Category Archives: FUNdraising Good Times

Don’t underestimate the value of in-kind services and resources

Everyone needs money – and every nonprofit needs cash or cash equivalents. These are used to meet payroll, pay the rent, fund programs, services, advocate, and more. Cash is king, but you can expand your fund development and fundraising to include in-kind resources. With this column we are talking about in-kind gifts and services that are of value to your organization. Think about technology, a new building, executive coaching, marketing, office furnishings, and other goods or services that you would otherwise purchase. Think of items that add value, that you need, and which you might not otherwise afford. Yes, you’ll need to deploy the same energy, planning, and strategizing as you would for “regular” fundraising: don’t discount the work involved. But, when you are strategic you can engage an additional […]

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12 questions to ask before agreeing to serve as a campaign leader

Fundraising campaigns require volunteer leadership. It is an honor and a privilege to be asked. It is also a responsibility. While you may have a reputation as a “super hero” in the community, leading a fundraising campaign requires groundwork that you alone cannot build. Here are 12 things you need to be curious about before you say yes or no. Does the institution have a campaign plan? Is the proposed fundraising campaign an outgrowth of the strategic plan, or is it tied to the strategic plan? What will the campaign raise money for and what is the projected impact, both quantitatively and qualitatively? Has the institution prepared a campaign case for support? What has been the institution’s prior fundraising history and results? Has a budget been developed to support the […]

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Creating your nonprofit business plan

Creating your nonprofit business plan

Part three of a three part series Does a nonprofit need a business plan? The answer is “yes.” With this column we share guidance from Bridget Ciaramitaro, experienced nonprofit planner, so you can get to work planning for the business success of your nonprofit. First, we asked Ciaramitaro, “what is a business plan for a nonprofit?” A business plan builds upon the strategic plan. In some ways, the business plan determines the feasibility of implementing the strategic plan. I’ve heard it said that a strategic plan is a wish list without a business plan. This plan includes the vision, mission and values of the organization, and the strategic goals and objectives. It includes the program model for the organization answering the question “why do we do what we do?” The […]

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strategy concept hand drawn on blackboard

How to create your strategic plan and fundraising plan

Part two of a three part series  Get ready to plan for your success starting with your strategic and fundraising plans. We talked with Bridget Ciaramitaro, talented nonprofit planner, and share her expertise with you. Let’s get to work! Let’s start with the strategic plan. We asked Ciaramitaro the basic question: what is a strategic plan? Here are her words of wisdom: A strategic plan is the result of a planning process that ends in making informed choices as to the future path of an organization. The key word is “strategic.” It is equally important to choose not to do something as it is to make the choice of moving in a particular direction. A strategic plan is a road map. Unfortunately, some nonprofits bypass the strategic plan and react […]

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What is the difference between a strategic plan, a business plan and a fundraising plan?

What is the difference between a strategic plan, a business plan and a fundraising plan?

Part one of a three part series Planning is at the heart of nonprofit organizations and institutions. That’s everyone from grassroots organizations, to colleges and universities, to hospitals and museums, to international aid organizations, and more. Planning is the work of the board, executive leadership, staff, volunteers, and community members and stakeholders. All have a role to play. Planning includes research, input sessions, visioning, and the creation of timelines, roles and responsibilities to guide implementation. Three cornerstone plans are the strategic plan, the business plan, and the fundraising plan. Most organizations have some form of a strategic plan and many will have a fundraising activity plan. Less common is the business plan, and a full-blown fundraising plan that ties to the strategic plan and the business plan. Depending on your […]

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Should you start a nonprofit? Close one?

Should you start a nonprofit? Close one?

The new year brings good intentions, some of which include starting a nonprofit organization. Another less talked about intention is closing an existing nonprofit. With this column we share thoughts on the large number of nonprofits. We provide a list of questions that individuals, board members, and community leaders can ask of themselves, their organizations, and philanthropists and funders. If you want to start a new nonprofit. If you are considering starting a nonprofit you have good reasons and intentions. Unfortunately, these are not enough to launch and most importantly to sustain an organization. A few years ago we wrote a column called 12 things to consider before you start a nonprofit. These include researching the need for your nonprofit, identifying board members who will serve in more than “name […]

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Evaluate 2018 – make 2019 great

Evaluate 2018 – make 2019 great

As the years change many of us reflect on the past and make promises for the future. We have visions of the wonderful things we will do personally, professionally, and most of all for the nonprofits we serve. We’re with you on that journey with a few suggestions that relate to your nonprofit service. We have put together an exercise you can use individually, and then share with your fellow board members, staff, or volunteer team for a collective reflection. Review the following lists and evaluate – with a simple “yes” or “no” – what you were able to accomplish. Board members. Were you able to: Give or get a meaningful gift? Propose a “game changing” idea? Secure an in-kind gift or service that enabled the organization to sustain and […]

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A Christmas gift that lasts a life time

A Christmas gift that lasts a life time

“She has been there for me and I have been there for her.” This is the story of a woman who gave her kidney to her best friend, so she could have a longer life and a higher quality of life. Over ten years ago we were introduced to Ms. Cathy Davis. We fell in love with her immediately. She is a nonprofit leader who is 100% committed to the people she serves, just like so many of our readers. She gives of herself on the job, and off. We work with Cathy in the area of fundraising. She is always strategizing on how to ask for funds and resources that are needed by her agency. She is busy at work encouraging others to give. But earlier this month Cathy […]

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What a feasibility study can reveal

What a feasibility study can reveal

How brave are you, and what are you willing to learn and act on in order to grow your fundraising? If you have courage you may be ready for a fundraising feasibility study. If your nonprofit is considering a major fundraising campaign in the next 12 to 36 months now is the time to prepare for your feasibility study and define what you want to learn from it. What is a feasibility study? It is a series of interviews with individuals who can give or influence resources and major gifts for your organization or institution. A feasibility study is conducted when planning for a major campaign. It is typically conducted by consultants on behalf of your nonprofit. A draft “case for support” is used during the process. This draft provides […]

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Get ahead of the curve

Get ahead of the curve

Yes, its time to focus on yearend giving at work, and to celebrate with friends and family after hours. BUT…. let us suggest you find some time for pre-2019 strategy to get you ahead of the curve. Next year doesn’t have to be like this year. If this was your best year, take time to grow that success in 2019. If things weren’t exactly as good as you wanted, take the time to plan for a new year that can yield different results. Here are five suggestions you can implement now. Make some hot chocolate, bring some cookies to the table and get to work. Pull together your leadership – that’s board members, CEO or executive director, chief finance person, program leaders, and development / fundraising team. Pour your hot […]

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