THE BEDROCK OF SUCCESSFUL FUNDRAISING: Building Constituencies and Cultivating Relatonships


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A Workshop Presentation for Nonprofit Staff and Board Members, by Trident Communications Group, for the Maine Association of Nonprofits, on January 21, 2010

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THE BEDROCK OF SUCCESSFUL FUNDRAISING: Building Constituencies and Cultivating Relatonships

  1. 1. THE BEDROCK OF SUCCESSFUL FUNDRAISING: BUILDING CONSTITUENCIES & CULTIVATING RELATIONSHIPS A Workshop for Nonprofit Organization Staff & Board Members Presented by Trident Communications Group Under the Auspices of Maine Association of Nonprofits Thursday, January 21, 2010 © 2010, Trident Communications Group
  2. 2. WELCOME! • Opening Comments • Introductions: Participants & Presenter • Acknowledgements & Note of Appreciation • General Schedule for Today’s Workshop:  Hour #1 (9:00-9:55 a.m., 5-minute break 9:55-10 a.m.) • Q&A session #1, 9:45-9:55 a.m.  Hour #2 (10-10:55 a.m., 5-minute break 10:55-11 a.m.) • Q&A session #2, 10:45-10:55 a.m.  Hour #3 (11-11:45 a.m.) • Final Q&A session, 11:45 a.m.-12 noon Trident Communications Group
  3. 3. The Language of Symbols The hourglass, the compass and the chessman. They speak of time, direction and process, the essential elements of successful organizational advancement strategy.
  4. 4. General Outline of Content for Today’s Workshop Hour #1  Organizational Advancement: Some General Concepts & Definitions  Markets & Audiences: Identifying Constituents Hour #2  Building Constituencies & Cultivating Relationships Hour #3  Creating a Successful Program for Advancement/Philanthropy
  5. 5. Part One Organizational Advancement: Some General Concepts & Definitions
  6. 6. Organizational Advancement: Ultimate Goal & Desired Result • Goal: to build and sustain engaged, interested, loyal and supportive constituencies. • Desired Result: to create a well-informed constituent who is a firm believer in the mission, a loyal client, user, customer or member, and an enthusiastic contributor/don- or/investor/stakeholder. Trident Communications Group
  7. 7. Organizational Advancement: A Process, A Continuum • Dictionary definition: “promoting a cause or a plan.” • “ADVANCING” the best interests of the organization. • For nonprofits, a central focus on mission & service. • It isn’t simply a process of developing a good image. • It isn’t just all about fundraising. • It’s really all about relationships! • It’s analogous to how interpersonal relationships work. • A process that continues over time -- just as in human friendships. • The importance of process stewardship & maintenance. • The pivotal “ownership” role of the governing board. Trident Communications Group
  8. 8. The Advancement Process Begins • Developing acquaintances among strangers. (acquisition initiatives) • Getting better acquainted with those we serve (i.e., patients, alumni, members, etc.). • As between people, introductions are helpful. • Importance of sustained communication, education and interaction. • Strategies for mutual engagement. • Promoting a “stakeholder” relationship. • Keep the cart behind the horse! This takes time! Trident Communications Group
  9. 9. Where Are We Going, Anyway? • We need a strategic advancement plan! • We need to identify and induct the central players! • We need to invest time and resources in this process! • We need to develop goals and manage expectations! • We need to see and understand the other end of the game board! Trident Communications Group
  10. 10. What Are the General Steps? • Define and understand the advancement process. • Develop strategies and tactics and integrate with long- term organizational plans. • Adapt the advancement process to organizational needs and resources. • Identify/define markets and audiences. • Convert market/audience members to constituents. • “Sell” the mission (make the case). • Engage constituents in mission implementation. • Turn constituents into “investors” (donors). • Build a philanthropy (fundraising) program around investors. Trident Communications Group
  11. 11. The Principal Players: Everyone Is an Ambassador! • Governing Board Members • Board Committee Members • Chief Executive and Senior Staff • Advancement Staff • Other Employees • Volunteers Trident Communications Group
  12. 12. Part One Markets & Audiences: Identifying Constituents
  13. 13. Constituents? They’re Right Under Your Nose! • What does our larger market/community look like? • What are “native,” “natural” or “created” markets and audiences? • Who are our customers, clients, patients, students, alumni, members, volunteers? • How much do we know about these individuals, families, groups, organizations? • What do we know about the “strangers?” • What do we do with our demographic information and data? (technology) • So, we have markets and audience members! Now what? Trident Communications Group
  14. 14. Part Two Building Constituencies & Cultivating Relationships
  15. 15. Identifying & Defining Constituencies • “Native,”/“natural” or “created” constituencies. • Look among customers, clients, patients, students, alumni, members, volunteers. • Don’t ignore the larger community or marketplace --- “strangers.” • Acquiring constituents from among “strangers” --- beyond acquaintanceship. • “Created” constituencies (i.e., acquisitions) are critical to long-term viability. Trident Communications Group
  16. 16. From Acquaintance to Constituent • A constituent from among our own donors! Really? • Carving out new constituencies (i.e., event patrons, visitors, referrals, etc. • Be consistently open to new constituent relationships - work at it. • Present the organization, and make the case at every possible turn. • New volunteer opportunities can create new constituents. Trident Communications Group
  17. 17. Familiarity Breeds Respect! Ignorance Can Breed Contempt! • Constituents must be familiar with the organization and its mission. • Awareness, interest and concern come from knowing and understanding. • Giving (fundraising) derives from awareness, interest and concern. • Ignore the acquaintance or constituent; risk disinterest or even contempt (i.e., following an appeal)! • Constituencies must have staying power --- integrate/cultivate them! • It all starts with communication, marketing and education. Trident Communications Group
  18. 18. Public Relations & Marketing: Definitions • Public relations is the process of promoting or inducing understanding for and goodwill toward a person, company, cause, organization or institution from the public at large or a specific audience. Creating a mutual need relationship between an organization and a particular target audience. • Marketing is the process of moving goods or services from the producer to the consumer. Marketing communication is targeted messaging in support of a marketing strategy. Trident Communications Group
  19. 19. Communication, Marketing & Education: The Key to Familiarity • Public relations/communications/marketing and fundraising staffs must be fully integrated and see their jobs as a joint venture --- on the advancement continuum! • “Pure” communication: interpreting the essential mission and general character of the organization. First priority. • “Marketing” communication: interpreting the services/products/programs of the organization. The next communication goal. • Make all communication personalized and “one-to-one.” • Help educate constituents about organizational impact and needs. • Always focus on the constituent (prospective donor) role in advancing mission. • Sustained messaging is key to familiarity effectiveness. Trident Communications Group
  20. 20. Positioning: The Core Communication Tool • “Positioning” (communication): getting inside the mind of the prospect to “position” the organization positively in perception. Not concerned with what one does to the product/service, but with what one does to the mind of the prospect. (Al Ries & Jack Trout, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind). • “The core of service marketing is the service itself.” (Henry Beckwith, Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing). • For a nonprofit service organization, positioning can be built on service differentiation, but the position must be based on reality, not fantasy and hyperbole! Perception can become reality. Fix the perception and reality before deciding on a position! • “Your position must set you apart from your competitors. You cannot be all things to all people; you must focus on one thing.” (Henry Beckwith, Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing). • Get into each mind with messages that positively position and differentiate your organization. Trident Communications Group
  21. 21. Interpreting the Position: Methodologies to Consider • Collateral Communication/Publications (i.e., newsletters, annual reports, etc.) • News Dissemination & Media Publicity • Fundraising Appeals and Materials • Advertising • Public/Community Education • Outreach & Public-Service Activities • Special Events • Special-Purpose Correspondence & Communications Trident Communications Group
  22. 22. The Advancement Equation: Formula for Success A+B=C • A = awareness, B = belief in mission, C = constituency, • or, the more “crass” and market-driven view, • A = acquaintance, B = buy-in, C = CASH (investment by a donor). Trident Communications Group
  23. 23. Sustaining Relationships: Keeping the Love Alive! • Consistent (but nonintrusive) engagement (“touch”) is essential. • Seek opportunities for “touches” that have impact potential. • Develop reasonable, adaptable CRM strategies/tactics. • Utilize available CRM tools and technologies (e.g., CONVIO, etc.). • It should be all about the constituent/donor’s motivations, NOT the organization and its needs. • Maintain constituent interest in/concern for the mission. • Communicate mission impact and how success is measured. • All donors are constituents; not all constituents will be donors! (Keep trying!) • Express appreciation for time, talent and treasure every day. Trident Communications Group
  24. 24. A Critical Partnership of Professionals • Integration! Integration! Integration! • Communication and fundraising are integral parts of a single process and continuum. • Everyone is involved in making the case. • The governing board must take the lead. • In a small or one-person shop, take smaller bites of the apple. You cannot do it all …. at once! • In larger shops, get everyone at the table. • PR and marketing folks are fundraisers! Fundraisers are PR and marketing folks! Really! • Focus on mission and community impact/benefit. • Beware of burnout and stale messages --- focus on creativity. Trident Communications Group
  25. 25. Is the horse still in front of the cart? We’re ready to do some serious fundraising now! Trident Communications Group
  26. 26. Part Three Creating a Successful Advancement/Philanthropy Program
  27. 27. Integration! Integration! Integration! • This is where all the rubber hits the road! • This is where strangers and acquaintances become or are separated from constituents! • This is where PR/communications/marketing and fundraising staff test and prove their partnership! • This is where positioning and core messages reinforce mission and goals! • This is where constituents become stakeholders in the mission! • This is where “investors” are born! • To work successfully, it demands INTEGRATION of all the advancement disciplines. Trident Communications Group
  28. 28. Advancement Building Blocks: Requirements for Success • Long- and Short-Term Advancement Plans Fully Integrated with Organizational Plans • Long- and Short-Term Advancement Strategies and Tactics • Support of the Board, Chief Executive and Senior Staff • Support of Volunteers (perhaps a Development Advisory Committee) • Adequate/Appropriate Human Resources • Adequate/Appropriate Budget Resources • Adequate/Appropriate Work Space • Adequate/Appropriate Equipment Resources • Constituent Database, CRM System, or Basic Donor File • Other Technological Resources Trident Communications Group
  29. 29. Develop a Varied and Manageable Program • Annual Giving --- The Real Backbone (Essential) • Direct Mail Appeals • New-Donor/Constituent Acquisition • Special Events • Telephone/Telethon Solicitation • E-Mail/Web-Based Solicitation • Major Gifts (Annual and Special) • Capital & Endowment Campaigns (Major Gifts) • Planned/Legacy Giving • Corporate & Association Giving • Foundations & Grants • Prospect Research & Evaluation Trident Communications Group
  30. 30. Integrated Communication & Education Support for Fundraising • Collateral Materials • Routine Communication – Newsletters, Annual Reports, Campaign Materials, etc. • Website & Internet Presence • Social Media (i.e., Facebook Causes/Fans, Twitter, My Space, etc.) • Cause Marketing/Advertising • News Dissemination – Media Publicity • Estate-Planning Seminars/Workshops • Educational Programs • Other Special Events Trident Communications Group
  31. 31. Other Engagement Strategies • Consistent Social Communication (i.e., birthday greetings, sympathy, etc.) • Mission-Related Projects for Constituents/Donors • Giving Groups & Societies • Volunteer Opportunities • Board Membership & Board Committee Service • Special Recognition/Appreciation Events for Donors • Advocacy Programs for Constituents/Donors (i.e., walks, open houses, petition campaigns, etc.) • Consistent Effort to Design New Strategies/Tactics Trident Communications Group
  32. 32. Thank You & Welcome to the Future! The time-honored machinery of organizational advancement keeps going, as long as we in the advancement profession remain good stewards of the process. The future appears hopeful! Trident Communications Group
  33. 33. Trident Communications Group Organizational Advancement Counsel 56 Augusta Way, Dover, New Hampshire 03820-5014 603/749-6547 603/749-6548 [FAX] • • © 2010, Trident Communications Group Trident Communications Group