First Things First

There are a number of things to consider before hiring a Fund Development Consultant, not just that you need more money. Our role as a Development Consultant can include general adviser, specialist, extra pair of hands and project manager.

…Sometimes fund development can be the answer in moving your organization forward. Sometimes it can be a symptom of much deeper organizational issues that need to be resolved before you undertake development. Either way, I can help you create a plan to move forward.

…A good development plan is customized to your organization and involves each of your stakeholders. We work with you to design your plan and provide you the tools and coaching to implement it. It’s important to remember the development of funds is strategic and thoughtful; not random or by chance. So, while we will be there with you at every step, I am also not a guaranteed lottery ticket.

…It’s important to remember that people give to people.  Fundraising is about building relationships. It starts with analyzing your current donor base, identify other like-minded people and create strategies to build those relationships. I can help you develop touch points and cultivate both existing and new donors.

…A good development plan is about organizing and managing around intentional results. I can help you create a roadmap while coaching everyone to reach their goals. This is where your work begins.

…While the CEO is the Chief Fundraiser, one person can’t do it alone; everybody is a director of first impressions and thus a fundraiser: the board of directors, committee members, donors, volunteers, participants, vendors, media, friends… you get the idea. I can help you lead both your staff and board in the right direction, under one vision.

…A good development consultant thoroughly understands your organization and what’s happening around it. For success, I need to be on-boarded just like any senior level staff member.

Here’s a great article from the NonProfit Quarterly that goes a little deeper on what to consider when hiring a consultant.

Fund Development, Analysis, and Planning

The backbone of every organization is your ability to be fiscally healthy enough to fully execute your mission. No money, no mission.

Often times organizations struggle with fund development. Where to begin, who does what, what type of fundraising tactics will get you to your goals – events, mailers, grants, major gifts, annual campaigns, board gifts?

We start with Analysis.
We discuss what you are currently doing, what works, what you want to do, what your resources are, your strengths, opportunities, question marks, your competition, politics, technology capabilities and the reality of economics.

We make a Plan.
We prioritizing fundraising methods and incorporate them into the organization’s calendar. Creating milestones, tactics and to-do’s along the way for each method. We identify resources, collateral materials, deadlines and the people responsible for each of them. We create a baseline and criteria for success.

We Manage the Plan.
We work to help you hold everyone accountable, coach team members, stay on task and on time, document success and failure, identify challenges before they become problems and create a turn-key set of procedures for the next year. We get the job done, together.

We Evaluate.
We document our Evaluation. Was that method of fundraising successful? What worked and what didn’t work? Why? What opportunities exist for next year? Evaluations become part of the turn-key set of procedures for the following year and create an organizational history that will live beyond the staff and volunteers.

The Tactics

Annual Giving

Creating the environment for people to give annually to your mission incorporates many strategies and is the foundation to development.  Annual appeals take many forms throughout the year to not only create predictable revenues but to create and build relationships with people. A good annual giving program will be well integrated and meaningful.

Major Gifts

Special projects, programs and initiatives require special gifts from your organization’s most invested donors. Major gift initiatives can help you identify people that are interested in supporting the work that sets your organization apart from others. Great programs work in tandem with annual giving.

Direct Mail

Some think it’s a dated methodology. However, if it’s tied to an overall campaign it can be very effective. I can help you connect your case statement with the emotional appeal to your organization in the written word. This can be helpful when cultivating a new and existing donor base.

Grant Writing
A good grant writer knows that the lottery approach of “the more you play, the better your odds” doesn’t work. Grant writing is not just about the proposal; it’s about researching realistic opportunities, aligning your mission with funder goals and providing a quality program.

We can help you with a number of Proposal related tasks: research grant opportunities for your organization, write proposals or applications for those opportunities and review a proposal or application that you have already written.

When working with you on grant writing we make a business case for your organization and programs.

Fund Raising Events
Events are a great way to showcase your mission, engage volunteers, market yourself, make money and meet new donors. They are also time-intensive, fast-paced, extremely detailed and often have a low net/gross ratio. Not all organizations need an event, or two, or three. We can assist the evaluation process.

Your focus for planning an event should be on building and securing relationships with sponsors, donors, volunteers and attendees. Our focus is clear communication, keeping everybody on task, on time, accountable, paying attention to the details and running smooth.

This can include: staff and volunteer accountability, identifying potential sponsors, managing registrations, location logistics, auction items, marketing material, press releases, sponsorship fulfillment, communication plans, evaluations, and a turn-key set of procedures for the following year and create an organizational history that will live beyond the staff and volunteers.

Donor Research
It’s like matchmaking. We research donors and foundations to match giving histories, interests and help you gauge the propensity to support your mission. I take the time to understand your organization’s programming, nuances, needs and how they meet the priorities of donors. I work with your lists, ideas, suggestions, community resources, and other tools.

It’s not rocket science but it is a lot of time and energy devoted to this area of fund development when you are trying to manage an organization.