Welcome Normal Days

By Susan Ross, Partner. I’ve kept a newspaper column for many years called “Learning to be grateful for life’s normal days.” Encouraging us not to overlook their beauty, Donna Britt writes in the Washington Post of their “magnificent mediocrity” and says “those are days worth loving.” Never was that more true than during the 2020-21 pandemic-related upheaval of our normalcy. Nonprofits did what they could. Some hunkered down while others geared up, and most of those who continued fundraising just closed one of their best years ever. Our advice, shared through every Zoom call and e-newsletter over the last year, was not to wait it out but instead to continue to do the hard work of asking people to support the mission. So now as you begin to plan your 2021-22 fiscal year, how do you account [...]

The Five W’s of Development Planning

By Elizabeth Hopkins, Brooke Jenkins, and Lizzy Mottern. The summer months are a good time to refresh and renew our enthusiasm for the important work we do – and to create a Development Plan for the year ahead. The Five W’s of Development Planning will help you focus on the important elements of your plan. Why Plan? A plan provides common understanding of what is being done, who is doing it, and by when. Development plans: Secure resources for your organization Keep donors connected, informed, and feeling appreciated Ensure the development team works efficiently and effectively. When to Plan? For many organizations, the summer marks the end of one fiscal year and the beginning of another, making this an ideal time to assess what worked well last year and plan for the year ahead. Start early and [...]

Invest Now, or Regret Later

By Mary Moss, Partner. The Dow Jones all-time high of 34,811 happened on May 7, 2021. Given the year we have had, I have been astonished at U.S. economic performance amid the disruption of the pandemic, the calls for justice, and political polarization. Yet, experts continue to promote economic optimism this year and in the coming years, some saying that the best is yet to come. Of course, all of that is subject to opinion and evolving data. The economy and philanthropy are partners for life, and when the former does well, so does the latter. In 2020, depending on which report you read, overall giving increased slightly, or increased in some sectors, or decreased. In 2021 so far, we are seeing donors give generously, respond faster with pledges and payments, and volunteer more freely. Every capital campaign moss+ross is supporting is finding success. [...]

Building Great Partnerships

By Susan Ross, Partner. Last month I loved being a volunteer faculty member for AFP’s three-day intensive Fundamentals of Fundraising course. My portion of the training used 46 slides and two hours to reinforce one critical point: “Building and maintaining relationships is at the core of successful fundraising.” What does that mean for you and your nonprofit? Based on a dozen years leading moss+ross and three decades of fundraising for Duke, my experience says that building great working relationships with good people interested in your cause starts with valuing them beyond their gifts. Take time to hear their stories and learn from them. Seek their input and make sure they hear important information directly from you. As you bring them closer to the work you are doing, you may see them invest in a bigger way and become your organization’s biggest [...]

Partnering with Corporations

By Emily Bruce, Senior Associate. Local corporate partnerships are often part of the funding mix for many nonprofits, though typically a small proportion (only 5% of overall philanthropic giving, according to Giving USA.) Developing a win-win partnership that aligns your mission with the philanthropic priorities of a local corporation has benefits for both parties. How do you build a relationship with a company? Begin building relationships within a local company by getting to know its people. 1.     Employee Volunteerism. Local companies invest where their employees are investing their time. Many corporations provide paid hours for their employees to volunteer, and even better, several also provide matching gifts for every hour an employee volunteers. Recent trends also reflect companies’ willingness to provide grants or reimburse nonprofits for the expenses they incur for hosting volunteers. 2.     Community Affairs/Corporate Social Responsibility. Many corporations invest in [...]

2021-03-19T17:41:37+00:00March 19th, 2021|All Posts, Fundraising Counsel, Team Expertise|

Challenging Times Bring Solutions and Hope

By Mary Moss, Partner. It’s 2021. The hope for a bright and shiny new year was dashed with images from January 6th at the U.S Capitol. An already beleaguered nation that is dealing with issues of life and death – the pandemic, racial inequity, and economic insecurity – is struggling to come to terms with how the first week in January affects the rest of this year and beyond. At moss+ross, we hold fast to our mission to support nonprofits in their missions, amid growing crises. Hope lives brightly on the horizon. Working together, through the toughest of times, we will find ways to get there. Phase I-B for vaccine distribution has been announced, and we are better positioned to address open festering wounds in racial justice and democracy. We will be stronger working together on these issues. For [...]

Time to Put it in DRIVE!

By Susan Ross. Now that Election Day has passed, the calendar shows just eight weeks left to hit your year-end goals. Now is the time to get your message out and bring in the gifts you need for your nonprofit. Here is where to start: 1)   Set a goal and get to work. Analyze your data and budget - how much money do you need by 12/31? Look up what you usually raise this time of year. You may have some catching up to do -- you need to get out there and ask. Enlist your colleagues and Board members to help you bring in gifts. 2)   Get your 2020 message right. Last year’s recycled message points just won’t do it. Take the time to uncover and tell new stories that are relevant to donors making a 2020 decision. Donors want [...]

2020-11-11T03:39:41+00:00November 11th, 2020|All Posts, From The Partners, Fundraising Counsel|

To Keep Your Donors, Keep It Clean!

By LisaCaitlin Perri. Database clean-up will help retain your nonprofit’s donors by equipping you with the tools to get those second- and third-time donations through the door. 1. Identify the top 25-50-100 individual donors and prospects, and make sure you have accurate email addresses and phone numbers on their records. 2. Generate the following lists for your development staff, executive director, and board to review. Then, make notes in the database about who is connected to whom so you can improve solicitation assignments for large gifts and maximize stewardship actions like appeal follow-up and thank yous. a.      New donors above a certain giving amount b.     Top donors from the previous year (LYBUNT, or Last Year But Unfortunately Not This Year) c.      Top, lapsed donors going back no further than 3-5 years, considering that the average “recapture” rate of lapsed donors [...]

2020-09-09T18:45:07+00:00September 9th, 2020|All Posts, Fundraising Counsel, Team Expertise|

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|

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|
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