Over the last few weeks on our internet radio show, Making Good Work, we have spoken with two dynamic people working in philanthropy. Barbara Brown is on the non-profit, fundraising side while Laura Malone works from the donor and donor advisor side of the equation. They each gave us great insight into the New Paradigm in Giving and how we can be more effective in the modern age of philanthropy.
Laura Malone, of the American Endowment Foundation pointed out that major philanthropists of today are looking to make an “investment”. They are looking closely at non-profits in the same way that they evaluate and select a venture capital investment. They have a network of trusted advisors that help them structure their philanthropic portfolio to leverage dollars and benefits to the maximum advantage for all involved.
So, she advises that non-profits make sure that their structure is sound so that they can make a compelling case for support. Her practical advice is that non-profits of all missions and all sizes reach out and engage the trusted advisors in a more meaningful way. She also spoke about the non-profit being a sincere “giver” to the donor, without expectation of anything in return. She knows from personal experience how this generates meaningful contributions for many organizations at once.
Barbara Brown described how to build a network of supporters – even when you are a small non-profit that is just starting out. By systematically talking with people about the mission and asking for referrals, she was able to gain introduction to those whose values match the mission and are dedicated to making it a reality. In the beginning, she knew only a handful of people that were interested in the project. Nevertheless, she passionately implemented a disciplined two-year program that led her to build a database of over 1600 “raving fans”.
These two people show us the imperative of doing things differently. Even if your organization is not ready to launch a major gifts program or cultivate planned giving, you can still work in the most effective areas of annual fundraising – face-to-face conversations. These are the exact skills you will use in gaining the gifts that are 20x-25x larger than the annual gifts when you are ready to venture into planned giving.
Efficiency is doing the job right. Effectiveness is doing the right job. – Rick Gettle
Review the list – are you doing the right job to accomplish the goal of more revenue?
So, the first step for even small organizations is to concentrate on raising more annual funds in less time and with less effort. In other words, be more productive and build more solid relationships that will lead to more substantial gifts. Educate yourselves about people (in general and individually) and learn about all the different ways philanthropy can meet their needs.
It is a simple plan, but it is not easy. It takes an individual commitment to improve personal performance as well as a willingness to talk with people in private conversations. It takes energy to leave the office and press the flesh and ask for referrals. It takes courage to risk doing something that you have never done before – courage to persuade your boss and your board that it makes sense . . .
Action List to improve performance and increase revenue:
- Define exactly what you want – write out your specific goals every day and link your schedule to those goals
- Educate yourself every week on something new to help reach those goals
- Surround yourself with like-minded people that can give you fresh ideas and inspiration toward achieving your goals.
- Re-design your strategy and priorities to include more one-to-one conversations
- Review your donor lists and begin learning MORE about each individual
- Reach out to estate attorneys, financial professionals, CPAs and life insurance professionals.
5. Find an accountability partner to help you and whom you can help
Laura Miller has a Mastermind program that will help you accomplish this Action List.
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-915-4324.