Five Rs of Fundraising

While you’re raising funds for a charitable organization, there’s one approach to generating donations that’s sure to prove successful. Consider how much time and effort goes into planning small and major special events.  Now, imagine that same effort strategically targeted toward cultivating a lifetime donor…a fan who loves and supports your organization and its mission over the long term.  This single concept, so often ignored, can make the difference between surviving from event to event and having a steady stream of program-sustaining money coming into your nonprofit.  Nothing will net rewards with your donors like relationship building.

The “Five Rs of Fundraising” was created roughly 25 years ago, while on staff at Fraternity Management Group. Its application, however, can be used by all non-profit organizations. While many organizations believe that coordinating special events is an ideal method for raising funds, building relationships with current and prospective donors generates far greater sustainability. You may want to consider the following Five Rs of fundraising:

Research
This forms a solid basis of understanding of your organization’s fundraising endeavors, not to mention its individual constituent relations. From basic records management to in-depth interviews, information is key to success. With proper research, the interests, needs, charitable backgrounds, professional experiences, personal connections and links to your organization are identified and recorded.

Recruiting
This phase is going on constantly, but primarily during the same time frame as heavy research. Volunteer leaders, including development committee members, board members, and campaign steering chairpersons play integral roles in successful fundraising campaigns. The amount of work involved and the number of prospective contributors and volunteers connected with the organization, who must be contacted, requires proper recruitment and management.

Romance
Commonly called cultivation, this is perhaps the most important part of the process. All contact with prospective contributors is a form of cultivation. Every newsletter, email, phone call, tweet or Facebook message, event, and publicity item serves to inform and pique the interest your organization’s potential supporters. Romancing these prospective major donors, volunteers, and community leaders occurs on a regular basis leads to strategic and successful solicitations. The goal is to encourage prospects to become actively engaged and connected.

Request
This is the good part, where individual prospects are asked, or invited, to invest in the organization. It’s important to note that the levels of gift size and donor satisfaction are increased with proper romancing or cultivation. Actual soliciting of contributions is carried out by key organization leaders and volunteers who are personally engaged in the organization and connected to the person(s) being solicited.

Recognition
Early, frequent, and creative ways to thank volunteers and donors will insure that they stay involved and invested in your organization. It breeds proper stewardship of future donations of time and dollar. It also sets a pattern which other prospects will notice, which be a determining factor when they’re asked to contribute funds.

Every contact, with every individual prospect, involves one or more of the Five R’s. Planning ahead and maximizing the effectiveness of those contacts is what will drive your organizations closer to its fundraising goal.

 

Seven tips for fundraising success

 

Raising funds for charitable organizations can be difficult; certainly time-consuming. It’s a patient process, requiring considerable research, planning, and organization. The word “development” is a perfect fit to the process an organization goes through to generate a meaningful contribution.

When it comes to raising funds for your organizations, here’s a handful of tips to consider adding to your overall fund development strategy. They have represented the centerpiece of our success. They’re not listed in any specific order, but you’ll quickly recognize where and how they fit in your strategy.
   
Identify strengths and weaknesses

Understand the organization – from operations to personnel to policies to financial management. Recognize the causes and implement solutions to each. Be sure to dot every “I” and cross every “t”.

Offer innovative giving

The one constant between most non-profit organizations is the ability to accept cash contributions. Every donor knows this. However, savvy donors (charitable investors) seek greater information, transparency, accountability, and results from their contributions. A strong percentage of them seek unique and innovative giving methods.

Create solicitation strategies

Know your constituents. An engaged leader is a gem and, as nonprofit leaders, it’s our obligation to strive for their full potential. One great way to really get to know supporters is to design solicitation (or engagement) strategies for each. Start by creating a Prospect/Donor Profile for each, used to document their interest, involvement, willingness, and capability. Mapping a solicitation strategy will force you to be strategic about cultivating each constituent’s involvement. This one act involves and is influenced by the other six tips offered here.

Engage constituents

From prospect identification to board leadership to donor stewardship, your benefactors are your organization’s greatest vehicles of success. Engage them through key steps of the fund development process. You’ll be amazed at their ideas, insight, and perseverance.

Generate active awareness

Tell your story to the world. Shout it regularly through local media and through your social media avenues. Be sure you focus on strengths and opportunities and that any weaknesses are addressed. Distribute clear messages and keep your messaging timely. Encourage staff, volunteers, and donors to share the messages through personal, personable, and electronic means.

Network

It’s a seven-letter word that, for many non-profit leaders, is more like a four-letter word – work. There’s no better way to prospect new supporters, whether they’re future volunteer or donor leaders. It involves stepping out of your routine, forces you to fine-tune your 30-second elevator speech, and smile even if you’re having a difficult day. Ask any business leader, networking produces results. Get out there and make friends and share your organization’s story, needs, and opportunities.

Steward donors

Perhaps the most detrimental cause of recent organizational failure might not have been solely the economic crash. Is your organization at fault for not properly recognizing donations and, more importantly, developing strong relationships with its donors? Stewarding donors strengthens the lifeblood of non-profit organizations. Pick up the phone, send an email, direct a tweet, say hello in the store, high-five at a ballgame, and send a card. These are the little ways that magnify the “engage constituents” tip into truly rewarding alliances. Make each donor feel as if he/she is in the middle of the game.

 

Perhaps one that should be listed is “have fun”…development and non-profit leadership should be exciting, rewarding, meaningful, challenging, and fun. Make the most of it!

 

We’ve designed a career solutions company

In a partnership formed Pete (our managing partner) and two other corporate and philanthropic leaders, a new career solutions company was created. Greek Ladders is a resource for college students seeking information and connections to properly launch their careers. Simultaneously, businesses and charities leverage the Greek Ladders network to identify ideal candidates for their internship and full-time employment openings.

Creating the company was in response to several factors. The common theme among recent graduates is the disadvantage they’re at slide-greekladders-sitewhen searching for full-time employment. Students have dedicated their college years to preparing for meaningful careers by focusing on academics. By the time they decide to look for a job, many others have beat them to the punch. Factor in extraordinarily high unemployment rates, recent graduates face competition for jobs from those with greater experience and measurable performances, most of whom require less training. It’s possible that these same students may also have waited until graduation or some point during their senior years to begin their job searches. This really puts them behind the curve, further decreasing the likelihood of obtaining their ideal job in a timely manner.

Recognizing these issues, three corporate and non-profit leaders sharing a strong affinity to the Greek System, joined forces to create a solution. The primary goal – to create an opportunity for students to interface with employers, and vice-versa, as a vehicle to give Greeks a “leg up” in the employment recruitment process. Beyond the connection, the partners are adding leadership/career development training resources and strategic partners to essentially coach the students, guiding them toward successful interactions, interviews, and job performance.

The vision for Greek Ladders is simple – facilitate outstanding and mutually-beneficial relationships between students and employers.

Greek Ladders features a website, where job-seekers (primarily students, but also alumni and parents)  and employers (non-profits, businesses) make connections. Its career network highlights hundreds of student and employer profiles, as well as full-time and internship job postings. Students manage their own profiles containing their resumes, academic information, chapter and campus involvement, career objectives, and more for employers to become familiar with prospective employment candidates.

The Greek Ladders network, which is free for job-seekers, features leadership development and career preparation resources. Taking the form of webinars, videos, podcasts, and tutorials, these resources can be utilized by our members to enhance their profiles and learn new skills, thus making us more appealing to prospective employers.

For employers, Greek Ladders provides advantages over other similar companies, like Monster and Career Builder. Employers are directly linked to applicants in a specialized setting. In fact, employers leverage the partnership to essentially take all of today’s college students and siphon them into a single pool (or network) of outstanding potential candidates. One step further, these applicants are qualified, given their aptitude of social, leadership, and organizational skills and activity within the Greek Ladders network. Basic employer registration into the network is free.

If you’re curious about joining the Greek Ladders network as a student or employer, these links should provide you with plenty of information:

In addition, you may send an email to info@greekladders.com or call  775-333-9444 .

Amazing community opportunities in the Old Pueblo

Summer has been extremely busy for the NPcatalyst team. Rather than spend the warm months surfing waves in the Pacific or backpacking along the Tahoe Rim Trail, we’ve been serving clients and connecting with corporate and charitable leaders across the country.

This past weekend was spent in Tucson, where we met with numerous non-profit officials, social entrepreneurs, and new strategic partners. Here’s a brief list of our new friends:

  • Beads of Courage – an incredible organization which distributes beads to children being treated for cancer throughout the world.
  • TreeHouse Farm – an organization which provides an unforgettable experience for children recovering from cancer treatment, serious burns, and congenital heart issues.
  • The Haven – extraordinary organization which provides substance abuse treatment and housing for men and women.
  • Arizona Oncology Foundation – a new organization which provides support programs for cancer patients and survivors.
  • One-on-One Mentoring – an organization which matchs caring adults with at-risk youth.
  • Pima Prevention Partnership – provides practical solutions to address both individual and community problems, particularly substance abuse related.

They were all introduced to our services, particularly our online gifting tool, GiftingWishes, and our BoardCheck assessment resource.

Saturday was spent in a retreat with one of our new strategic partners. This soon-to-be-launched company will provide job recruitment, leadership development, and career development opportunities to both college students and employers. Much more to follow soon.

It was just another amazing weekend. We hope it leads to many opportunities to continue helping enhance the philanthropic culture in the Old Pueblo. Plus, we may have even landed a new job for a Tucson resident!

Thank you, Tucson, for your hospitality, heat, and spectacular sunsets!

NPcatalyst setting the standard in community engagement, charitable giving

NPcatalyst, L.L.C. setting the standard in community engagement

NPcatalyst, L.L.C. (formerly Parker Development Services), a Reno-based firm, works with corporate and non-profit clients to achieve measured community-driven results. Services feature strategy development, charitable giving facilitation, and public awareness through a best practices-driven model.

Passionate about the non-profit sector, managing partner, Pete Parker, believes active community engagement will positively impact each community’s economy, leadership and charitable outreach. “Our quest is to set the standard of giving and create models of excellence with our clients.” To aid in his quest and provide leadership to businesses of all sizes, he added a partner with extensive corporate management experience.

“I am pleased to be part of this team as I recognize the many benefits corporations can realize through strategic involvement and connections with communities and their many philanthropies”, states Jeff Lenardson, also a managing partner of the firm. With over 20 years of entrepreneurial success in both Southern California and Northern Nevada, Lenardson brings valuable knowledge from the corporate sector. “I also believe in applying best practices and validation to a fragmented non-profit space to help organizations and individuals make informed gifting decisions.”

The NPcatalyst website features a growing list of non-profit organizations seeking financial and voluntary leadership. “Focused and active community engagement builds strong leaders, businesses, and non-profit organizations, which creates thriving philanthropic synergies”, says Parker.

Learn more about NPcatalyst at www.NPcatalyst.com and 775-333-9444.

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About NPcatalyst
NPcatalyst strengthens communities by creating, managing, and leveraging opportunities with its key community stakeholders: individual citizens, businesses, foundations and non-profit organizations. Our charter is to set the standard of philanthropic excellence through effective and value-driven best practices.