Category

Campaign Planning + Management

Jeffrey Byrne to Speak at DonorPerfect Community Network Conference

By | All Posts, Campaign Planning + Management, Current Events/News, Events, Fundraising, Major Gift Solicitation, News You Can Use, Prospect Research | No Comments

Jeffrey Byrne, JB+A Firm President + CEO, is honored to be presenting with our Prospect Research Partner, DonorSearch, and the Belcourt Theatre, Nashville’s nonprofit film center, at the 2016 DonorPerfect Community Network Conference in Philadelphia, PA , September 19-20.  They will be discussing how to effectively utilize prospect research in capital campaigns.

DonorPerfect’s Community Network Conference is an annual gathering of industry experts from around the nation to speak about ways to improve fundraising success. It’s also a great time to network with other fundraising professionals to share best practices, tips and success stories.DP CNC LOgo

Jeffrey will join Ryan Woroniecki, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at DonorSearch, and Brook Bernard, Director of Development for the Belcourt Theatre, to illustrate the value of prospect research in campaign planning and implementation. Using the Belcourt Theatre’s recently completed campaign as a Case Study, Jeffrey, Ryan and Brook will share their processes and best practices for utilizing prospect research. Check out Jeffrey’s recent blog post on how to utilize research to improve capital campaigns.

Recognized for his distinctive client-focused philosophy to fundraising, Jeffrey is a frequent guest speaker at workshops and conferences across the United States.  He has also been quoted in numerous publications including the New York Times, The Chronicle of Philanthropy and Kansas City Star, and interviewed on many public radio and television stations.

As national consultant thought leaders in philanthropy, JB+A team members share our fundraising leadership, industry best practices and the latest sector research and trends.  If your organization is looking for a speaker or workshop presentation, reach out to JB+A here.

DonorPerfect provides complete fundraising and donor management nonprofit software – including managingdonorperfect logo constituent contacts and donor development, sending personalized communications, managing and scheduling fundraising events, online donation pages and DonorPerfect mobile – while integrating with other industry products and services.

SofterWare is based in Horsham, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. It was founded in 1981 with a mission to develop and support software that is easy to learn, easy to use and adaptable to users’ unique needs. The company has grown over 30 years from a small entrepreneurial business to a $35 million+ company with over 10,000 nonprofits and childcare, camp, school and payment processing clients. To learn more about DonorPerfect, click here.

donorsearch logoDonorSearch was founded in 2007 to provide more accurate, more comprehensive, more actionable data to help nonprofits of all types achieve better fundraising and outreach results. Using information from 25 databases, DonorSearch uses proprietary algorithms to help clients find the best philanthropic prospects. Its data can be easily integrated with most common donor management and general sales software, putting critical donor information at a client’s fingertips. (Learn more about DonorSearch here.)

The Belcourt Theatre’s mission is to engage, enrich and educate through innovative film programming in its historicbelcourt theatre, its community and beyond. A unique Nashville treasure with a vibrant historic past and deep roots in the community, this cultural institution is dedicated to presenting the best of independent, documentary, world, repertory and classic cinema. Learn more about the Belcourt Theatre here.

Don’t Commit Fundraising Malpractice

By | All Posts, Campaign Planning + Management, Database Management, Donor Cultivation, Major Gift Solicitation, News You Can Use, Prospect Research, Technology | No Comments

Jeffery ByrneJeffrey D. Byrne, President + CEO

I truly believe it is “fundraising malpractice” when nonprofits do not do their “homework” about prospective donors.  Much more than learning about the estimated wealth and capacity of a prospect, research can reveal information about philanthropic giving history and involvement as well as natural partners and connections. Then add the “human touch” of the prospect review committee process, and the result is powerful quantitative and qualitative data to help inform strategy development for prospective donors.

I am a big proponent of using philanthropic and wealth screenings in campaign planning. They offer a valuable data, help you determine when/if more in-depth individualized research is necessary and provide information beneficial beyond the campaign, that can help with strategies for planned giving and annual fund.

Here’s my simple and universal process for utilizing philanthropic and wealth screenings to strengthen campaigns:

  1. Determine your “end use”
    You cannot simply import the results back into your database, never look at them again and expect magic to happen. Be disciplined in defining how you are going to use the results to empower your fundraising activities. Do you need help in determining target ask amounts? Do you need to know more about giving histories, to determine if prospects might have an affinity for your mission?  Do you need to better understand the prospects’ peer networks to help you develop appropriate ways to connect with them? Before you select a screening vendor and before you select the screening product(s) to purchase, carefully think through how you need to use the data.
  1. “Screen” your vendor and product options
    Wealth and philanthropic screenings are investments – of both time and money – that merit a careful selection process. There are several vendor options, so do your homework. What is their methodology? What are their deliverables? Is education/training included? Do they verify their results? How long will the screening process take? Can the data be easily imported/integrated into your database? Do they support that process?  Ask for references. Then call them. And don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish.  Screenings are also opportunities to clean up your database. There are valuable services available that will assess and address the accuracy and completeness of the contact information in your records (such as address verification and email, phone and address appends.)
  1. Select records to screen
    It may not be cost effective – or necessary – to screen your whole database. The flip side is that you don’t know what you don’t know – screenings often uncover wealth you never knew you had in your database. Your consultant or screening vendor can and should help you select the records you want to run. And it is imperative to provide all the fields the screening vendor requires in their upload template.  (Garbage in typically means garbage out.)
  1. Interpret the results
    A lot of information comes back in a screening, so you’ll want to make sure you are able to understand it, digest it and use it the way you need. A good screening vendor will help you do just that – and will be accessible to you beyond a 30-minute webinar or 30-page guide. You not only need to be able to interpret the data yourself, but you’ll need to interpret it for other members of your organization – both staff and volunteers. You’ll also need to determine what is appropriate to share and how.
  1. Integrate the data results
    Again, this doesn’t mean just importing the results into your database. You have to make the data work for you. Integrating the screening results means synthesizing the information and incorporating it into your donor development efforts through the steps below.
  1. Prospect review committee
    A small and select group of volunteers and staff, the prospect review committee is a most effective – and personal – way to rate prospects, as a complement to screenings and in-depth research profiles. Composed of those “in the know” in your organization’s community, this highly-confidential group works early on in the campaign planning process to rank capacity and potential interest (not just for giving but for volunteering as well.) The committee works in sessions over several days or a couple of weeks, but the process is fast-paced and highly-facilitated (typically by staff or a consultant.) The end result is a prospect list that is “categorically” ranked/prioritized and supported by anecdotal information.
  1. In-depth research profiles
    Some prospects merit additional, in-depth research. These profiles contain expanded details about a prospect’s education, employer, professional career, family, hobbies/personal interests and civic/community activities. The information gathered should only be information that affects a person’s ability or inclination to give: relevant and publicly available. 
  1. Appraisals/Solicitation Amounts
    Determining appropriate ask amounts is a combination of several factors:  the capacity recommendations/target ask amounts provided in the screening results, the anecdotal and ranking information provided by the prospect committee review, the prospect’s relationship with your organization and last but certainly not least, good judgement.
  1. Strategies
    Now you’ve got a solid foundation for developing personalized and customized plans for prospect cultivation and solicitation.  A “good ask” is more than just an amount. Knowing through whom, how and when to approach a prospect makes for more effective relationship-building.  Strategy is about encouraging and empowering the prospect to become an important part of your organization’s mission.

The resources and methods for prospect research may feel endless, overwhelming and even cost prohibitive. But it does not have to be that way.  If you use research information appropriately, there can and should be a very valuable return on your investment.

Great Capital Campaigns Have Great Business Plans

By | All Posts, Campaign Planning + Management, Fiscal Management, News You Can Use | No Comments

Dan Cosgrove headshot webDan Cosgrove, Director of Operations + Senior Consultant

You’ve made your donor call lists, put together a sleek brochure with a spot-on narrative and pretty graphs, organized the Steering Committee and pulled together the Gantt chart clearly stating how the capital campaign will progress. Are you truly ready to launch the campaign?

Maybe.

You might want to pause for a bit to consider the end game.  What happens after the capital campaign concludes? Or, more importantly, what do you have to show when a donor asks “What are your plans for long-range sustainability?” Or, perhaps “I will only contribute once. Are you sufficiently prepared to cover costs during the ramp up period?”

This is where a strong business plan for the new project is crucial.  Have you really thought through what new and sustainable opportunities will be created?  This plan identifies the organization’s models, missions and objectives. It clearly delineates the staffing, location, marketing and financing requirements that are needed to meet those objectives.

Excitement for a project is always high during the run up to a capital campaign launch. Often the feeling is that the business planning can wait until the capital campaign is nearing completion.  However, a strong plan with vision beyond the campaign will give you extra credibility with high net worth and business-savvy donors.  Planning also allows you to gain momentum in securing repeat donors as your confidence and thorough preparation will be evident.

Take the extra time to focus on what the long term sustainability of the project will be worth.  You also might gain some new perspectives on improving existing operations.  And the team could subsequently dust off the old strategic plan and bring it in line with current thinking.

People often ask “What is the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan?” A strategic plan is an evolving document that will keep your organization focused for a 3 to 5-year timeframe.  A business plan coexists and provides the crucial underpinnings of a successful strategic plan.  The strategic plan alone is typically much more broad in scope and does not detail specific plans of action for each individual operating unit within an organization.

A successful capital campaign with careful business planning will clearly communicate to the donor that once the goal is reached, the plan is ready to be executed so that services will be delivered in a timely manner. Business planning forces the organization to think past the general numbers proffered in the case for support or brochure.

Consider these questions when formulating your plan:

  • Is the project true to the mission of the organization?
  • What are revenue projections for one to three years?
  • What are the realistic costs of operations?
  • Who is my customer? Where are they located?
  • How will the newly financed offering provide a return on investment? Are there new revenue streams?
  • Who is going to staff the new operation? What qualifications are critical for success?
  • How are the new offerings going to be marketed?
  • What are the benchmarks for success?

A detailed business plan will more thoroughly prepare your solicitation team to answer the deep dive questions from potential funders and give the organization a head start on implementing the vision once the campaign is completed.

Now you are ready and set.  It’s time to take off and GO raise money.

Does your organization need help in developing its business plan?  JB+A can provide the best practices, guidance and support you need.  Reach out to Dan Cosgrove, Director of Operations and Senior Consultant at DCosgrove@FundraisingJBA.com or at 816.237.1999. 

Register Now for JB+A’s Latest Workshop

By | All Posts, Annual Giving, Campaign Planning + Management, Events, Major Gift Solicitation, Planned Giving | No Comments

Register now for

Tools for Fundraising Success
Building an Integrated Fundraising Program

Friday, August 26, 2016 

This hands-on workshop will detail best practices and step-by-step techniques for creating and implementing an integrated fundraising program that will transform your organization.

**All attending organizations will receive two hours of complimentary fundraising consultation from JB+A.**

8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Friday, August 26, 2016
Bishop Spencer Place, Westport Room
4301 Madison Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri

This workshop is intended for Executive Directors, Development Directors, Chief Development Officers, Board Members and Fundraising Volunteers.

The workshop price of $99 admits you and one guest.

Call 816.237.1999 or click here to register.

Five Secrets to Capital Campaign Success

By | All Posts, Boards + Leadership, Campaign Planning + Management, Donor Cultivation, Major Gift Solicitation, News You Can Use | No Comments

judy Keller for proposals 2012Judy Keller
Executive Vice President

After nine years as a fundraising consultant, I have learned a lot about campaigns that I never knew when I was an Executive Director or Development Director. Forty-eight clients later, I have met wonderful people doing courageous work, and am happy to say most of them succeeded in their campaign goals.  Here’s what those campaigns prove to me that your organization needs to do to be successful:

Tie Your Campaign to Community Benefits
Your campaign should NOT be for a new building or more staff for your organization. Your focus should be on the community need and how building or expanding will serve the community need.  Even after your case statement is written, you should force yourself and your group to articulate the compelling need.  Practice it.  Know it inside and out and make sure it is a valid and urgent community problem that your efforts will solve. I’m sure you instinctively talk about the good work your organization does, your grand plans and what you need to pull them off, but to a potential funder that can too easily be tuned out as the same old pitch.  Ask yourselves “why does our town need this” and make sure the answer is short, easy to understand and truly compelling.  Shape your organization’s messages to be about what your community needs and how this effort will solve community problems.  True philanthropists want to serve the greater good, not just “put their names on buildings” but often volunteers or staff think that name recognition is the motivation.

Get Your Board on Board
Make sure your Board and senior staff members know where you are headed and agree that is the right place to go. Never assume that they all agree with the campaign plans.  Especially in a polite, Midwestern workplace, many are hesitant to express negative thoughts in a group setting or they do so subtlety and are easily not taken seriously.  This is an area in which a very good feasibility study can make all the difference. It should ferret out — in candid and confidential sessions — what the concerns are.  Remember if Board members have questions, other donors will too.  One client’s Executive Director had lots of answers, but never really addressed the issues or fixed the project, and the campaign stalled.  It is important to listen to the concerns and address them, not just answer them and move on, but to really take the time to address them in a way that satisfies those who know the organization best. This is about more than getting the Board to 100% participation. It is about really taking the time to strengthen the case for support before seeking it.

Focus on the Right Prospects
Major gifts always come from very few people—even in small communities and even in communities known for their grassroots participation. Capital campaigns are built on a handful of lead gifts and you need to take the time to identify those donors and work with them well before you work on the mechanics of the campaign structure or timeline.  Organizations are often focused on their broader message and fundraising to the community because they have focused on annual funds and larger numbers of smaller gifts to fund their operating budgets. That is a good strategy for building core support for operations, but a campaign requires a few large gifts to succeed and the first can be the most difficult to find.  Take the time to cultivate your major donors and recognize that for most campaigns it will take less than 1,000 donors to succeed.

Train People to Ask
Very few people come to a campaign steering committee excited about their skills as a solicitor. In fact, most of the time we hear that they would love to help but do not want to ask for money.  It is very important to give your volunteers the training and support they need to be comfortable and that means lots of training and practice.  After ample training, role play and conversation, put your volunteers in a position to be successful.  Let them go on “easy asks” and don’t allow yourself to take those first. The beginning of the campaign is an important time for your volunteers to get comfortable “making the ask”. People master a skill by learning the basics and practicing. Asking is a skill.

Set Deadlines
Goals and deadlines work. They won’t make you comfortable, but they’ll help you reach your goal. In fact, goals and deadlines are what get people pulling in the same direction at the same time. They create the energy you need to get everyone inspired.  Without them, your volunteers are all busy people who will likely find something more urgent to do than make their calls.  So with your volunteers, establish a campaign timeline with set by set achievable deadlines, inspire your group to consider the project urgent and to get their work done so you enjoy the momentum of a successful campaign from the start.

Campaigns are exciting times for organizations to make transformational change, dramatically improving the services they provide their communities. Make sure to get the basics right so you can enjoy the ride.