Open Enrollment | Subscribe to NonProfit PRO 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.

 

Connections

Richard Perry
Why Are We Afraid to Fire People?
May 25, 2015

The primary reason a person does not perform in their job is that the job does not match the person's...



Peeling the Onion

Katrina VanHuss
The Walking Dead Sabotage Nonprofits
May 22, 2015

Recently I've written about my personal epiphany regarding the expense-is-all-that-matters filter through which we/I have looked at nonprofits' effectiveness. The...



Pay It Forward

F. Duke Haddad
The Importance of Marketing Yourself
May 22, 2015

Don't ever forget to market yourself. You are your most important product and key to your ultimate institutional success. No...



Old Dog Fundraising

Pamela Barden
You Asked—Fundraising Questions Answered, Part Three
May 21, 2015

This is the final article in a series of three that follow up on questions submitted during the NonProfit PRO...



Ruthlessly Practical Fundraising

Gail Perry
6 Ways to Get The Most Out of a Major Donor Visit
May 20, 2015

You finally have the appointment with your major donor. Don't strike out when you finally get in the door. Here...



Navigating Off the Napkin

Angie Moore
Are You Going to Fall Out of Searches Now?
May 19, 2015

Big changes have happened at Google, and whether your website is mobile or not is going to affect how they...



It's Your Turn

Larry C Johnson
It’s There—Waiting for You
May 14, 2015

Far too often, nonprofit leaders adopt a scarcity mentality. There's never enough. There's more competition for philanthropic dollars subdividing a...



ProSpeak

Who's Up Next?
Yes You Can: Ground Rules for Nonprofit Lobbying and Advocacy
May 5, 2015

Given the many issues facing nonprofits today, and the people they serve, it is more important than ever to get...



Digging Deeper

Matt Hugg
Are You in Their Head?
Apr 28, 2015

How well do you know the people you serve? How well do you know the folks you solicit for gifts?...



Outside Counsel

Willis Turner
How to Write a Fundraising Drip Campaign
Apr 27, 2015

According to the Rule of 7, it takes an average of seven exposures to a message before it sinks in...



Get What You Give

Joe Boland
NonProfit PRO Leadership Conference: Navigating a Difficult Nonprofit Environment
Mar 24, 2015

At the inaugural NonProfit PRO Leadership Conference May 5 in Washington, D.C., Paul Bellantone, president and CEO of Promotional Products...



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...



Get Engaged

Margaret Battistelli
What's Cooking in 2015?
Jan 7, 2015

Here's your chance to chime in and help us paint a picture of trends and best practices across all aspects...



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...



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: