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.

 

An opportunity to support Safe Harbors of Nevada

    

Helping people obtain the skills they need to become productive citizens.

Guiding people to reconnect with personal values.

Providing an enriching environment, enabling people to experience changes in behavior, thinking, and feeling.

These represent the hallmark of Safe Harbors of Nevada…to change lives.

Each year in northern Nevada, thousands of men and women are released from state prisons and jails, with the vast majority returning to the Truckee Meadows. These returning prisoners face a range of challenges, from securing housing and employment to rebuilding relationships with their families and support networks. They must deal with these issues while, at the same time, avoiding old pathways to criminal behavior and substance abuse, avoiding negative influences, maintaining hope and self-esteem, and adjusting to daily life on the outside.

Safe Harbors provides a premier home-like, clean, safe and secure environment to assist individuals in their gradual reentry into the community.

This local organization, located near the UNR campus, has been helping people get back on their feet for years. Until now, the organization has never asked for contributions from the community. Safe Harbors seeks to team with the greater community to enhance transition results and provide opportunities for those looking to make a fresh start. It starts with the basic necessity of a proper meal service program.

  • Goal – to serve more nutritious meals to more people.
  • Project – to renovate their kitchen to facilitate the increasing cooking needs.
  • Cost – $40,000. Roughly $40,000 in in-kind contributions has already been committed.
  • Timeline – now. The flooring is about to be stripped and existing equipment removed.

Safe Harbors was founded in June 2004 and has helped thousands of ex-offenders and substance abusers regain their lives. At the time, Leonard Guevara had a vision to start the organization after completing a similar one himself. He saw how it helped him get back on his feet and give him a support system that he would not have had otherwise. He wanted to be able to give back to the community, and thought the best way to do so was to open a house where people with substance abuse problems could regain their sobriety by living in a clean and safe environment.

The organization’s leaders provide a supportive environment to qualified individuals to guide them toward retaining their sobriety and chemical independence, and developing living skills to become healthy and productive members of society. Through a 90-day structured program, each client:

  • Is provided with bed liners, laundry facilities, bathing facilities, and a clean living environment.
  • Is offered three nutritious meals each day.
  • Is given access the computer lab for job searches and personal communications.
  • Attend daily meetings and work towards completing the 12-step program.

Through partnerships with local businesses and non-profit organizations, Safe Harbors stores enough food and food products to feed an increasing number of clients. However, the kitchen and cooking appliances severely need updating to adequately prepare three square and nutritious meals to more than 48 clients each day.

Each year in northern Nevada, thousands of men and women are released from state prisons and state jails, with the vast majority returning to the Truckee Meadows. These returning prisoners face a range of challenges, from securing housing and employment to rebuilding relationships with their families and support networks. They must deal with these issues while at the same time avoiding old pathways to criminal behavior and substance abuse, avoiding negative influences, maintaining hope and self-esteem, and adjusting to daily life on the outside.

According to founder, Leonard Guevara, “When clients are released from prison, many of them have no access to the basic necessities. Most have less than twenty dollars in their pocket, no support system, and are unable to cope with the freedom of being out of a controlled environment. Since they know no other way to make money, many go back to the criminal activity that they were indicted for and find themselves back in prison.”

Leonard expressed this during a recent interview on the Nevada Matters Media radio show. Click here to become more acquainted with Safe Harbors and its founder.

The program at Safe Harbor works. Clients are making successful transitions back to society, where they are able to obtain employment, secure proper housing, and build strong relationships with family members. As a result, they are becoming well-adjusted, economically-supportive individuals looking to better themselves.

Community members can help by making financial contributions to Safe Harbors. Funds raised will enhance the organization, starting with the kitchen upgrade. Healthy bodies make for healthier minds and brighter perspectives.

Donations of all amounts are welcome and each dollar helps bring the project to completion. Donations can be made by mail, in person, or online. Below are links to facilitate contributions. All contributors, unless identified as “anonymous”, will be tastefully recognized.

Additional information can be gathered by contacting Safe Harbors at 775-337-6777, by email, or on its website at www.SafeHarborsofNV.com. The mailing address is 469 E. 9th St., Reno, Nevada, 89512.

Nonprofit wish lists can be an opportunistic resource

 

It seems that most nonprofits have more needs than they have resources to fill. By creating a “wish list”, organizations present donors, volunteers, and prospects with specific ways they can engage. Typically, some items on a wish list can be fulfilled with a monetary gift, but most are usually items that are needed.

According to noted non-profit professional, Deane Brengle (blog), “Wish lists are not unheard of within the fundraising community. They are, however, an under-utilized resource available to all nonprofit organizations no matter what the size.”

Charities post wish lists and hope the items are hand-delivered to their doorsteps. While this may happen on occasion, it doesn’t happen as often as they’d wish.  Increasing the likelihood of this happening, these organizations can provide additional, specific information. This includes a detailed description of the items in need, the number needed, and its value to the organization or beneficiary. By providing descriptive information, prospective supporters will have a distinct idea in mind of what to purchase.

Fundraising expert Sandy Rees (blog) believes “You can include literally anything on a Wish List – everything from cleaning products to refrigerators, vans, and forklifts! I would suggest including a range of items from toilet paper and copy paper on the low end to whatever you need on the high end. Nothing is too strange because you never know when someone reading your list will have just what you need.”

Customarily, donors go out and purchase, then deliver wish list items to the charities they choose to support. This will always be an opportunity. But that’s not the only way to transact wish list giving.

Perhaps the charitable organization would accept funds for the necessary items but, rather than the donor purchasing and delivering, the organization’s staff or volunteers could go out and purchase them on their own. While this takes time away from their daily routine, by doing their own purchasing, charity leaders are benefiting in other ways. At a minimum, this presents an opportunity to begin building sustainable relationships with merchants, likely discussing (or receiving) items at further discounted prices, and purchasing exactly what they need (as opposed to using what the donor delivers).

According to Sandy, “The easier you make it for a donor to act, the more likely they will.”

Fundraising through wish lists is not a new concept within the non-profit sector. However, if properly utilized, leveraged, and promoted, it can become an integral part of an organization’s private funding model.

For more information about wish list giving, contact NPcatalyst at 775-333-9444 or info@npcatalyst.com.

Giving by fraternity and sorority alumni

 

Do more Greek alumni support their universities than their non-Greek counterparts?

A research study conducted by the Center for Advanced Social Research at the University of Missouri showed that men and women who have had a Greek experience are far more likely to actively volunteer and participate in community activities. They are significantly more active in their religious and neighborhood organizations and show stronger financial support for non-profit organizations that do non-Greek.

In a January 2001 study entitled, “Alumni Giving of Business Executives to the Alma Mater: Panel Data Evidence at a Large Metropolitan Research University”, conducted by Albert A. Okunade (University of Memphis) and Phanindra V. Wunnava (Middlebury College and IZA), revealed the giving significance of male Greek alumni. “The novel contribution of this research is the estimation of an econometric model of gift-giving alumni business executives of a large public urban university using 10,192 individual donor observations [that is, a panel of 392 donors for 26 years]. Our theoretically consistent empirical results reinforce the earlier research findings that male alumni in Greek social organizations gave significantly more.” It went on to note, “compared to the non-Greeks, fraternal organization alumni membership (Greek) significantly increased donations by roughly 9 percent.”

The Research Initiative examined the impact of fraternity and sorority membership on college and university graduates, and was jointly funded by members of the National Panhellenic Conference and the National Interfraternity Conference. More than 2,200 Greek and non-Greek alumni from 10 schools across the United States were surveyed through direct phone conversations. The pool of alumni queried was half non-Greek affiliated, one-quarter sorority members and one-quarter fraternity members.

A key finding in the research as that Greek alumni were more apt invest their time, energy and treasure to improve the quality of life in their communities. Other findings included:

  • Membership in a fraternity or sorority helped boost overall university recruitment.
  • Greek alumni were more satisfied with the social and cultural aspect of the college experience than non-Greeks.
  • Greek alumni revealed greater match between what they studied in college and their first job, as compared with non-affiliated alumni.
  • Greek affiliation had a significant impact on the current income of alumni.
  • Greek alumnae and non-Greeks were more satisfied with their academic performance than were male Greek alumni. Greek women were very satisfied with the relationship they had with faculty, counselors and university administrators.

While we recognize that giving (in general) and giving by Greek alumni varies from campus to campus, the data derived from just these two studies revealed that giving by Greek alumni was significantly greater than their non-Greek counterparts. At Fraternity Management Group, we have found that the strong, unified relationships between university officials and members of their Greek communities translate into higher university donor giving rates. “Our quest, as a firm, is to serve the greater Greek community, by developing lifelong relationships with our clients, their respective universities, and all involved alumni”, says Matt Noble, president of Fraternity Management Group. “This translates into mutually-beneficial alumni and parent relations programs, ideal ties with university operations, and rewarding experiences.

For more information about Greek alumni giving, fraternity alumni/parent relations, and fraternity funding initiatives, contact Fraternity Management Group at info@fmgtucson.com or call 800-228-7326.

 

This blog was written by NPcatalyst for Fraternity Management Group

The finest year-end gift I’ve seen is…

…one that develops into a true, lifelong partnership. This involves the creation of a strong relationship with a non-profit organization that creates the impact that the donor had intended.

I’m amazed each year at the many campaigns aimed at encouraging “year end” donations to charities. In my twenty-plus years as a non-profit leader, I’ve created many of these campaigns. That said, the greatest value of these efforts is the initiation of new and growing donor relationships.

But now that a new year has begun, I challenge anyone interested in donating to be proactive about their giving. While it’s “customary” for non-profit organizations to pursue supporters, why couldn’t donors approach giving (time and dollar) much like you do a new job, car or home. Much like those pursuits, proactive philanthropy enables you to make wise charitable investments. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Think about the causes which yield your greatest interest, passion and connection;
  • Identify the organizations which employ programs and activities that affect those causes
  • Research each non-profit organization to target those which make the greatest fit for you. Areas to analyze can include: data and efficiency, finance and fund development, governance, human resources and public information.
  • Make a personal contact to the organization(s) you find the greatest connection by communicating with board and/or staff members. Enlisting as a volunteer or calling to learn more are great ways to create a relationship.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a charity which won’t happily accept your year-end donation. Many of these transactions, however, can merely be just transactions. Now, when you make giving of your time and dollar more of a strategy, you’ll find an incredible wealth of excitement, synergy and reward through the relationships you develop and, at the same time, the first-hand witnessing of your direct impact.

If you’re interested in learning more and/or creating a giving strategy, give us a call or click onto http://www.npcatalyst.com/.