Tag Archives: fundraising

When is the right time for a fundraising campaign?

When is the right time for a fundraising campaign?

The development committee of your board is like the fire department. They should always be ready to fundraise. They should be planning for the next campaign, cultivating new donors, and understanding the philanthropic landscape. When the time to actively fundraise arrives they “spring into action.” It is always the right time for a campaign if your organization has done its planning, built its capacity, has volunteer leadership in place, and understands the philanthropic landscape. That is a lot of work. No organization can do it all at once and simultaneously continue operations. This is ongoing work, it takes place step-by-step, day-by-day. It is part of who you are as a nonprofit, large or small. Yes, you need to focus on your mission, vision, people, and constituency. At the same time […]

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(from left to right) Dr. Elwood L. Robinson: Chancellor, Winston-Salem State University; Dr. Karrie G. Dixon: Interim Chancellor, Elizabeth City State University; Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins: President, Bennett College; and Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins Sr.: President, Livingstone College.

Corporate leaders offer more than money

“What can we do to help?” That was the question asked by a corporate representative at a conference we attended last week. The already lively discussion quickly blossomed and increased in focus. Here are the details. We were in Winston Salem participating in the State of Black North Carolina conference. We fell in love with the people, energy, and positive, forward thinking. We were surrounded by people – including high school students and senior citizens – all of who were asking questions, offering solutions, sharing history, and strategizing. We facilitated a panel discussion on HBCUs: Their Mission, Their Value, Their Future. The panelists were Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins: President, Bennett College; Dr. Karrie G. Dixon: Interim Chancellor, Elizabeth City State University; Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins Sr.: President, Livingstone College; and […]

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How to win at fundraising

How to win at fundraising

Wonder why it’s easy for some nonprofits to raise money and not so much for others? Here’s what we have learned: sustained successful fundraising requires consistent attention, action, funding and leadership. It is proactive and donor-focused. The success of an organization’s fundraising depends upon the involvement of a cross-section of influencers and their ability and willingness to cultivate and solicit major donors. Success also depends on prerequisites that support the involvement of influencers and donors. Below we share a few of these prerequisites, otherwise known as “secrets to winning at fundraising.”  Think on these questions. Talk about them. Share these with your board, staff, volunteers, fellow community members. Consider putting them into an online survey and ask those you know to share their responses. Do we have full understanding and […]

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What will be your fundraising legacy?

What will be your fundraising legacy?

As you begin your board service, define what you want to achieve by the time you leave. Whether you are a new or established board member we suggest you take the time to define for yourself what you want to accomplish through your service. Time will pass; crises will arise; there will be leadership changes, budget shortfalls, unexpected windfalls, mergers, resignations and more. You and your fellow board members will have to respond and react. In order to assure you are more than responsive, we suggest you set a fundraising-related goal that you consistently advance so when your board term comes to a close you will leave a legacy. You set the goal. There are many to choose from. You could raise a specific amount of money; to build a […]

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The right to be wrong

The right to be wrong

“Fundraising is known for its abundance of failures and few successes.” We can’t recall who said this, but we know it is true. Yet many people think otherwise. Plans are created; goals are set. Most are focused on “incremental growth.” Maybe it’s a little more direct mail. Or maybe a change in sponsorship levels for a special event. Some may try to launch an online giving program – but won’t invest enough to get meaningful results. It’s challenging for nonprofits to try things that might fail for the belief is that resources are too tight. Here’s our question: Can nonprofits attract the resources needed to fulfill their mission without taking risks? We are “pro-risk” and with this column encourage you to take a risk, otherwise known as “the right to […]

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Fundraising Priority Maze

Navigating the fundraising priority maze

If you have worked with a nonprofit you may have experience getting lost in what we call the “fundraising priority maze.” Here’s what it looks like. You know you need to raise money for your organization. Everybody else has a different idea about how much money is needed and how the funds will be used. You – as an executive director, college president, or fundraising professional feel as if you are encountering dead ends and detours when trying to accomplish what you believe is a simple task.  That task: define the organization’s priorities. Priorities – and the funds required to advance these – are at the core of an organization’s very existence. They are also at the core of the fundraising case for support. If you are not familiar with […]

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Headed in the right direction

Headed in the right direction

Fundraising successes don’t come overnight. They are built over time. It is the many “small” actions that build on each other and yield funding and resources.   With this column we share with you the story of Lane College and its recent fundraising successes. Located in Jackson, Tennessee, Lane is a historically black college that needed to – and wanted to – increase its fundraising.  Two years ago they set a goal of raising $6 million over three years. They have raised $5 million and are closing in on the balance. In the past year the number of donors giving to the college increased by 23%, the amount of donations increased by 33%, and giving by alumni almost doubled. How did they achieve all this? We talked with Lane College […]

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How to increase board giving and fundraising

How to increase board giving and fundraising

Part two of a two part series Should board members give? Our answer is “yes.” And, they should fundraise. That doesn’t mean you don’t need fundraising professionals. You do. But don’t think for a minute that they can be successful without a partnership with an engaged board. In part one of this series we shared complaints that executive directors and board members have of each other. We also shared some “food for thought” – things for everyone to consider when thinking about the topic of board engagement and fundraising. With this post we share a few specific things you can do to increase board giving and fundraising. Here we go: For executive directors, presidents, and development directors: Be honest. Tell the truth, don’t paint a rosy picture that somehow overlooks […]

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Should board members give?

Part one of a two part series “My board doesn’t give.” That’s a common lament we hear from executive directors and college presidents. Here’s one from board members: “They only want me for my money.” Both statements may be true. If these sentiments are active within your organization or institution you might want to take a moment to think about what’s underneath these. We offer a few things for you to consider. If you are an executive director or college president, consider the following. How would you characterize your relationship with the board, and especially your board president? Do you feel responsible for the board’s actions? Do you feel like you have to do the board’s work because they just won’t “step up?” Do you wish the board would just […]

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Evaluate 2017. Ground yourself – and your #fundraising – for 2018.

2017: Pass or fail?

Happy New Year! We hope you will find within you a way to embrace the new year with thoughtfulness, optimism and calm. Before the promise of 2018 transforms into to-do lists and meetings we suggest taking a few moments to identify what’s most important and what you do well. Center yourself and your organization, and agree on a few priorities that will make a difference in the lives of those you serve. Here are four suggestions that can ground your fundraising as you begin 2018. Honestly assess your strengths and challenges. Take a moment to assess yourself as an individual. This isn’t about praise and blame – it’s about reflection without judgment. With an honest assessment you can focus your time and energy on those things you do well, and […]

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