contacts of the paid professionals on your fundraising team.

Any pointers for organizations in your area that help non-profit professionals?

Have a learning attitude. When people feel their thoughts and ideas are welcomed, they are much more likely to feel they have something to contribute to the organization.

Do you have any problems or questions that you would like to ask for answers form the philanthropic community?

I would be interested to hear tips from people who have had a track record of writing successful grant proposals.


Third Party Help: Capital Campaign Interview

May 23, 2008

I hope that you enjoyed this week’s posts, Key Components, Campaign Strategy, Current Trends & The Ask, and Online Strategy. I want to say a big thank you again to The Collins Group, Lipman Hearne, and Convio. Make sure to visit their sites to see what they can offer your organization when you start to think about a capital campaign.

Should all capital campaigns have third party (i.e. consulting) help? What is the advantage of this kind of help?

The Collins Group:
It’s a choice each nonprofit needs to evaluate when contemplating a campaign; not all organizations require campaign counsel. The greatest return from counsel comes from creating and driving the campaign plan, working alongside the client to develop appropriate strategies for each prospective donor, and training and preparing staff and volunteers for face-to-face fundraising activities. Often counsel can have greater effect on board members than staff because they bring new ideas and are not part of past discussions. Visit The Giving Institute website for tips on how to choose fundraising counsel.
Dana Van Nest, Marketing Director and Kate Roosevelt, CFRE, Vice President, www.collinsgroup.com

Lipman Hearne:
It’s not a matter of whether or not, but of how much, and to what purpose. A very sophisticated and well-resourced advancement operation might need fundraising counsel only to conduct a feasibility study and provide board training and some external perspective. A less sophisticated and more scarcely-resourced organization might need fundraising counsel to do a lot more. In terms of campaign communications support, many institutions do fine in developing their case and producing materials, and others get consumed in internal conflicts that don’t let them distinguish between institutional need and donor benefit – so the case suffers – and don’t have the skills or experience to recognize and/or exploit the “special moment” that the campaign must express. Outside perspective and experience are frequently useful, as are skills that a consulting firm has in-house and uses every day, in contrast to the skills in an institution that might only be asked to devise campaign strategies every five to seven years.
Robert Moore, Managing Partner, www.lipmanhearne.com

What can your business offer a nonprofit looking at doing a capital campaign and what is it that you do that is different than your competitors?

The Collins Group:
The Collins Group is the largest, most experienced fundraising consulting firm in the region and the largest woman-owned fundraising consulting firm in the country. We tailor our services to the specific needs and vision of each client. The Collins Group signature is innovative solutions to fundraising challenges based on broad knowledge of Northwest communities. Our innovative approach to the application of proven fundraising methods delivers superior results to diverse nonprofit organizations. Since 1979, we have helped our clients raise more than $1.2 billion.

For organizations considering a capital campaign, we would start with a phone conversation or meeting to determine their readiness. The first step in a campaign is usually a campaign feasibility study. With our studies, you not only get a report with analysis and recommendations, but also a plan to move forward.
Dana Van Nest, Marketing Director and Kate Roosevelt, CFRE, Vice President, www.collinsgroup.com

Convio:
We can provide both the software and the services required to have an effective online component to your campaign. We work well with other agencies to drive coordination.
Vinay Bhagat, Chief Strategy Officer and Founder, www.convio.com

Lipman Hearne:
We have been providing high quality, on-target, smart and gorgeous campaign materials to our clients for more than 30 years. We have produced materials for many of the largest campaigns in higher education, health care, and the arts, and bring both experience and an urgency for “fresh approaches” to each new assignment. We know how to work with both institutional and volunteer leadership, and we are committed to your success. While I believe that there are many firms who do this kind of work very well indeed, I don’t think that anybody does it better.
Robert Moore, Managing Partner, www.lipmanhearne.com

Please leave any comments or advice of your own below. If you would like to see past and upcoming online interviews you can visit the Interviews page. I want this week’s posts to be used and available to as many people in the nonprofit world as possible. Please send this link to a friend, stumble this post, or simply take a minute to leave some feedback. Thanks for reading!


Online Strategy: Capital Campaign Interview

May 22, 2008

I hope that you enjoyed this week’s posts, Key Components, Campaign Strategy, and Current Trends & The Ask. Our final topic for tomorrow is third party help. I want this week’s posts to be used and available to as many people in the nonprofit world as possible. Please send this link to a friend, stumble this post, or simply take a minute to leave some feedback.

Do you recommend having an online fundraising strategy as part of your capital campaign? How would you go about doing this?

Convio:
Absolutely. Nowadays, I believe that it is important to incorporate a Web based strategy as part of a capital campaign. The objective is not to raise a lot of money on line per se, but to identify new prospects and to cultivate/ steward existing prospects and donors. Our research paper, the Wired Wealthy indicated that 66% of high value donors will go online to review a nonprofit’s Website prior to making a contribution to a new organization. Just like you’d make sure your facility was “up to snuff” if you had a major donor visit, the same applies to your Website. I recommend creating a campaign “micro-site” or mini Website focused on the campaign exclusively. It should have inspirational content, make it clear to donors how their funds would be applied, have an online giving option with gift levels/ asks tied to the theme of the campaign e.g. buy a brick, and have the ability to have prospects/ donors sign up for email. I also recommend an email cultivation strategy, with content segmented by prospects and donors at minimum. Major gift officers can leverage an online marketing tool like Convio to not only run the microsite and email outreach, but also to track the online engagement of prospects and donors. Often times, capital campaigns also have events associated with them. In those cases an online registration component should be included.
Vinay Bhagat, Chief Strategy Officer and Founder, www.convio.com

The Collins Group:
Savvy nonprofits already use online fundraising in their annual fund programs to encourage regular giving. All campaigns should have some element of an online fundraising strategy, whether it’s a portal for a donor to make a pledge, a web site for sharing campaign and project updates, or emails that solicit gifts. Gifts made online are usually smaller than gifts solicited in person, but the social networking and communications values of “e-philanthropy” should not be overlooked.
Dana Van Nest, Marketing Director and Kate Roosevelt, CFRE, Vice President, www.collinsgroup.com

Lipman Hearne:
Online fundraising is growing in importance, but more on the annual fund or operating income side than in the capital/major gifts arena. Major and leadership gifts are given as a result of direct and engaged conversations between a donor and institutional or volunteer leadership; that level of intimacy is not possible – even through Web 2.0. Ask yourself: what’s the maximum amount of money you would commit – either to a philanthropic cause or to a consumer purchase decision – through the Web without, in essence, “kicking the tires”? $500? $5,000? $50,000? In most cases, this level of commitment would not rise to the major or leadership gift strata. And major gifts drive campaigns. Online giving, properly managed, can provide a terrific new way to engage annual or operational donors, and get them in the “cultivation queue” (particularly in regard to younger donors), and online outreach can be a terrific tool in terms of stewardship, communications, and donor community engagement, but in the end the dollars are going to be brought in by the door-to-door retail slog.
Robert Moore, Managing Partner, www.lipmanhearne.com

Please leave any comments or advice of your own below. If you would like to see past and upcoming online interviews you can visit the Interviews page. Thanks for reading!


Current Trends & The Ask: Capital Campaign Interview

May 21, 2008

I hope that you enjoyed this week’s posts, Key Components and Campaign Strategy. Other topics that are coming this week are including an online strategy, and third party help. I want this week’s posts to be used and available to as many people in the nonprofit world as possible. Please send this link to a friend, stumble this post, or simply take a minute to leave some feedback. Today I am asking about current trends and determining the amount for a capital ask.

What are some new and developing campaign trends?

The Collins Group:

  • More organizations are creating comprehensive campaigns that bring together annual, capital, and endowment fundraising goals for a specific period of time
  • We are seeing an increase in planning for endowment campaigns, particularly in sectors such as arts and culture that have capitalized over the past decade
  • The community college sector is expanding its fundraising power with more and more colleges moving into their first-ever privately funded building and/or endowment campaign
  • More donors are giving “tester” gifts early in a campaign and following up with additional gifts as a campaign progresses. This makes donor stewardship during a campaign more important than ever

Dana Van Nest, Marketing Director and Kate Roosevelt, CFRE, Vice President, www.collinsgroup.com

Lipman Hearne:
As the economic disparities in our society have increased, the old 80/20 rule has become 90/10 or higher. And, campaigns continue to get bigger and the “breathing space” between them is typically reduced. It’s not unusual for us to talk about how to wrap up a current, successful campaign and how to launch the next one – all during the course of a single meeting.
Robert Moore, Managing Partner, www.lipmanhearne.com

How do you determine the ask amount for a capital ask?

The Collins Group:
As a starting place, your organization should research the prospect’s giving history to your organization and to others, assess their level of commitment to your mission, and identify their giving capacity (e.g. professional history, assets, family history). It is most effective to have peers of the prospect involved in both establishing a respectful ask amount and soliciting the gift. Asking for a multi-year pledge can also help a donor see a way to “stretch” their giving.
Dana Van Nest, Marketing Director and Kate Roosevelt, CFRE, Vice President, www.collinsgroup.com

Lipman Hearne:
Through the feasibility study process, ongoing conversations, prospect rating systems, and an examination of public data regarding the prospect’s financial status. One of the old truisms of fundraising is that “nobody is offended by being asked for too much” – the assumption being that the prospect says to himself or herself, “they must think I’m doing really well.” Overshooting the mark by a ridiculous amount, though, would cause a prospect to think that you haven’t really done your homework or preparation very well.
Robert Moore, Managing Partner, www.lipmanhearne.com

Please leave any comments or advice of your own below. If you would like to see past and upcoming online interviews you can visit the Interviews page. Thanks for reading!


Campaign Strategy: Capital Campaign Interview

May 20, 2008

I hope that you enjoyed yesterday’s post, Key Components. Other topics that are coming this week are current trends, determining the amount for a capital ask, including an online strategy, and third party help. I want this week’s posts to be used and available to as many people in the nonprofit world as possible. Please send this link to a friend, stumble this post, or simply take a minute to leave some feedback.

Does campaign strategy change in each third sector industry (arts, social services, education, etc.)?

The Collins Group:
Campaigns across the third sector are a mix of art and science. While best practices are uniform, specific strategies should be tailored depending on the type, size, and stage of organization. For example, the campaign strategy for an organization with 10,000 members will look very different than that for an organization that has relied on foundation and corporate support.
Dana Van Nest, Marketing Director and Kate Roosevelt, CFRE, Vice President, www.collinsgroup.com

Lipman Hearne:
To some extent, yes, though the real “outrider” is in social services. To a certain extent, campaigns in education, the arts, and health can all frame themselves at least in part through recognizing some core “self-interest” among people who have had direct contact with their services: alumni/ae, patrons, or grateful patients. Each of these institutions, while having to identify and appeal to a distinct segment of stakeholders, can base a good deal of its argument on an “earned” awareness of the quality of its programs by people who have participated in or benefited from them. Social service agencies, though, don’t often find people whom they served (the homeless, for example) becoming major donors or prospects, so their case has to be constructed in a broader context of “public good.” Social service agencies are also typically supported in large part by governmental contracts (for housing, foster care, aid to dependent children, etc.), so the case has to be made in such a way as it shows the marked improvements that such marginal philanthropic funding can generate.
Robert Moore, Managing Partner, www.lipmanhearne.com

Please leave any comments or advice of your own below. If you would like to see past and upcoming online interviews you can visit the Interviews page. Thanks for reading


Key Components: Capital Campaign Interview

May 19, 2008

I am excited to bring to you my second online interview. I am interviewing a couple of skilled consultants on the topic of Capital Campaigns. Over the course of this week we will talk about campaign strategy, current trends, determining the amount for a capital ask, including an online strategy, and third party help. I would like to extend a special thanks to our interviewees The Collins Group, Lipman Hearne and Convio (When we discuss online strategy). It should be mentioned that each of these consulting groups is very different. In reference to a capital campaign The Collins Group would be your campaign counsel and manage your feasibility study. Lipman Hearne would be great to work with regarding key messaging and building your case and Convio focuses on online fundraising

What are the key components of a successful capital campaign?

The Collins Group:
There are six components that determine the success of a capital campaign. They are:

  1. Strong board, staff, and volunteer leadership
  2. Clear project definition and a compelling case for support
  3. Ready and willing leadership donors (a dozen gifts often make up more than 50 percent of the campaign goal)
  4. Solid reputation and visible organization
  5. Adequate fundraising staffing, systems, and infrastructure
  6. Timing (e.g. economic concerns and competing projects)

Dana Van Nest, Marketing Director and Kate Roosevelt, CFRE, Vice President, www.collinsgroup.com

Lipman Hearne:
Through the feasibility study process, ongoing conversations, prospect rating systems, and an examination of public data regarding the prospect’s financial status. One of the old truisms of fundraising is that “nobody is offended by being asked for too much” – the assumption being that the prospect says to himself or herself, “they must think I’m doing really well.” Overshooting the mark by a ridiculous amount, though, would cause a prospect to think that you haven’t really done your homework or preparation very well.
Robert Moore, Managing Partner, www.lipmanhearne.com

Please leave any comments or advice of your own below. If you would like to see past and upcoming online interviews you can visit the Interviews page. Thanks for reading!