Our team serves all types and sizes of nonprofit clients through scopes of work that typically fall into one of three categories: fundraising, planning, and board governance.
The best part of a strategic development plan is that it touches all three categories. Through strategic development plans, we engage our clients in a process that:
- Provides the development team with a clear direction for fundraising success.
- Uses the client’s donor data to design unique, client-specific contributed income strategies.
- Aligns with the organizational strategic plan.
- Involves board members by deepening their understanding and clarifying their role in fundraising.
Our strategic development plans always use Ask, Thank, and Engage strategies as a foundation for interacting with donors.
- Ask (solicitation)
Direct appeal that says please give $X. Do not rely on passive asks and do not wait until end of year.
- Thank (acknowledgment and recognition)
Most often cited as the reason donors gave again and/or gave more. It must be meaningful and should not include another ask.
- Engage (cultivation and stewardship)
Build relationships and share the impact of the gift before you ask again. Cultivation is before an ask and stewardship is after a donor gives.
Tracking and calculating key data points, such as donor retention rate and average gift size, to project what is possible for growth in fundraising efforts is an essential element of our plans.
In addition, we often utilize the Fundraising Effectiveness Project by AFP and Measuring Fundraising Effectiveness by BoardSource. These resources offer data points for benchmarking and analytical tools, such as a toolkit to calculate fundraising net, dependency quotient, and cost of fundraising.
Working through our client’s data creates KPIs for board members to assess on a regular basis. We fundamentally believe that a client’s donor retention rate is an indication of the health of their donor relationships.
The connection between strategic development plans and board governance is very important because national data from BoardSource tells us that fundraising is consistently the lowest scoring and performing board function.
Having contributed income strategies and financial forecasts paired with an implementation timeline gives development teams and boards the tools they need to further their mission and impact. Consider these strategies as you enter the last quarter of fundraising at your organization.
Article by: Kerri Laubenthal Mollard, Founder & CEO