Elements of fundraising success

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Presentation in October 2008 to the Northeast Institute for Quality Community Action

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  • Wednesday night I went to the workshop held by the Taubman Center on the RI State Budget crisis and what we should do about it. For those of you who don’t know, the state is facing about a 150million deficit by June and somewhere between 380-450mill shortfall next year. So lots of items are on the table The subject of nonprofits was raised by one of the panelists – the CEO of one of the largest companies in the state. He stated: Nonprofits have to stop being so dependant on government money There are too many nonprofits in RI and we should merge to become more efficient and use money more wisely Why can’t our nonprofits pick up the services that gov’t will be shedding They needed to just get used to the idea that we will have to raise more money. It’s tough, but maybe if they can’t make the case, they should just go out of business. Segue.... Your reaction?
  • So this is the essential question of workshops. With the idea that if you come, you will find the answers that will make you wiser, richer, more effective, more beautiful etc. etc. But before we get to this question, let me ask you to take the quiz on page 1 of your packets. Give time: Then ask what surprised them? What concerns them?
  • While this workshop is about fundraising success, I would be crazy to not mention the financial crisis that is going on around us. That is keeping each of us awake at night wondering what it means for us, for our organizations, for our clients. None of us know how this will come out. Fundraising and our organizations have weathered tough times before. In previous recesssions, people have not abandoned philanthropy. Yet, I heard Nobel Prize Winner Paul Klugman yesterday say that he wasn’t sure that any of what has worked in the past will work again, that no one knew for sure how to get us out of this, that the worst may be before us. But he was willing to hope. But if there is one thing I do know, now is not the time to go it alone. We can’t throw each other under the bus to craft our own success. We’ve got to work together, think together, innovate together, and share responsibility with each other or the people we serve, who are already hurting badly, don’t have a chance. I don’t have an ready prescription, but I know that we absolutely have to sit down together, with a blank piece of paper, every crazy and previously unimaginable idea on the table, and make it work.
  • Okay, so the topic is Fundraising success. Let me start by saying that most nonprofits don’t have overwhelming success in fundraising. Most nonprofits stay really small. For many, that’s appropriate, because they work at the grassroots and in small neighborhoods. Most nonprofits rely on program service income, on government contracts, on 3 rd party reimbursements. Philanthropy only accounts for 20% of nonprofit revenues, with the exception of revenue generated in interest on endowments that came about through philanthropy. So we’ve all got our work cut out for us. The estimated total of US philanthropy was $306 billion in 2007, up $11 billion from 2006. Most of that money goes to that tiny top tier of nonprofits which include universities, top national/international nonprofits, etc. The rest of us are doing a lousy job of making our case.
  • There is disposable income out there. We spent $11.7 billion on soft drinks. $15 billion on bottled water. $8 billion on cosmetics. $2 billion on bubblegum.
  • I want to talk to you today about what it takes to raise a lot of money. Not just a little, but a lot.
  • Giving, especially giving big, is about making dreams come true. Make a Wish Foundation combined $100 million The affiliate in tiny New Hampshire, a state of 1.3 million people, raises over $1.25 million each year. I know what you are thinking, children with life threatening diseases, heartbreaking stories. Absolutely. But they received about $800K in what they call external fundraisers, events that they don’t have to do themselves because people come together to do those. Why? What do they get for that? (ASK QUESTION)
  • Now more than ever. Because if you don’t, they are going to drop you and stay with the organizations that both really, really matter to them, and that care about them. No more “hitting” people up for money. No more boring or late thank yous. No more talking to donors only when you want more money and nothing in between.
  • I was just reading Seth Godin’s blog. He is former VP of Direct Marketing at Yahoo!, has produced books such as All Marketers are Liars and Permission Marketing, as has created a new web social networking tool called Squidoo. Anyway, Seth has a short article on his blog called “Flipping the Funnell” Give your fans the power to speak up. While a good part of the article is pushing his Squidoo, he makes some very powerful points:’ Turn strangers into friends Turn friends into donors And then... Do the most important job Turn your donors into fundraisers. “ We’re living in the most cluttered marketplace in history. People are better at ignoring you than they’ve ever been before. You don’t have enough time or money to get your message out.” So his challenge to us is to use the people power among us to get our supporters raising awareness and money for us. We already have very successful examples of this --- the walk-a-thon, swim-a-thon, dance-a-thon. In 2007, Save The Bay raised $230,000 from its Swim, with over 400 swimmers who entered. Hildy’s Personal Advocacy – starts with board of directors
  • You absolutely have to be fearless to raise a lot of money. I just interviewed two volunteers who chaired an $11 million capital campaign for Save The Bay in RI. Between them, they talked to over 1,500 people over 3 years, many they knew, many they didn’t. They asked JWU university to donate the land for their campus, they called their relatives on ski slopes, they didn’t’ take know for an answer. They got banks to make capital gifts when they usually don’t’ give to capital. When I asked how many rejections they received, they told me 1. 1. Why? They didn’t stop with a no. They just knew they hadn’t connected yet in a way that made sense to those individuals.
  • Talented people. Dedicated people. Committee board members. Knowledge of what works in fundraising... Before you decide to blow it up. Cultivation, prospect research. A plan for success. The math. Good donor software to keep track of people and what they give. Well written, engaging communications.
  • Absolutely have to believe this. Competing with discretionary spending. With the bubblegum, the soft drinks, the new TV set, etc, etc.
  • Worksheet # 2
  • Come back to this question of how.
  • To quote Peter Block: “ The How question carries the belief that others know and I don’t It carries the belief that what I want is right around the corner, that I lack information or some methodology.” How do I do this? It comes with other hows: How long will it take? How much does it cost? How do you get those people to change? How have others done it successfully? Let me be clear, How questions are not invalid, but according to Block, and I agree, they are asked to soon. They are too often asked to avoid the real questions, which are What matters to me? What is the commitment I am willing to make? Because the first answer to How is
  • We take a lot of flack in this sector. And a fair amount of it is deserved. But when I’m feeling particular put up, I remind myself of what this sector has tackled and what it has made real progress in: Abolition of slavery, expansion of Civil Rights & Human Rights, Environmental Movement, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - to children, Museums, Art, culture, heritage, humanities, historic preservation, Higher education, Libraries, Women’s Suffrage and Equality, Disease prevention, Wellness, Anti-discrimination and anti-apartheid, LGBTQ rights, Rights of individuals with disabilities, de-institutionalization of mental health – I myself have been a member/activist with TWO NGOs that have won the Nobel Prize for Peace: American Friends Service Committee, Amnesty International It is when we hold dearly to the societal impact that we want to have, when we look at the world and see it as it could be and believe that what is isn’t good enough, that we believe in our own power, that is the secret to our ability to make transformational change. I have a colleague who is an excellent capital campaign consultant. A few years ago, he stopped doing the classic feasibility studies– you know: go out, interview the potential top donors, find out how much they might be willing to give, then do a calculation and tell the organization whether they can meet their goal or not. Hank said the issue was never one of feasibility, it was always about commitment, the importance of the project and how well others believed. Did you ever wonder how the world might be different today if Rosa Parks, or Martin Luther King Jr, or Mohandas Gandhi hired a feasibility consultant before they took action. Or Joanne Goldblum, a client of mine, who 4 years ago founded The New Haven Diaper Bank which with moms in mini-vans collecting diapers and has now grown to delivering almost 1 million diapers a year in the city of New Haven alone and about to expand to Hartford & Bridgeport. She has been recognized with the RWJ Community Heros award, the NH Register Person of the Year, Yes, they have how questions about the expansion, that’s why they hired me. But they can solve the logistics, the biggest question we are wrestling with is what they are willing to commit to: And I see that again and again with virtually all of the organizations in which I’ve worked and with whom I’ve worked...
  • It is our own limitations, our own ambitions, our wants, needs, fears and desires, that stand in the way of our ability to transform the world. Both our organizational needs, and our personal ones as well. It is impossible to answer the How question without answering Blocks other question as well: What is the refusal that I have been postponing ? Because if we can’t say no, then our yes means nothing. So I’d like to have you start with a personal exercise to help clarify your journey through the rest of the day.
  • Take the next five or six minutes to think about this question and fill it out. I just want to say that you are not a bad person for your wants and needs. They just are. What this exercise is designed to do is to help clarify those limitations for you. An personal example. Back in 1989, I had reached a plateau and was ready to move on from my job as director of development and communications at PLAN USA. SO I was looking around for an executive director job. But I had just given birth to identical twins, and had a daughter who was five and a husband and marriage that needed me. I had also been very active in human rights and disarmament work and had significant responsibilities. After a significant amount of soul searching, I decided that I just couldn’t take on the Ex. Director responsibility. In my ear was the voice of a very wise mentor, who had spent 50 years in movement work, (Sid’s space).
  • Last thoughts?
  • Elements of fundraising success

    1. 1. Fundraising ... Essentials for Success Gayle L. Gifford, ACFRE
    2. 2. Workshop rules: <ul><li>This is a taste, not the whole meal </li></ul><ul><li>What matters is what happens when you leave </li></ul><ul><li>There are no wrong questions </li></ul>
    3. 3. Topics <ul><li>Quiz </li></ul><ul><li>Elements of Success </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing with each other </li></ul><ul><li>Questions for Gayle </li></ul><ul><li>Reflection </li></ul><ul><li>Feedback </li></ul>
    4. 4. How do I do it?
    5. 5. Opening Deep Thoughts
    6. 6. Most nonprofits stay REALLY SMALL
    7. 8. Secrets of Fundraising Success
    8. 9. 1. Connect to dreams
    9. 10. 2. Shower your donors with love
    10. 11. 3. Inspire Evangelists
    11. 12. 4. Got Chutzpah? or Climb without a Rope
    12. 13. 5. Invest in the Basics
    13. 14. 6. Believe in abundance
    14. 15. 7. Value Networks
    15. 16. Questions?
    16. 17. How do I do it?
    17. 18. “ HOW?” is the wrong question!
    18. 19. Yes!
    19. 20. We get in the way of our yes
    20. 21. <ul><li>What is your deepest organizational desire? </li></ul><ul><li>What are you unable or unwilling to give up to make it happen? </li></ul><ul><li>How does this affect your desire? </li></ul>What is the NO that you are avoiding?
    21. 22. Thank you

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