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.
In the context of larger strategic fund-raising counsel, we can provide additional specialized writing services.
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.