From The Partners

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Gettin’ Lucky: Not a wise strategy for securing major gifts

By Mary Moss, Founding Partner. In my experience, there is not much luck in major gifts work. I believe that you make your own luck. I have been in this business for four decades, as staff and consultant, and I have witnessed comments such as: “Wow, they just got lucky with that big gift. I work with that same donor and didn’t get that kind of gift,” or “That gift just came out of the clear blue” or “That donor had no history with that organization. Wonder why they left their estate there?” In most instances of “gettin’ lucky,” there is a solid connection with the donor and strategy behind the gift. I have had a handful of happy occasions where “true luck” happened, and have always wished for more (don't we all?). Nothing replaces a compelling [...]

2022-09-20T13:55:08-04:00September 20th, 2022|All Posts, From The Partners, Fundraising Counsel|

Fresh Eyes from Trusted Partners

By Kate Hearne, VP Corporate Services Many of you count yourselves among our more than 230 clients, some with 10-12 different contracts (THANK YOU!) At moss+ross, we begin each client relationship with a base of mutual trust and respect, and through our expertise, bring fresh eyes to each and every engagement. How do we bring fresh eyes after consulting on thousands (literally!) of projects over the past 14 years? The answer is simple: each client is an opportunity to make a difference. As I speak to prospective clients and develop proposals for partnering with them, I look for ways our team approach can be fully customized to each new project. It is exciting to match a client’s needs to what we bring, namely: Creative thinking - With each engagement, we challenge ourselves to think beyond traditional approaches, consider [...]

Local Firm, National Reach

By Susan Ross, Founding Partner. “Shopping local” doesn’t exactly mean the mom-and-pop store on the corner when it comes to choosing strategic counsel. moss+ross takes a community-centric approach to meeting the needs of nonprofits in our region of North Carolina. Clients tell us that the extensive community knowledge and context we bring to our work equip their teams to compete for philanthropic dollars and hire great talent from national as well as local sources. We regularly compete with national fundraising consulting and executive search firms, and we believe moss+ross is a better choice for most nonprofits. Being your local firm is a distinct business advantage – for all of us. Our clients see the impact of our work across sectors and the region. They appreciate having us nearby and nimble, and they are happy not to pay [...]

Tips for Retaining Talent

By Lizzy Mottern. Your search was successful, and you have hired an amazing new member of your team -- congratulations! Now you want them to stay. Retaining employees requires thought, planning, and creativity -- and has dramatic payoffs. One is financial: it costs about 33% of a new hire’s salary to replace an employee, and for highly skilled jobs, costs may be up to 150% of the annual salary (source: the Society for Human Resource Management). Finances are just one type of cost: employee turnover can mean lost momentum on projects, your organization’s inability to accept new work, and a toll on morale as other employees step in to cover duties of a vacant position. Once you find a person who makes your organization shine, take two proactive steps that help them choose to stay for a while: [...]

Volunteers Bring Magic to the Mission

By Mary Moss, Founding Partner. April is National Volunteer Month, and we are celebrating the strengths and talents of volunteers with our clients and in our social media. Volunteers are not supplemental, or nice to have; they are essential and foundational to a nonprofit’s mission delivery. In 1981, my first fundraising job was to recruit student volunteers at Duke University to fill 18 slots a night throughout the year for the first Dialing for Duke telethons. Duke’s Annual Fund grew exponentially from this personal touch from students to alumni. Four decades later, I can report that every effort I have led as a staff member or volunteer, or guided as a consultant, has found its success through committed volunteers. The real magic happens when you build a strong staff-volunteer partnership with shared goals resulting in a cadre [...]

Help Us Help You: Three Tips for RFPs

By Kate Hearne, VP for Corporate Services. Like many of you, our team is feeling the pace of business activity approach pre-pandemic levels. At moss+ross, this means we are seeing multiple Request for Proposals (RFPs) each week. Campaigns that were being considered in early 2020 are being revived; strategic plans and development plans need adjustments to incorporate new ways of delivering programs and engaging with donors; and clients are assessing staffing needs for an increased level of activity. As we determine our capacity for responding to campaigns, searches, assessments, or other consulting projects, the quality of the RFP helps guide those decisions. The best RFPs have three things in common: A deadline date. RFPs with defined deadlines for submission and selection will help your organization get to your real goal – starting the project! We have seen RFPs with [...]

Our Firm is Expanding

By Mary Moss and Susan Ross, Co-founders. moss+ross celebrated its 13th anniversary just a few days ago. Our firm has grown tremendously over these years, fueled by the increased demand for our extensive suite of services. In response, as of January 1, we named three longtime senior associates as partners. Joining us as senior managers will be Kim Glenn, President; Lizzy Mottern, Vice President of Talent; and Kate Hearne, Vice President of Corporate Services. Please join us in congratulating them on these new roles. We set a goal when we founded the firm to focus on relationships, not jobs. This deep caring for our community in which we both were born has been rewarded with continued year-over-year growth. As we look toward the future, we reflect on how moss+ross has grown its footprint in many important ways. 220 [...]

Building Capacity for the Future

By Kim Glenn, President. Over the last 13 years, moss+ross has had the privilege of working with 220 central North Carolina nonprofits to help them deliver on their missions. We partner with board and staff members alike to evaluate fundraising capacity, operational efficiency, and program impact, and help them develop plans that will enable them to thrive. The National Council of Nonprofits says it well: “Capacity building is not just about the capacity of a nonprofit today — it’s about the nonprofit’s ability to deliver its mission effectively now, and in the future.” When clients engage us to help them build capacity, we approach each situation as a unique opportunity to refocus on mission and find new ways to grow. We start by listening to key stakeholders, inside and outside of the nonprofit, who can help answer [...]

The Talent Puzzle

By Lizzy Mottern, Vice President of Talent. Whether trying to hire, re-think a position, tap into new networks, or creatively re-imagine career objectives, we are all working through the talent puzzle. As nonprofits craft strong and diverse teams to fulfill their missions, moss+ross is partnering with organizations to find new leaders, fill gaps during transitions, and provide expertise for special projects. There are some powerful drivers pushing these changes. The number of Americans quitting their jobs is higher than ever. According to LinkedIn, before the pandemic 1 in 67 jobs was remote, and now the number has increased to 1 in 7. Applicants are 2.5 times more likely to apply for a remote job. In the National Association of Corporate Directors 2022 Governance Outlook survey of 250 corporate members, 70% of respondents rated increased competition for talent [...]

Talent Makes it Happen

By Susan Ross, Partner. The media is calling it a “resignation revolution,” but when it happens in your shop it’s just painful. Executive Directors, Directors of Development, and other nonprofit staff leaders play an integral role in a team’s ability to deliver the services clients expect, and stay true to the promises made to donors. In both large and small environments, a vacancy or two can wreak havoc on the remaining staff’s ability to perform as they scramble to keep up with an increased workload. We have seen a huge uptick in clients needing executive search services this fall, and no signs of it slowing down. Whether or not this is related to the pandemic, the need for experienced, mission-focused leaders is very real. At moss+ross, we are poised to help with interim professional placement to keep [...]

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