Open Enrollment | Subscribe to FundRaising Success HERE
Connect
Follow us on
Advertisement
 
Jeff Jowdy

Bedrocks & Beacons

By Jeff Jowdy

About Jeff

Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.

Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.

Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the FundRaising Success Editorial Advisory Board.

 

It's Your Turn

Larry C Johnson
Keystone Cops to the Rescue
Dec 18, 2014

If you're in an organization that is overly dependent upon single-source funding, especially the structured variety of public and institutional...



Old Dog Fundraising

Pamela Barden
Make 2015 a Year of Resurrection: The Importance of Thanking and Retaining Donors
Dec 18, 2014

How can you retain more donors in 2015? Start by resurrecting the lost art of saying "thank you." Be sincere....



Get What You Give

Joe Boland
Podcast: Advice on Maximizing Your Return on Big Data for Nonprofit Fundraising
Dec 17, 2014

At a recent Wake Up Your Fundraising Breakfast Panel presented by FundRaising Success and sponsors Blackbaud and Listen Up Espanol,...



Ruthlessly Practical Fundraising

Gail Perry
Show Your Donors Some Love in the Holiday Season
Dec 17, 2014

Make your holiday greeting relevant. Make it work for you and your cause. And make it warm, fuzzy and touching...



ProSpeak

Who's Up Next?
Nobody Is Speaking About Direct-Mail Fundraising but Everyone Should Be
Dec 16, 2014

In a world pushing e-solicitations — for businesses and charities alike — does good, old-fashioned paper mail matter? My experience...



Navigating Off the Napkin

Angie Moore
Is 1 Child Actually More Motivating Than 1 Million?
Dec 16, 2014

It's not the actual number that matters — it's the ability for a donor to feel like he or she...



Connections

Richard Perry
How Administrative Support for an MGO Nets More Money for the Nonprofit
Dec 15, 2014

If an MGO is expected to do all the in-office work as well as meet with donors, he cannot manage...



Pay It Forward

F. Duke Haddad
The Iceberg Effect
Dec 12, 2014

Make sure people know what you want them to know about you. Try to control the message before it controls...



Outrageous Hope

Margaret Battistelli
Our Virtual Show Is Today!
Nov 18, 2014

The FundRaising Success Virtual Conference and Expo is free, and it takes place today! It's not too late to register...



Outside Counsel

Willis Turner
5 Ways to Use One Powerful Fundraising Word
Dec 8, 2014

"Help" means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. You use it often in your fundraising...



Donor Trippin'

Nick Allen
Is There an App for Us?
Jul 1, 2014

Got an idea for an app that could connect a charity or nonprofit with its supporters and beneficiaries in an...



Raising the Possibilities

Thaddeus B. Kubis
Recurring Themes: The Case for Integrated Marketing Communications, Part 2
Dec 27, 2013

Recent discussions focus on a myriad of topics, but in the past two months, the recurring targeted topics seem to...



Hump Day Hullabaloo

Jo Sullivan
Hump Day Hullaballoo: Sometimes It's Hell in the Hallway
May 22, 2013

This week, as I transition into my new position as interim executive director at Save the Chimps, we're talking about...



A Tale of 2 Studies

2
 
Eighteen months ago we conducted feasibility studies at the same time for two different clients. Both were first-timers in conducting a study — an essential step toward launching a successful major campaign.  

Conducted properly, a study gives you valuable insight on current potential goals as well as what resonates with donors. If you're serious about fulfilling your mission and achieving your potential, then a study can provide a veritable gold mine, revealing what key leaders and prospective donors know about you — and what they don't. It is important to know how your image, mission, strengths, weaknesses, leadership (staff and board), programs and the projects you are considering are perceived. A study also provides insight on a potential campaign by posing questions that make you stronger in the long run.

By understanding your strengths, you can build on them. And by knowing your weaknesses, you can address them before asking for money. You'll face these same questions in a campaign, so addressing them in advance allows for greater success in less time than during an actual campaign.   

It's like a market study for fundraising. When promised confidentiality in a climate of trust, I am forever amazed at what people will share — good and bad —about an organization and their interest in supporting it.

A study is a major investment in resources — both fees and time — for an organization. And it's a good test of an organization's capacity for implementing a campaign on several levels.  

Let's go back to our tale of two studies. We presented our findings at about the same time to both clients. We found that neither client was ready to embark on a campaign right away. To one client — I'll call them Client A — we recommended a one-year cultivation period. Client B received a recommendation of a four-month cultivation period while addressing some significant organizational issues (staff capacity, branding and succession planning).

Client A embraced the concept of deepening donor relationships and truly being prepared for a campaign. It committed the resources necessary to engage in a national plan of cultivation of prospective major donors and campaign leadership. Today, Client A is still in the earliest phase of the campaign with more than half of its initial goal committed. Soon it'll be discussing potentially raising the goal!

On the other hand, Client B has found a location for a new facility but otherwise has not prepared for a major fundraising endeavor. Without following any recommendations, it now wishes to embark on a campaign with a goal that is double the potential we found in the study. We wish Client B well but too many times have seen campaigns falter because of organizations not taking the right — sometimes bold — steps to prepare for campaign success.   

The key to that success is relationships, and relationships take time to develop. Campaigns are about vision, leadership, momentum and urgency. They are also about plans and execution. One stage lays the foundation for the next.

If you're looking at a major campaign, don't embark on it without the benefit of a study. There are many good firms that can help you. And when you embark on a study, carefully consider the findings and recommendations. In doing so, you heed the counsel of some of your brightest, most loyal friends and prospective major donors.
2

COMMENTS

Click here to leave a comment...
Comment *
Most Recent Comments: