Orr Associates, Inc.
Practical Tips for Young Fundraisers
Diving into the nonprofit fundraising world for the first time can be overwhelming and intimidating. Regardless of how many fundraising years we have under our belts, we can all appreciate the challenges experienced by fundraisers early in their careers.

This shared sentiment inspired OAI’s recent Ask a MentORR event. Eleven young fundraising professionals, representing DC-area nonprofits, joined six OAI junior team members to discuss their fundraising challenges in our DC office. The attendees and OAI team collectively shared advice, suggestions, and potential solutions to address the common challenges raised.

The peer-to-peer discussion created a collaborative and supportive environment, and participants walked away with tangible and practical recommendations for moving their fundraising work forward. Below is a snapshot of the challenges we discussed, and their potential solutions.
Board Engagement
"My board members promise to make introductions or send outreach, but they don’t follow through."

  • When you check in on your board members’ tasks, make their job as easy as possible. This could be in the form of providing draft language for outreach, researching and sharing prospect contact information, and arming board members with easily shareable marketing collateral.

  • Choose who follows up with board members wisely. A board member may take a request more seriously if received from a CEO, CDO, or another organizational leader. Partner with these leaders in your organization to help drive board members’ action.

  • Assistants can be the key to unlocking a board member’s outreach. Cultivate a relationship with your board members’ assistants. Then, work with them to follow up on their outreach.

" My board doesn’t fundraise."

  • Begin building a culture of philanthropy within the board by ensuring that development strategy is incorporated into each board meeting agenda. Partner with your CEO or CDO to share the development team’s long-term strategy and progress towards goals at meetings.

  • Consider creating a development committee, comprised of willing board members and key volunteers, to help the development team drive its long-term fundraising strategy. An active development committee can potentially fill a funding gap stemming from a board that’s unwilling to fundraise.

  • Develop a board member job description, incorporating a “give/get” minimum and other fundraising-related responsibilities. Work with your board chair to garner support from board members to adopt and embrace the “give/get” by 1) communicating expectations, 2) describing how staff will support the board members in achieving their goal, and 3) acknowledging the give/get may be achieved through connections and influence as opposed to personally giving.
Donor Engagement
"I’m unsure how to appropriately mention planned giving to a prospect."

  • Target prospects who are 55+ and already loyal annual donors, regardless of their gift size.

  • Create a legacy society to recognize planned gift donors and offer membership benefits. It can be easier to ask a prospect to join a legacy society than to ask for a planned gift outright.

  • Avoid using planned giving jargon when discussing with a prospect. Describe planned giving to prospects as you would any other gift type. Create talking points, scripts, and/or other reference materials to guide the development team through prospect conversations.
Young nonprofit professionals gathered at OAI's DC Office for our Ask A MentORR event
"We struggle to convince dues-paying members to make a philanthropic investment."

  • Consider creating a giving society with associated recognition and benefits to encourage members to donate.

  • Offer creative recognition opportunities unique to your organization (e.g. onsite recognition at member conferences) and design benefits to appeal to your members’ interests (e.g. invitation to town halls hosted by the CEO).
Events Management
"Our last fundraising event surpassed expectations and we don’t know how we’ll maintain revenue levels next year ."

  • Individually steward the previous event’s donors as soon as possible to prime them for their next solicitation.

  • Develop your event’s leadership structure 8-12 months out from the next event and develop “give/get” minimums for all leadership roles i.e. Co-Chair, Host Committee Member, etc.

  • Prioritize your cultivation by targeting renewals before focusing on new prospects and lapsed donors. Identify which past event donors could potentially upgrade and solicit them for a higher amount.

The above is just a glimpse of our Ask a MentORR event discussion. We’d love for you to join our next conversation. If you or a junior member of your team is interested in attending OAI’s next Ask a MentORR event in DC or NY, please contact Derek Rogers at drogers@oai-usa.com.

"Entrepreneurial Fundraising: Is It for Your Nonprofit?"
OAI's Managing Director, Craig Shelley, published the article "Entrepreneurial Fundraising: Is It for Your Nonprofit?" in NonProfit Pro. The article, for those interested in adopting an entrepreneurial approach for their nonprofit, discusses how this model fits (or doesn't) with certain structures and organizational characteristics.  Read here.

"The Path to CEO and Board Partnership: How to Supercharge Your Board"
OAI Managing Director, Craig Shelley, knows that an engaged board can make a huge difference for a nonprofit. In his recent article "How to Supercharge Your Board,” he discusses the four phases of nonprofit boards based on engagement levels and how to improve their involvement with their organization. Read here.
Prospect Park Alliance
National Winter Activity Center
The National Winter Activity Center (NWAC), based in Vernon, New Jersey, is a nonprofit facility established to enable kids from all over the US to participate in winter sports activities. Its goals are to improve health and fitness, create a pathway to competition, and build life-long enjoyment of winter sports. 

To exponentially grow participation at the facility over the next 5 years, NWAC came to OAI seeking to broaden its revenue sources and build a long-term and sustainable philanthropy operation. OAI has embarked on a three-month project to assess NWAC’s current state and develop a fundraising road map to fund the growth that will help NWAC maximize its fundraising potential.
Partnership Schools NYC
Partnership Schools NYC  is a network of six urban Catholic schools in Harlem and the South Bronx. Its mission is to develop outstanding Catholic elementary schools that provide low-income students with the academic preparation, values, and skills needed to break the cycle of poverty and lead fulfilling, productive lives. 

OAI is filling the need for a full-time Vice President of Development by providing an embedded team to help lead its philanthropic operations and generate the revenue to fund Partnership Schools' programming and achieve its mission.

AFP of NYC Leadership Conversation - June 15
OAI is partnering with the New York City Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals to host a Leadership Conversation in New York City. Andrea Jung, President and CEO of  Grameen America , will speak at this invitation-only event.

Since its inception, Grameen America has invested $820 million in low-income women entrepreneurs and their visions. In her leadership position, Ms. Jung aims to expand the reach of the organization to solve economic issues for women and their families throughout the country.
NAPCO Webinar: Your Go-To Guide for Writing a Winning Nonprofit Grant Proposal”- June 20
OAI Managing Director Craig Shelley and Emily Bratten, Director of Grant Development at Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation will host a free webinar about writing successful grant proposals, moderated by Nhu Te, Editor-in-Chief at Nonprofit Pro.

Applying for grants doesn’t need to be mind-numbing. Participants will learn about the application process, the resources needed, if/when your nonprofit should apply, and strategies for writing a successful grant proposal.   Register here.
AFP of NYC Fundraising Day in New York - June 22
Increasingly, nonprofits are aiming higher and reaching for funding at levels commensurate with the scale of the problems they are trying to solve. Transformational fundraising campaigns are becoming the norm. These campaigns vary in size, but share the common objective of raising unprecedented funds and dramatically accelerating the organization’s capacity to make a change in the world.

At Fundraising Day in New York 2018 , OAI Managing Director Craig Shelley will speak on Transformational Fundraising alongside philanthropic leaders from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation New Profit, and KaBOOM!
Healthcare Philanthropy Leadership Roundtable - July 10 
OAI is hosting a by-invitation conversation for healthcare philanthropy leaders from across the region on current and future fundraising trends within the sector. The roundtable will be an opportunity for these leaders to discuss with their peers the success of, and challenges with, the grateful patient model and other critical issues in healthcare philanthropy. 

The discussion will include Bruce Bartoo, Senior VP & Chief Philanthropy Officer at MedStar Health, and Steven Bernstein, President of Southampton Hospital Foundation and Chief Development Officer of Stony Brook Southampton Hospital.

OAI welcomed Regina Cialone to the OAI team in June in the role of Director. With nearly two decades in the nonprofit sector, Regina is an accomplished manager and leader with extensive experience in fundraising, communications, event management, operations performance, and team leadership.

Regina is an ancient civilizations enthusiast, having visited Stonehenge, the ruins of Agrigento, the Forum in Rome, and Mayan ruins in Tulum. Her next trip: Machu Picchu and the Nazca Lines. We're excited to have her on board.
Responding to the increasingly complex burdens on nonprofit leaders, OAI has developed a transformational approach to fundraising and strategy consulting.  Our teams of experienced professionals seamlessly embed themselves with nonprofits to fundraise, to recruit and improve board leadership, to build consensus and direction through new strategies, and to provide executive, fundraising, and financial leadership. With offices in Washington, DC and New York City, OAI has partnered in our clients' success for more than 25 years, helping more than 600 nonprofits raise hundreds of millions of dollars for their causes. 
See how we can help you today at  www.oai-usa.com .