Have you fully assessed the myriad of internal and external conditions that impact the success of your overall development program?
Take a moment to imagine how you might benefit from a BSG Six Point Checkup to reach your full philanthropic potential.
Do you have a clear and confident path to success?
It's true that success in major gift fundraising is 95% planning and 5% asking. No matter how trite the phrase – fail to plan, plan to fail – might seem, when it comes to successful major gift strategies, a well crafted and executed plan is the secret to your success. The issue is not the plan itself, but rather your organizational capacity - the time, people, and money - to bring about the effective and lasting changes your plan promises.
Despite what some may think, fundraising is not itself a goal. It’s a means to provide the financial support for one or more organizational goals. Imagine how much easier it is to build a fundraising plan on clearly analyzed, documented, and understood organizational goals, objectives, strategies, and budgets. And even better is when the strategic, operational, and financial realities and potential funding sources have been accurately assessed to determine why, when, and how much private sector investments are required. Are you able to answer these questions from the outset of your fundraising effort to the satisfaction of all involved – staff, volunteers, and donors alike?
Equally important as a strong and clear organizational plan is a methodical, sequential, and comprehensive development plan with properly defined and justified budgets and staffing elements. Again, the issue is not the development plan, but whether you have the capacity to successfully implement the plan with the necessary resources to get the job done.
Are you prepared to get the job done...on time and on budget?
Any effort to move an organization from point A to point B requires a series of steps - often driven by specific projects, timelines, available resources, and desired outcomes that deliver bigger, better, and/or bolder benefits to those it serves. Does your fundraising plan incorporate a "project management" perspective to help donors and volunteers understand when the project (campaign) they are being asked to support begins and end, how much it will cost, and what benefits can be expected when the effort is done?
Likewise, imagine how much more successful your fundraising efforts would be if your CEO, the board, the staff, and volunteers fully understand and are committed to investing the necessary time and effort to getting their respective jobs done. Instituting basic project management elements into a fundraising campaign plan provides a level of clarity and confidence that the effort will be successful...on time and on budget.
Are your fundraising, recognition, and stewardship processes focused on bringing joy and satisfaction to your donors?
This final step in the Six Point Checkup builds on all the others. Philanthropy is the magic that happens when a person who is motivated to make a difference finds an organization or cause that matches what matters most to them. The issue is not about them making a major gift, but rather the manner in which their philanthropy satisfies the "WHY" for them having done so. Imagine how satisfying it feels for you and for your donors when you are able to help them match their motivations for giving with the key elements of your organization's mission. When done knowledgeably, sequentially, ethically, and with the donors' best interests at heart, this process occurs naturally and brings great satisfaction to the donor and organization alike. In addition to defining when, how, where, and by whom a gift will be solicited, a clear plan for how you will meet the expectations of the donor in expressing appreciation and recognition is critical to determining if the donor will likely give again in the future. Remember that success breeds success. Putting your donors at the center of the fundraising process may be the essential next step in them making future philanthropic investments in your organization...and nothing could be better than that!
Do you understand the donor's perspective on WHY they give?
At the heart of a giving decision is a value proposition, which is unique for each and every donor. Understanding the "WHY" for their philanthropy lies at the core of the donor's decision making process and can make or break the potential gift...or the size of it. Have you invested significant time and effort on prospect research, cultivating their understanding of the investment they are being asked to make, defining the benefits of their gift in terms that matter to them, and determining the proper time, place, amount, and solicitor for the request? The issue is not about persuading them to give, but fully understanding their unique perspective and the intrinsic motivations for their philanthropy.
For some donors, the philanthropic decision is easy and often immediate when confronted with a need they perceive to be important. For others, the giving decision is driven by a host of considerations - both internal and external to the organization and the donor. How well do you understand these factors and how to address them? Imagine how this would help you and your volunteers be more effective and persuasive in talking with prospective donors about their philanthropic investment.
Are your organizational behaviors and culture inspiring confidence and trust?
Are your fundraising efforts falling victim to organizational policies, procedures, and practices that are inconsistent with your intended goals? Or worse, are they creating an environment where trust, integrity, and ethics are being questioned? The issue is not about your policies and procedures, but the confidence and trust that stakeholders have in your organization’s mission, management, stewardship, and return on investment potential. Inherent in every organization, no matter how small or large, are certain policies and practices that drive its behavior, its interactions with internal and external stakeholders, its degree of responsiveness and innovation, and its ability to carryout successful strategies. Quite often the policies are written down and well understood, but in many cases, they are past practices based on culture, the priorities of paid and/or volunteer leadership, or in worst-case scenarios, folklore. Imagine what a difference it makes when donors believe the organization to be well-run, transparent and accountable, and follows through on its promises. How would your success be enhanced if donors and volunteers were enthusiastic about investing their time, talents, and resources in your work? Taking a careful and honest look at your policies, procedures, and practices can often reveal potential roadblocks to your fundraising success and uncover any potential threats to your reputation and future.
Are your organizational purposes and the motivations of your donors aligned?
Does your organization's intended purpose, its mission - its reason for existing, resonate and inspire donors? Do your current and prospective donors fully understand your essential worth - your unique promise - and the lives you are impacting? Are you motivating those with a stake in your success to get involved and invest in ways that lead to transformative, sustainable support? The issue is not that your case for support is falling flat, but that there is a disconnect between your core purpose and how your donors embrace it. Imagine what levels of fundraising success are possible when your purpose and the philanthropic motivations of your donors are closely aligned and clearly articulated.
Discover your full potential.