Involvement Yields Insight and Money
This week, I visited a former client. We facilitated a strategic planning process for this school, and I was so impressed with their leadership and everyone they engaged.
As a strategic planning practitioner, I love the process and the outcomes, but I am saddened when a well-conceived plan just sits on the shelf. From a fundraising perspective, a strategic planning process that engages key constituencies and great minds is a wonderful cultivation opportunity, and the resulting plan should give confidence to donors who might invest in making the plans a reality.
After a planning process, we discuss implementing the plan and provide a roadmap to communicate the plan. This includes personal visits with key donors and potential donors.
This client fully embraced the planning process and has made incredible progress in implementation. One outcome of the planning process was a new campus master plan. The head of school has joyfully visited with key donors and prospective donors, sharing the strategic plan and showing the new campus master plan.
On one of the early visits, a donor asked how much the first building in their master plan would cost. The result: A seven-figure gift to fully fund the new building. There was no “ask” in this visit or others. However, several donors have come forward based on these cultivation visits to express interest.
Engage your best friends in planning, then share with them the vision they have helped to create. Ask for advice and listen. You know you have done well when donors ask how they can help bring your vision to a reality and increase your mission impact!
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.