Insights + News + Updates

#GivingTuesday: Is your organization ready to roll?

By | Donor Cultivation, Events, Fundraising, Social Media | No Comments

giving_tuesday_logostacked-2016Now entering its fifth year, #GivingTuesday is officially a global charitable movement. Celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, following the consumer frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday is a day dedicated to giving back.

It’s a simple idea with an enormous impact. Fueled by the power of social media, #GivingTuesday brings individuals and organizations together online where missions can be shared and donors cultivated. Last year, 700,000 people donated over $116 million in one day through one medium – social media. It’s an innovative and creative way to kick off the charitable season and raise awareness for your organizations’ mission.

If your organization is participating in #GivingTuesday this year, then you have already started pushing this on social media and your followers are ready to go on November 29. You may have a specific project that has #GivingTuesday appeal, or you just want to raise general funds.

Here are a few tips to make sure you get the most out of this annual day of giving:

  1. Set Goals – Do you want to raise awareness?  Attract volunteers?  Raise dollars for a specific program?  Clearly defining your goals will help you map out tactics and plan your messages.
  1. Plan your Tactics/Messages – Write your tweets and posts in advance and work them into a timeline.
  1. Assign Roles & Responsibilities – depending on the complexity of your campaign, make sure your staff is in place to execute your plan and clearly defined roles and responsibilities are in place.

If you are just starting out with #GivingTuesday, be sure to read our #GivingTuesday Guide which includes great tips for building a plan from scratch. If you’re new to #GivingTuesday, set your calendar for November 29 and take this opportunity to observe how other organizations utilize this innovative fundraising opportunity. We’re sure you will come away inspired and ready to go for 2017.

“Interim CEO”: Frequently an Integral Element to a Successful Transition

By | All Posts, Boards + Leadership, Capacity Building, Commentary, News You Can Use, Organizational + Personal Development, Strategic Planning | No Comments

susan_cropped-267x300Susan Spaulding, Founder & Lead Consultant, Recalibrate Strategies

Editor’s Note:  We are pleased to introduce Susan Spaulding as a guest contributor. Susan is the Founder and Lead Consultant of Recalibrate Strategies, helping companies grow their business.  Susan applies proven marketing systems to recalibrate businesses and their brands by collaboratively creating a success blueprint and facilitating a process that harnesses insights, generates new ideas and provides a strategic roadmap.  Susan has more than 30 years of experience as a CEO, entrepreneur and marketing expert with exceptional leadership and facilitation skills.

Optimally, a CEO departure announcement includes naming the new CEO. This is often the case when the current CEO gives the board ample notice of retirement plans, or if the current CEO is being promoted or re-assigned within the parent company. And, if the CEO departure is the result of an ongoing performance issue, the board should be prepared to announce the new CEO immediately.

However, in practice naming an interim CEO is frequent. Reasons are varied (1), and include:

  1. A succession plan is lacking or not up-to-date. The board isn’t prepared to name a successor CEO.
  2. The CEO needs to step away from his/her role for a period of time – often for a personal or family health issue – but expects to resume the CEO position.
  3. The board believes it’s in the best interest of the company to appoint an interim CEO. Perhaps the desired CEO is not available immediately, or the board decides to deviate from the succession plan for whatever reason.

Roles of Interim CEOs
While interim CEO roles can be as varied as reasons for needing interim CEOs, below are primary roles interim CEOs fill.

  1. Keep the company on course and on strategy until a permanent CEO is selected.
  2. Execute a company turn around – usually following CEO and/or company performance issues. The interim CEO is more likely to be selected from outside the company, and have turnaround experience.
  3. “Trying out” a potential permanent replacement can indicate the board is leaning toward selecting this individual as CEO, but need to see how the individual handles the position temporarily.

What’s critical for any interim CEO appointment is clarity between the individual and the board on responsibilities and primary objectives. It’s critical for the interim CEO to have ready access to board members. Consistent support from the board is critical for the interim CEO, for company employees and for external shareholders/stakeholders watching closely to assess company leadership and overall stability.

Importance of Acting Swiftly
In general, an interim CEO is needed due to a former CEO’s sudden departure. However, in some cases the need for a new CEO – interim or otherwise – was clear much earlier than the decision was made.

Sometimes when a CEO becomes ill, they and the board choose to believe – sometimes with diagnoses and inability to carry out responsibilities indicating otherwise – the CEO’s illness will not prevent him/her from maintaining a reasonable productivity level. The fear of negative impact, internally and externally, from announcing this “weakness” sometimes prevents timely disclosure of reality.

Example (2, 4): Apple’s Steve Jobs both refused to accept appropriate cancer treatment and board recommendations to disclose his illness. Rather, he elected (allowed by the board) to keep his illness secret. He later took a leave of absence. Tim Cook took on the role of interim CEO three times (2004, 2009 and 2011) before actually being named CEO.

Similarly, given performance issues, the board should be particularly well prepared to name a new CEO.

Often the reluctance to disclose the situation, and move forward with a new CEO is based more on emotional responses than on objective assessment of what is best for the company.

Looking Forward
Several sudden CEO departures have been in the news within the past year. Each situation varies. However, what appears consistent is a board ill-prepared for the CEO’s sudden departure. Given the acknowledged importance of succession planning, it’s concerning to witness multiple situations where succession plans are not simply implemented.

Per The Conference Board (3), boards spend an average of two hours annually discussing succession planning. Clearly the topic deserves more attention.

Recalibrating Actions:

  1. What is the status of your company’s succession plan? Is it up-to-date? Does it include contingency plans? Does it encompass roles below that of the CEO? Does it include replacement plans for those who step up to fill an open role?
  2. Ensure there is a written agreement in place between the board and the CEO that addresses unexpected situations like a personal or family illness. Then, if such a situation arises, it is the board’s responsibility to follow through on the agreement.
  3. Succession planning – certainly inclusive of, but not limited to the CEO – is a primary responsibility of the board, and should be treated as such. This will require considerable time on the board’s part to understand the status, skill sets, experience, gaps, and aspirations of leaders lower than the CEO – in some cases multiple levels below.
  4. Ensure you are having discussions with your board frequently to provide status updates on various leaders, new hires, etc. As well, discuss openly how and when announcements of changes will be handled by the board to maintain the greatest company stability and lessen negative external impact.

You can reach Susan Spaulding and Recalibrate Strategies at www.recalibratestrategies.com.

Sources:

  1. Saporito, Dr. Thomas J., Succeeding as an Interim CEO: How boards and temporary chiefs can work together., Chief Executive, March 11, 2016
  2. Stevens, Laurie, M.D., Rolfe, Steven, S., M.D., A Healthy Approach to CEO Illness: How should companies cope with a leader’s health crisis?, Chief Executive, March 4, 2016
  3. Semadeni, Matthew, Mooney, Christine H., and Kesner, Idalene F., Interim CEO: Reasonable Choice or Failed Selection?, The Conference Board, June 2014
  4. Friedman, Lex, Apple Turns to Tim Cook to Replace Steve Jobs, Macworld, August 24, 2011

Introducing JB+A’s Newest Team Member

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sd-headshotAs JB+A positions itself for a transformational 2017, we are delighted to welcome Suzanne as an Associate Consultant. Suzanne’s background in fundraising, nonprofit administration, marketing and business development will help take our expert fundraising services and marketing activities to the next level.

-Jeffrey Byrne, President + CEO

A Kansas City native and graduate of the Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, Suzanne recently returned home after working in Edinburgh, Scotland, as the marketing manager for a firm of conservation architects and engineers. Prior to her adventure abroad, Suzanne graduated with honors from Indiana University’s School of Public & Environmental Affairs where she majored in arts management and music.

Suzanne brings a history of success in fundraising and marketing with a particular enthusiasm for brand positioning and social media. She has worked for several major nonprofit organizations including the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender & Reproduction. Now, she is eager to immerse herself in Kansas City’s thriving nonprofit sector and is delighted to join JB+A.

Suzanne is particularly passionate about promoting, developing and participating in the philanthropic activities of Kansas City’s Jewish community as well as local animal advocacy and protection organizations.

Suzanne looks forward to helping you and your organization achieve fundraising success. You can reach Suzanne at 816.237.1999 or at sdicken@fundraisingJBA.com.

“Time, Talent and Treasure”: Part Two of a Three-Part Series

By | All Posts, Boards + Leadership, Commentary, Donor Cultivation, Fundraising, News You Can Use, Stewardship, Volunteers | No Comments

Katie LordKatie Lord, Vice President

As far as nonprofit jargon is concerned, we have all probably used, or at least heard, the phrase “Time, Talent and Treasure” when referring to how we can engage individuals with our organizations.  While it may seem to be a fairly basic concept, defining it is becoming an increasingly complex matter, as definitions have evolved among different generations. In this three-part series, we will examine the components of this trifecta  individually, and emphasize how your organization can effectively create programs right now that can be easily implemented to grow your base of supporters today, tomorrow and in the future.

Talent is the second segment in this three-part series examining the “Time, Talent and Treasure” paradigm as it relates to nonprofit management. As we continue to take a deeper look at each component individually, an examination of how your organization can implement strategies that effectively utilize the “talents” of your leaders and impact your current recruitment efforts can have an immediate impact on your bottom line.

(If you missed Part 1’s exploration of “Time”, click here to access the post.)

In the “Time, Talent and Treasure” trifecta of support that we use in nonprofits to describe and measure the value of contributions that our volunteers or staff provide to our organization, “talent” seems to be the hardest to define in a universal context or to measure on a scale of impact.  This is due to its ambiguous nature and differing definitions based on the uniqueness and needs of each organization.  For the purpose of this article, we are going to define “talent” as “contributions of an in-kind service that requires special skills or knowledge to perform.”

“Talent” is tied to both “time and treasure” as it requires the donating of “services and specialized knowledge” that take time to perform and implement and would require payment if performed on the open market. “Talent” is a more refined form of volunteer service as it usually provides a business-related or operational-focused service as opposed to program support.  Such “talent” directly effects budget line service costs and can include both technical and professional services.

What is unique about “talent” is that each generation has specific talents that can be utilized by a nonprofit organization.  Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers possess a vast majority of skill sets and talents that seldom overlap and are mostly unique to their era, but are complementary to each other.  When combined through Board or committee work, each generation offers great insights and the ability to accomplish and implement a more cohesive organizational business plan that will allow the nonprofit to achieve higher strategic goals at lower costs.

For example, a Baby Boomer may perform an audit, management consulting, or financial services at no charge and be able to provide valuable sector specific expert level information, as they changed jobs and sectors less often.  A Gen Xer usually has changed jobs more often than Boomers, but less so than Millennials, and are often more likely to be self-starters, middle managers and business owners, making them excellent project managers.  Millennials know a little about a lot of different sectors as they have been exposed to more cross training and job transitions.  They have skills focusing on social media, digital marketing, information technology and event planning.  This is not to say that there are not cross-generational specialties as there are exceptions to every rule, but generally speaking, the “talents” of each generation are significant to a nonprofit’s organizational success and growth.

Thus, it is very important for nonprofit organizations and leaders to not only look at the skill sets of potential Board members and volunteers when recruiting, but to also look at diversity in age, gender and race.  It is a common mistake by nonprofit leadership to only look at “treasure” when acquiring new Board members and volunteers.  While giving capacity is a factor, it should not be weighted more than “talent,” as a high degree of “talent” is usually a predictor of later success and “treasure.”  Baby Boomers and Gen Xers have used their talents to grow into their ability to give “treasure” in their higher earning years. However, that can decrease in retirement with fixed incomes looming, creating a shift in the giving of “treasure” to the increased giving of “talent.”  Gen Xers are beginning their highest earning years and the peaks of their careers, but still wish to contribute in ways that complement their dollars.  Finally, Millennials are in their early earning years and will grow into their higher earning capabilities, but are eager to contribute now, and the best way to do that is through their “time” and “talent.”  Those organizations that seek out Millennials now will see big returns later.

In closing, the three current working generations are ripe with talent if you know where to look and how to assess “talent” based on your organization’s goals and objectives.  The most talented people in a particular field are easy to find: just look in business publications, LinkedIn and trade publications.  The same names will most likely keep popping-up.  Remember, it is wise to include the younger generation now so as to cement those relationships early and to include all levels of “talent” and professions.  By doing so, you will limit the effects of “talent” turnover and create a built-in succession plan of talented leaders within your organization.  Also, a generation’s gift of “time” and “talent” will ultimately increase their commitment to your organization resulting in the gift of “treasure.”

Community Crowdfunding: Together, We Can Do More

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sharon-greenCommunity Crowdfunding: Together, We Can Do More
Sharon Green, Chief Development Officer for WonderWe

Editor’s Note:  We are pleased to introduce Sharon Green as a guest contributor to this month’s issue of News You Can Use. Sharon is the Chief Development Officer at WonderWe, a multi-campaign, crowdfunding social network that enables individuals, nonprofits and faith-based organizations to raise funds and awareness. Sharon is passionate about helping organizations grow to serve the community, and has extensive experience in the nonprofit sector, including Hannah & Friends, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and adults with special needs and 3rd & Goal – Veterans Home Aid, which assists veterans facing homelessness and requiring home improvements in order to make their lives more accessible.

When we act as a community, goodness flows.  WonderWe, a free fundraising company located in Kansas City, Missouri, is committed to using technology for the good of communities around the world, knowing a community can consist of an individual, a handful of individuals, or dozens of handfuls (even dozens of dozens.) Size doesn’t matter.  Goodness does.  WonderWe supports those who do good, wherever and however that goodness is shared.

Crowdfunding is a contemporary, click-away opportunity to learn about the needs of organizations and individuals around your neighborhood, your city and our collective world. If an issue tugs at your heartstrings, it will take you only a moment to make a meaningful difference. WonderWe elevates crowdfunding technology to a fresh new level with exclusive design and inspired patent-pending features, including the We#code—a unique code assigned to every campaign. The We#code makes it easier to give—and manage giving—to any campaign WonderWe supports. Because WonderWe embraces a pricing model that relies on the goodwill of the donor, WonderWe is free to everyone.

Other distinctive features of the WonderWe crowdfunding platform include team fundraising, built in social networking and other communication options, the We#Code for sharing and promoting and a mobile video ask for peer-to-peer viral, personal fundraising requests. The app is mobile-ready with native and responsive products.

When we contribute our resources as a group—as a community—we can do more.  Consider a truck.  A four-wheeled vehicle doesn’t usually inspire an emotional sigh.  However, when the truck is used to deliver food to children of abused women, to clear parking lots for women seeking shelter from violence, to take in donations for families who left home with only the clothes on their back, the truck becomes a lifeline.  Hope House, Missouri’s largest domestic violence shelter, needs $50,000 to replace a 15-year old truck. Repairs have been made, and made again. Soon the truck will no longer serve any useful purpose.  When we—together—start thinking of a truck as a lifeline for food, donations, supplies and safety, it somehow becomes more than a four-wheeled vehicle. It becomes an essential part of a caring community. However, Hope House, like so many nonprofits serving community need, has more pressing priorities and a new truck, though necessary, falls to the bottom of the priority list.  With WonderWe, tapping into the power of group sharing, it’s just possible the funds for that essential, yet essentially dull and boring, truck can become reality.

When you tap into the influence of a crowdfunding resource such as WonderWe, you can browse the site for background, testimonials and endorsements. You can take your time as you tease out that particular need that sparks your personal passion—whether for a domestic violence shelter, a softball team of motivated young girls, or a hospital tucked into the jungles of Ecuador.

It’s easy to give. It’s easy to create opportunities to give. And it’s free.  Click here  to walk through the steps. Then talk to your friends. Talk to your family. Encourage them to join a community.  When ten people share a little, the gifts multiply.  When 100 share what they have, goodness grows beyond measure. Clearly we’re a community of individuals, yet together, how much more we become.  Communities matter.  You matter.  Believe in the wonder of the “we” who can do more.

Upon Further Review: More on Managing Boards of Directors

By | All Posts, Boards + Leadership, News You Can Use, Organizational + Personal Development, Stewardship, Volunteers | No Comments

John+Marshal+for+webJohn Marshall
Senior Vice President

Last year, I wrote an article entitled “Nonprofits, Boards and Managing Expectations: A Two-Way Street.” My effort was intended to share with the fundraising professional a few insights on what it takes to transform a Board from “good to great” (in the words of one terrific author, Mr. Jim Collins).

I wrote about my experiences over the past 40+ years of working with a multitude of Boards—all different, all unique—and I specifically addressed the importance of creating clear expectations (of Board members and of staff) and the great importance of having a comprehensive Board Member Job Description.

In reviewing that epistle, I realized there is even more to be said focusing on a few other insights I believe might be helpful to you as you continue the process of creating the very best Board possible. My hope is that the following will assist you in this regard.

Primary Responsibilities Associated with Board Membership
Beyond what is found in the Board Member Job Description, it is important that Board members are aware of the importance of the following:

  1. Having an understanding and keen appreciation for the mission, motive, purposes and objectives of the organization
  2. Becoming familiar with the function of and services provided by the organization
  3. Providing the organization with support, encouragement, counsel and guidance
  4. Becoming familiar with the means by which the organization operates—its sources of income as well as its areas of expense
  5. Assisting the organization’s leadership in program and financial planning
  6. Helping advance the organization within the community through personal advocacy and promotion—in becoming a bona fide AMBASSADOR
  7. Supporting the organization as a charitable organization, realizing its dependency upon charitable support of its programs, services and overhead
  8. Helping plan the maintenance and expansion of the organization’s properties and facilities from which it renders its programs and services to the communities it serves
  9. Participating in the planning, preparation and operation of a capital campaign, if and when such is deemed appropriate

The Role of the Organization’s President/CEO with the Board
I believe wholeheartedly it is absolutely critical for Board members to feel that the organization’s top leader is interested in the efforts of the Board and has a very real appreciation for their many efforts. And then shows it.  Too many times, this is either neglected, relegated to a lesser staffer or given “lip service” by the organization’s chief executive. I know that this can result in a Board having less than the optimal level of enthusiasm for the organization we all want to see.

With that in mind, here is my list of “Top Ten Responsibilities” of the CEO when interacting with the organization’s Board members:

  1. Share information about the organization’s programs and services with Board members so they are prepared to be even more effective AMBASSADORS within the community
  2. Educate the Board about the organization’s policies
  3. Make certain that Board members are communicated within a timely manner about developments/issues which may impact the organization within the community (this includes the good, the bad or possibly the ugly); most Board members really don’t want to be surprised by hearing of issues “after the fact”
  4. Attend as many of the regularly scheduled Board meetings as possible and if not possible, assign a significant member of the leadership team
  5. Share with the Board the organization’s financial position and help identify specific needs requiring specific funding
  6. Ensure that the Board holds an annual meeting—the “care holders” meeting, and attend
  7. Be available to accompany Board members on visits with those in the community possessing great influence and affluence
  8. Make certain that the Development Department has the necessary resources to support the Board in its awareness and advocacy efforts
  9. Within an appropriate period of time, make the effort to meet each member of the Board one-on-one
  10. Be a personal donor to the organization—“practice what you preach”

Why Board Members Lose Interest
Lastly, one of the laments I have heard far too often over the years is about how difficult it is to not only recruit great Board members, but to keep them. If you fit into that category, you might want to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Am I assigning members realistic goals?
  2. Are they receiving sufficient detail for carrying out their responsibilities?
  3. Am I allowing Board members sufficient opportunity to provide feedback? And am I listening?
  4. Am I adequately recognizing/appreciating their efforts?
  5. Am I providing ample opportunity for them to make a decision?
  6. Is the work they are tasked to accomplish truly challenging?
  7. Am I providing members with sufficient preparation and training to ensure they are successful?

No one ever said that managing volunteers was easy, especially when it comes to Board members. They can be demanding or complacent, overbearing or invisible, fully engaged or there just for lunch (if a Board member calls in advance to ask “what are we having for lunch” you most likely have a problem on your hands!).

Your task in managing these fine people is to do all you can to see their experience is a time of real enrichment, both for them and most relatedly, for your organization.

Want more tips for effectively managing Board members?  JB+A Senior Vice President John Marshall has more than 40 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. You can reach John at jmarshall@fundraisingjba.com or at 816.914.3780.

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.

Help your nonprofit make the most of #GivingTuesday 2016: 501 (c) Success with Asha Curran – September 15, 2016

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Lessons Learned in Nonprofit Innovation
Thursday, September 15, 2016
7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Kauffman Foundation Conference Center

Reserve your spot and register today.

Lessons Learned in Nonprofit Innovation with Asha Curran is a program of the 2016 501(c)Success National Speaker Series. Make sure to attend, and help your nonprofit make the most of #GivingTuesday 2016 and other powerful innovations.

Asha CurranAsha Curran is the Director of the Center for Innovation & Social Impact with the 92nd Street Y in New York. In her role with one of the most respected and historic cultural institutions in New York, she leads initiatives that have garnered national and global attention, most notably, #GivingTuesday.

You won’t want to miss Asha as she shares her expertise and lessons learned in embracing innovation – working in the paradigm of the entrepreneurial world to increase social good.

Check out this recent article by Asha Curran and Henry Tims (Executive Director of the 92Y) in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. “Five Lessons on Innovation and the Institution” outlines solid principles for nonprofits to follow as they re-define how they will remain relevant and impactful in an ever-changing world.

 

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 (and I am speaking about this topic at the upcoming DonorPerfect Community Network Conference in Philadelphia on September 19.) 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.

Time, Talent and Treasure: The First Word is Time for a Reason

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Katie Lord

Katie Lord, Senior Consultant

As far as nonprofit jargon is concerned, we have all probably used, or at least heard, the phrase “Time, Talent and Treasure” when referring to how we can engage individuals with our organizations.  While it may seem to be a fairly basic concept, defining the above trifecta is becoming an increasingly complex matter, as definitions have evolved among different generations. In this three-part series, we will examine the components of this paradigm individually, and emphasize how your organization can effectively create programs right now that can be easily implemented to grow your base of supporters today, tomorrow and in the future.

Most commonly, when speaking of “time” as it relates to nonprofit organizations, the standard definition would be time given related to its direct service activities/programs.  Examples would be serving meals to the homeless, attending a Board or committee meeting, making an in-person gift solicitation or attending a special event.  “Time,” however, can now be calculated through “off-site” activities including networking and personal introductions, technologically-based gift solicitations through social media, email or text or completing a “done-in-a-day” project (such as packet assembly for a walk/race) that can be done at home.

According to the Independent Sector (independentsector.org,) the 2015 calculated hour of volunteer work is the equivalent of $23.56 in a paid wages, thus putting a monetary value on volunteer work and something to keep in mind when recruiting top volunteer talent of any generation.  This value of “time,” however, no longer just equates to “time” given on-site with the organization through a traditional lens. It needs to evolve into a new definition by nonprofits.  It is through the giving of “time” that your organization has the opportunity to tell your story and impart your mission to your volunteers. This, in turn, will expand their knowledge of your organization and their personal commitment to your mission.

As the majority of the population continues to age and retire from traditional jobs, the Baby Boomer generation should be the major focus of volunteer coordinators for on-site and “traditional” in-person support through Board service or capital campaign committees. This is due to their established networks, higher disposable income and focus on leaving their mark on the world.  Baby Boomers are not a passive retirement generation. They are staying involved and active much longer than the generation before them. Many are not completely exiting the work force, but are just reducing hours or taking “retirement” in the form of a nontraditional job.  Having just passed their highest earning years by retiring or semi-retiring, they look to continue to be relevant and to not only use their skill sets, but to also share their invaluable knowledge and experience.

It is important to remember though that many Baby Boomers will be discerning regarding the institutions with which they choose to share their skills, they may also be reducing the number of Boards and activities to which they are willing to commit. Boomers do tend to have a level of longevity with the organizations they support, having given their “treasure” first and then following with their “time” and “talent.”

As it relates to Millennials, “time” is perceived as a commodity due to its finite number; everyone only gets 24 hours in a day.  Most millennials are still in their career-building phase, making less in their day job than the $23.56 an hour a volunteer hour is worth.  Millennials tend to give of their “time” first — to see the impact of their efforts on an organization. They make an evaluation, and then follow with their “talent” and “treasure.”

By choosing to give their time to your organization, Millennials are choosing to not participate in another available activity; therefore, it is of the utmost importance that their volunteer projects produce an immediate and demonstrated impact to those you serve. The emerging generations will not be able to provide you the biggest monetary gifts right now. However, and because of their social nature and focus on networks and communities, their “time” can be focused on income-producing opportunities.  Peer-to-Peer fundraising efforts are a great way to use their network and social connections, along with their “time,” to make introductions or solicitations, both in-kind and monetary.  As they will with their careers, many Millennials will give “time” to certain projects, outcomes or people they know, as opposed to institutions and what they stand for, therefore causing more episodic volunteerism.

Both generations — Baby Boomers and Millennials — may have different focuses and motivations related to giving “time,” but are not so different that they both view it as a gift to organizations. So, make sure your organization is cognizant of differing gifts of “time,” and offers multiple ways for “time” to be given. Make sure you value volunteer “time” within the scope of your mission for both Baby Boomers and Millennials. “Time” is not always a standalone commitment, but is often combined at some point with either “treasure” or “talent.”  “Time” is the gateway for volunteers to become further involved with your organization and for moving them along the path to being fully-engaged donors.