Fundraising is NOT a Spectator Sport

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The 2015 Superbowl game was one of the most exciting EVER!

Even for someone like me, who knows very little about the rules of football and rarely watches, I got swept up in the spectacle of the amazing plays that culminated in the Patriots’ magnificent win.

Football is one of those bigger-than-life spectator sports that has the power to capture the attention of a nation and much of the world. Like football and apple pie, philanthropy is a part of the fabric of the United States. Charitable giving in the United States totaled $335.17 billion in 2013, with seventy-two percent (72%) given by individuals. Over 95% of American households give to charity. The average household contribution is $2,974. Just over thirty percent (31%) of charitable contributions are to religious organizations.

It’s common for congregations and smaller charitable organizations to focus their fundraising efforts on big fundraising events and seeking grant funding. While fundraising events bring in chunks of funding, they are time- and energy-consuming and subject to the variables in today’s world—weather, timing, competing events, volunteer involvement, and the economy. Applying for grants can be large investment of time for the return and the field is filled with aggressive competitors.a-group-of-people-having-a-good-time-on-music_My4L080d

As members of your congregation, you might imagine yourselves as a part of the Team of 72%–the individuals engaged in funding their organization, together. Rather than being spectators or attendees, you actively engage in the sport.

You and your peers are valued players, making the difference in the outcome for the betterment of the whole. You train and practice and challenge yourselves to new levels of success.

Go, team!

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Resources for further exploration of this topic:

  • Atlas of Giving (USA) 2014 and 2015 forecast:  http://www.atlasofgiving.com/atlas/9564728G/9564728G_12_14.pdf
  • Giving USA 2013: http://givingusa.org/product/giving-usa-2014-report-highlights/     Giving-USA-2014-Highlights-final-secured
  • Ahern, Tom. Seeing Through a Donor’s Eyes. Emerson & Church. 2009.
  • Burnett, Ken. Relationship Fundraising. Jossey-Bass. 2002.
  • Christopher, J. Clif. Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate: A New Vision for Financial Stewardship. Abingdon Press. 2008.
  • Durall, Michael. Beyond the Collection Plate. Abingdon Press. 2003.
  • Warwick, Mal. Fundraising When Money Is Tight. Jossey-Bass. 2009.

 

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.

10 Resolutions for Strategic Fundraising in 2015

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#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