Major Gifts Ramp-Up Model Raises Millions For Nonprofits overviews the success of a fundraising model used by thousands of charities to reach and exceed their financial goals.
How does one measure the success of MAJOR GIFTS RAMP-UP? Whether your launching an Operations, Capital, or Endowment campaign you still must define, in advance, what quantifiable metrics will be used to determine if your fundraising goals have truly been achieved. Here’s how the users of MAJOR GIFTS RAMP-UP measure success. MAJOR GIFTS RAMP-UP ensures that fundraising campaigns…
- …come in OVER GOAL
- …are completed ON SCHEDULE
- …are executed UNDER BUDGET
- …result in HAPPY VOLUNTEERS
- …produce GRATEFUL DONORS
- …promote COMMUNITY PRIDE
Major Gifts Ramp-Up Model Raises Millions For Nonprofits
The unusual success of Major Gifts Ramp-Up is made possible because it’s different. It’s so different that it will change the entire culture of your organization. Here are the twelve action step MAJOR GIFTS RAMP-UP that have distinguished this approach in the fundraising industry:
#1 MANAGEMENT PHILOSOPHY
The Three Approaches to the Raising of Money…Only One Works…the Other Two Will Kill Your Program.
- Technique Driven Philosophy is based on Awareness Events, Galas, Tournaments, Direct Mail, Newsletters, Phone Campaigns, etc. It’s not that our approach doesn’t use techniques, but our philosophy of development can’t be driven by technique. Here’s the problem…THIS APPROACH IS NOT SUSTAINABLE BECAUSE IT’S A NUMBERS GAME AND ONLY WORKS BY BURNING THROUGH 1000s of PROSPECTS.
- Institution Driven Philosophy – We’re making a difference…We’re a good steward of donor finances…This organization is a safe place to invest…Blah, Blah, Blah. It’s not that we don’t “make the case” but our development philosophy can’t be institution-driven. Here’s the problem…IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU…IT’S TIRESOME…IT’S WHAT EVERY OTHER NONPROFIT IS SAYING…IT HASN’T WORKED FOR FIFTY YEARS.
- Donor Driven Philosophy – How can we help the donor accomplish the personal goals to which they’ve been called? How do we partner, walk side-by-side, co-labor with, invest in, and ensure they become part of our family in a manner that considers their needs first? Donors have desires…it’s our responsibility to understand what they are and make them come true. What are their interests? What constructs in their lives cross with the constructs emerging from our organization. It’s at this point that there’s relationship…that development occurs.
The Donor-Driven Philosophy of Development is THE CORRECT APPROACH
#2 MAJOR GIFTS FUNDRAISING
Major Gifts Fundraising VERSUS Golf, Auctions, Mail, Events, Phone, Social Media
Face-To-Face asking with individuals of wealth results in:
- Highest Financial Return
- Shortest Period of Time
- Smallest Financial Investment
#3 ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Organizational development asks the simple question…are you ready? One of the critical activities in determining readiness is accomplished by sound strategic planning. Strategic planning is a disciplined effort to produce fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization is, what it does, and why it does it. The organizational development in a broad sense, requires the following:
- The expansive gathering of effective information.
- The creation and investigation of tactical alternatives.
- An emphasis on the future implications of decisions made today.
Organizational development is not an event. It is a progressive process which results in:
- Growth through communication with staff, board, volunteers, etc.
- Development of judicious and analytical decision making by staff, board, etc.
- Efficient execution of the developed plan by staff, board members, etc.
The aforementioned technical process must then be immersed in the furnace of “Visioning”. Visioning conjures up the concept of imagination, thought without boundaries, the fulfillment of dreams…the risk of seeing the future and then chasing it with all your heart. Proper planning provides a guide to strengthen key systems improving systems institution-wide. Some of these systems could include:
- Strong CEO
- Staff & Employees
- Financial Oversight
- Volunteer Support
- Board Committees
- Development & Fundraising
- Service Deliverables
In conclusion, the stronger your organization is, the more it will project wellness and viability to your constituency. This work predicates successful fundraising. The more confidence you give your public, the easier your job will be in development.
#4 CASE FOR SUPPORT
Your Piece of the Puzzle That Changes The World
The most important factor leading to success in major gift planning is that the agency has a clearly articulated mission. We believe that money “chases after ideas” and that there will always be generous people who will amply support a great dream backed by a sound plan. We call this great dream & sound plan your “Case For Support”.
Case is broadly divided into two sections that overview important aspects of your nonprofit. They are:
- People/Leadership 3. Finances/Stewardship
- Future Project & Cost
- Investment Opportunity
However, the most important part of case development is not the end result but the process. Nonprofit leaders that take the time to understand their “case” embark on a journey that changes themselves and the future of the institution they serve. They provide their organization direction and vision that gives supporters the confidence to partner with them. A Compelling case for support is single most important aspect of the relationship building process.
Generally an organization can put together the first five elements of a case without much trouble or effort. However the process of birthing items six and seven can be an arduous task. Bringing the board and administration together in an environment outside the monthly board meeting for the purpose of case development is no small task. It’s here that the team comes together to understand what makes them different from other organizations, to help define long term and short term goals consistent with the agency’s statement of mission, and to determine a timeline for success.
Your “Case for Support” will then be presented in what’s commonly referred to as a “Case Document.” This tool will answer key questions for your prospect and overview your vision to transform the community within which they live.
#5 ADVANCEMENT CALENDAR
Writing it down…Twelve Month Task Map
The public has entrusted the care of a nonprofit organization to a board of directors who is responsible on an annual basis to advance the mission of the agency. It is not sufficient to simply maintain the status quo but to expand a nonprofit’s offering to the population entrusted to their care. This commitment is launched internally by creating an twelve month “Task Map” that charts a course for mission expansion. In order to successfully achieve our major gifts startup goals an annual calendar of tasks/events must be established to identify existing points of contact (cultivation touches) or new opportunities to meet with prospects.
#6 PROSPECT IDENTIFICATION
Once you’ve identified a prospect, their constituency, and what market they’re in, you can begin to understand their needs through research. Your choice of research tools depend on the prospect type (see the two lists below).
Who Are Your Prospects?
- Local Businesses
- Finance Community
- Civic Groups
- Federal Government
- State Government & Local Government
- Professional Community
- Local Churches
- Individuals: 30-40yrs of Age
- Individuals: 50-60yrs of Age
- Individuals: 70yrs of Age PLUS
You may want to take a peek at DonorScope This prospect research platform ensures nonprofits identify, research and are properly introduced to donors who give major gifts.
However, the most effective method of researching a prospect is with another individual who knows more about the prospect than you. This involves recording all known information about the individual and then securing additional facts from linkages that the prospect has with other leaders. This information can include basic data such as name, address, and phone number, vocation, etc. contrasted with more development-specific information like a list of other organizations that the prospect has invested in. Again, use online resources to prepare for this process.
Another important step in the research process is to rate your prospect using a scoring matrix. The scoring matrix asks questions that elicit information from individuals who know the prospect. This activity fosters confidence and should not be filled out in a solitary vacuum. Have as many people as possible participate in scoring. Use individuals who need to be introduced to the prospect, as well as friends with linkage who can provide accurate answers to the proposed questions.
#7 AWARENESS EVENTS
An awareness event is a uniquely creative breakfast or lunch moment that highlights a nonprofit’s mission and compelling case for support. The purpose of an awareness event is two-fold. First, it creatively invites the “RIGHT PROSPECTS” to learn about your mission. Second, it encourages your “EXISTING SUPPORTERS” to participate at a higher level. Quite often, an awareness event will be the first time a community leaders, foundation executives, corporate heads, or individuals of gravity, wealth, and influence experience your important mission. Awareness events are not fundraising events. This fact is made very clear in the invitation, which removes an obstacle that would prevent a prospect from meeting you for the first time. Finally, when an awareness event is executed properly the “right” new friends take a step into your nonprofit universe. In truth, awareness events are a first point of contact of which there will be many more within an Individual Plan of Care (IPOC). IPOCs must be created to properly steward a prospect through the process of becoming your “Champion.”
#8 PROSPECT CULTIVATION
Correctly executed cultivation schemes require the creation of Individual Plans of Care (IPOC) consisting of Multiple Points of Contact (MPOC). IPOCs are a task map created by the development officer that intentionally moves a person through the cultivation process and into greater friendship with you and your agency. When creating an individual plan of care, it is first necessary to determine your first objective. How do you see the prospect first participating with your organization in a meaningful way? Financial investment is not always the right first step. Consider the following list of possible objectives:
Once your objective has been determined, create the Individual Plan of Care (IPOC) by forecasting Multiple Points of Contact with the prospect.
This plan should strategically state each step you are going to take to invite them to participate in a way that considers their needs first. There are a variety of venues, vehicles, and methods that can be employed as touch points (consider the previously mentioned “awareness event” as point of contact) when writing a prospect’s individual plan of care.
Here just a few examples of multiple points of contact:
#9 SIGNATURE “ASK” EVENTS
The Signature “Ask” Event can be used if a newer organization requires another opportunity to cultivate major donor prospects or needs to raise smaller amounts of money in the short term. The Signature “Ask” event provides first time major donor prospects the opportunity to make their first “token” gift in advance of their participation in feasibility study. Broadly, when hosting an ask event there are three keys to success. Here they are:
Table Hosts – Table hosts are the key to attendance. If you don’t have anyone there…you’ve failed. If you don’t have the right table hosts then you have the wrong people there and you’ve still failed.
Event Program – If you have good attendance but fail to “Take Them to the Mountain-top” then all you’ve done is irritate friends by wasting their evening. Better to not have anyone show up then present yourself poorly.
Appeal – If you have good attendance, and your event program has taken the group “To the Mountain Top”, your appeal then must be handled with both clarity and inspiration. The “ask” must be specific and concerted. Never apologize for boldly inviting a person to financially invest in a cause that is greater than them. If the “ask” is not executed correctly you’ve lost a tremendous opportunity to raise revenue.
Finally, examine what strategic elements have been put in place to ensure that prospective, active, lapsed, inactive, and major donors, are being cultivated with an Individual Plan of Care? In other words, how does the banquet event function as a point of contact in the relationship building process?
#10 CAMPAIGN LEADERSHIP
After you’ve done everything you’re supposed to do…success or failure depends entirely upon your Campaign Leadership.
This group of “Champions” emerges from the cultivation process outlined thus far. This amazing collection of volunteers are responsible (with your support) to invite their peers to join the campaign and match their personal financial investment. Campaign Leadership’s confidence is dramatically increased when they are included in the following decision-making processes.
- How the project is going to be introduced into the community.
- How many gifts and what specific dollar amounts have to be raised.
- Who is going to be asked and for how much?
- Who is going to do the asking?
- What is the time line to reach goal?
Here’s a just a few sample resources from which your campaign leadership may emerge:
#11 CAMPAIGN INTERVIEWS
In our current development culture, the campaign interview functions not only as the process
by which we gather information to determine project viability but as a vital component of the actual solicitation process as well. When campaign interviews are performed following MAJOR GIFTS RAMP-UP the combined process contributes to both the identification of new gifts and their solicitation.
Specifically, when an interview is conducted with a properly cultivated prospect, information is gathered that will help make important major decisions relative to campaign. Embarking upon a campaign is but one choice. Financial goals, timing, volunteer leadership, identification of pacesetting commitments and perceptions of key potential donors that will determine their level of participation cannot be left to “hit or miss” attempts. Since the monetary goal could be significantly larger than any previous fundraising efforts, the interview process is imperative to gather facts and opinions regarding strategy as well as to set the stage for success. One of the most crucial elements of success in campaign will be the identification and solicitation of top gifts. Experience suggests that the top gift will be in the range of 20% of the goal. The top ten commitments, including the first one, will be as much as 50% to 60% of the goal or success is in jeopardy. Another 30 gifts will usually equal as much as 30%. The ability to mobilize volunteer solicitors will determine how broadly the campaign will reach into the constituency for other, more modest gifts. A quality interview process will reveal how persons most likely to give pacesetting investments will respond to the program.
- Begins the cultivation process
- Pre-determines/confirms campaign financial goal
- Identifies leadership prospects to serve as volunteers
- Identifies lead gifts
- Indicates agency’s market position in community
- Assesses the potency of case
- Determines campaign schedule
- Identifies objections and helps formulate responses
The Elements of the Campaign Interview Process Include:
- Campaign Interview Task Map Creation
- Orientation & Internal Information Gathering
- Survey Questionnaire Development
- Collateral Document Development
- Identification of Potential Donor Prospects
- Campaign Interviews via PERSONAL VISITS, FOCUS GROUPS, & TARGETED MAIL
- Data Compilation & Information Analysis
- Presentation of Cultivation Report & Recommendations
#12 THREE-PART ASK
Systematic peer-to-peer solicitations are most effective when the organization goes through the intentional process of training their strongest volunteers, in how to make the “three- part ask”. The success of peer-to-peer fundraising is based on friends asking friends to join the campaign. Though it may be necessary to use staff, administration, or board members to make the solicitation the ideal presentation should include a volunteer (already in relationship) who can look their friend in the eye and invite them to give the big gift.
Campaign visitors are recruited and join the Campaign Cabinet to perform solicitations.
Campaign visitors are equipped with very specific collateral documents that keep a visitor on message and provide them the confidence they need to make the “ask.” These documents generally include:
- Detailed Proposal
- Gift Commitment Agreement
- Case for Support Document
#13 CAMPAIGN SUCCESS
How do we measure campaign success?
- Over Fundraising Goal
- Campaign Completed On Schedule
- Campaign Costs Cam Under Budget
- Community Pride In Achievement
- Volunteers Who Are Happy They Participated
- Donors Who Are Grateful They Invested
Upon the successful completion of the campaign it’s time to bring the campaign cabinet, committee members, visitors, donors, grantors and other “organizational stakeholders” together to celebrate the group’s spectacular achievement. Make sure to host a brief program where individuals instrumental to the campaign’s success are acknowledged.
Don’t neglect the importance of celebrating. The success of a recent campaign was celebrated by Co-Chairpersons hosting a reception for the volunteers and the donors, with heavy hors d’oeuvres, exotic desserts, white and dark chocolate fountains, wine and a Dixieland Jazz Band, to express their gratitude for the extraordinary effort and accomplishments they had done together.
Remember your still in the relationship cycle. Make sure you assess what the next right step is to keep this group together for future fundraising advancement service.
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Major Gifts Ramp-Up Model Raises Millions For Nonprofits was first posted at MGRU News