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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.

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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

 

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We are in the spirit of celebrating Canada150, we’re offering a special discount on Fundraising Day registrations: the “Canada Celebrates” rate. Use the promo code CANADA150 and save up to 17% on your registrations. Hurry – this offer will disappear on Friday, May 26! Register now!

In preparation for Fundraising Day 2017, AFP Greater Toronto Chapter sat down with Jennifer Di Santo, Associate Director, Marketing & Communications at Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation and an incredible member of the Fundraising Day 2017 Management Team to get the latest on what we can look forward to on June 8th!

 

AFP GTA: The countdown to Fundraising Day is on! What are you most excited about?

Well, all of it! But if I have to get specific, there are a few sessions that come to mind. I’m looking forward to some of the ones around diversity and inclusion. It’s such a hot topic right now and given what’s going on in the world today it can’t be ignored. As a marketer, I’m very excited about the SickKids session – not only because it’s a great campaign (as I’m reminded every day I travel to the office!), but also because somehow they managed to get so many stakeholders to rally behind a single idea – one that was so radically different from anything they’d ever done before. I hope they let us in on their secret! And, I can’t wait for the design thinking session. To me, that session, in particular, embodies this year’s theme and will help us think differently about how we approach fundraising.


AFP GTA: This year’s theme centralizes around big ideas. What’s your philosophy around ideas?

Given that I’m a marketer with a radio and TV production background, and who dabbles in photography, the creative process is one of my favourite things. It’s precious. Ideas come from anywhere and everywhere, and they morph and change. What you started out with might not be what you end up with because you gain new insights as you move through the idea process. I saw Canadian musician David Usher speak at a marketing conference a few years ago, and he used this analogy about how different ideas collide to create brand new ones. It’s so true. And it’s amazing when the collision happens.


AFP GTA: What would someone in a marketing and communications role be able to take away from Fundraising Day?

Our management committee has put together an amazing educational program for this year’s Fundraising Day. Aside from some of the more obvious marketing sessions around the SickKids campaign and events, I truly feel that a marketer can learn so much from this year’s sessions. My marketing philosophy – and it goes back to my philosophy around ideas – is that you can gain insight and inspiration from things that aren’t always directly related to what you’re doing. This year’s sessions will help any marketer get a finger on the pulse of what’s going on in this ever-growing and ever-changing philanthropic sector, and that context will only help them build better marketing strategies that are relevant in today’s world.


AFP GTA: What advice do you have for anyone attending this year’s Fundraising Day?

Keep an open mind. Choose sessions that might not be directly tied to what you do every day. Again, ideas come from everywhere. If you hear something that seems kind of interesting, or some neat soundbite, jot it down. Sometimes the “eureka” moment we’re looking for isn’t so obvious, but I promise that ideas twice removed (or even farther removed than that!) can still find a home in the work you do. One more thing. Clearly, it’s impossible to attend all sessions, but not to worry – we’ll be keeping tabs on the best ideas of the day! See you there!

 

Jennifer Di Santo
Associate Director, Marketing & Communications
Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation

Jennifer Di Santo is an award-winning marketing and communications professional focused on building brand awareness, changing behaviour and getting people to transact. For nearly a decade, she has built and executed integrated programs for a range of organizations in both the private and public sectors, including financial services, education, public transit, healthcare and the arts.

At Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation, University Health Network, Jennifer works with major gifts, annual giving and stewardship teams to engage donors, prospects and the general public through what she calls “strategic storytelling” to drive fundraising efforts.

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In preparation for Fundraising Day 2017, AFP Greater Toronto Chapter sat down with Maeve Strathy, Fundraising Strategist at Blakely Inc. and an incredible member of the Fundraising Day 2017 Management Team to get the latest on what we can look forward to on June 8th! Special thanks to Blakely Inc. for hosting this year’s Pre-Fundraising Day networking event held on May 11, 2017- this exclusive invitation can be unlocked by registering for Fundraising Day – REGISTER TODAY!

 

AFP GTA: Fundraising Day 2017 is only a few weeks away! What are you looking forward to most on the big day?

Maeve: I am most excited for “The Application of #DonorLove” panel discussion, featuring Jacqueline Bell, Brady Hambleton, John Lepp, and Kesheyl van Schilt, moderated by Claire Kerr.

This is a topic I’m passionate about – loving your donors is critical but do some donors not want to be loved? And when we have to raise money to keep the lights on, is it wrong to use response-driven tactics vs. donor- love ones?

These are the right people to lead the discussion, and I can’t wait to absorb as much information as I can.

 

AFP GTA: Tell us about the planning process for the program. What are some of the key considerations the Management Committee had in mind when piecing together the sessions?

Maeve: The planning process for Fundraising Day was all about what delegates want and need to know. What kind of sessions have they responded to before, and how can we deliver more of that great content (without repeating ourselves)? And what about what’s happening in the marketplace? How can we get ahead of trends and make sure fundraisers are informed and ready to take on the next challenges – and opportunities – that are around the corner.

We also wanted to make sure all fundraisers were represented, whether you’re in major gifts, annual, events, legacy, marketing and communications, small shop, big organization… the list goes on! After all the work, we’re confident there will be something valuable for everyone.

 

AFP GTA: Thinking of this year’s theme, “Every Idea is a Universe” – tell us about the last time you had a “EUREKA!” moment.

Maeve: In our agency, my role is responsible for briefing the creative team when they’re developing creative for a client’s fundraising campaign – whether it’s direct mail, DRTV, a digital campaign, or all of the above. I have to come to them with the fundraising insights and what we’re aiming to motivate the donor to do, and give them what they need to develop art and copy that will inspire the donor and achieve the results we’re aiming for. For a while, the briefing process felt like spoon-feeding – can’t I just brain dump on the creative team and they’ll go away and know what to do? After getting creative that didn’t meet my expectations a few times, I had a “EUREKA!” moment. Sure, the brief can be time-consuming and take a lot of thought, but the better I brief, the more likely I am to get what I want, what the client wants, and – at the end of the day – what the donor wants. It seems a simple experience, but it’s been a game changer.

 

AFP GTA: Finally, if you were to give a Fundraising Day participant one piece of advice on how to maximize their experience there, what would it be?

Maeve: Don’t get overwhelmed by all the awesome ideas and strategies you hear about and don’t get discouraged trying to imagine implementing them at your organization. Focus on leaving the day with 1-3 (maximum!) ideas you can start to work at implementing. It’s about quality over quantity!

Maeve Strathy
Fundraising Strategist
Blakely Inc.

Maeve Strathy is a passionate fundraising professional, focused on inspiring donors to make an impact on the causes they love through philanthropy. Maeve works at Blakely Inc. as a Fundraising Strategist where she provides and executes on strategy for integrated direct response campaigns.

In her spare time, she likes to work out, watch TV and movies, read, cook, and write for her fundraising and philanthropy-focused blog, whatgivesphilanthropy.com.

Follow Maeve on Twitter @fundraisermaeve and Blakey Inc. @BlakelyJourney