Early requests for sponsorship support were disappointing. One company’s response was typical, “How come, if you’ve been serving the community for 23 years, we’ve never heard of you before?”
Not promising as far as beginnings of sponsorship campaigns go.
The organization needed to re-introduce itself to the community. We decided to hold a Corporate Breakfast.
Many organizations have some sort of Advisory Councils. But often these councils, populated largely with former board members or community dignitaries that don’t have time to be board members, languish, largely neglected by the very organizations that have created them. They often have no clear purpose and meet infrequently.
But that doesn’t have to be the case.
For the last several years, the idea of donor retention has been much discussed. Thought leaders like Adrian Sargeant, Penelope Burk, Jay Love and so many others including those associated with the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, have urged us to improve our stewardship practices telling us that donor attrition will rates will never improve if we don’t continue to improve our stewardship practices. As a result, we’ve all worked harder to acknowledge gifts in a more timely fashion, more sincerely, and more creatively with mixed results. We’ve also worked to be more creative and faithful about reporting back to our donors about the impact of their gifts, again, with mixed results. Reports on our practices continue to find uneven practices with some of us acknowledging gifts swiftly, others slowly, and still others, not at all.
In the years that we have spent talking about donor stewardship and its importance for donor retention, little seems to have changed. In fact, if anything, donor retention rates have continued their downward spiral and the problem has gotten worse.
Why has it been so difficult to make head-way on this problem? Why has it been so hard to turn the ship around on these issues?
Creating Your 2015 Development Plan and Setting Your Fundraising Goals
One of the things I’m often asked–especially by Executive Directors who do not have a fundraising background–is what is reasonable to expect of their development directors.
This question is hardly surprising since the overwhelming majority of executive directors are unhappy with their development directors and feel that they should expect more. The crucial report, UnderDeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising, reports that only 27% of Executive Directors of organizations with budgets of $1 million or less are “very satisfied” with their development directors. Executive Directors at larger organizations tend to be more satisfied with their development staff, but even there, the majority are unhappy with them. At nonprofits with budgets over $10 million—the organizations that have the budget size that presumably allows them to attract and retain top-notch fundraising professionals– Only 41% of Executive Directors report that they are very satisfied with their development directors. It is universal, then, that E.D.’s are unhappy with their Development Directors.
Further, disturbingly, 25% of the Executive Directors report that their last development director was fired. The primary reasons for that are poor fundraising performance (31%), poor performance in general (31%), or a non-fit with the organizational culture (22%). On the last one I’ll say, if a fundraiser is trying to create a fundraising culture where there is none, then OF COURSE the fundraiser won’t fit with the culture AND ISN’T THAT A GOOD THING that the Executive Director should support?
How Can a Purple Rhino Help You Get Your Board to Raise Money on Giving Tuesday?
“The Super Bowl of Crowdfunding” – that’s what Blackbaud’s npEngage calls Giving Tuesday. Wouldn’t it be great to have 100% board member involvement?
The newly released Leading with Intent preview from BoardSource shows that only 26% of Board members get involved with asking at some point in the year. There is a lot of opportunity for improvement there. So how can you get your board members to raise funds this #GivingTuesday?
In the last few years, a debate has emerged among nonprofit leaders about whether or not a board of directors should have a development committee. The people who have suggested “no” make a very good point – that fundraising is the responsibility of every board member, not just a select few. Many observe that on boards where there are fundraising committees, the board members tend to defer and overly rely on the handful of Board members who are on that committee.
As someone who has spent most of my career as a fundraising professional and a good chunk of the rest of it as an Executive Director without a fundraising staff (and, therefore, a fundraising professional in addition to being an E.D.), I believe a development committee is vital.