Today, I bring you a taste of what is in my latest book, The Sustainable High ROI Fundraising System.
The Power of Assessment
"With a mission to prevent low birth weight in the world’s poorest countries and a history of only four years, this [international maternal and child health education agency] needed to increase general operating revenues. It also wanted more board engagement in fundraising and guidance in setting up a fundraising team.
The results of their assessment surprised them. They had many strengths on which to build a fundraising structure that would yield more general operating monies, including the existing program research protocols and financial reporting systems, collaborative culture, appetite for excellence, and overwhelming desire to change their current situation. Caught up in the day-to-day operational issues that arose, they could only see the weaknesses of their position; it was eye-opening to see such strength.
That revelation laid the basis for developing a robust fundraising structure that would yield the increased unrestricted funding they wanted. As they had almost no fundraising infrastructure in place, it was invigorating to work from the ground up.”
What to Include in a Thorough Assessment
“To formulate successful fundraising plans, you need to research and truly understand all the ways your nonprofit is unique. That means conducting a complete and thorough fundraising assessment.
And by complete, I don’t just mean evaluating your development department’s fundraising implementation and financial performance. No. By complete, I mean thoroughly assessing all parts of your agency that influence fundraising and impact your development department’s ability to raise money. Like board giving and fundraising leadership. And software adequacy. And marketing infrastructure and implementation. And volunteer recruitment and development.
Thorough also means gathering data at both the macro and micro levels. You want overall organizational data as well as individual unit data. You want to be able to spot significant trends and have the details on which to analyze the causes of your findings.
Essential things to assess include:
- Board fundraising structure and leadership
- Organizational fundraising savvy and readiness
- Overall agency financial performance and trends
- Strategic plans and processes
- Development plans and processes
- Marketing plans and processes
- Communication plans and processes
- Donation policies and processes
- Target group research activities and processes
- Gift statistics
- Donor profile
- Donor statistics
- Donor prospecting activities and processes
- Donor cultivation activities and processes
- Donor stewardship activities and processes
- Fundraising performance
- By fundraising channel
- By individual fundraising activity
- Fundraising recordkeeping and reporting software
- Fundraising volunteer recruitment, development, and recognition activities processes and activities”
The narrative goes on to tell you how to conduct a complete assessment, how to customize your fundraising plan based on your evaluation results, and the options you have to choose from when developing your plan.
And then there’s the rest of the book about empowering your board, mobilizing your staff, and exciting your community.