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

There’s No Better Time for Good Stewardship

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There are times in the life a congregation when giving and cash flow takes a dip. When this happens, leaders get alarmed, panic sets in, and the wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth begins. The temptation is to take quick action to alert the congregants about “the budget crisis” and urge everyone to give more money immediately to mitigate the distressing circumstances. If that doesn’t work, the budget slashing begins. The leaders’ impulse, of course, springs from their dedication to the congregation and a strong sense of duty to maintain its financial health and well-being.

I have observed this pattern many times….

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Resist those reactive impulses. Slow down. Gather more information about the circumstances affecting the congregation’s bottom line. Take a more strategic and thoughtful approach.

In his latest book, The Church Money Manual, church consultant and author of several excellent books on stewardship, J. Clif Christopher provides guidance to clergy and lay leaders, based on years of experience and insight.

Here are the highlights of Christopher’s wise advice:

  • Gather membership, attendance and giving data from several years back to the present so that you have a better view of the facts.
  • Notice any fluctuations in the giving patterns, exploring any circumstances that may explain the rises or dips. Were there fewer Sundays this year in September than last year?  Did storms force a closing or lower attendance last winter? Were there special events two years ago that drew more families?
  • Attend to relationships, noticing if you have not been seeing some of your loyal attendees or highest contributing members. Rather than speculate on the reasons why, make contact with these folks and find out what is going on for them.  Are there hurt feelings, misunderstandings, or pastoral needs? Ask for their honest feedback, and listen with care.
  • Clarify the congregation’s mission, purposes, and priorities. People give to an inspiring mission and vision for the future, so convey it in visible and engaging ways.
  • Once your leadership team has compiled and assessed your findings, formulate a stewardship strategy for communicating with the congregation and individual donors using time-proven approaches outlined in all of Christopher’s and most fundraising books.

Seek always to align your congregation’s mission, message, and relationships–and the resources will flow!

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