Optimal Funding Outcomes: Are you REALLY making your case?

Interconnectedness What do we offer givers?

This is the central question around which your case for funding support is crafted, for it is the giver who is central to optimal funding outcomes. We must appeal to the interest of the givers as much as we promote the interests and funding needs of the organization.

Check out the new planning worksheet to help you craft your organization’s compelling case for funding support:  http://wp.me/P1xUUk-29e 

If you would like some advice and facilitation in the crafting of your case, let me know. Giving Speaks Consulting and I are here to help!

Laurel 2012

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Content Sources:

Association of Fundraising Professionals website: http://www.afpnet.org/

Fundraising Communications 101: Your Case for Support, a Campbell & Company webinar, presented by Andy Brommel and Kate Roosevelt.

Generosity Fitness–a New Year Resolution for 2015!

Happy New Year 2015

A favorite post, updated from the original version in January 2012…

Now that the busy-ness and indulgence of the Holiday Season has passed and the page of the calendar has turned to January, we turn our thoughts to the fresh new year before us.  There are so many possibilities for us to consider; so much we could do. We must prioritize what we hope to accomplish over the next twelve months. This involves clarifying and planning, reorganizing our lives and resources to fulfill our goals. This is the time we engage in the tradition of making New Year Resolutions!

This tradition arose eons ago, inspired by the legend of the Roman god Janus, who is depicted with two faces.  One of the faces of Janus looks to the past and the other to the future.  The Romans believed Janus could forgive their transgressions, so they made offerings and promises at the beginning of each new calendar year.  Janus was believed to take notice of these gifts and bless the peoples’ lives for the year.  That’s where the month of January gets its name.

According to USA.gov (http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/New-Years-Resolutions.shtml ) the 12  Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions are:  Drink Less Alcohol, Eat Healthy Food, Get a Better Education, Get a Better Job, Get Fit, Lose Weight, Manage Debt, Manage Stress, Quit Smoking, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, Save Money, Take a Trip, and Volunteer to Help Others.  Not surprisingly, half of the most popular resolutions are about improved physical health and fitness.  The other half refer to money generation, use, and resource management:  Get a Better Education, Get a Better Job, Manage Debt, Save Money, Take a Trip, and Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.  The implicit goal of all twelve is to achieve happiness in life.

It’s time to add Generosity Fitness to the list of New Year Resolutions, for the spirit and expression of generosity enhances and deepens all the other aspects of life.  Generosity matters.  It inspires giving and brings happiness to our lives.

A good deal of research has been conducted about the correlation between altruistic behavior and happiness.  Experiments have been conducted at various universities, including the use of brain scans that track the various pain and pleasure centers affected by altruistic behavior, such as charitable giving, helping others, and volunteer service.

Our pleasure centers light up not only when we receive money or kindness, but also when we give money away or help another out of compassion.   Studies show that those who receive money are more likely to give money away, and in larger amounts than those who have not received money before being asked to give.   Arthur C. Brooks’ 2000 charitable giving data analysis indicates that a dollar donated to charity was associated with $4.35 in extra income.  Of this extra income, $3.75 was due to the dollar given to charity.  At the same time, each extra dollar income stimulated 14 cents in new giving.

One Harvard Business School study looked more closely at the cause and effect relationship between giving and happiness.  Happier people give more and giving makes people happier, such that happiness and giving may operate in a positive feedback loop (with happier people giving more, getting happier, and giving even more).

So, how might we fulfill our resolution for greater Generosity Fitness in 2015?

Make a commitment to a regular practice of giving:Fireworks

  • Contribute the cost of your daily coffee to a cause that matters to you
  • A Month of daily acts of giving and kindness
  •  $52 per week for 52 weeks of the year given to your faith community or other worthy organizations
  • Sponsor a program or scholarship that will benefit to those in your community
  • Make a planned gift or bequest
  • And, if you need help getting started with transforming your culture to one of authentic and abundant generosity, consider scheduling yourself or your leadership team for a free web-based training for UU leaders: Seven Principles of Fundraising
  • Most of all, use your imagination.  Be creative.  Experience the joy of cultivating generosity in the world!

May this new year bring you many blessings and great abundance~ 

Laurel 2012    Laurel signature

References and Resources for this article:

52 Times 52.com  http://www.52times52.com/

Anik,  Aknin, Norton & Dunn.   Harvard Business School working paper, Feeling Good about Giving: The Benefits (and Costs) of Self-Interested Charitable Behavior.   2009.  http://www.hbs.edu/research/pdf/10-012.pdf

Brooks, Arthur C. Who Really Cares.  Basic Books.  2006.

LeMay, Kathy.  The Generosity Plan.   Simon and Schuster.  2009.

Walker, Cami.  29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life.  Lifelong Books.  2009.

10 Resolutions for Strategic Fundraising in 2015


#1-   Revisit our Mission and Purpose—We will regularly check back with our mission and talk about our purpose as an organization. We identify the values and beliefs upon which we base our programs, services, and activities and ask ourselves if these are in alignment. What’s at the heart of our organization? What about the things we do really matters in the world?

global-sight-world-vision-vector_GkJY-gv_#2-    Clarify our Strategic Vision—When we focus our attention on the alignment of our mission, purpose and programs, we ask ourselves what we must DO over the next one to three years to demonstrate our highest expression of mission and purpose. How can we stretch to new heights and make an even bigger difference?

#3-    Evaluate our Funding Priorities—Rather than simply hoping to raise more money to meet our basic needs, we identify three or four funding priorities that clearly reflect our mission and vision. We will breathe energy and give life to these priorities and communicate them in compelling ways to our donors and supporters.

#4-    Develop Realistic Goals for Funding—We will carefully track and measure our fundraising development from one year to the next, learning about our giving and spending patterns and assessing our potential for growth. We set realistic, yet aspirational funding goals that inspire us and our donors

#5-    Create a Fund Development Plan—In deeply considering our aspirations and goals, we work to create a comprehensive fund development plan for the year. Thionline calculator colors will be a plan to can be assessed and adjusted throughout the year, while serving as a guide in our fundraising, budgeting, and stewardship efforts.

#6-    Calculate the Cost of Fundraising—We realize that fulfilling our mission and funding our priorities involves an investment of money (and energy and time) so that sufficient funding can be raised and affirmed. Rather than cutting costs to the bare bones, we carefully calculate reasonable costs for quality fundraising activities and materials.

#7-    Establish a Master Fundraising & Communication Calendar—It is essential that our organization integrate its fundraising activities and communications with the other events and activities we schedule throughout the year. This helps us avoid scheduling that competes with our annual funding activities and also helps us see the opportunities for educating and promoting giving throughout the year.

#8-    Expwatering-money-tree-vector-illustration_zyGeCRv_and our Donor Circle—One important way to expand our funding is to attract new people to our organization who value what we do and want to be more involved. This may be through membership, participation in our programs, crowd-funded projects, or by affirming our mission with periodic contributions.

#9-     Report Back and Say Thank You—We will commit to reporting back to our donors and constituents on a regular basis throughout the year. We will show them and tell them how their funds and support are making a difference. AND, we will explicitly thank them, over and over!

#10-   Evaluate and Celebrate—The best way to learn what works or doesn’t work is to test tried and true methods and new ideas, then evaluate the outcomes. The more we learn about what our constituents and donors respond to, the more effective our fund development will be. Best of all, we will celebrate our progress and successes, knowing that people give to successful ventures that make a positive difference!

And then, we will prepare to do it all again next year!

Laurel 2012

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PS.–To help you get off to a great start in 2015, I hope you will contact me to schedule yourself or your leadership team for the latest free Giving Speaks webinar,  Seven Principles of Fundraising today: givingspeaks@gmail.com