It’s that time of year! Spring has sprung and the summer months are here – and folks are waving their sparkly new engagement rings all over social media. In the spirit of engagement, can we talk about BOARD engagement?
So often, we say how much we want our board members to engage – but then, when they do, maybe it’s not exactly the kind of engagement we had in mind. Why is that?
Let me hazard a couple of guesses. Either a) Executive Directors and Board Chairs hurriedly create board agendas in a vacuum with minimal input from leadership staff…or maybe b) committees begin work either without a clear purpose and fully defined meaningful work OR with a purpose defined by the committee, not the staff.
Sit and think about that for a moment, would you? We are letting, indeed, asking our board members – who do NOT work at our nonprofit or in our professional space – to be experts in our nonprofits and in our professional space. Kind of makes you scratch your head, doesn’t it?
Why does this incongruity occur? I think it’s because nonprofit staff – including senior leadership – often feel uncomfortable being tell-directed with board members. Maybe we want to be grateful and respectful – both good things. But in truth what we’re doing is creating a knowledge gap – and our board members, most of whom love us and would do just about anything for us, fill that gap with their best inclinations for what might be helpful. See the rub?
As nonprofit leaders, it’s our job to set a clear purpose for the board and its committees. It’s our job to give the board and its committees meaningful work. Just “reporting out” and then asking them to weigh in is not enough. We as staff must sit together and ask ourselves, “What do we really need our board members – each board member – to do for us? What tasks will be helpful for moving the organization forward while providing a meaningful experience for our board members?” It’s tough but scintillating work!
To be mutually successful, we must define that work clearly, specifying staff/board roles and responsibilities – when everyone knows what her job is, the work gets done, feelings are spared, board and staff are satisfied and fulfilled, and the nonprofit grows in power around its mission. Doesn’t that sound great? Let me tell you from someone who’s tried it – it is!
Want to learn more about how to create meaningful work for your board members? Contact Let’s Build Hope – we want to hear from you: (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com. #LBH #LetsBuildHope #GlimmersOfHope #MeaningfulWork #ChangeTheCulture #BoardStaffTeamwork!
Linda B. Haley, President & CEO
Ever heard a less than fabulous fundraising idea from a board member? Or your Boss? We all have. I’ve spent years of my fundraising life gently batting down bad fundraising ideas from extremely well-intentioned volunteers and staff.
I’ve also worked with scores of inexperienced fundraisers, who, not understanding the need to say “no” to poorly conceived fundraising suggestions, politely said, “Yes! I’m happy to execute a (fill in the blank here with BAD fundraising event concept)!” Then our dear baby fundraisers experience the agony of development defeat…and that failure falls squarely at their feet. Ugh!
To know that a fundraising concept is poor and to have the ability to say “no” to the person who has said a bad idea is pivotal to excellence in fundraising. When we allow volunteers – who have no fundraising training and no financial skin in the game – to create and insist we execute those ideas, we invite disaster, both for ourselves and for the nonprofits we love so much.
Want to escape the dreaded bad fundraising idea? That might include trivia night, wine tasting, rock concert, corporate “get the votes” grant, dining out for a cause, etc. Use the two “M” concept – Mission and Metrics. This is huge!
First, as fundraisers, we are responsible for funding the mission – the financial health of the nonprofit rests partially or completely with us. If we allow ourselves to be pushed into activities that will have a poor CDR and ROI, we are doing a disservice to the people we serve – both staff and clients. We just can’t.
Share that responsibility with your volunteer and help them understand that as much as we appreciate the creativity, we are beholden to our mission and to our rigorous annual plan and its associated metrics. Then and only then can a volunteer see clearly why the activity – fun as it might be – won’t work for our nonprofits…or for us.
As always, be clear and kind and grateful that volunteers care enough to share their ideas and their passion with us. We NEED our beloved volunteers…just not their bad ideas.
Need help delivering the “elegant no”? Contact Let’s Build Hope – we want to hear from you: (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #GlimmersOfHope #ElegantNo #KnowAndNo #YouCanDoThis!
What’s the biggest fundraising tool that most nonprofits ignore?
Your financial statements. That’s right— your Balance Sheet can help you raise money for your mission! 🤯
To learn how, join Let's Build Hope's Sarah Melinger, Vice President of Impact Services, and Tosha Anderson, CPA, Founder & CEO of @thecharitycfo, for a very special LIVE webinar on March 9th. Register here: https://thecharitycfo.com/fundraising-with-financials-webinar-03-2022/
They’ll show you the critical numbers that large donors, grant makers, federated funders, and charity watchdogs want to see when they look at your financial reports. Once you know what they’re looking for, you can leverage your existing financial data to bring in bigger donations and grants.
If you’re looking for creative ways to boost your fundraising power, don’t miss it!
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #TheCharityCFO #FundraisingWithYourFinancials
Sarah Melinger, Vice President – Impact Services
Ah…the first pages of a new book…so much anticipation…what might happen? What might I learn? All these feelings and more are what makes a reader want to dive in and find out how it all plays out in the end. If we jump to the last page without reading the entire book, what might we miss? We lose a lot of the context, and most importantly, we lose the small moments in between the beginning and the outcome that make it so special. Sure, you get to know what happened, but did you feel connected to the characters?
Asking a donor for gift is a lot like reading a book…you should embrace and savor all the small moments between that first meeting and the moment you invite the donor to support your organization. You don’t want to turn to the last page too quickly…you will miss the small details that they share with you about their families, their pets, their vacations…their passions. This is where true relationships are built, and this is where a great fundraiser gets the opportunity to help donors truly practice their philanthropy.
In the same way you don’t want that great book you are reading to end, you don’t want your relationship with your donor to end. Savor it…don’t rush it. Build a true, sincere relationship. Slow down and relish the small details. In listening and learning, waiting for just the right moment, you’ll develop a keen sense for what your donor wants and how that desire matches with your organization’s needs.
If you take it slow and read your donor – one special page at a time – you will know when the time is right to ask for the gift and together enjoy that satisfying ending!
Have questions about reading the room with your donors? Contact Let’s Build Hope – we want to hear from you: (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #ReadingTheRoom #GetToKnowYourDonors #GlimmersOfHope #Blog
Steffani Lautenschlager, MEd, CFRE, Senior Consultant
The start of the new year brings a chance to refresh our habits, set or reset goals, and start with a clean slate as we enter 2022. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had more years than I can count that I’ve set big audacious personal goals and proclaimed them proudly out loud on December 31, only to have them be forgotten about 12 months later or only accomplished for the first part of the year.
What caused those resolutions to fail year after year? There wasn’t a detailed plan. There were aspirations, even a vision on how it would make an impact 12 months later, and maybe even some thoughts on a few actions that could get us there. Often for me, my resolutions would be to exercise more, eat better, or drink more water. There are actions and intentions clearly stated in these resolutions, but I still lacked a 12-month intentional plan. Ultimately, it would be another New Year’s resolution that wouldn’t be attained (or often even remembered).
In fundraising, we can’t hope that gifts just magically come in to help us grow our income. The funding can’t come in if we don’t have the relationships established, the intentional solicitations and stewardship planned, and a full understanding of what our donors are willing to do to impact our mission.
Annual development plans are essential to not only projecting and budgeting for the income you can raise, but they also supply the detailed road map on how to drive to your goal. Understanding the actions that have to take place to achieve your end results with each special initiative, event, and solicitation will set you up for success. It will instill intentional movement towards your goals, and it will positively influence how your team performs. Even better!? Your donors will know the difference they made and won’t feel like an ATM when you ask them for their support.
Annual development plans include:
Strong annual development plans will use metrics from prior years, while also incorporating the relational data to establish the goals. It will be a plan that you use weekly, if not daily, to create ongoing intentional actions that are constantly moving you forward.
While our company’s name is Let’s Build Hope, it has nothing to do with building hope that we can raise more money for our missions. We know that there are amazing nonprofits in our region and around the world that have specific focuses to change what’s happening in their social service sector. Our vision is that if we help nonprofits learn how to execute fundraising plans, they can grow their income, donor base, and ultimately their impact. We know intentional fundraising works.
Whether your organization runs on a calendar year or fiscal year, this can be your month that you create a plan to reach your fundraising goals. You can be intentional in your efforts and lead your team, Board, and Development Committee members to be intentional with you. The results will be powerful reminders of why you put the work in to create a detailed plan. You, along with your organization, team, and donors will experience the difference. Now, that’s a resolution worth keeping.
Want to discuss your 2022 development plan and goals?
Contact us at (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #IntentionalFundraising #2022Resolutions #AnnualDevelopmentPlans #LetsBuildHope #GlimmersOfHope #Blog
Steffani Lautenschlager, MEd, CFRE, Senior Consultant
In this season of gratitude, it’s good to remember that one size does not fit all when it comes to stewardship. Gary Chapman wrote, “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts,” which describes how each of us have a preferred way that we give and receive love. When your partner or friend speaks your love language you automatically deepen the connection to that person. You pay attention more. You engage more. You give more of yourself. So much of this is also true for our relationship with our donors.
We often talk about how we need to love on our donors, but we don’t always take the time to think about or even ask what their preference is in our approach to stewarding them. It’s important for us to pause and think about how we share our gratitude with donors, especially during this time of thanksgiving. If we approach our stewardship as a one size fits all, we will miss the chance to truly let people understand their full impact on our nonprofits and community.
Chapman identified these 5 love languages:
When thinking about how we steward our donors, we could correlate these 5 love languages to mean:
Relationships that last are complimentary to one another. It’s not one sided. It’s not “all about me.” The ones that consider how the other person receives love have long-lasting and happier relationships. Identify ways that your nonprofit can stand out by sharing your gratitude in the way your donors each separately receive it. Yes, I recognize this takes a lot of time, but it also is important intentional time that will benefit your organization year after year with retention and increased giving.
Practice on your colleagues, by finding out their love language and using it to show appreciation for their commitment to your organization. Then move on to your top give donors and beyond. Let us know what you experience and how it makes you feel. Sharing gratitude in your donor’s love language will grow them closer to your mission and will fill you with joy as well!
Questions on donor stewardship? Contact Let’s Build Hope today:
(314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #GlimmersOfHope #LoveLanguages #DeeperRelationships #ShowAppreciation #Thanksgiving #Gratitude
Beth Jantz, Consultant, GrantsPLUS
We all know that we should love on our individual donors, right? If you are on top of you game, you may even have a moves management process to make sure you are consistently building relationships with your major donors and bringing them closer to your mission.
But even if you have a flawless moves management process for individual donors, you might be leaving your biggest donors out in the cold!
Foundations and corporations are often the largest contributors to our organizations, and yet we tend to neglect them. Often, development officers think that the only time they need to talk to their funders is when they submit the grant, send the tax letter, and submit the final report.
There is a big problem with that kind of thinking: behind every funder, there is a person administering it. In the same way individual donors aren’t ATMs, neither are foundations. Imagine how much more warmly your grant proposal will be received if the program officer reading it knows you and your organization as more than just words on the page.
If you put the time and effort into cultivating a relationship with your institutional funders, you will see their commitment to your organization grow. Grant writing is fundraising, and fundraising is all about relationships!
So, what can you do to build relationships with your funders?
Overwhelmed yet? Don’t be! If you add funders to your moves management process, implementing this process will be a snap. You will be one of the few organizations that does, and you will stand apart from the crowd. A strong relationship with a foundation or corporation can pay dividends for your organization for years to come. Grant makers are often our biggest donors, and it’s about time we started treating them that way!
Want to chat about your grants and foundations strategy? Contact us – we want to hear from you: (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #GlimmersOfHope #DontNeglectYourBiggestDonors #Grants #Foundations
Linda B. Haley, President & CEO
There’s nothing like the end-of-year push to the goal to get your heartrate up, is there? Hopefully, you’re just a few thousand away from reaching the pinnacle – the point at which you can rest – for at least a moment – in the knowledge that you’ve completed your main task as a fundraiser. You. Hit. The. Goal!
If you’re like most successful chief fundraisers, you are competitive…you drive to succeed. You enjoy the thrill of the chase, the rush of the ask, and the satisfaction of hitting the number.
But to be truly successful, we all must learn (and then regularly remember!) that fundraising is NOT a one-person job. It takes the full team – staff, board, and donors – to truly achieve fundraising greatness…to raise the dollars that will make your nonprofit and its mission remain viable year after year.
That’s especially true at year’s end. If you’ve been giving your board and senior staff monthly updates on your progress to goal (tell me you have!?!), then no one will be surprised that pushing over the top at year’s end will be necessary. Those last few dollars are part of the team’s commitment to ensuring that EVERY needed (and budgeted) dollar is raised.
To ensure success, here are a few tips: 1) make sure you build an “over the top” effort into the plan at the beginning of the year so you won’t be scrambling in June or December; 2) do not let desperation slip into your appeal, whether live, written, or digital – invite people to help you reach the solution, not rescue the sinking ship; and 3) pull reports that help you find folks who are about to “lapse” and inspire them to join you once again before the year is over.
End-of-year work can be scary…but exciting, too. Be well prepared. Share the load with the full team. Have solid strategies in place. And drive, drive, drive to get OVER THE TOP!
Need help ensuring you hit the number in the next FY? Contact Let’s Build Hope – we want to hear from you: (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #GlimmersOfHope #OverTheTop #HitTheNumber #YouGotThis!
By Beth Krumm, MEd, Senior Consultant
This month we celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Month, recognizing the contributions that volunteers to our organizations make. They volunteer because they care about our missions, the positive changes our organizations are having on the world. They believe you matter, often showing that by not only giving of their time but of their philanthropy.
So how are you showing them that they matter? Whether you have a few volunteers or a large volunteer program, there are simple ways to show them that you genuinely appreciate them. Here are just a few to consider:
Volunteer Appreciation Event: While it may need to be virtual this year, think about ways to hold an event for your volunteers. Hire a special guest performer, or a speaker who can talk about an aspect of your program. Even if you can’t be together in person, a Zoom toast and words of thanks from the head of your organization is always a nice touch.
Thanks from those who you serve: Send a video of the children you serve saying thank you, a recipe book filled with recipes the seniors you take care of compiled, or a piece of artwork that an emerging designer created.
Handwritten Cards: Invite your team, and perhaps those you serve, to write notes of appreciation to your volunteers. Their heartfelt words about how that volunteer is making a difference in their life is priceless.
Photo Book: Create a photo book that shows the work you do and highlights the volunteers that are helping carry it out. Photo sites like Snapfish or Shutterfly make it easy to design and print quickly.
While we engage our volunteers throughout the year, let’s make this month an extra special one for them. This month is about remembering the value of each individual volunteer and the power of their collective efforts in improving our communities.
Looking for more ways to connect with your volunteers? Let’s Build Hope can help! Call us at (314) 716-2496 or email LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #GlimmersOfHope #VolunteerAppreciationMonth #PowerOfMany #ShareThatYouCare!
By Dawn M.S. Miller, CFRE, Vice President – Annual Fund
Years ago, I received a giant padded envelope in the mail with a lunchbox as a gift. Confused, I found a generic “Thanks” card tucked inside. I had recently given a gift in honor of a dear friend who had earned her Doctorate in Management and Leadership. The donation was in support of a college scholarship fund for single mothers earning their degrees – something I knew my friend would sincerely appreciate.
But here’s the thing…I had no idea why the college mailed me lunchbox. And I also had no idea why the college NEVER notified my friend that a gift was made in her honor. Did they serve lunch to the mothers with scholarships, and I now had a matching lunchbox? Was I supposed to give the lunchbox to my friend with a pudding cup and juice box? Or was someone cleaning out a closet and thought, “Hey, let’s get rid of these lunchboxes, and we’ll call it a donor stewardship move.”
Why am I telling you this? Because donor stewardship needs to make sense to the donor and connect to your mission!
As fundraising professionals, we talk a lot about donor stewardship. Sometimes we do well; others, well, not so well. Here are a few wins and misses we’ve seen…
We aren’t talking about spending a gazillion dollars here. We are talking about reminding donors that we really care about their involvement with our missions. So add a small line item into your budget for stewardship and add it into your workflow. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it connects to your mission in a meaningful way.
And for goodness sake, if you send a lunchbox to someone, tell them how it connects to your mission. Your donors will thank you and they’ll enjoy their lunch while knowing their support truly impacted your mission. It’s that simple!
At Let’s Build Hope, we love to hear the good (or bad…or ugly!) donor stewardship stories. Share them with us. Reach out via phone or send us an email. And let’s make sure we have (mostly) stewardship wins. 😊
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #GlimmersOfHope #StewardshipWins #NoStewardshipMisses #Gratitude #DonorStewardship
By Linda B. Haley, CFRE, President & CEO
Philanthropy means “the love of human beings”…so nonprofit work is rooted in love. If your heart doesn’t skip a beat when you think about the nonprofit mission you support, ask yourself one simple question: “Why not?”
Maybe it’s a deep personal issue – maybe something like, “I really love nonprofits that serve kids…but the paycheck at the large arts organization was so great, I just had to take it.” Or maybe you needed a job and took what was available, only to feel later that, although the mission you support is worthwhile, it doesn’t personally excite and inspire you.
Is your heart longing for a clearer execution of the mission? More vision? A balanced budget? A passionate board? A CEO with exceptional leadership skills that you could happily follow?
If any of this resonates with you, then it may be time for a change. Yes, change is hard. But if your heart is not squarely rooted in the mission of the nonprofit you serve, you may find yourself struggling. Struggling to raise funds. Struggling to inspire donors. Struggling with burnout. Just struggling.
So often in our Annual Fund Training Camp, attendees come to us after class after we discuss having your heart in the mission and confess, “I think I may need to get another job.” If that’s true for you today, don’t lose heart. We all make snap judgments…or moves that we regret…or choices that no longer align with our personal values.
Just remember: it’s never too late to do the right thing. Search your heart. Find what moves you. Then begin to look for a place where your heart, your soul, and your passion are excited by the mission. You’ll likely find your success there, too!
Need help finding that next step? Or searching for a new development officer who is truly inspired by your work? Contact Let’s Build Hope – we want to hear from you: (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #GlimmersOfHope #MyHeartIsInTheMission #InspiredToday!
By Sarah Melinger, Senior Consultant
Ah, hello old friend consistency! Where have you been? It’s been SO hard to be steady in this crazy year. To cope, we have probably all let many things go and have not been consistent in many areas. But things are constantly changing, and we must change with them. I am looking forward to getting reacquainted with my old friend!
Consistency is what drives real progress. A person must take an action many times to experience real growth and real movement. Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be great at something – can you imagine having 10,000 hours to spend on one activity? Most of us do not, but we can all benefit from trying to improve our efforts to be consistent.
As important as consistency is to each of us in our personal lives, it is equally or more important when interacting with our cherished donors. Growing a deeper relationship with a donor or board member requires being consistent in your engagement. Donors want to know how you are doing and how the organization is doing…they want to hear from you!
To increase consistency with donors? Have a plan! Do not let it be an afterthought as you scramble to incorporate new ideas – rather create dedicated action that has meaning. Spend time looking at the coming year with your team and think about creative ways to engage with your donors. A phone call of thanks from a program director? A handwritten note? A streaming video via text or email about the work your organization is doing? A small hand-delivered gift to your top supporters with a love note attached? Just think of the fun you AND your donors can have! If you have a plan, you will remember to prioritize staying connected.
Know, too, that you’ll receive tangible benefits from this consistent interaction. It’s probable both your donors’ connection to and love for the mission will grow…and with that growth, you’ll likely see increased giving! Try a dedicated stewardship plan for this year and see if being consistent does help you deepen your relationships with your donors. You’ll be glad you reconnected with your old friend consistency – and so will you donors!
Looking for ways to stay consistent with your donors and in fundraising? Contact Let’s Build Hope – we want to hear from you: (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #GlimmersOfHope #DonorsAndConsistency #ConsistencyIsKey!
By Dawn M.S. Miller, CFRE, Vice President – Annual Fund
One look at the Let’s Build Hope calendars, and we know that fiscal year planning is nipping at our heels. Those of us who love planning are doing our happy dance. If you don’t love planning, you still need to make it happen, even if your happy dance is only a small jig.
If you have a July-June fiscal year (as do the vast majority of nonprofits), the budgeting process begins as early as February, which means all fundraising planning has to be complete before budgets are finalized, usually in mid-spring.
But budgets should NEVER drive annual fundraising projections. How often do we hear that the Finance Office has provided the fundraisers with a magical number to raise? All the time! Does that make sense? Nope, not at all! Fundraising is not some sort of magic pixie dust we throw in the air to make money start falling from the sky. We must be careful planners, and this begins with annual planning.
Fundraisers need to vet their donors and numbers before including them in the budget. It’s not as simple as saying, “We can grow 10%, 15%, or 20% this year.” We need to see the path to those donors and dollars. There’s no guessing here – strategies and data must always back up the fundraising goal. That’s why the annual planning process is essential.
Set aside 1-2 days each February-March for a planning session with your development team – volunteers included! Try to go offsite so you can focus solely on planning – no distractions. Discuss all the development strategies used over the past year. Look at the 2–3-year trend lines too.
Evaluate each strategy, rating it to decide if it is a good use of fundraising time and effort. Keep the good stuff that raises more dollars and retains more donors, and decide which initiatives might not be working for your nonprofit anymore.
If you find a golf tournament grosses $100,000, costs $45,000, takes 800 staff hours, and the donor retention rate is 25%…you’ll need to have a hard conversation about whether to keep the event. You may find that a different fundraising strategy raises more dollars, builds stronger donor relationships, and is a better use of time. Just think…if you spent those 800 hours with your major donors, would you raise more money for your nonprofit? YES!
We must remember…as professional fundraisers, every hour of every day needs to be spent in the right ways to drive towards your fundraising goals and fund your mission. Anything that takes our eye off that goal should be re-examined during the annual planning session.
At Let’s Build Hope, we love annual planning days. If you need some guidance about planning for your next fiscal year, call (314) 716-2496 or send us an email – we’re here for you! If you’re lucky, you might just see our happy dance in person! 😊
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #WhatsYourPlan #AnnualPlanning #Budget #FYPlanning #FundraisingStrategies #AnnualPlanningHappyDance
By Meredith Friedman, CFRE, Senior Consultant
It’s February, and love is in the air. Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday. I think it’s great that there is a time set aside just so we can show our friends and family how much we love them. Many of us spend a great deal of time and put serious thought into figuring out the perfect gifts for loved ones.
You know where I am going with this: there’s no better time than February to show your Board members how much you love and appreciate all that they do for your organization.
So bring your development team together to come up with a plan for how to “love on” all the people that love you and your mission. Whether it’s a box of chocolate-covered strawberries or a bag of conversation hearts with a handwritten note delivered to their doorstep, make sure you include a note that tells them how much they mean to you and your organization and what their dedication means for the mission.
How else can you show love for your board? As consultants at Let’s Build Hope, one of the comments we hear most often from Board members is, “I don’t feel like I’m doing my job,” or “I’m not sure exactly what I should be doing.” Why not give the gift of clarity, too? Take this opportunity to update your Board Position Descriptions or Board Engagement Plan. Have conversations with each Board member about how they are feeling about their Board service. The extra love, attention, and thoughtfulness will help you build a long-lasting relationship.
George Sand said, “There is only one happiness in this life – to love and be loved.” Let’s make sure we let our Board members know how much we love them. Their love (and ours!) will make our missions and hearts soar!
Looking for ways to engage your Board members and love on them? Contact Let’s Build Hope today: (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #LoveYourBoard #LoveIsInTheAir!
By Beth Krumm, MEd, Senior Consultant
Anyone who knows me well knows I am a huge Kansas City Chiefs fan. Honestly, I’ve been talking about them playing in the Super Bowl for weeks now. So when quarterback Patrick Mahomes went down with a concussion in last Sunday night’s game against the Cleveland Browns, my confidence in their reaching the Super Bowl decreased dramatically. I held my breath through seemingly every snap. The game plan was built around Mahomes – his ability to evade defenders, to see the entire field and find a receiver, to use his feet to gain the yards needed for a first down.
When Chad Henne came in as quarterback, it would have been easy to groan, give up, and say, “Well, I guess this is as far as we’re going to go this year.” Instead, Coach Andy Reid kept to his game plan, made a few adjustments, and the Chiefs will now be playing the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship game next weekend.
Fundraising can sometimes feel the same way. The annual fund mailing performed better than expected…your mid-level giving program grew by a decent percentage. You’re feeling good about how the year will end. But then the event that you relied on for a significant portion of your revenue had to be switched to a virtual event and didn’t raise what you projected. Or perhaps the donor you thought was going to make a major gift let you know it wasn’t going to come in this fiscal year.
You may be inclined to throw up your hands and be thankful that you raised what you’ve raised. But now is the time to stay the course, stick to your game plan, make necessary and immediate adjustments, and relentlessly pursue your goal as a team. It isn’t over until the clock hits 0:00.
As Patrick Mahomes tweeted following the Chiefs win, #HenneThingIsPossible. Go Chiefs! Go Fundraisers! Go Board Members! Go Senior Leadership! YOU can do this!
Need expert fundraising guidance? Contact Let’s Build Hope today: (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #StayTheCourse #StickToYourGamePlan!
By Sarah Melinger, Senior Consultant
Often in our roles as consultants we are asked, “What does fundraising beyond Covid-19 look like…what can we expect?” To determine what this meant to me I thought I should start by looking up the definition of the word “beyond.” The definition reads as follows:
Beyond – at or to the further side of; happening or continuing after.
I think “beyond” is entirely appropriate in this case. We are beginning to see hope of being on the other side of Covid-19 – and fundraising is still occurring and will continue as we move forward.
The questions continue to be, “How will we continue to approach this challenge? And can we turn it into an opportunity?”
What this time has reinforced for me is the need for sincere connection. In the past I perhaps did not treasure that casual interaction at the grocery store or the chance meeting at the post office. And I certainly took for granted dinners with my family and friends. Now, I value each opportunity to interact with someone – whether a close friend or a stranger…a donor or a client.
There are days when I am the cheerleader…and there are days when I need cheering on. I am ever so grateful to have connections in my life that allow me to be the giver and the recipient of support.
As I look ahead, not into some crystal ball but into my heart, I think that successful fundraising beyond covid-19 will continue to focus on the need for and appreciation of true connections with one another. That just may be the tide that carries us as we overcome the challenges and embrace the opportunities that await us…beyond COVID-19.
If you crave a sincere connection or need someone to be your cheerleader, call Let’s Build Hope: (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #FundraisingBeyondCovid19 #SincereConnection #MovingForward #CheeringYouOn!
By Linda B. Haley, CFRE, President & CEO
As much as we all disdain this painful and challenging year, maybe it’s important that we look at what we’ve learned and what’s been good. Wouldn’t want to waste a hard-earned lesson!
From the nonprofit perspective, here are a few POSITIVE takeaways:
As we look to the brighter days 2021 will most likely offer us, let us all take a moment to embrace the lessons of this stunning year. Let’s remember the colleagues, donors, and friends who’ve stepped in to help. Let’s profusely thank them all as we move forward. And let’s stay connected and in tune with gratitude – for even in the toughest times, there is hope…and for that, we are thankful.
Want to build more hope in 2021? Contact us: (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #GlimmerOfHope #2020LessonsLearned #BrighterDaysAhead #ReadyFor2021!
By Linda B. Haley, CFRE, President & CEO
Is there ever a moment when the Board of Directors and the senior staff at your nonprofit just sit and talk about your Disney-, Amazon-, Google-sized dreams?
I’m not talking about “annual retreats” during which we talk about shorter-term goals and objectives…or strategic planning sessions in which we create the approaches we’ll use to move forward. And I’m not talking about vision – those long-term, aspirational ideals. Visions are great…but even a $10 million dollar gift to operating is not going to “…end world hunger.”
I’m talking about targeted, hard-hitting conversation about where YOU want to be in 10 years with your organization. Talks with a “SMART-goal” feel to them. Talks that make us feel a little scared…and a LOT excited.
At Let’s Build Hope, we’ve started helping nonprofits identify and present a clear picture of their targeted, 10-year dreams to investment givers. If they can see a clear, 10-year impact, transformational donors are often willing to support an organization’s greatest operational needs.
Donors want to see the impact. They want to see and feel that bright future. They want to help you get there. But you’ve got to define it first…in clear, measurable terms.
Are you having an IMPACT? If not, consider having some power conversations with Board and senior staff. Who knows what you’ll find?
Want to learn more about Impact Statements and how to have organization-changing conversations? Contact us: (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #ChangeYourOrganization #DonorInvestment #TransformationalGifts #ImpactStatements #MakeAnImpact!
By Meredith Friedman, CFRE, Senior Consultant
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John Fitzgerald Kennedy
It’s November…and that can only mean one things – Thanksgiving! I especially love the tradition of going around the table and asking family members to share what they are thankful for – it’s just wonderful. It causes me to think, though… shouldn’t we be showing appreciation for one another all year long?
At our organizations, development teams may be having a similar discussion right now: how do we thank our donors this year? How do we shower love on them and let them know we truly are grateful?
As we head into the holiday season, I would encourage you to ask your team these questions: how have we shown our gratitude this year? And have we done it throughout the year? Or is this a once a year “Thanksgiving thing”?
If your team finds itself feeling a little underwhelmed at how you’ve shown gratitude this year, then now is the time to have the discussion about thanking donors consistently and well as you move forward.
To do this? Create a new organizational Thanksgiving tradition. Take this time of thanks, when we all think about how grateful we are, to come up with your organization’s plan for showing gratitude to your donors throughout the year. Use this special time to make sure this new tradition includes a yearlong “Thanksgiving” calendar, spending dedicated time thinking about how and when you’ll thank your donors throughout the year.
One thing I can guarantee: next year at Thanksgiving, you will be thankful you did it!
Need some guidance creating a "Thanksgiving" calendar? Let’s Build Hope can help! Contact us today: (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #GiveThanks #GratefulHeart #Thanksgiving #LoveYourDonors
By Dawn M.S. Miller, CFRE, Vice President—Annual Fund
Ahhhh, the autumn season! The crisp fall air, pumpkin everything, and toasty sweaters that have been hidden for months in the closet. Those are a few of my favorite October things. Ask my kids and they’ll say fire pits and s’mores – with a heavy accent on the s’mores.
I often wonder why we wait to pull out the s’mores until the fall season begins. Doesn’t everyone love a melted chocolate bar and burnt marshmallow smashed between graham crackers? So why wait until the cool air arrives to enjoy this tasty goodness?
Just like a s’more…why wait to enjoy all the goodness that life has to offer? There is no season we can’t love with all our hearts, live with all our being, and share all our joy with everyone we meet. And at Let’s Build Hope, we can’t wait to build s’more hope throughout our community!
We invite you to join us for a S’More Hope Happy Hour on Thursday, October 29 from 4:30-6:30pm at Shaw Park (Enterprise Pavilion). Gather for some delicious hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and great conversation with the Let’s Build Hope community. Colleagues from nonprofits, big and small, can network, learn from one another, and offer community support. We hope you’ll join us for s’mores and schmoozing. Please wear a mask and practice safe social distancing. Together, Let’s Build S’More Hope…while enjoying a s’more!
To RSVP to the S’More Hope Happy Hour, please contact us: (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #LetsBuildSmoreHope #HappyHour #PumpkinEverything #DontWaitToEnjoyGoodness