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It’s Fourth Quarter, Now What?

By Mary Moss. You have been working all year long to keep your head above water, to strengthen the relationships you have, and to identify new ones along the way.  You have learned how to operate remotely, and even ask for money remotely. While filled with gratitude for what you have been able to accomplish due to the generosity of so many, you are still telling us that you are worried about your donors not giving as much or at all this year. Even with powerful relationships, you are worried about money. So now, here you are, headed into the fourth quarter. What is your next best play when the times are so uncertain? Your next best play is to concentrate on donor retention of your individual prospects. As you enter the last quarter of the year, [...]

2020-09-09T18:46:41+00:00September 9th, 2020|All Posts, From The Partners, Fundraising Counsel|

What Help Looks Like

By Mary Moss and Susan Ross. One week ago, we joined the nation in witnessing yet another atrocity -- the murder of an unarmed Black man captured on video. What happened that day has left another image burned in our memory of what systemic racism looks like. The image of George Floyd joins those of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others. We grieve their unnecessary and untimely deaths, and we also grieve the violence that has erupted in response to these events. This is our home, and everyone who works with our moss+ross team loves it dearly. We grew up in Durham, went to college in Chapel Hill, raised our families in Durham and Raleigh, and built our company in the Triangle. Our mission statement: impact that matters in a place we love, is built on our stated core belief [...]

2020-08-11T20:15:26+00:00June 2nd, 2020|All Posts, From The Partners, Special Topics|

Phasing in Your Fundraising

By Susan Ross. Now that North Carolina has begun its phased reopening, you may be looking at how this applies to your fundraising efforts. The nonprofit community has responded in extraordinary ways during this time, with dedicated staff and volunteers doing all they could to serve clients, maintain programs, and raise money when able. In the process, nonprofits realized which services were most critical to clients, and many were able to pivot when they saw a service gap that they could fill. Going forward, this pandemic-induced clarity is an opportunity for change as nonprofits review missions, collaborations, and impact in the community. Importantly, whether or not you have been actively fundraising during the past few months, you need to start getting back up to speed soon. Like everything else in our lives, fundraising activity will fall into [...]

2020-05-21T20:19:03+00:00May 21st, 2020|All Posts, From The Partners, Fundraising Counsel|

Strengthening Our Abilities

By Mary Moss. For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.  African Proverb The past six weeks have tested all of our abilities – personally, professionally, and societally. By almost any measure, the blow of this virus has been mitigated by the selfless response of people and nonprofits that have stepped up in ways unthinkable two months ago. What have we learned? While we and our society have changed forever, we can be ready when the cloud lifts, as it surely will. Before you miss the moment, stop, think, document, and act on what you have learned. This new knowledge will make us stronger. Review the following five …abilities to assess what has happened and how you can be stronger in the future. Capability – You have now seen what you are capable of [...]

2020-04-22T16:17:44+00:00April 22nd, 2020|All Posts, From The Partners, Special Topics|

What We CAN Do

By Susan Ross. We are confident that a new normal is ahead – we just don’t know what it looks like yet. In the past six weeks, we have posted weekly newsletters focused on what we CAN do, in the context of the hourly, daily and weekly shifts in news. Given where we are now, today’s best advice is to take action to shape your future using the lens of COVID-19… literally: C –    Carry on by focusing on what you can do, not what you can’t. Your mission remains important and you need to keep moving forward. O –    Optimism is a good thing. Make a best-case/mid-case/worst-case fundraising plan so you and your team are ready to take action when the medical and economic cloud lifts. V –    Visit with donors and volunteers by phone each [...]

2020-04-20T21:15:58+00:00April 15th, 2020|All Posts, From The Partners, Special Topics|

Advice for Engaging Boards

By Mary Moss Let’s look back at the last month, which seems like a year. Your first order of business was to make provisions to meet your mission even as you were shuttering your offices.  Somehow, you had to go virtual administratively and also devise new ways to meet your constituencies’ needs.  Then, in the flood of programmatic adaptations, you cancelled or postponed fundraising events, reached out to your donors and volunteers to check in, and pushed out some great annual fund appeals.  You have done a terrific job. Now, what about your boards?  The pandemic thrusts boards onto center stage to assess and reassess the risk that COVID-19 poses to the organization.  Risk management will continue to be the number one focus during the crisis, with special attention directed to program delivery and finance.  Yet there [...]

2020-04-07T19:43:51+00:00April 7th, 2020|All Posts, From The Partners, Special Topics|

Messaging in Today’s World

By Susan Ross. We’ve shared one piece of advice consistently since the pandemic started: Stay in touch with your donors and key volunteers. Mary called it Extreme Stewardship in a recent newsletter, and we know many of you are working hard to do this. The moss+ross team has had many great conversations with clients over the last few weeks, all of whom want to communicate but are sensitive to the need to get the message “right.” These nonprofits fall into three basic groups: Front-Line Providers:  Nonprofits that provide food, shelter, health care and education are clearly needed more than ever. The strain on your budgets is very real because of increased demand, and you are working long hours. You must make time to share your message, and you can ask colleagues, volunteers and partner organizations to help [...]

Capital Campaigns in the COVID-19 Era

By Mary Moss First, how are you today? At moss+ross, work continues not just on campaigns, but also on strategic plans, organizational assessments, interim staffing, annual funds, and searches. We are busy helping our clients meet their missions in the COVID-19 era. Being in a capital campaign now can be daunting, and we are hearing four questions from clients: What CAN we do now? What CAN'T we do now? What SHOULD we do? HOW do we do it? For starters, we have been asked, “Should we shut down the campaign?” Whether you are at the beginning, middle, or end of a campaign, find a way to keep it going at whatever pace you can.   Optimism is the order of the day. Your goals are still mission critical and in some cases more urgent in the COVID-19 era. [...]

2020-03-30T21:39:34+00:00March 26th, 2020|All Posts, Capital Campaigns, From The Partners, Special Topics|

Real-Time Choices that Matter

By Susan Ross. With clients, we often talk about making critical decisions in real time.  Every one of us is living this challenge with the COVID-19 pandemic. The world says STOP but some can’t, particularly those working directly with at-risk populations like seniors or cancer patients.  And those who provide food and shelter face increased demand now. Even those who could take a “pause” know it comes with huge financial risk to already tight nonprofit budgets. These real-time decisions about fundraising mailings and events could lead to service interruptions and unmet payroll in the coming months. moss+ross has always been a virtual office environment, so we are just as available to you as ever.  Call any of us if you need a thinking partner for your real-time decisions. Here is our best advice for how to navigate: [...]

2020-03-30T20:53:01+00:00March 18th, 2020|All Posts, From The Partners, Special Topics|

The Black Swan: Practical Advice In Uncertain Times

By Mary Moss. Do you know the phrase “black swan” – a rare, unpredicted occurrence with widespread consequences? It was popularized in a book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, published around the time Susan and I started our business just before the recession of 2008. Our firm has faced extreme uncertainty in nonprofit management and fundraising before, and 12 years later we can offer advice and experience to help you navigate the rough waters of today’s black swan: coronavirus. Clients are implementing this advice already, and we believe it is helping. Nonprofit Management 1.  Stay calm and be flexible. As a nonprofit leader, you need to instill confidence in others that your next steps are thoughtful and informed. This is an evolving situation; listen to the news, stay informed, and do the next right thing. Be ready to [...]

2020-08-11T20:11:30+00:00March 12th, 2020|All Posts, From The Partners, Special Topics|
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