New Year, New (Fill in the Blank)
By Dawn Miller, CFRE, Senior Vice President
We hear so many clichés when a new year rolls around. New year, new me! New year, new job! New year, new (fill in the blank)!
A new year will always come. Sometimes it’s the (fill in the blank) that offers the most opportunities. Sometimes it brings up uncertainty. Sometimes it reflects a thousand-mile stare into the universe. Sometimes…it even transforms people.
We hear that from our donors all the time. Something shifts in their lives and suddenly your mission is their focus. A grandchild is sick. A community is hurting. An educational institute is at the forefront of learning. You and your organization might be the (fill in the blank) someone needs to get through the year.
There are so many ways to (fill in the blank). Your nonprofit bridged the education chasm that seemed too wide. You listened and truly cared when someone was at their lowest point. Your Board approved a real budget with real growth and metrics.
Often people want Let’s Build Hope to (fill in the blank) for them. We don’t understand fundraising so tell us how to (fill in the blank). Can you get our Board to (fill in the blank)? Our staff is struggling with (fill in the blank). Lots of questions, ways to look at a problem, and many solutions to find the missing information. And that’s the fun part, right?
So instead of declaring grand ideas for the new year, consider how full life would be if you filled in the blank for yourself, your donors, and your community. Your actions – big or small – have the power to change the world (and that’s not a new year cliché). You just need to (fill in the blank)!
Wondering what my new (fill in the blank) is for 2023? Reach out and I’ll tell you – (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #NewYear #NewHope #FillInTheBlank #GlimmersOfHope #Blog
By Linda B. Haley, CFRE, President & CEO
Man, there are moments I cannot believe how this year has turned out and how very lucky I am. Let’s Build Hope has grown like crazy, and we’ve been blessed with 15 amazing, dedicated, caring, smart, strategic, thoughtful, openminded leaders and teammates. What a gift!
We normally use our blogs to share great tips of the trade we’ve learned – both from our personal successes AND our failures. We believe that showing authentically who we are – flaws and all – makes us better partners with the nonprofits we have the privilege to serve.
Who tops your gratitude list today? And what in this year has been your biggest win…and your most spectacular flop? Remembering that our teammates can be our most important champions – when we soar and when we tank – might be one of the greatest learning experiences of the year for me.
So I’m going to end the year with profound gratitude for a host of people and teams who have helped us move forward.
From LBH and from me, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, however you celebrate. I encourage you to stop after you’ve read this and write your own love letter to those who have rocked your world this year. Here’s hoping (see what I did there? 😊) 2023 is going to be our best year yet!
With thanks and hope,
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #TrueGratitude #LoveLetter #AmazingCommunity #FantasticVendors #InspiringClients #LBHTeammates #NewYearHope #GlimmersOfHope #Blog
Season’s Greetings! Tips to Make Grantmakers Smile and Remember You This Holiday Season
By Michele Mosley, MSW, GrantsPLUS Consultant
‘Tis the season for holiday greetings and heartfelt messages of appreciation to your supporters. As you put the final touches on your beautiful, glittery cards, make sure not to forget about the grantmakers supporting your organization's work! Remember that foundation officers and admin staff are people, too, and should be cultivated like your other donors (unless you’re working with a large corporate or federal funder that actually lets you know that they DON’T care to receive correspondence from you aside from your scheduled reports – save your postage on them).
As someone who has been on both sides of the philanthropic table, feverishly sending out holiday cards with my nonprofit development team, and also receiving greetings from grantees as a foundation program manager, I’ve developed great appreciation for the time and energy that goes into correspondence this time of year. Here are a few tips to stand out by helping grantmakers smile this holiday season:
You’ll notice there are no Dos or Don’ts with regard to “snail mail” versus electronic correspondence because it completely depends on the preferences of your audience. Generally, a lot of people appreciate getting traditional mail, especially if it’s personalized and it’s not soliciting them for anything. Some, especially the more environmentally conscious among us, might prefer to receive e-greeting cards. Either way, you risk both forms of communication getting lost in the holiday clutter, which is why trying to schedule or make an impromptu end of year call might really help you to stand out (it could also be much more cost effective, depending on your staff bandwidth).
Ultimately, try to learn and understand your audience, funder or not. Think about what you enjoy seeing, hearing, and/or feeling during the holiday season. Does the correspondence you’re sending out make you smile? Would you want to be on the receiving end of your glittery card? If the answer is, “Meh, not really,” you might reconsider your approach.
Questions about how to cultivate relationships with your funding partners? Contact Let’s Build Hope: (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #Grants #MakeGrantmakersSmileThisHolidaySeason #SeasonsGreetings #GlimmersOfHope #Blog
By Beth Jantz, Vice President of GrantsPLUS
In the nonprofit sector, we have a reputation for being nice. Most of the time, that’s a good thing. But sometimes, nonprofit culture’s “niceness” can actually create a dynamic of passive aggression.
In our consulting work, we often encounter teams where everyone in the room can see the problem, but no one is comfortable saying it out loud. Instead of addressing the issue, people save their grousing for behind closed doors. That, in turn, can lead to division, alienation, and disengagement.
Conflict is a natural and healthy part of any organization. Instead of turning away from conflict, we should lean into it. Which would you rather trade: one hour of discomfort or 40 hours a week of resentment and unhappiness at work? Approach disagreement with intentionality and an open mind.
Here are some tips when preparing for a difficult conversation:
“I believe one of the most courageous things to say in an uncomfortable conversation is, 'Tell me more.' Exactly when we want to turn away and change the topic…we also have the opportunity to ask what else we need to know to fully understand the other person’s perspective.” - Brene Brown
Open, honest, and healthy disagreements can transform your organization:
At LBH, we don’t shy away from difficult conversations. If you need some help, connect with us: (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #DifficultConversations #CultureOfNiceness #CleanSlate #NoOneDiesOfDiscomfort #Listen #OpenMind #AssumeGoodIntentions #GlimmersOfHope #Blog
By Yvette LeGear Hartsfield, MA, CFRE, CAP, Vice President of Campaigns
How do we come back from criticisms that are less than complimentary? As professionals in a field that builds communities, shelters animals, cares for children and so much more, we partner with many different personalities. Our work is noble and most of us do it for the intrinsic gratification of knowing we are changing the world (clip on superhero cape).
Our donors also have goals and dreams to affect change. Capital campaigns are wonderful opportunities to share a big vision of daring growth with our donors who are most dear to us. We present them opportunities to demonstrate their philanthropy through a financial gift that can be considered a part of their legacy.
But, what happens when your favorite donor comes back to you with feedback that you missed the mark with your gift proposal? It happens, but it is not the end of the relationship.
After we have researched our donor prospect’s giving history in the community, reviewed their giving with our organization, assessed their potential financial ability, and engaged them in conversation about their interests — we carefully craft a gift proposal that we believe will motivate them to invest in our organization’s future.
And, yet, we can perform every action correctly and still not receive the enthusiastic response we were hoping to receive. Now is the time to step back and reassess.
The hallmark of every interaction is to LISTEN. As fundraisers, we know we must listen 80% of the time. Listen to the feedback from the perspective of the donor. Use this as the opportunity it is — an opportunity to know your donor better.
TAKE NOTE of the concerns, letting the donor know you will come back to them with additional information…and offer them a timeframe wherein you will respond.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK. If you need to gather more detailed information, do so. If you learned the donor has other interests in your campaign, craft a new proposal. If the donor tells you they don’t fund capital, explore their interest in program expansion or endowment building.
And, finally, CLOSE THE LOOP. Once the donor has expressed their concerns, be timely in getting back to them. The donor cared enough for your organization to take a difficult step — let you know how you can do better. The relationship will be strengthened through the process. No great relationship is a walk down the primrose path. You stumbled, the donor caught you, and now you have a relationship that is further solidified by open and honest communication.
You got this! I am glad this happened, and you had a chance to practice good relationship building.
Wondering how to deal with tough, difficult, or awkward donor feedback? Let’s talk! Contact us at (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #CapitalCampaigns #GentleHonesty #Feedback #Listen #DonorRelationships #GlimmersOfHope #Blog
By Diane Bauhof, CFRE, Senior Consultant
One of my former nonprofit employers had 18 committees, yep, 18! Now, keep in mind, it also had 90+ board members, 1,000+ volunteers, and a multi-million-dollar budget. That’s an overload for the vast majority of nonprofit organizations, and thankfully so. It takes a lot of time, energy, and patience for staff members (and volunteers) to manage everyone effectively and to have the committees produce effective work to benefit the organization’s mission.
I’m guessing you are shaking your head and saying to yourself, “No. No Committees. I don’t have time to find members, manage them, and honestly, don’t want to run things past a group of individuals who don’t know what I deal with every day.” But before you give up completely, remember you’re not supposed to do all this work for your nonprofit by yourself. It’s not possible, nor is it sustainable for an extended period of time. Whether it’s just you, or a few people on staff, you likely need help, and a nonprofit should be engaging with the community to fulfill its mission. Committees aren’t making more work for you...they should be helping to run your organization more efficiently and effectively, open more doors, raise more money, and have a team of dedicated individuals you can rely on...and who will support you! When done right, committees can work magic!
Don’t start by adding five committees all at once – start small with one or two. When I was at a much smaller organization, we started two committees: a Development Committee to help expand reach into the community and raise money and an Education Committee to get input as we developed our education programs and to help us navigate the schools and engage with teachers. Both committees were lifesavers for us. Having committed individuals involved at a deeper level also brought credibility to our new organization as we entered the St. Louis community.
So, where to start?
Decide which committee you want to start first – where do you have the biggest demand?
Create a Committee Job Description to describe what members will focus on (and not focus on). Outline how often they meet, the number of anticipated members, term limits, and help create agreement amongst the committee members. Remember: The committee is there to support the organization’s existing plans and long-range vision. As the staff lead, you will be guiding the work of the committee by giving them 2-3 meaningful pieces of work.
Find a chairperson – ideally someone on your Board of Directors. Meet with them in person to make the ask and discuss the reasons behind the committee, how they can help, plans for the committee, and timelines.
Recruit committee members – ask your chairperson for their ideas. Bring a list of your donors/partners/volunteers to help generate potential committee members. Start small – ask for just one name and see how it grows from there.
Once you have a core group ready to go (may only be 3-4 people to start), set up the first meeting. Make sure your committee chairperson can attend and consider sending a Doodle Poll (or similar) to find the best day and time for everyone.
Host the meeting(s) at your facility if you have space. If not, ask a committee member to host at their home. At the first meeting, be sure to remind everyone of the goals of the committee (there’s where the 2-3 pieces of meaningful work come into the forefront). The committee should not be finding work for you (or your team) to do – they should be supporting your work and the organization’s goals.
With a properly formed and managed committee, a little bit of extra work on your end will lead to more engaged volunteers, raising more money, being introduced to new potential board members, volunteers and donors, and more success overall with your programs and fundraising. Will you have a volunteer committee, or not...that question is for you to decide!
And...if you need help moving away from a bad fundraising idea from a committee member, read Linda Haley’s post about The Elegant No. Questions about committees? Contact Let’s Build Hope at (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #Committees #MeaningfulPiecesOfWork #CommitteeMembers #GrowYourMission #GlimmersOfHope #Blog
By Steffani Lautenschlager, MEd, CFRE, Senior Consultant
We have an opportunity to invest in ourselves every day, week, and year by continuing to learn about our field and issues impacting our nonprofits, region, and country.
You don’t have to have a significant professional development budget to continue your education, but there are two KEY (Keep Educating Yourself) things you need:
commitment and time. Our Let’s Build Hope team has put together some great free and affordable resources to further your professional growth. Let us know what you are reading, listening to, and watching! We would love to learn with you too!
- Author: Terry Axelrod
Questions? Please contact Let’s Build Hope at (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LetsBuild Hope #Fundraising #BreneBrown #JerryPanas #NonprofitFundraising #KeepEducatingYourself #GlimmersOfHope #Blog
By Todd Roth, GrantsPLUS Consultant
I find it cathartic to go back to basics. It reminds me why something is important. It centers me. So, let’s explore the question: Why does the nonprofit sector in the United States look the way it does?
First, a little clarification on what it means to be a nonprofit. A nonprofit organization is one that is organized for the purpose of improving public welfare. A nonprofit is run much the same way as a for-profit. The term “nonprofit‡” refers to how the organization handles its excess revenue. Instead of being distributed among executives or shareholders (as in a for-profit business), profits are reinvested into the organization. This could mean expanding programs to serve more clients, buying new equipment or supplies, creating an operating reserve, or any other method of improving its positive impact on society. So: a nonprofit serves the public good and uses any extra money to further its mission.
The idea of helping others and giving back to society has existed as long as recorded history. In the United States, Andrew Carnegie helped lay the groundwork for modern charitable giving when he published Gospel of Wealth in 1889. Carnegie promoted the idea of everyone owing a duty to society and encouraged those with means to donate to social causes. During World War I and World War II, Americans began conserving resources and sending funds and supplies overseas—collective impact by and for the masses. The Vietnam War proliferated organization around specific causes/foci and, in 1969, congress established 501c3 status in the IRS Code. This enabled donors to receive tax exemptions, creating a massive wave of new NPOs. Today, charitable giving is engrained into our culture and can be done through countless vehicles from cash donations to charitable remainder trusts.
America is the undisputed leader in the nonprofit sector, with more than 1.5 million registered NPOs. Americans donated $485 billion in 2021 alone. The industry employs about 1 in 10 Americans, from frontline folks (those actually running the soup kitchens or teaching financial literacy, for example) to an array of support staff like accountants, HR professionals, or IT staff. The nonprofit industry is the third largest industry in the nation, after retail and manufacturing.
So why does the U.S. have such a large nonprofit sector? It’s a matter of perceived efficiencies. It costs a lot of time and money to take on society’s ills. Rather than paying higher taxes for a robust social safety net run primarily by the government, nonprofits step in to provide vital services and to augment what the government is able provide.
Whether you agree with the sentiment or not, America has long had an aversion to what is currently known as “socialism.” In many other highly developed countries, government programs fill the role of nonprofits in the U.S. Think areas like job training, homelessness, domestic violence, education, poverty, physical and mental health, environmental sustainability, and so on. There is evidence that NPOs can address social needs more efficiently than government entities.
For-profit businesses don’t typically fill the role of nonprofits either, because addressing these causes isn’t profitable—at least, not without using business models that most would find objectionable at best.
Charitable giving in the U.S. is, at its core, a way for all of us to contribute to the social contract. We look out for one another. We want to collectively improve society and the world. I personally give to leave the world in better shape better than I found it.
A final question to ponder: why do you give? Take a moment to think about it AND to pat yourself on the back for your role in helping to make the world a better place.
Questions about nonprofit organizations or the ways in which you want to give back? Contact Let’s Build Hope at (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #GlimmersOfHope #NonprofitHistory #LookOutForOneAnother #ImproveSociety #LeaveTheWorldInBetterShapeThanWeFoundIt #WhyDoYouGiveBack?
‡Fun Fact: “Nonprofit” and “not-for-profit” aren’t synonymous. Like NPOs, not-for-profits can collect donations, don’t pay out profits, and can even be tax exempt in certain cases. But where NPOs are required by law to serve the common good, not-for-profit organizations instead serve the goals of group members. Examples include labor organizations, college alumni clubs, and chambers of commerce.
By Sarah Melinger, Vice President – Impact Services
Another Labor Day is in the books…and while we took the day to hopefully pause, reflect, and enjoy some time with those we care about, it is challenging to not think about the work that still lies ahead. For many nonprofits this marks the “beginning of the end of the year” – fall appeal letters, galas, and so much more. It can certainly feel like a lot of labor!
But, what if we looked at it through the lens of practicing philanthropy…then it starts to feel a lot less like labor and a lot more about loving one another and ensuring that we help those causes that are near and dear to each of us. We want to make sure our beloved nonprofits have what they need to do their critical work each and every day.
Philanthropy means the “love of humankind” – let’s stop working to close those end of year gifts but rather look at how much of an impact can we have if we truly practice philanthropy and not just the “work of fundraising.”
I know that would make me feel excited and energized and not feel like I had a long “task list” ahead of me, but rather an opportunity to connect with people on a different level to ensure that I am helping them to practice their philanthropy in the most meaningful way possible. If we all do that, it hardly feels like work at all!
Questions about practicing philanthropy at your nonprofit? Contact Let’s Build Hope at (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #GlimmersOfHope #LaborOfLove #PracticingPhilanthropy #YearEndGiving
📣 Calling all LBH Alumni! You’re invited to our next Annual Fundraising Training Camps for FREE refresher days this Fall! Next camps are September 19-23 and October 17-21. Complete the registration form here, pick your dates, and join us.
Contact Let’s Build Hope with any questions at (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #AFTC #AnnualFundTrainingCamp #Alumni #RefresherDays #Mission #Metrics
Save the date! LBH is hosting our annual S’More Hope Happy Hour on Wednesday, September 7 from 5-7pm. Join us and bring your staff, Board members, donors, volunteers, and community partners. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to see you at Shaw Park--thanks for building s’more hope in our community!
#LBH #SMoreHope #HappyHour #GlimmersOfHope
By Meredith Friedman, CFRE, Vice President of Transformation
YOP, NAP, PRC, MHC – the alphabet soup of tax credits in Missouri goes on and on. My favorites are the WGC (Wine and Grape Production Credit), though I’ve never actually seen or used those before! 😊
What are tax credits anyway? A Missouri Tax Credit is available when qualifying organizations receive “credits” from the state of Missouri through an application process. Then eligible donors give to the nonprofit, apply for, and receive a “credit” on their Missouri state taxes equaling 50% or 70% of their gift, depending on the type of credit received.
For example, a $10,000 gift may only cost a donor $1,700 out of pocket:
The tax credit combines with the donor’s federal deduction and state charitable income tax credit to lower the actual net cost of donor gift to cents on the dollar. In the case of a 70% credit, a donor can even come out ahead on their taxes! Of course, with anything dollars-related, always consult a tax professional.
Why are we hearing more about tax credits right now? Starting this July, Missouri will increase many of their eligible tax credits from 50% to 70%, and some will be considered “unlimited.” On the surface, this sounds like terrific news. But, as in life, things are rarely as simple as they seem!
As a fundraising professional, donor, and philanthropist who loves, fully understands, and utilizes tax credits, I like to refer to tax credits in Missouri as an organizational Blessing and Curse. Let me give a few examples:
Donors may be getting messages like, “We have unlimited 70% tax credits!” But buyer beware! No wait…nonprofits beware, too! We can only give tax credits up to the size of the program budget. If we don’t have an endlessly increasing program budget (and who does?), we don’t truly have unlimited 70% tax credits. Be careful how you share this message with your donors – you don’t want to put your nonprofit’s integrity at risk.
So how do we best use tax credits? Approach the donors who love your organization the most. Ask them if they would like to double, or even triple, their gift. Explain to them the benefits of the tax credits – a visual typically helps to illustrate the program. Present tax credits as a bonus, NOT as the reason to give.
After donors increase their gifts, then love on them and let them know the impact of those gifts! Your donors will continue to support whether you have Missouri tax credits on not – and that’s what we all want – donors supporting the organizations they love the most in our community.
If you plan to jump into the mix that is the tax credit alphabet soup, make sure you have a strong understanding of Missouri tax credits, how many credits your nonprofit really has available, and a plan on how best to share those tax credits to help the people you serve and your donors. You don’t want the tax credit blessing to become your curse.
Questions about tax credits? Contact Let’s Build Hope at (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #GlimmersOfHope #TaxCredits
New (Fiscal) Year. New You.
By Steffani Lautenschlager, MEd, CFRE, Senior Consultant
July 1 marks the new fiscal year for many of us. A former colleague would remind me, “You start back at zero and get to do it all over again!” He said it light heartedly, but he was right.
The new year (calendar or fiscal) brings on anticipation of what could be, plans that you get to implement (like a great vacation or how you are going to reach your goals), and…the clock resets and you get to dream and do something new and different in the new year. This is true for our personal selves and for our professional selves. We are development officers. We get the thrill of connecting the passions and interests of our donors with the incredible work we do to change our cities and world. It’s a new year. A new beginning. A new You.
Our team just drove to reach all of the audacious goals in this last fiscal year and now we have to do it all over again? YES! The turning of the calendar to July 1 should remind us how intentional our efforts need to be so that we can be successful in building lasting partners that can enable us to do the important work of our missions in the new fiscal year.
Don’t wait for instruction to jump in. Take initiative as your new fiscal year begins. Consider how would you plan for a major donor visit – perhaps some of that pre-planning could also help in your new year too.
You have a new year. Or even a new role. This is a chance to redefine your approach and to be even better than the year before. You create the possibilities. You define how you respond to the challenges and how You succeed. I would love to hear what’s in store for the new You this fiscal year; both personally and professionally. Let’s connect! Reach out at (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #GlimmersOfHope #NewYearNewYou
By Linda B. Haley, CFRE, President & CEO
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!
The Elegant No
By Linda B. Haley, CFRE, 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
By 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.
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By 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
By 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
By Beth Jantz, Senior 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