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Five Ways to Become a More Effective Major Gifts Officer

By Elizabeth Hopkins.  For many major gift officers, summer is the opportunity to take stock of the success and challenges of the previous fiscal year and make resolutions for the new year. The most successful gift officers embrace prospect planning to ensure they are getting out of the office to find, cultivate and solicit the best prospects. If you are at your desk more than you are out, you are missing opportunities. Meetings, database entry deadlines, reports, and proposal writing can tie you down to your desk, preventing you from your primary responsibility of engaging prospects and donors in major gift conversations. Here are five suggestions to help you focus your work to become a more efficient, effective, and productive major gifts officer. 1. Create a personal annual development plan that includes both fiscal-year fundraising goals and engagement goals. Include [...]

2020-02-28T13:37:29+00:00January 30th, 2020|All Posts, Fundraising Counsel, Team Expertise|

Engaging Your Board in Foundation Grant Seeking

By Kathryn Williams. Family foundations comprise the largest segment of the private foundation sector, a sector that grew by an estimated 7.3% to $75.86 billion last year, according to Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018. Foundation giving represented 18% of all 2018 charitable dollars, which is unprecedented, both for the dollar amount and for the share of total giving. Approaching a family foundation requires a personal connection. You can’t just send in an unsolicited letter of inquiry or grant request; no one will read it. Your Board may have the ability to positively influence the grant process. Identify connections among your Board members. Someone on your Board may have a relationship with a funder that can open doors. Gather as much information as you can about the foundation and its staff [...]

2020-02-28T13:40:43+00:00January 14th, 2020|All Posts, Fundraising Counsel, Team Expertise|

The Extraordinary Importance of Ordinary Donors

By Susan Ross. All donors, large and small, play an important role in charitable giving, yet recent data show that about half of US families today are not giving at all, and those that do are giving less than they did 15 years ago. Research from the Lilly School of Philanthropy at Indiana University shows that this is true across the board, among all organizations. The good news is that most nonprofit organizations are meeting fundraising goals, thanks to larger gifts from fewer donors. Pursuing the extraordinary opportunity means focusing on major gifts. But what about the “ordinary” – the small or medium-sized gift? The stakes are high: nonprofit independence and sustainability may be jeopardized when a few very generous, very wealthy donors have all the voice and clout. Such donors usually do not want all that responsibility [...]

Recipe for Nonprofit Success: Three Essential Ingredients

By Mary Moss. Imagine your organization has stopped operation. Imagine funds have run out. Imagine the population your mission supports cannot be served. Everything stops. Imagine the despair. For the leaders at Community Music School (CMS) in Raleigh, this was reality, not imagination, and on the front page of the News & Observer a few years ago. Fast forward to today, where CMS is thriving, growing, adapting, and serving more students as it lives into its mission To Create Brighter Futures Through Music. Fundraising numbers are way up, teachers are being recognized in myriad ways, and more students than ever are clamoring to see their brand new facility located at Longleaf School of the Arts in Southeast Raleigh. How did this extraordinary state of affairs turn around? CMS leaders concentrated on three key ingredients. This is a simple recipe, [...]

Your Board Really Can Be Great!

By Susan Ross. I was asked for my perspective on the probing question “Is Your Board Any Good?” in a recently released short video from local agency Angel Oak Creative. During the filming, I suggested to the interviewer that “Is your board as good as you need it to be?” might be a better question. At moss+ross, we work with lots of boards, and Mary and I have rarely run into one that really is not “any good.” But we have seen boards that aren’t making best use of their skills, have fallen into performance ruts or lost their focus, and have ended up being less effective than the nonprofit or institution – or their board members - deserved. Sometimes a retreat or custom training can be a big help to getting a board reengaged and focused. Last [...]

How Much Can You Do in an Hour?

By Mary Moss. It turns out, a lot! Have you ever been in a meeting and caught yourself yawning without opening your mouth where your nostrils expand, and you pray no one is watching? This is a dead give-away that the meeting has gone on too long. I am a keen observer of how different leaders run meetings. Some people process aloud, some don’t say a word, and some insist that everyone say something.  Some prefer to set a time limit; others intentionally do not. Some prepare ahead of time and follow an agenda; others cannot be constrained to an agenda. I have become a huge proponent of the one-hour meeting. Strong meeting management values other people’s time. For example, my Rotary runs a tight ship – meetings are one hour, although people can come earlier to eat [...]

Making the Most of the Midpoint

By Jeanne Murray. In the fundraising world, beginnings and endings are cause for celebration: from kickoffs and launches, to end-of-year campaigns and recognition ceremonies. Yet significant work must also happen in the middle – whether that’s in mid-fiscal year, or in mid-campaign, as many of our clients are experiencing now. Beware of just muddling through the middle! Take proactive steps that will inspire energy and passion among your volunteers, staff, board, and donors. Rekindle that burst of energy you felt at the outset of your year or campaign with these tips. Six tips for midpoint action: Take stock. For an annual fund campaign, examine annual giving trends, and follow up with specific donors whose gifts traditionally came in during the first half of the year but aren't in yet. For a capital campaign, go back to your campaign [...]

2020-02-28T17:58:25+00:00February 27th, 2019|All Posts, Campaign Counsel, Fundraising Counsel, Team Expertise|

Respect the Power of December

By Mary Moss. Beginning in late November, the temptation is to concede December as too busy and intrusive for fundraising.  We sometimes become tentative; we project what may not be true:  that December is a bad time to ask because we are invading personal space. In fact, in my experience, the opposite is true.  Strong Decembers became a marker of my career. Having worked in development for 37 years, I am very familiar with the pros and cons of this season as it relates to fundraising. This off-schedule, nonworking time is in fact better for many families.  People are less rushed and have time to be thoughtful about what is important to them, including their giving. As a general rule, I worked very hard leading up to the holidays and then again soon after they ended. I never [...]

2020-02-28T18:18:59+00:00November 24th, 2018|All Posts, From The Partners, Fundraising Counsel|

m+r interim solutions: Personnel Services for Nonprofits

By Lizzy Mottern and LisaCaitlin Perri. Triangle-area nonprofits that need hands-on professional help with leadership, fundraising, grant writing, communications, database support, and more can now call on moss+ross for interim personnel services.Our new service, m+r interim solutions, provides our clients with talented professionals on cost-effective, short-term contracts to:Fill gaps due to planned and unplanned personnel absencesSupport temporary project needs, orAssist during peak workloadsmoss+ross affiliate contractors are highly qualified, experienced nonprofit professionals who work as interim members of a client’s staff.  moss+ross develops the scope of work and contract with the client, manages the client relationship, and provides oversight to the affiliate’s work. Affiliates are guided by moss+ross best practices and understand moss+ross expectations for delivering high-value service to clients.m+r interim solutions roles include:Executive DirectorDirector of DevelopmentGift OfficerDevelopment AssociateDatabase/Data ProcessingGrant WriterCommunications/MarketingEvents Coordinatormoss+ross understand the needs, opportunities, and challenges of area [...]

Expanded Focus on Faith Communities

By Susan Ross. Listening to the inspiring words of the Most Reverend Michael Curry on Saturday at the Royal Wedding reminded the world (or at least the two billion of us who watched) that there is power in love to help, heal, lift up, liberate, and show us the way to live. At moss+ross, we believe the work we do with our nonprofit partners helps to extend this power of love to neighbors throughout our communities. During the past decade, Mary and I have grown the firm to include 18 associates, enabling us to respond rapidly and effectively to our partners. To our original core business of campaign management and fundraising counsel, we have added capacity in executive search, strategic planning, data management, research, and other important areas. Today we announce an expanded focus on faith communities, knowing [...]