Keens, Mandeles & You tailors processes and products to the needs of clients. There is no KMY boilerplate. We work with you on building your organization’s value, telling your story and making your case, and maximizing your capacity to do your vital work. Services include:
Meeting Development, Facilitation & Documentation
Fund Raising Counsel, including
Proposal and Grant Report Writing
Case Development and Testing
Keens, Mandeles & You tailors processes and products to the needs of clients. There is no KMY boilerplate. We work with you on building your organization’s value, telling your story and making your case, and maximizing your capacity to do your vital work.
STRATEGIC PLANNING SERVICES
KMY sees strategic planning as integral to the challenge of developing both human and financial resources for organizations. We bring together in strategic planning all of our experience and skills in research, strategic thinking, meeting facilitation and documentation, and case development. We work with the organization to articulate a vision and mission that reflect the realities of the world around you, your aspirations to affect that world, and the principles and competencies that will guide the organization’s approach.
We believe firmly that the process is at least as important as the product—our practice is to be inclusive, consultative, and ready to learn as well as advise and facilitate. We guide the organization in development of your own plan, and along the way build stakeholder commitment so that board and staff will be fully engaged in implementation and constituent and funder enthusiasm will translate into participation and support. KMY will tailor the scope of the process and the form of the planning product to meet the individual needs and resources of your organization—ours is not a “cookie cutter” approach. The result will not be a “shelf plan,” but a plan that is actually useful and flexible enough to adjust as the implementation environment changes around you.
Board Development: Strategic planning processes will address governance in the organization and how board practice can be advanced to meet the needs of the coming years. We also provide stand-alone board development services that focus on board structure, practice, membership, fund-raising role, and evaluation.
Facilitated meetings are at the core of KMY planning processes and other projects with our nonprofit clients. Even in the age of technology, personal interaction and dialogue remain critical to organizational planning and sustainability, but your board members, staff, advisors, supporters, and constituents are busy people. You want to value their time and make the most of the opportunity to gather them in a room. Even more than that, you and they should leave a meeting energized and excited and ready to put plans into action.
Meeting Development and Facilitation
Consultation with you and key stakeholders will inform a strategic agenda that we will facilitate. We are, in some ways, “old fashioned” facilitators – we don’t use fancy technology. Rather, we rely on the good minds gathered in the room, and on our ability to be objective and neutral guides, weaving the threads of conversation together, posing challenging and constructive questions, teasing out implications of participants’ comments, encouraging everyone’s participation, and keeping the conversation moving in a useful direction. Our goal in any facilitation is to get good work accomplished and to have participants comment, “That was the best meeting I ever attended; I am glad I came.”
Meeting documentation can be key to positioning a meeting as a turning point or a catalyst for next steps. We tailor documentation to your needs, and can provide:
- Wall notes – The facilitator’s notation of key points helps to move the conversation forward during the meeting and become a useful a shorthand reminder of what transpired.
- Simultaneous notes –These detailed typewritten notes provide close-to-verbatim commentary and can be edited and provided to the organization as the meeting record, or serve as the basis for further refined documents, depending on your needs.
- Facilitator’s memo – This brief document provides the facilitator’s summary and perspective on the meeting discussion and outcomes.
- Outcomes report – This narrative report synthesizes the deliberations and summarizes meeting conclusions and agreements regarding next steps. It is both a thorough record of the meeting and a tool for further discussion or action.
- Planning framework – KMY consultants are experienced and skilled in facilitating organizational discussions as part of larger strategic planning processes. We can design a meeting to produce a draft framework outlining mission, vision, and values; and major goals and objectives that can serve as the basis for further detailed planning. For organizations with limited budgets for planning, we will work with you to develop this framework and position organization staff and board to continue the planning process internally with only limited additional guidance.
FUND RAISING COUNSEL
“How can we raise more money?” It’s the perennial question of the nonprofit trustee and staff member. But it is more than a technical and financial question, assessed by looking at financial statements, prospect lists, and databases. These are important ingredients–necessary, but not sufficient. If board and staff leadership cannot see the larger context within which their fund raising must be accomplished, lots of resources may be “left on the table.”
Here’s where we begin: Fundraising is not about asking for money; it is about building relationships. These relationships are built on mutual passions, reflecting (1) the personal experiences of the board member and the funding prospect; (2) the societal issue(s) being addressed; and (3) the nonprofit’s mission. An “ask” should be an opportunity for the donor to express deeply felt connections to the cause in question and to feel like an agent of change. If donors don’t see a gift as an opportunity for self-fulfillment (and, admittedly sometimes self-aggrandizement), they don’t write much of a check, if any at all.
We will conduct a comprehensive assessment of your organization’s resource development operation and strategy that will:
- Pinpoint the organization’s fund-raising assets, strengths, weaknesses
- Build on strengths and assets to maximize fund-raising potential
- Align organizational goals, programs, policies, procedures, staffing, and board structures
- Determine how to integrate fund-raising throughout the organization without compromising programmatic integrity
- Compare best practices with organizational practice
- Make specific recommendations and set specific goals
Development Assessment reports will address the external fund-raising environment, as well as internal organizational context and underlying issues. (When organizations tell us they have a fund-raising problem, we frequently find that there are deeper and more fundamental structural or leadership issues at play.) The report will also address the fund-raising case, the board’s role in resource development and each of the potential sources of support (annual fund, major gifts, grant support, etc.). We will make recommendations regarding staffing, structure, and capacity building to support organizational fund raising. In addition, we will work with you to create a “development blueprint” for the next 18-24 months that sets goals and outlines actions to be taken to achieve those goals.
We work with clients on an ongoing basis as advisers throughout their fund-raising year, developing strategy, drafting and reviewing written material, working with the board, and most importantly, building the client’s own sophistication and capacity to expand their fund-raising success. Such counsel is often provided as an adjunct or follow-up to development assessments or to the writing support described below.
Case development and testing: KMY will deploy both our written case-making skills and qualitative research abilities to help you determine whether your organizational case is attractive and compelling to your constituencies. This work will often take place in the context of determining feasibility for a capital campaign, but will also be useful in determining constituent interest and securing constituent input into program plans or other organizational initiatives. The process involves initial interviews and discussion that contribute to development of a draft case statement. This statement is then circulated to a carefully selected list of interviewees whom we interview to get their reaction and involve them in the case development process. These interviews both improve the case and solidify constituent buy-in to the final product. We refine the case in response to interview results and work with you to develop a plan for next steps.
Proposal writing: KMY is known for our superb proposal writing skills. Our writing is clear, compelling, well organized, and in the voice of your organization. We develop proposals collaboratively with clients, making it as easy as possible for you to transmit necessary information to us, whether it is through conversations, notes, outlines of ideas, or other available documentation. We ask questions that help clarify thinking about the case to be made, and the outcomes to project from the proposed activity. With long experience working with both nonprofits and foundations, we are well versed in what is needed to craft an effective proposal within whatever format is specified by the funder. We work quickly to turn around drafts, and we get it right the first time, minimizing the “backing and forthing” to come to a final document.
Grant reports: Stewardship is a key element of successful organizational relationships with funders. Timely and thorough reports of activities to donors keep them informed, demonstrate responsible use of funds, and set the stage for further support. Much as we write proposals, we collaborate with you to gather and present information, not only about activities carried out under a grant, but about the lessons learned and the outcomes achieved.