Consultant, author, and trainer Susan Black, CFRE recently joined us for a webinar in which she showed us the key building blocks of a successful fundraising program, as well as how to determine your organizations’ readiness to embrace fundraising and steps you can take to implement a fundraising program.
You can watch the full episode here:
Steven: So Susan I’m not going to take any more time away from you. Why
don’t you go ahead and get us started?
Susan: Okay, great thanks for the introduction, Steven. Hello everyone
and welcome to today’s webinar. I’m calling from rather cool
central Ohio today. I’m really surprised at how cool it is
I want you to know, as Steven just mentioned, we are going to have
the opportunity to ask questions, and you can also tweet your
questions or comments as we go along today. You can find me at
Susan Black CFRE.
To get us started I’d just like to see who is on the line today. So I
have a couple of questions here, and I’d love for you to take a
look and post your responses in the chat box.
For instance, the first question: How many participants serve in a
leadership or governance position for their organization? How
many of you are full-time fundraising staff? And how many of you
are new? So if you want to just say leader, new or full-time
fundraising, experienced. Something like that. That would be
I’m seeing some wonderful information come through on the chat right
now. Looks like we’ve got some leaders and some full-time
fundraising, a few experienced, some really experienced, and
some brand new. Keep those coming that’s great.
Company left fundraising, come back. Welcome back. We’re glad
you’re here. Okay.
Well it looks like we have all different kinds of folks. Still
getting some more information. Lots of leaders. I’m glad to see
that. Okay. There’s going to be some great information for you
leaders as you go along the way.
Okay. That helps give me a little bit better idea of who is on the
line today. I appreciate that. Today’s lessons are taken from my
book, which came out in January, so if you have a copy, make
sure to keep that handy. But if you don’t, that’s quite all
right. We’ll take time at the end of our time today to talk
about how you can get the most from the book in addition to what
you’ll learn today.
First let me say, like the book, today’s training is intended for
people who find themselves at the crossroads of leadership and
fundraising. People who know that their organization can’t move
forward on critical issues like fulfilling mission, expanding
programs, even improving staff morale or attracting high quality
employees until the fundraising problems are addressed.
These are people who don’t have time for long classes and can’t
afford expensive consultants, and who know they don’t have
cookie cutter problems that can be solved with one size fits all
fundraising systems how this thing called fundraising really
works and how they can get their arms around it, today. So, if
this sounds like you, then you’re in the right place.
Let’s take a look at the objectives for today’s training. As a result
of the training today you are going to learn the four building
blocks of fundraising success, you’re going to assess your
organization’s strengths and weaknesses as it pertains to the
building blocks, you’re going to create a list of areas that
need to be addressed immediately to improve your fundraising
outcomes, and discover key ideas for implementing those.
So let’s get started. I wrote my book because I met so many executive
directors, new development directors, and most importantly board
members who saw other organizations raising lots of money, but
they had absolutely no idea how that was being done. They wanted
to help, they knew they were supposed to be doing something, but
they didn’t know where to begin.
Moreover, they were afraid of fundraising. Fearing that they would be
required to ask for million dollar gifts from wealthy
individuals they didn’t know and with no training. In other
words, they didn’t really know what is necessary to build and
sustain a successful fundraising program.
I’ve broken down the key elements into what I call the building
blocks of fundraising success. And just like the stack you see
in the picture, if one of the building blocks is removed the
whole stack can fall down. Let’s take a look at our first
The first building block is called organizational readiness.
Organizational readiness is the foundation of fundraising
success. Like the foundation of a house. Just like a house with
a cracked foundation won’t stand for long, a nonprofit with
critical deficits in organizational readiness will find it very
challenging to be successful over the long-term.
Organizational readiness includes financial stability, board of
director’s capacity and preparedness, capability and
connectedness of the CEO, development staff capability, and back-
room operations. In the interest of time and because full
details for each of these components can be found in my book,
I’m going to talk about each of them very briefly and then focus
our attention on one specifically.
Now, this set of factors can be its own webinar, and in fact I do
have one that focuses on those issues, but let’s get down to the
nitty-gritty. The first item is financial stability. Essentially
this simply means that people do not want to give to an
organization that is struggling financially. They don’t want to
put more water into a leaky bucket. And that may require you to
make some tough decisions in order to right size your
organization before you ever go out and ask for money.
Now I realize that may be hard because some of you might need that
money right away to get started, and that’s really a whole other
issue entirely. But if you don’t have a strong organization
financially, if the business side of your organization is not
running well, it’s definitely going to affect your fundraising.
The second thing is board capacity and preparedness. You definitely
want to have as diverse, passionate, articulate, generous and
big picture group of people as you possibly can. That can be
very challenging, and in fact we’re going to talk some more
about that in just a moment.
I also want to talk about the CEO’s capability and connectedness. The
CEO is the face of your organization, and he or she must
understand his or her role as the face of the organization and
really also as the chief fundraiser, the one who is going to be
out there really making the connections.
But that person has to be out of the office. They have to be looking
outward and not so bogged down on day to day details that they
can’t get out and really do the networking that is necessary to
make a difference for fundraising.
In fact, we are hoping that your CEO is spending 40% of his or her
time in the community, that he or she belongs to a civic or
fraternal club, that they sit on committees that are relevant to
the mission of the organization, and that he or she is a
recognized leader in the community. Those are just a few things
that we’re really going to focus on for your CEO to make a
difference in fundraising.
The next thing is development staff capability. Your development
staff needs to be both trained and passionate. You would never
hire someone to do a job that didn’t know what they were doing.
But so often in fundraising and development across the country
we find that folks are being hired to do development and
fundraising who actually have no experience or who have never
had formal training of any kind. If you’re in that situation,
please make sure that you have professional development for your
staff on a yearly basis, and that they’re really getting what
they need to understand their job and to do it well.
The last thing is back-room operations. That’s policies and
procedures for thanking donors, keeping up your data, upholding
ethical standards, and of course a good database program like
Bloomerang, and those are all key to fundraising success.
Okay, so I promised that we would focus our attention on one of these
components specifically, and I’m guessing that of all those
readiness issues we just talked about, the one that plagues your
organization the most is your board. What you see here is a
comparison of performing and nonperforming boards, as well as
some suggestions for how you can overcome some of these
Let’s take a look at these just quickly. So you may have a group of
well-meaning do-nothings with almost no connection, and instead
you really would hope to have people of influence and affluence.
What you need to do is to create a board governance committee,
create a trustee prospect list, and begin replacing members
slowly as seats become open. It also helps to identify a
champion, a leader to attract new blood.
The second thing that you might have in your situation, is that you
might have a nonperforming board that is all one race, gender,
sexual orientation, age, religion, or political persuasion with
no consumers. We are working towards getting something that is
more diverse. In order to do that, you need to create a board
matrix and have a governance committee then target prospects
that have the attributes that the board matrix identifies.
All right, the next set is: not sure exactly what the organization
does or how it helps the community and can’t explain it to
others. So if you have a board that is in that situation, you
really want to get them to become ambassadors, capable of
articulating the mission and vision to the community. The way
that you do that is to provide the correct language and helpful
collaterals, train members on programs at each meeting, and
require volunteering in your program.
The next one is organizations that have boards which are bogged down
in day to day operations with long tedious meetings. We really
want to move them to a group that is steering a ship, focusing
on big-picture issues and has shorter meetings, 60-90 minute
meetings, hopefully using a consent agenda.
If you want to do that you need to conduct some board training to
help your board understand its role, use a consent agenda, which
is essentially an overview of the meeting that is sent out ahead
of time and then you vote on that agenda as a block and then ask
questions about it rather than going into detail on each of the
agenda items. Using committee meetings between full board
meetings to complete action items is a great way to shorten
those full board meetings as well.
The last item is not giving personally or asking others to give and
they don’t feel like they know how. The key problem for lots of
organizations. We want to move your board toward embracing their
fundraising role. The best thing you can do is to conduct board
fundraising training and empower development staff to guide or
prod your board members. Okay hopefully that’s given you some
tips that will help you with some of the issues that may be
affecting your board.
Okay, now what I want you to do is to take a moment and assess where
your organization stands on organizational readiness. I’d like
you to look at each statement and give yourself a score based on
your first reaction to the statement. A three is a “yes
absolutely”, a two is a “sort of,” a one is a “not so much” and
a zero is a “dream on mister.”
So take just a moment and jot down your rating on yourself for each
of these statements, and be sure to keep track of your scores as
we go along because we will be adding to those. Go ahead and do
Okay, hopefully you’ve had a chance to put down your ratings for each
of those, and make sure that you are keeping track of that so
that we can take a look at that in its entirety later.
Okay, let’s move on to our second building block, which is
fundraising goals and plans. In order to have successful
fundraising you need three things as it pertains to fundraising
goals and plans, and that’s a strategic plan, an annual
fundraising plan, and a case for support.
Let’s look more closely at each of these. A strategic plan is a
guide; it’s a map for your organization. And really, if you have
no plan, you’re like a ship without a rudder. If you don’t know
if you have a strategic plan, that means you probably need to do
one. And if you haven’t updated it in the last three years, it
probably means it’s time to update it.
So if you aren’t in the middle of a strategic plan right now, then
you ought to be thinking about your next strategic plan. And
it’s so important because your annual fundraising plan should
come out of your strategic plan. The annual fundraising plan
includes all your primary fundraising vehicles. It should
involve the CEO, so when you making your fundraising plan you
should involve your CEO in that process, and it should be
reviewed and updated annually.
And finally you need a case for support. A case for support is a
document of documents. I’m going to talk a little bit more about
what I mean by that in just a moment, but really what the case
for support does is it helps make sure that everyone is singing
in the same sheet of music.
I want to just stop and give special attention right now to the case
for support. Here is a quick overview of what should go into a
case. As I just mentioned a moment ago, the case for support is
a document of documents. It actually is a collection of all the
things that a funder would need to know to make an informed
decision about giving to your organization.
So you’re going to want to make sure that you have collected all your
basic organizational information, your logic model elements,
which is actually your goals and objectives, your measurable
outcomes and evaluation measures, etc. And then you will need to
have a needs statement, financial information and leadership
The needs statement is really like an essay. It’s an argument for why
your organization is doing the work that it’s doing, how it’s
doing it, and why it’s uniquely qualified to do so. You’re going
to want to put all the statistics and the information that will
really help you get your argument across.
You know, the thing that’s so important about a case for support is
that it really serves as a jumping off point for so many other
things. You can use it for grant writing. You can use it for
creating your webpage, brochures, speeches about your
organization, marketing materials. It just really helps everyone
get on the same page.
And the other thing that I love about the case is that it also gives
your Board of Trustees the words they need to truly be able to
articulate the mission of your organization, why it’s important,
and the information that is so crucial for people to understand.
So case for support is just so important.
I really love the case for support. It’s a big part of the work that
I do with my clients. And I’ll tell you something else that is
really fascinating to me about working with my clients and
creating case for support. It is that, for many of them, it
becomes a catalyst for major change within the organization.
It actually allows folks to say to themselves, hey the mission that
we have is not stated correctly, the programs that were doing
may not be the programs that we ought to be doing because we
can’t show any impact, we can’t measure anything about the
change that were making, and it’s not a compelling statement of
need. The case for support is a foundational document that is
going to help you so much in all of your fundraising, and I
can’t emphasize enough how important the case for support truly
Okay, we’re going to do another assessment now. I want you to take a
look at these statements. Just to remind you, three is a “yes
absolutely,” two is a “sort of,” one “not so much,” and zero is
a “dream on.” So take just a moment to complete your scores and
remember that three is the highest score, and make sure you are
tracking that for later use. Go ahead and do that now.
Okay, so that’s a little bit shorter and I’m guessing those are
pretty easy questions. We are going to go ahead and move on to
our next building block.
Oh, no we’re not. We’re going to stop and we’re going to ask for
questions. If you do have a question, feel free to go ahead and
just put that in the chat box. I haven’t seen any questions so
far. I think we just had our responses to our initial questions
about being a leader and so forth.
I can see someone is typing right now, maybe they gave up. We’re
going to hope that there’s a question. I’ll give you a chance to
get those in.
Steven, are you seeing these? I’m seeing that folks are typing but
I’m not seeing the actual question. Okay, Steven is saying no
questions yet but still a few people typing. I’m going to wait
just a moment.
Okay, Becca, she is saying that she has seen lots of zeros so far.
Don’t fret, we are going to get to that at the end. I know for
some of you, you’re seeing lots of zeros. That just means you
know exactly what you need to do. You’ll have your work cut out
for you. We’re going to talk about all of that in the answer.
Absolutely, yes. Trent is saying, “Won’t some organizations have
different levels of CEO involvement in fundraising?” Some that
have more professional fundraising staff maybe less. I think the
key thing you want to focus on here Trent is that really no
matter how professional their fundraising staff is, or how many
staff they have in fundraising, the CEO needs to see himself or
herself as the ultimate chief fundraiser for the organization.
That’s really the key there.
Now I think what will change or what could be different is how much
they need to oversee the fundraising process itself and so in
terms of involvement in that way. I think that is true.
You might have staff that is able to just guide their CEO and tell
him or her what to do and they go and do it and that’s fine. Or
you may have a CEO that is really hands-on with the development
director figuring out what to do and going on all these calls or
really has a hands-on approach to the work. So in that regard,
yes. You would have some differing involvement in fundraising.
But no matter what, that CEO needs to make sure he or she sees
themselves as the ultimate fundraiser and ultimately
How do you get board members more involved? Oh, Joanna, we can just
do a whole webinar on that. Couldn’t we? That’s a really
difficult thing. I’m going to throw out a couple of ideas to you
and then we’re going to move on.
The main thing you need to do to get board members involved is help
them be engaged. They need to tap into their passion, and
understand exactly what it is that makes them want to be on the
board and figure out a way to truly connect their passion with
what you’re doing. And there’s lots of suggestions for how you
can do that. But that would be the main thing I would say to
Another thing is people like to see people like themselves on the
board. So who you have on the board is important. And if they
are engaged that’s going to help, and if they are seeing the
results, if they’re involved. I love those that have a volunteer
requirement for their board members. They have to go.
I’m going to pick on my friend Amy here who is at Stray Rescue in St.
Louis. I don’t know if her board members have a volunteer
requirement, but they have a wonderful opportunity to go and
work in with the dogs and that is a great way for people to get
involved. So really get their hands dirty.
So those are just a couple of ideas I’m going to throw out to you
Joanna at this point and maybe we will have time later to go
over that some more.
Okay, I’m going to move us on now to our third building block, which
is primary fundraising vehicles. These include the four items
that you see listed here. And just to use touch on these briefly
so that everyone understands what we are talking about.
Annual gifts are gifts that are given each year, usually given by
individuals and they comprise the largest amount of gifts given
in the United States every year. Annual giving includes special
events which I assume you are all familiar with, probably some
of you more than you even want to be.
The second is foundation and corporate gifts and these are the ones
your board thinks you should focus on, but which really
represent a much smaller piece of the pie, an overall funding
pie than individuals do.
The third one is major gifts which we are going to talk about in a
moment. I know we have a major gift person on the line so I’m
excited to have him there. I believe that was a gentleman who
was our major gift officer. And planned gifts are bequests,
trusts and the like which are set up during a person’s lifetime
and then benefit the organization after the person’s death.
So that’s just a quick overview. Let’s take a closer look. For your
annual gifts you’re probably already doing them. Those are
things like your annual solicitation letters, your phone-a-thon,
your special events, anything like that that’s where folks are
giving those annual gifts.
Remember that retention is the key. It costs a lot more to get a new
donor than it does to keep an old one. So really focus your
attention on annual gifts with retention with keeping the ones
that you have.
And then the next section is corporation and foundation gifts. Make
sure that when you are looking for your grants that you research
those that are tied to your mission. Don’t have a shot gun
approach. Don’t just send something out to everyone. Really make
sure that it is worth your time and theirs for you to be
applying. It’s really important that you make sure that mission
The other thing you could do with corporation and foundation giving
is use your board contacts. We had that question a minute ago
about how do I get board members more involved. Have them go to
their companies. There is more than one way for them to involve
their corporation and their employers in giving to your
organization. Make sure that you’re using your board contacts.
The major gifts is an area that is so important to organization and
especially what you’re going to want to do with major gifts is
closely tie that gift to the donor’s passion. To tie the ask to
the donor’s passion. You’re not going to get the gift if the
passion is not there, and remember that the major gift involves
multiple decision-makers. It’s never going to be just a quick
and easy gift. In fact, that’s one of the major differences
between the major gift and an annual gift.
I’m want to stop right there though and tell you just a little more
information about major gifts. Now, many years ago I had a
question about what was the difference between annual gifts or
large annual gifts and major gifts.
I asked one of the grandfathers of major giving, Kent Dove what he
thought and his answer was this. He said to remember major gifts
are given over time for a special purpose and usually from a
person’s assets not their income. Let me say that one more time.
They’re given from assets not income over time and for a special
And so if you have larger donors, let’s say for your organization
$1000 is a large gift, and you’re receiving that from someone on
an annual basis, that’s still an annual gift because it’s a much
easier choice for them to make and because they’re giving it on
an annual basis.
A major gift would probably be for a special product that really ties
to that donor’s passion. It’s going to involve maybe their
financial planners, their family, things like that so you want
to make sure you understand what major gifts are and how to
solicit them before you go out and do that.
The last section is planned gifts. My suggestion to you with planned
gifts is to do what you can whenever you can. If you don’t have
planned giving staff, that’s okay. You can always talk about
remembering the organization in your will and things like that.
Offering people opportunities to learn more about plan giving
but do what you can whenever you can with planned gifts is my
advice for those who maybe don’t have that as part of their
seven vehicles right now.
Okay. Here are some insider tips on the major vehicles. First one,
focus on women donors. There’s a new study that came out that
says that women donors are increasingly making decisions about
gift giving, and when they give they give more. Yay, women
donors. So don’t neglect the women donors. Don’t just assume
that the gentlemen and a couple is going to be the one making a
decision. Often the women have an equal say in that, or they may
be the ones who really are making the gifts. So make sure that
you’re focusing on them.
Thank for every gift. Some organizations get into a bad habit of
deciding that people under a certain amount of money shouldn’t
receive a thank you, or they’re just receiving their IRS letter.
Make sure that everyone feels special.
I can’t tell you how many organizations out there have gotten a $25
gift or a $10 gift even from someone their whole life and then
that person left them a large bequest because the organization
had a relationship with them. So don’t neglect small donors.
Special events are a necessary evil. My suggestion to you is to get
them down to two. Try to have no more than two events a year.
They are a time suck. They are extremely labor intensive. They
are necessary however, and what they’re good for is getting your
name out and getting folks to understand your mission. And also
having an opportunity to attract new donors, so the acquisition
element of your annual giving. It’s an important part of special
That means you have to make sure that in all your special events you
actually are talking about what to do and you are actually
educating people about the mission of your organization. If a
person comes to your event and they can’t tell you who was
sponsoring the event or who the event benefitted, then you just
lost an opportunity.
We just talked a moment ago about don’t use a shot-gun approach to
grant writing, that’s a waste of your time and theirs. And don’t
overlook the middle aged donors for planned gifts. Sometimes
people think the only people they should be talking to in
planned giving are older folks and that is not true. It’s the
middle aged folks who are making their wills. So don’t overlook
your middle aged donors when you are working on planned giving.
Those are just a few little insider tips. And we are at our
assessment again. We are going to take just a moment to take a
look at this assessment. And again you got your information
there about what 3, 2, 1 means, so just take a moment and rate
yourself. Again, add it to your list that you already have
going. Just take a moment to do that now.
Okay, that’s a quick one too, so I’m hoping that you had a chance to
finish that. Okay, we’re going move on to our last building
block which is communications. Communications and fundraising
really go hand-in-hand, and there’s some key elements to
communications that you need to be aware of.
First is you need a well-crafted message, second is you need a
communication plan, and third you need effective communication
vehicles. So let’s take a little more time on each of these.
Okay. First of all, communications and community relations start with
the message. If no one understands what you do or why it
matters, they won’t give. I should put that in bold and with the
big flashing lights around it. This is so crucial.
So many organizations I work with, and I focus on organizations that
have little to no fundraising staff or experience, and many of
these organizations are saying we don’t understand why no one is
giving to us. It’s because you don’t have a well-crafted
message. People don’t understand what you do or why it matters.
And you really have to get that across in as many ways as
possible. If you don’t, they won’t give. So it’s really
important that you start with that.
We’re going to talk a little bit more about the well-crafted message
in just a moment.
A second key aspect of this is a communication plan. The best thing
you can do is create a calendar or communication that you’re
going to have with your donors, with your friends, with your
volunteers, with anybody that’s who’s in that inner circle
[inaudible 00:32:06] to your organization.
Create a calendar for the types of things they’re going to receive on
a regular basis so that they’re never going past say a quarter
without receiving something from you. You can use your
fundraising goals as the driver.
You can make sure okay, if we’re going to have a solicitation a
certain time of year, we want to make sure that we build up to
that with lots of information about the great work that we are
doing in our newsletter, or our E-blast, or our E-newsletter, or
our Twitter feed, or Facebook pages. We are going to make sure
that we really talking about what we’re doing so that when that
solicitation comes, folks are ready to give. So that’s an
The third one is effective communication vehicles, which is really
what you just talked about. You want to tailor those vehicles to
your donors and their interests using multiple touch points. You
really want to take a look at who is looking at your website,
who is on your Twitter feed, who is looking at your Facebook
page, who is responding to mailings, who is responding to the
things you’re putting on the newsletter or your E-blast. And
make sure you are tailoring your communications to what your
folks are interested in and do that in as many ways as possible.
I also want to mention consider your time and capability. If you
don’t have time to keep the Twitter feed, don’t have one. If you
don’t have the time to keep the Facebook page, don’t have one.
Use other things to help you to get your word out; things that
you’re going to be capable of doing with the staff that you
have, the resources that you have, the volunteers that you have,
the budget that you have. That’s really, really important.
I’m just going to make sure that I covered everything here by looking
at my notes so hang on just one minute. Okay, I think I covered
everything. I just want to spend some special time on crafting
your key messages.
A well-crafted message is clear, concise, and compelling. I can’t
emphasize that enough. I’ve just been working with two different
organizations that have issues around their mission, their
vision, their value statement, and all of those types of things
that we use on a regular basis. I would suggest that you take a
look at each of those things for your organization use like a
Rotary Club, [inaudible 00:34:39], a three prong test. Now, I’m
a Kwanian [SP], so I don’t use a three prong test, except in
this area but yay Rotary. Three prong test.
Is your message clear? Is it concise? If your mission statement is a
paragraph long, if your program descriptions or your value
statements are very convoluted, if you’re using any kind of
lingo or anything like that, technical speak, that is not
concise. We need to make sure that it’s clear and concise.
The last thing, is it compelling? I have an organization I’m working
with right now who basically had a mission statement that stated
what they did. A mission statement that states what you do is
not a mission statement. You want that mission statement to be
just broad enough to be inspiring and just narrow enough to be .
. . something you’re actually able to measure. Just like your
Your mission statement should be inspiring. The mission statement
should be inspiring, and if your mission statement is not
inspiring, take another look. Really talk about the heart of the
matter. What is it that you’re trying to achieve in the world?
It’s so important because it’s so closely tied to fundraising. If
your messages aren’t concise and compelling, it may be the
reason why your fundraising isn’t doing as well as it could.
Okay. We are doing really well on time, so I’m actually stop and
answer a question on the feed here. I’m going to be giving you
an opportunity to ask some additional questions in a moment, so
be thinking of those. You can go ahead and start sending them
Trent is asking what are some realistic ways to thank for every gift
beyond a simple regular tax letter. Are you recommending a basic
automatically generated thank you letter? Yes, really that is
what I’m doing, Trent. I’m basically saying to make sure that
everyone who gives to you is receiving something in the way of a
There are some organizations who try to cut corners on that, and I
think that it is unwise. I think it’s really best to really do
something even if it’s something very basic as you’re saying.
It’s automatically generated definitely. You just want to make
sure that you’re doing something for everyone.
Okay, so let’s take a look at assessing our communications. Here you
have three statements and you’re going to respond again as
you’ve been doing before. I’m going to go ahead and give you a
moment to do that and again three is yes, two is sort of, one
not so much, and zero is dream on. So take a moment to rate
yourself on those.
Okay, hopefully you had a chance to read those over and go ahead and
rate yourself on those. So what I’m going to do now is I’m going
to take a look at how you did. I’m going to ask you to go back
and take a look at all the ratings you have given yourself and
to add them all up. So you’re going to, just simple addition
[inaudible 00:38:30]. I’m going to ask you to let me know how
Using the chat box once again, go ahead and tell me what area you
fell into here. If it was a 20, or 50, whatever it is. What area
you fell into? I’m going to try to keep track here. I see mostly
in the 20 to 40 range which is kind of a broad range I realize.
I’m just keeping track while you all are sending yours in so
keep doing that. I’m fine.
Oh, Becca, don’t worry it’s going to be okay. [inaudible 00:39:46]. A
lot of people have “sort of” as an answer and the not so much.
That’s okay. That’s why we’re doing this. That’s why I do what I
do. Okay, I feel like I have a pretty good sense of that right
You know what, well, I don’t think anybody but [inaudible 00:40:10].
So I am just going to not even bother talking about that. We had
a few people, maybe one or two in the 40-50 score level, so what
that means is you have a good start in fundraising, so good for
you. You’re likely doing a lot of things right. But you may need
to strengthen your overall fundraising program.
I would identify the areas you gave yourself the lowest score on and
seek additional information to help you, your staff, and your
development committee of your board address those. So but you’re
doing really well. Good for you.
Okay, let’s really focus on our folks that are in that 20-40 point
score. Basically what this means is that you, your CEO, if
that’s not you, and your board have some work to do and possibly
a lot of work to do. But don’t panic. Now you know what the
ideal is and you can work on the problem areas. You can use the
assessment to show your CEO or your board there, or your
development person, where you can make improvements.
In fact, I actually use building blocks often when I am training
boards of trustees. What I do with that is and I believe you all
are going to get this information later. You’re going to get
this recording. If you make a PowerPoint similar to this one and
you show your board or you show your development committee and
you say hey I had this training. She showed us that there were
four building blocks, these are the areas, these are the
definitions, and this is where I ranked us. This is where we are
right now. These are some of the deficits we have. It’s a
fantastic teaching tool for your board.
First of all it shows them what professional fundraising looks like
in case they aren’t really sure because I would bet dollars to
donuts that many of your board members don’t really have any
idea how professional fundraising is done. They just know they
need to raise money or they’re supposed to be raising money.
This is a great teaching tool to use what you learned today in
your presentation to the board and compare it to where you stand
because my guess is that your board members are going to be able
to identify some areas where they might be able to help you.
Again, going back the question we had earlier about how to engage
board members, if you can identify, ask them to write down on a
note card or a piece of paper what buildings block they saw
themselves maybe helping with more, that can be a great way to
help engage your board members.
Use it as a teaching tool, use it as a ways for you to create that
hot list. Okay, we know that our CEO needs to be out in the
community more. We know that we need to have a case for support.
We know that we need take a look at our [inaudible 00:43:02],
whatever those things are, these are foundational things that
are really going to help you really get your fundraising program
off the ground and allow it to be sustainable over time.
This is a great way for you to get started. I just encourage you to
go back, take a look at these assessments that you’ve done today
and identify those things that you can get started on.
Becca, I’m going to pick on you. I’m so sorry but I’m so proud of you
for being on this today and for going through this and for
telling me how you did because you know you have some pretty
serious fundraising deficits going on in your organization. You
probably knew that before you got on the call today.
But hopefully, this training has helped you take a hard look at what
is missing from your organization’s fundraising program and will
give you the courage to tackle the problem because now you know
what the goal is. Now you know what the benchmark is, what you
can be working towards. I would certainly encourage you to use
the book as a guide and to seek some more information on each of
So let’s take just a moment of your time before we talk about the
questions that you have. All of you have questions that are
going to pop up in my chat box because I’m really excited to
answer those for you, but I want to give you some insider tips
for using the book. Okay. [inaudible 00:44:30] great if you
don’t. That’s fine. But this is really helpful to you.
If you are the CEO, I’m going to suggest you read chapter one and
then skip to chapter 6 and then complete the full assessment at
the end. So that is something that you can do. For those of you
who are out there who are the development staff, buy the book
for your CEO, give it to them, and tell them to do this. That
will be a great way to do it.
If you’re new to fundraising or you are in a one person shop, start
with chapter seven. That gives you the 10 step process for
starting a fundraising program in your organization. If you do
that, it will help you get moving quickly and really help you
focus specifically on what you need to be doing if you feel like
you’re floundering a little bit.
If you’re a board member, read the whole thing. I don’t know that we
have any board members on the call today. You know what, again,
this is a great teaching tool for a development committee. I’ve
had [inaudible 00:45:26] bought a copy for everybody on the
development committee and worked through the book together
because the book is actually a workbook and so it has all kinds
of worksheets in there that help you work through a lot of
things that we talked about today.
So if you get that and work through it with your committee, again, a
great teaching tool. Regardless of who you are, complete the
assessment at the end; a lot of what you have just done and when
you first read the book and then do it again six months or a
Kim, the name of the book is the same name as our [inaudible
00:46:06] which is “Help! They Want Me to Fundraise”.
I’m so sorry. I had a phone ring. I apologize.
Okay, so now we are ready for your questions, and I am happy to take
those for you so I’m hoping to see those come up in my chat box.
Steven: So, do take advantage of this time. We have a CFRE on the line
ready to answer any questions of yours for the next five or six
minutes or so. Just everyone know that we’ll be sending out
Susan: Steven, do you have anything that we talked about today that
would be a standard question that folks want me to talk about?
Steven: It’s like some more coming in here. Looks like Trent is typing.
Okay, Trent you had a question: Do you have any general
recommendations for percentages of vehicles particularly
successful organizations? Do you mean . . . can you give me a
little more information on that Trent? Can you explain that a
little bit better?
And that’s as a percentage of the amount of money that you’re trying
to raise? You’re asking how much of your total budget should be
comprised of these. Yes, okay. Thank you. Gee, thank you. Giving
USA [inaudible 00:48:25]. Very good. Yes.
Always we talk about how 80% of giving in the United States is given
by individuals and the rest is given by corporations and
foundations. If you look closely at that, if you take out the
funds that people have that are really just their own money that
they’re giving, it’s really even more. The individual giving is
even higher so my suggestion to you is that you take a look at
the history of how your organization has raised money in the
past and where the income has come from.
Then when you’re doing your research on corporations and foundations
really take a look at whether that makes sense for your
organization to be doing that. I know some organizations are
really good candidates for grants because of what they do and
let’s say at their afterschool program or like we say children
and puppies, if it’s anything like that you might [inaudible
00:49:24] more missions of foundations and corporations.
If you have a difficult mission, corporations and foundations may be
a hard sell for you so you may really have to work on creating
constituency of individuals that are going to support your
organization. I’m not sure that I would recommend anything in
particular as a global thing other than the 80-20 rule because I
think it’s very specific to each organization and what your
historical giving has looked like and what your mission is and
how it fits into the missions of other giving and other funders.
So that would be my response to that.
Okay. Steven was having some trouble unmuting a second ago.
Steven: [inaudible 00:50:11]
Susan: Oh, yay. Yay, I can hear you now. Anything you can suggest I
touch on further, Steven with our remaining time while they’re
thinking of additional questions?
Steven: Yeah. I think you answered a lot that came in. I would just
encourage people to take advantage of the next five minutes or
so. We’ve got Susan who’s a CFRE here on the line. She’ll answer
any questions you may have in the remaining amount of time. And
just while we are waiting on questions, I just want to say
thanks to Susan again for sharing all this knowledge with us for
a half hour or so. It was a good presentation, really good.
Susan: Thank you.
Steven: And so glad that all of you joined us again.
Steven: Even if we had some trouble a couple of weeks ago.
Steven: So thank you to Susan and all of you for listening along here.
It looks like Brittany is typing something. Maybe she’s trying
to craft that question there.
Susan: That’s okay sometimes it’s hard to think of exactly what that
question is that you want to ask.
Steven: Yeah. And while we’re waiting, Susan, do you want to . . .
Susan: [inaudible 00:51:16]
Steven: Oh, that’s Brittany’s question there. Would you suggest
soliciting funds through mail, or network with individuals
first? That’s a pretty good question. What would you do there,
Susan: Well, again, it depends on the situation that you have. If
you’ve never reached out to individuals before, then the first
thing you’re going to have to do is create that constituency.
You’re going to have to create that list. Where is it going to
come from? Who are the people who truly care about your
organization? Who are your board members, contacts, or
volunteers, or others that are interested? And you’re going to
have to reach out to them in whatever way makes sense for that
individual and given your organization’s particular needs.
I think that it’s a combination to really answer your question. Some
people like to call first and then send things out, some like to
do it in reverse. They’re going to send out a mailing and then
follow up with a phone call. I’m going to add, again, another a
great way to involve board members is to do a board phone-a-thon
or a board thank-a-thon either way and that’s a great way to
follow up [inaudible 00:52:32] individuals in person. If you’ve
got a bigger list that you’re trying to get through and you’re
not going to be able to go out and meet those people in person,
face-to-face, I should say.
I think building that groundswell of support and creating, giving
folks information as well first, I think is also really crucial.
Making sure they’re really seeing the impact of what their gifts
would do is really important before you begin asking. Make sure
folks, that you have the list, make sure they are being informed
and they’re being engaged, and then go ahead and do that
solicitation whether it’s through the mail, through email,
through a face-to-face solicitation, or a phone-a-thon or
something along those lines. But make sure that whatever you do
you keep that communication going. You keep that relationship
building, and you follow up with folks who are interested in
I think we’re right up on the end of our time today. I just want to
thank you all for participating. I hope that it’s been helpful
or useful. You are welcome to contact me if you have any
additional questions. I’m just so glad to be able to provide
this information to you today and I hope it’s been helpful.
Steven: Yeah. Thank you, Susan. It was really awesome. Thanks everyone
for listening in. Just so everyone knows, we do these webinars
once a week. We have a really great one coming up this
Thursdays. We’ve got two this week since we rescheduled Susan,
but this Thursday at 1 p.m. Eastern, Mazarine Treyz, who runs
Wild Woman Fundraising is going to be our guest. She is going to
talk about email newsletter. She’s going to offer some tips for
how to get maybe some higher open rates and some higher click-
through rates on your email newsletter.
So if that topic is of interest to you, do check out our webinar
page. I just sent it in through the chat. You can register for
that. There’s also a ton of webinars there on the page. We’ve
got a lot scheduled out actually through the end of the year so
you might peruse that and look for any topics that you may be
And Susan, I just want to give you the last word and tell people
where maybe they can find out a little bit more about you, maybe
follow you on Twitter, or send you an email. I know your contact
info is there on the screen, but any further instructions for
folks that want to get in touch with you after this webinar?