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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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Dear Santa

Letter to Santa

Think letters to Santa are written only by kids? Think again. We found this letter floating across a local parking lot and thought it best to share, just in case there’s a Santa out there! Dear Santa, As CEO of a nonprofit I don’t ask for much. Some say I’m foolish, a bit out of touch. But I’ve been very good, and know I could be better, if only you’d help and answer this letter. Our nonprofit is strong, but we can’t do it ourselves, we need you Santa and your wonderful elves. I sat up last night after our last board meeting, creating this list instead of our holiday greeting. Santa, I need a new board, one with fundraising experience: I need to raise money not deal with a […]

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Your dollar makes a difference

Your dollar makes a difference #GivingTuesday

Your gift is truly a gift. Research shows that a lot of giving happens in December! Numbers range from 28 to 31 percent of annual charitable giving takes place in December, and 12 percent happens in the last three days of the year. How will you give this year, and what will motivate you? As you prepare to make your Giving Tuesday or yearend charitable gifts to nonprofits, remember this – your gift really does make a difference. Keep the passion in your giving! Reflect on what it is that drives you to give now and throughout the year. Your gift makes a personal impact on the lives of people you may never meet. And they may never know that you were the person behind the Christmas dinner their family […]

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Nonprofits, do you believe in Santa Claus?

Nonprofits who conduct yearend campaigns may unconsciously believe in Santa Claus. Some – though by no means all – are looking for a yearend windfall gift to appear between now and December 31st. Staff and board members sweat out the yearend, checking the mail and organizational bank accounts. Their fingers are crossed, and many are popping antacids. Nervous doesn’t begin to describe the situation. As the days count down, reality may sit in, and talk may turn to “next year” as hope for the yearend diminishes. But it doesn’t have to be that way. And yes, there is still time to move from anxiety and into action. First, we want to share best practices that can reduce yearend craziness. Organizations who are successful in their fundraising know they have enough […]

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Increase your fundraising success with matching gifts

Increase your fundraising success with matching gifts

There’s a public secret that benefits many individuals and nonprofits. It’s called matching gifts. That’s the term for when an employer – or other organization – commits to make a gift to a nonprofit that “matches” the gift made by an employee or other qualified individual. Sometimes there are “qualifications” or “restrictions” set on these gifts, sometimes not. Here’s a simple example: you make a gift to a nonprofit and ask for a receipt. You submit the receipt to your human resources office. A gift is then made from your employer to the nonprofit. That’s it – instant money! Matching gifts programs – when utilized –make a significant difference in the fundraising growth of a nonprofit. Unfortunately, in too many cases people are not aware, don’t know they are eligible, […]

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