Articles by Linda

The Client-Consultant Collaboration

A New Wave in Consulting

So, what are the latest trends in consulting? Well, most clients are seeing less of a need for “resident consulting.” Many organizations have more professional staff, less money, less time to spend with a consultant, or some combination of these three. Therefore, there may not be a need to engage a consultant that will literally live at the organization for the entire duration of a campaign. Most organizations feel more comfortable with a consultant that is on-site for a day or two at a time, or even a week at a time than those who have the consultant in the office daily.

Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee

After Muhammad Ali’s death I couldn’t resist quoting my all-time hero.  I’ve been an Ali fan since he won Olympic Gold so long ago. I’ve have been even more impressed by his fight against Parkinson’s’ since my husband also had PD. After Ali’s death, when I went to visit Marty, I shared photos and videos and we both cried at this great loss to the world. But, what does this have to do with nonprofits? We can learn from the words I think we’ll all remember him for. Nonprofits need to combine the science (being as precise as a bee-sting) and the art (floating like a butterfly). For years we’ve heard fundraising is an art and a science but have we really practiced that?

Who Writes the Case for Support for Your Nonprofit?

Many organizations miss the mark because they have the wrong person or persons writing the case for support. Often the writing of the case is relegated to the marketing department. Or, perhaps a marketing firm is engaged the write the case. While there may be some great writers in your marketing department or marketing firm, these staff members or consultants might not be familiar with fundraising. So, although they can tell a good story and their grammar will probably be perfect, they often overlook a critical part of your case—making the ask. Or they might not understand the levels of giving you are seeking. Or the benefits to the donor, or the legal disclaimers that might be required on fundraising materials. You must have one author, and that author must be familiar enough with your organization to transfer the information succinctly, yet powerfully. At the same time, this person needs to be able to get input from the staff and others who can add the compelling stories to your case. Plus, this author must have knowledge of fundraising methods and the psychology of philanthropy.

The New Donor

Gone are the days when people gave to the same old reliable charities because “It’s the thing to do,” or “My parents always supported this cause,” or “They have a great reputation.” Today’s donors are looking for results, and they need to feel for passion in their own hearts for the cause or the project. I’ve given lots of advice on how to donors on choose a charity with their head:

  • Read it’s 990 forms
  • Ask if the charity follows the Donor Bill of Rights and if it has a Code of Ethics
  • Make sure the charity is registered in your state if required to do so
  • Ask if it has a strategic plan
  • Check to see who is on the board.

Building a Fundraising Board

The key to getting your board members to embrace fundraising lies in three simple steps—the recruitment process, ensuring that board members are committed to your organization, and removing the fear of fundraising that is inherent in most people. In this article, let’s talk about the recruitment process. For most nonprofit organizations, building an effective board is one of the greatest challenges. How do you find good board members? How do you get them to join the board and become active in fundraising? And how do you keep them involved once they are on the board?

What Role Does Your Board Play in a Capital Campaign?

During your feasibility/planning study, you may receive recommendations for strengthening or enlarging your board. The board’s role will be critical to the success of your campaign. Without a 100 percent commitment from the board, both in concept and financially, it will be impossible to ask others for support. Many organizations beef up their boards’ involvement in development efforts before starting campaigns. An organization might expand the size of the board, create a development committee, or obtain training and education in fundraising areas for the board. During your feasibility study, you are likely to receive recommendations for strengthening or enlarging your board.