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Boards tend to prefer overseeing fundraising to raising funds themselves. One of the biggest challenges fundraising executives face is getting board members to help raise money. What’s missing is a specific role in a well-defined process that integrates board members comfortably into the fundraising team.

That role is one that Malcolm Gladwell, author of the best-seller The Tipping Point, terms the connector.

The Connector Role

This is a more narrowly defined, less time-intensive, but more valuable approach to volunteer involvement in fundraising than trying to get board members to solicit gifts.  It is one with great appeal to those who don’t want to attend a lot of meetings or be involved in asking for money. Connectors work in partnership with staff in a process-based major gifts model.

Staff members rarely run in the same social or business circles as wealthy potential donors, but the members of a strong board do. Such board members can connect the development staff with high-potential prospects.

Making this powerful approach work depends on assigning roles as Connectors, Mavens and Closers loosely based on roles identified by Gladwell in his book. The responsibilities of each team member are aligned with the strengths of each in the team-based fundraising effort.

Connectors identify prospects and make introductions that bring potential prospects into the process.

Mavens are the experts who offer credentials and provide knowledge that builds prospect confidence in the organization and credibility for the case.

Closers are responsible for the culmination. Often the Closer role is filled by development professionals, but volunteers who are oriented to asking for gifts can play a role, too, if they wish.

This completes the five-part Steve Reed’s series on Fundraising Performance Improvement. Want to read more? Check out:

Part 1: An Introduction to Fundraising Performance Improvement (FPI)
Part 2: Six Imperatives in Applying Lean Six Sigma Principles to Fundraising (FPI)
Part 3: Breakthrough Cases in Fundraising Performance Improvement (FPI)
Part 4: The Power of Process in Fundraising Performance Improvement (FPI)

Steve Reed lead the session R-04: Hope is Not a Strategy: New Approaches to Fundraising Based on Performance Improvement Principles at AFP Toronto’s Fundraising Day on June 8. He unpacked FPI based on blend of learnings from five organizations, including two in Canada, with fundraising staffs ranging from one FTE to nearly 50.

About Steve Reed

Steve Reed offers 30 years of experience in business development, executive search, fundraising, marketing, performance improvement and strategic planning. His work creating innovation and ideation processes, coupled with 20 years of experience as a fundraising consultant, led to a pioneering application of six sigma and lean principles in fundraising. Reed has planned and directed well over $100 million in campaigns. He has completed executive search assignments, moderated hundreds of consumer focus groups and facilitated numerous board and staff retreats and workshops. His professional memberships reflect a diversity of interests. He holds accreditation from the Public Relations Society of America, is a member of the Counselors Academy, the Healthcare Financial Management Association, the Association of Fundraising Professionals and its Chicago Chapter, the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development, and the American Marketing Association. Follow Steve Reed on LinkedIn.

Posted by & filed under Fundraising Day.

Fundraising Performance Improvement (FPI) builds capacity by leveraging the work of fundraising staff, board members and volunteers in a new approach to major gifts that enables exponential increases in fundraising performance.

Making solicitation a process

The process combines the principles of fundraising relationship management with Lean Six Sigma thinking. It embeds relationship building strategies from initial contact through progressive stages. It is designed for a team-based environment and provides an easily implemented, step-by-step process through which the work of the development team is channeled and accelerated.

It is part of a circular, larger end-to-end development process that includes pipeline development and stewardship. It is named the “Core Process” because it is at the heart or core of the organization’s fundraising effort—responsible for 80 percent or more of the total amount raised annually, if deployed correctly.

Stage-Gates in the Core Process

A key element is the application of stage-gate theory from the world of commercial product development. Stage gates in product development are a way of limiting investment risk by focusing on a progressively smaller number of the most promising new products as they move through development stages.

Each of the four fundraising stage gates is a permission-based, opt-in process. While the formal solicitation occurs in the fourth stage, the intent of the process is to make solicitation a process, not a single event.

Check out the AFP Toronto Blog next Wednesday for Part 5 of Steve Reed’s series on Fundraising Performance Improvement.

Next: The Role of Boards in Fundraising Performance Improvement (FPI)

Previous: Breakthrough Cases in Fundraising Performance Improvement (FPI)

Steve Reed lead the session R-04: Hope is Not a Strategy: New Approaches to Fundraising Based on Performance Improvement Principles at AFP Toronto’s Fundraising Day on June 8. He unpacked FPI based on blend of learnings from five organizations, including two in Canada, with fundraising staffs ranging from one FTE to nearly 50.

About Steve Reed

Steve Reed offers 30 years of experience in business development, executive search, fundraising, marketing, performance improvement and strategic planning. His work creating innovation and ideation processes, coupled with 20 years of experience as a fundraising consultant, led to a pioneering application of six sigma and lean principles in fundraising. Reed has planned and directed well over $100 million in campaigns. He has completed executive search assignments, moderated hundreds of consumer focus groups and facilitated numerous board and staff retreats and workshops. His professional memberships reflect a diversity of interests. He holds accreditation from the Public Relations Society of America, is a member of the Counselors Academy, the Healthcare Financial Management Association, the Association of Fundraising Professionals and its Chicago Chapter, the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development, and the American Marketing Association. Follow Steve Reed on LinkedIn.

Posted by & filed under Fundraising Day.

Just focusing a process improvement effort on major gifts will result in a significant increase—if done right. But sustained performance improvement that doubles or triples the amount raised annually does require a focus on all of The Four C’s that are the pillars of high-performance fundraising.

Capacity: A process-based, metric-measured structure and operations that multiply the effectiveness of the people involved.

Case: A compelling, attention-getting, donor-centric reason to give that is oriented to today’s investor philanthropists;

Constituency: An effective structure that brings the right composition of board members, campaign volunteers and institutional and community partners to the fundraising process; and,

Culture: A performance-oriented organizational culture for philanthropy that embraces process, measures and metrics, while recognizing the opportunities.

Creating a Breakthrough Case

A fundraising case for support based on the ongoing good works of the organization is sufficient for annual fund solicitations and special events, but will not inspire the excitement necessary to attract sizeable major gifts. The same is true at a different level in the case of the typical capital campaign, which will attract major gifts, but only from the beneficiary’s own constituency.
A breakthrough case for support is one that dramatically differentiates the beneficiary institution in the marketplace in a way that makes achievement of significant performance improvement targets possible by attracting new donors at major gift levels.

The best way to get a major gift case developed is as part of a process that includes input from the potential large donors. The beauty of such an approach is that for the same nickel, it provides support to the case development process while developing relationships with potential donors. It recognizes that donors give for their reasons, not ours.

Check out the AFP Toronto Blog next Wednesday for Part 4 of Steve Reed’s series on Fundraising Performance Improvement.

Next: The Power of Process in Fundraising Performance Improvement (FPI)

Previous: Six Imperatives in Applying Lean Six Sigma Principles to Fundraising (FPI)

Steve Reed lead the session R-04: Hope is Not a Strategy: New Approaches to Fundraising Based on Performance Improvement Principles at AFP Toronto’s Fundraising Day on June 8. He unpacked FPI based on blend of learnings from five organizations, including two in Canada, with fundraising staffs ranging from one FTE to nearly 50.

About Steve Reed

Steve Reed offers 30 years of experience in business development, executive search, fundraising, marketing, performance improvement and strategic planning. His work creating innovation and ideation processes, coupled with 20 years of experience as a fundraising consultant, led to a pioneering application of six sigma and lean principles in fundraising. Reed has planned and directed well over $100 million in campaigns. He has completed executive search assignments, moderated hundreds of consumer focus groups and facilitated numerous board and staff retreats and workshops. His professional memberships reflect a diversity of interests. He holds accreditation from the Public Relations Society of America, is a member of the Counselors Academy, the Healthcare Financial Management Association, the Association of Fundraising Professionals and its Chicago Chapter, the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development, and the American Marketing Association. Follow Steve Reed on LinkedIn.

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Both art and science are needed to elevate fundraising performance. Applied together, the art and science of fundraising will help you forge stronger donor relationships.

The following are six imperatives in applying Lean Six Sigma principles for more effective fundraising.

  1. Focus on high-return activities

Focus on the mix of fundraising strategies that will significantly increase your ROI. A mark of a high-performing operation is a revenue mix of about 80% of total dollars coming from major gifts.

  1. Eliminate out-of-bounds process variance

Create a baseline development process and ingrain it in your culture. If you have a dozen gift officers—or if you are the only one—you will have one consistent way your organization goes about acquiring major gifts. You can then continuously improve that one way.

  1. Set key critical-to-quality process measures

Set key critical-to-quality process measures, with emphasis on cycle time. Establish a system for alerting you when a particular measure isn’t being met.

  1. Create abundant flow into the process

Use board members or volunteers as connectors because staff generally doesn’t move in circles where potential major gift donors are found. But don’t ask connectors to solicit gifts.

  1. Use high-cost, scarce resources to do only high-value work

Good development officers are truly a scarce resource. They should focus on cultivating prospects, not on making database entries or other routine tasks.

  1. Measure early, measure often

Use measures that help you see at key points whether you are on track for a positive outcome. Not only will you get what you measure, you will build a reliable forecasting system.

Next: Creating a Breakthrough Case for Support.

Previous: An Introduction to Fundraising Performance Improvement (FPI)

Check out the AFP Toronto Blog next Wednesday for Part 3 of Steve Reed’s series on Fundraising Performance Improvement.

Steve Reed lead the session R-04: Hope is Not a Strategy: New Approaches to Fundraising Based on Performance Improvement Principles at AFP Toronto’s Fundraising Day on June 8. He unpacked FPI based on blend of learnings from five organizations, including two in Canada, with fundraising staffs ranging from one FTE to nearly 50.

About Steve Reed

Steve Reed offers 30 years of experience in business development, executive search, fundraising, marketing, performance improvement and strategic planning. His work creating innovation and ideation processes, coupled with 20 years of experience as a fundraising consultant, led to a pioneering application of six sigma and lean principles in fundraising. Reed has planned and directed well over $100 million in campaigns. He has completed executive search assignments, moderated hundreds of consumer focus groups and facilitated numerous board and staff retreats and workshops. His professional memberships reflect a diversity of interests. He holds accreditation from the Public Relations Society of America, is a member of the Counselors Academy, the Healthcare Financial Management Association, the Association of Fundraising Professionals and its Chicago Chapter, the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development, and the American Marketing Association. Follow Steve Reed on LinkedIn.

Posted by & filed under Fundraising Day.

Steve Reed lead the session R-04: Hope is Not a Strategy: New Approaches to Fundraising Based on Performance Improvement Principles at AFP Toronto’s Fundraising Day on June 8. He unpacked FPI based on blend of learnings from five organizations, including two in Canada, with fundraising staffs ranging from one FTE to nearly 50. Follow Steve Reed on LinkedIn.

The art of fundraising embodies authentic, purposeful human interactions that build relationships and engender philanthropy. The science of fundraising uses knowledge acquired through disciplined empirical investigations in other settings and codified in systems such as Toyota’s Lean Manufacturing System and GE’s Six Sigma to create more productive processes.

Process engineering for work flow redesign, application of technology-supported measures, cycle-time metrics, and continuous improvement, are as relevant to raising money as to improving overall organizational performance.

Six Sigma is a disciplined, data-driven approach to eliminate defects in any process.

A Lean organization strives to cut waste and increase value for customers by creating an efficient flow and reduced cycle times.

When combined, Lean Six Sigma reduces waste and makes the best use of staff and volunteer resources through a powerful data-driven system.

The beauty of performance improvement is that, done right, it focuses simultaneously on top-line performance and bottom-line efficiency.  A well-planned performance improvement initiative will address opportunities in all aspects of the fundraising operation.

Applied together, the art and science of fundraising will help you forge stronger donor relationships. FPI ultimately is all about relationships.

Next: Six imperatives in applying Lean Six Sigma principles to create more effective fundraising processes.Check out the AFP Toronto Blog next Wednesday for Part 2 of Steve Reed’s series.

About Steve Reed

Steve Reed offers 30 years of experience in business development, executive search, fundraising, marketing, performance improvement and strategic planning. His work creating innovation and ideation processes, coupled with 20 years of experience as a fundraising consultant, led to a pioneering application of six sigma and lean principles in fundraising. Reed has planned and directed well over $100 million in campaigns. He has completed executive search assignments, moderated hundreds of consumer focus groups and facilitated numerous board and staff retreats and workshops. His professional memberships reflect a diversity of interests. He holds accreditation from the Public Relations Society of America, is a member of the Counselors Academy, the Healthcare Financial Management Association, the Association of Fundraising Professionals and its Chicago Chapter, the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development, and the American Marketing Association.

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Here’s a Fundraising Day sneak peek from one of our speakers and special guest bloggers, Juniper Locilento, CFRE. Locilento is leading the session Y-07: Start from Where You’re At: a Practical Guide to Strengthening Your Culture of Philanthropy at #FD17Ideas on June 8th – register today! Follow Juniper on Twitter @JBerri.

You’re likely reading this because your job involves raising money. And perhaps your job involves raising more money this year than last year.

Well, read on if you believe that your organization needs a stronger culture of philanthropy in order to make that happen. While this is obviously not a new topic, it’s one that remains top of mind for many fundraisers because while we understand this inherently, we often struggle to move the needle in our organizations.

I believe the key word in culture of philanthropy is culture and I have been thinking about how we go about making cultural change in our organizations in order to support philanthropic growth. In other words, change management applied to how our organizations value philanthropy and where it sits in relation to other priorities.

It’s a myth that change initiatives lead to change, because somewhere between 50% and 70% of change initiatives fail. New practises are actually the consequences of the change, not the change itself. So we have to go deeper.

 

Finding the Root of the Issue

You can’t solve a problem without addressing the thinking that produced that problem in the first place, so you need to start by understanding where those cultural norms about fundraising and philanthropy came from. You need to dig up the dandelion root and really examine it, not just snap off the head.

This ties to values – what our organizations stand for and the opportunities we create for donors to make change in the world through our work. As the legendary Kay Sprinkel Grace says: “All philanthropy is based in values. Development of relationships is the process of uncovering shared values. Fundraising offers people opportunities to act on their values.” So, what does your organization value? What do your donors value? Finding the root issues and enhancing the synergy between values are keys to better fundraising results.

 

Why Now?

Once you’ve dug in to identify what got your organization to where it is today, you need to identify the “burning platform”. As humans, we resist change even when we understand the consequences, so we need to be razor sharp on this. Why do things need to change now? What will happen if things don’t change?

 

The Destination Postcard

It’s also really important to identify vision or the destination, and here’s where those books and articles can help: they paint a picture of what a thriving culture of philanthropy might look like, from strong Board giving to fundraising being a strategic priority within the organization to donors being treated with love and respect.

 

A Roadmap

Do you want to improve what you are currently doing (developmental change)? Are you trying to replace the status quo with a new and clearly defined destination (transitional change)? Or is transformational change needed – a future state so different that you don’t even know what it looks like when you start? Once you understand the root of the issue, have identified the reasons that things need to change and have articulated a future vision, you can start to build a roadmap for how you might get there. (Hint: it’s possible, but it will take longer than you think. And there will be hand-wringing).

 

The Bottom Line

Culture can only be changed by the people in it – as liaisons between our organization and our donors, fundraisers have an important opportunity to be catalysts for that change.

 

AFP Fundraising Day Session Description:

Fear of fundraising remains pervasive outside of our profession – which can make our jobs a lot more challenging. But as fundraisers, we know that the relationship between a strong culture of philanthropy and successful fundraising is a given. So how can we close the gap? Using cases that span organizational size and sector, we’ll explore the nature of cultural change and what you can do today to move philanthropy closer to the centre of your organization.

 

 

Juniper Locilento, CFRE
Director of Annual Giving, Operations & Strategy
YMCA of Greater Toronto

Juniper Locilento, CFRE is driven to advance philanthropy as a means to create change. She has worked alongside social profit change makers for more than a dozen years, both as a fundraising practitioner in arts & culture and as a philanthropic consultant with KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.). She is currently Director of Annual Giving, Operations & Strategy at the YMCA of Greater Toronto.

A passionate teacher and learner, Juniper is a student in the Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership program at Carleton University. She also holds a B.A. and a Diploma in Operatic Performance from the University of Toronto and a postgraduate certificate in Arts Administration from Humber College. Juniper studied Organizational Development and Change Management at York University’s Schulich Executive Education Centre. Follow Juniper on Twitter @JBerri