Strategic Fundraising


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Presentation at CASE Conference on Major Gifts, San Antonio, February 2009

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Strategic Fundraising

  1. 1. Strategic Fundraising William R. Lowery, Ph.D. Vice President for Development and External Relations Claremont McKenna College February 11, 2009 CASE – San Antonio
  2. 2. Fashions in fundraising <ul><li>The old way to campaign </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Find a project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Desire </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Need </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Desperation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make the case </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>This will allow us to . . . . </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>All the others are . . . . </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If we don’t do this, we’ll . . . . </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Fashions in Fundraising <ul><li>The current version </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on the donor (“donor-centric”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Identify his or her values, background, “hot buttons” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Discover her or his financial problems </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Find solutions to the problems </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Make the donor feel as if goals have been met </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Match the gift design with something in the campaign </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. The new new thing: strategic fundraising <ul><li>Bringing things into alignment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Remember that first things come first </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Value the donors who can meet the first need </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make the case for what’s crucial </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Build the program to make this happen: be strategic </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Design the case </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Design the pool </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. The players Deciders Prospects Solicitors
  6. 6. The deciders <ul><li>Board of Trustees </li></ul><ul><li>President </li></ul><ul><li>Deans and faculty </li></ul><ul><li>Alumni leaders </li></ul><ul><li>Athletes and fans </li></ul><ul><li>Institutes and organizations </li></ul>
  7. 7. What deciders consider <ul><li>Markets </li></ul><ul><ul><li>External (prospective students, faculty, researchers) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal (current students, faculty, researchers) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reputational (the world they’ll live in) </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. What deciders consider: more <ul><li>Values </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How the institution defines success </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What the deciders see: success or failure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What the markets see: success or failure </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Finance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Total revenue </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Revenue provided directly by clients </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Revenue from other sources </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. The decision <ul><li>The institution needs to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Build (bigger, better, classier) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hire (more, better, more visible/productive) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recruit/expand (student body, faculty) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Add (programs/sites) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Change (programs/sites) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>There is priority among them, even if not stated </li></ul>
  10. 10. The solicitors <ul><li>The major gifts team and others </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Trained to learn from prospects: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Asset strength </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>History </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Motivators </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Values </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hot buttons </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Good at determining when to ask, and how </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Likely to move on schedule – theirs or donors’ </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Solicitors: more <ul><li>Good solicitors work closely with prospects to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Define the gift most likely to fit donors’ values </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make the gift make the donor feel bigger </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Structure the gift to make financial sense for the donor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leave the door open for future relations </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. The prospects <ul><li>Define and change their relations with the institution </li></ul><ul><li>Have a life outside the institution </li></ul><ul><li>Could get along without you </li></ul><ul><li>Need to be reminded that you share their goals and values </li></ul><ul><li>Have varied and varying needs </li></ul>
  13. 13. The prospects: more <ul><li>Desires and needs may have no order in donors’ minds </li></ul><ul><li>Motivators and hot buttons can change in importance </li></ul><ul><li>The solicitor may be able to change the priority order </li></ul>
  14. 14. Getting to the center Highest importance Deciders Prospects Solicitors
  15. 15. What the solicitor must do <ul><li>Canvass the prospects – assess their relation to the Project of Highest Importance </li></ul><ul><li>Instinct trumps data here </li></ul><ul><li>Reorganize the priority and the schedule to reflect these analyses </li></ul><ul><li>Move forward swiftly but do not ignore the rest of the pool </li></ul>
  16. 16. Essentials for success in strategic fundraising <ul><li>Create feedback loops </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Solicitor to deciders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Solicitor to prospects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deciders to prospects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deciders to solicitor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prospects to solicitor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prospects to deciders </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Essentials for success in strategic fundraising: more <ul><li>Give deciders assessments of likelihood for success </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure prospects/donors know the Project of Highest Importance is on track </li></ul><ul><li>Connect deciders to prospects when that will strengthen the connection </li></ul><ul><li>Give prospects’ thoughts back to deciders if that will improve the project </li></ul>
  18. 18. Takeaways <ul><li>This new new thing is a blend of fundraising fashions </li></ul><ul><li>Being strategic we still pay attention to prospects’ values and desires </li></ul><ul><li>Being strategic, we respect the institution’s legitimate need to put first things first </li></ul>
  19. 19. William R. Lowery Vice President for Development and External Relations Claremont McKenna College 400 North Claremont Boulevard Claremont, CA 91711 [email_address] O: 909-621-8096 M: 909-568-1964