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You Need to Spend Money To Make Money

Easy enough to say, but difficult to make the decision to invest in more development staff.

Can a nonprofit striving to reach its development goals - especially stretch goals associated with a new strategic plan - get there without hiring additional personnel?

And how can you know, beyond a hunch based on "gut"?
Forecast Your Development ROI

Begin by assessing your development department's return on investment (ROI).  What are you currently achieving, with what effort?

Information gathering takes two steps:

1)  Identify all the activities in your current fundraising plan or calendar - annual campaign, events, major gifts, institutional funders, communications and marketing - and the major tasks that fall under each category.
2)  Ask each member of your fundraising team (separately) to estimate what percentage of their time they are currently investing in each area. Then compile them - and brace yourself.

Likely, many of the "important but not urgent" items -  major gifts, planned giving, corporate partnerships and even donor stewardship - are getting short shrift, while other areas (did anyone say "gala"?) seem to be draining more than their share. 
Shift the Pieces Around

Take a close look together with your team and realign your efforts to maximize the long-term payoff. Build on staff members' strengths and interests and create a plan that will not just "unstick" you, but help grow a sustainable community of supporters over time.

Can program or administration staff take on some tasks? What can well-managed volunteers do? Might a board member step into the driver's seat - even for a limited time?
What can be outsourced? Writing and managing grants, copywriting and design, and special events coordination are areas that are often successfu lly handled by consultants or temporary personnel.

Don't be afraid to move the chess pieces around until it makes sense.  But once you've tweaked and prodded, if there are still gaps, it may be time to hire.
Hire for the Future 

Think carefully about your long-term goals - and invest in those areas that will pay off over time. Is it a designated individual/major donor person? A corporate partners program manager? A board liaison? It may include something as mundane as a designated database wizard to provide you with the vital information that allows your fundraising to flourish.

Growing Development Success 

A parting thought: As you ponder your next hire, consider the importance of promoting from within and building a pipeline of talented staff that compliment and grow together. Few things are more disappointing than watching talented staff develop and then disappear, touting their new found skills. What can you do now to build a pipeline of talent that succeeds ...and sticks around?

Apply to Communities of Color Nonprofit Stabilization Fund 2017

If only I had the time - and the money! How often we have heard nonprofit leaders yearn for the resources to leapfrog their boards' stewardship and fundraising, refresh their special events, or strategize on ways to reach new markets of supporters.

We are pointing you to the money if you are ready to make the time. Thanks to the NY City Council's Communities of Color Nonprofit Stabilization Fund (CCNSF), grants of up to $35,000 are available for small ($150,000 to $2 million) minority-led and serving community-based organizations for capacity-building activities including fundraising planning, new donor development, and all aspects of board governance including recruitment, leadership development, committee effectiveness and clarification of board-staff roles.

The application is due September 30th. This is the third round of the program: Cause Effective has now partnered with 18 groups through this program.   Through CCNSF, you can work with Cause Effective on projects including:
  • Creating a year-round fundraising plan to diversify your funding
  • Recruiting and developing fresh leadership for your board
  • Maximizing your return on special events
  • Planning an anniversary campaign that advances your strategic objectives
Here is a link to the Application Guidelines. We would be delighted to think together with you about what might be an appropriate, achievable project for you and develop a workplan for that portion of the proposal.  Write us at consulting@causeeffective.org or call us as soon as possible at (212)643-7093 if you are interested in applying!
Cause Effective Can Help

Want some assistance in thinking this through? Check out this Development Department Assessment Questionnaire and drop us a line.

Contact us - we're ready to partner with you to shape a development department that can lead you to just the team member you need.

Judy Levine 
Executive Director  
Cause Effective Around Town
Cause Effective board retreats, new staff, blog posts...and more! 
Cause Effective Retreats Create a Fundraising-Ready Board 

Cause Effective's 30+ years of experience can be put to work helping your board develop new dynamism and purpose around fundraising.
Cause Effective does more than just facilitate your meeting - we will guide your board team to:
* Rekindle their passion for mission which led them to join the board

* Define responsibilities so that board members govern, rather than manage

* Approach fundraising with imagination and energy

* Kick off a new, action-oriented board fundraising plan that gets results

Read more about Cause Effective retreats and contact greg@causeeffective.org to discuss a customized retreat to meet your board's needs. 
Rana LaPine:
Cause Effective's New Administrative Assistant!
See Rana's bio 
From the Cause Effective Blog:
Getting to Two: Securing the Second Donation

There are a million reasons why someone gives a first gift. 
Their golf partner asked. Their kid came home from afterschool with a reply form. An issue was discussed in the news. They passed a table at a street fair and a cheerful-yet-persistent organizer captured their attention.
There could be many reasons that don't, quite frankly, have a lot to do with the specific nonprofit receiving that donation. 
How do you capture a first-time-donor's interest, so they progress from dipping their toes in the water to becoming a full-fledged fan? 
The journey between the first and second contribution is a key fundraising moment. 
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For over 30 years, Cause Effective has strengthened the nonprofit sector by increasing the capacity of more than 5,000 nonprofits to build sustainable communities of supporters.  We provide carefully tailored counsel to help nonprofits diversify funding, raise more money from individuals, activate boards of directors, and get the greatest value from anniversaries and special events so they can achieve long-term, community-based change.

To learn more, please visit www.causeeffective.org.