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Archive for September, 2012

Raising Money from the Ground Floor: Setting Strategy

There are many ways to engage your nonprofit board in raising money.

No Strategy in place? If you’re raising $$ without a plan, it’s time to craft one. When staff, board and stakeholders in your nonprofit mission are clear about direction, programmatic as well as raising money, you have some things to hang your hat on.

First: What’s the fundraising environment for your nonprofit? Starting with reports like Giving USA from the Giving Institute at University of Indiana. It’s among the most highly reliable sources of data on annual giving by Americans as recorded on IRS tax reports. Very useful to see trends in your and related categories of nonprofits.

Second: What’s happening in your neck of the woods? Check with a local community foundation, or your Statewide association of nonprofits for data. Is data available by category of nonprofit mission? By budget size? By number of years in business? Look for data that helps you compare where you are and set a course that will make sense based on realities in your marketplace.

Third: How will you raise the dough? I recommend that you start with the annual appeal. Identify two or three strategies (Who are your best prospects? What are the range of gifts you’re going for? Will you identify prospects for face-to-face solicitation?).
What role will special events play in your plan?
How will you cultivate planned and memorial gifts?

Getting organized, and targeting fundraising goals that will meet the needs of the program you’re offering, are important considerations for you.

And clarifying the role of the board in this enterprise is another must.

Paying attention to these elements will help get your fundraising strategy off to a strong start!

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Giving USA: Persistent Weak Growth in Charitable Giving

The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that, according to Giving USA, charitable giving only rose by .9% in 2011. This is the second year in a row of anemic growth in philanthropic giving. Total giving was pegged at $298.4 billion. The report noted that giving in 2011 remained 11% below the high water mark set in 2007, the last year before the 2008 financial collapse. USA-based charities which focus on international aid were the only class of nonprofits that exceeded inflation (growth rate: 4%). Bequests were the only source of growth at 9% to approximately $24 billion. For more details, here’s a link to the June 19 article:

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What Kim Klein Brings to the Table

I teach from Kim Klein (Fundraising for Social Change, 6th ed., Jossey Bass, 2011) and I work from Kim Klein. I use Fundraising for Social Change as primary text in my fundraising class at Northeastern University’s nonprofit management program. I read her blog and apply her thinking in my consulting work with nonprofit clients in New England (where I’m based) and in my volunteer work with Executive Service Corps – NH.

I’ve gravitated to Kim and her thinking over recent years because she’s practical, her advice fits my view on what makes nonprofits tick, she writes in a conversational way with a humorous angle. And beyond “practical,” Kim’s blog from “the commons” makes common sense.

As you work with your nonprofit board, working to build effective fundraising approach from the ground up, I commend you to the work and approach of Kim Klein. My students like her. They sing her praises years after they graduate and get on in the real world.

Check out what she’s got to say.

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