Six Questions to Consider in Hiring a Nonprofit Consultant

By Kate Hearne. 1. Do we need a consultant? Look at your strategic plan or annual fundraising plan. What are your goals and how do you plan to move the needle toward those goals? Will you just work longer and harder? Maybe. Or maybe some of those goals would benefit from the outside perspective, strategy, and accountability that a consultant can bring. 2. How can a consultant help?  If you are meeting your fundraising and operational goals, a consultant can help you reach goals above and beyond the day-to-day responsibilities like a capital campaign or launching a major gifts program. If you’re not reaching your targets, a consultant can recommend new strategies and give an unbiased assessment of how you can strengthen your program. The benefit of a consultant is the additional support, creative thinking and extensive experience that will add value to [...]

Three Steps to Great Messaging by Jeanne Murray

Your organization communicates purpose and inspires support through your messaging. While a good starting point is crafting a great mission statement, the day-in/day-out communication of your organization’s message doesn’t end with a declaration of mission. Continual messaging conveys the impact, energy, and needs of your organization – and, importantly, supports your development efforts. How do you know good messaging from the kind that needs improvement? Good messaging communicates value, encourages consistency, and identifies clear action. Good messaging communicates value. Messaging that communicates value is less about what you do, and more about what gets done with donor support. Words and images that bring impact to life tell donors that your organization is a worthy investment of time, money, and attention. Do your communications identify a donor’s role in achieving the mission? For example, I’m on the board of a Durham [...]

Annual Planning: The Importance of Creating an Annual Development Plan by Kim Glenn

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” Wise words from Yogi Berra that remind us good planning is essential to success on many levels, and in the case of fundraising, can be critical to your organization’s long-term sustainability. Why? Because good development planning will not only help sustain your mission, but it's also a proven tool for growing and transforming your organization. Kim Glenn, Senior Associate Development planning starts with an understanding of where your organization wants to go and setting annual fundraising goals that will help get you there. Adding stretch goals that go above and beyond your annual funding needs is important, especially when your Executive Director or Board has plans to expand the organization’s impact. If you’ve ever heard discussion about the need to increase the number of clients served, [...]

Are your major donors ready? by Elizabeth Hopkins

Fundraising is all about relationships.  Whether a donor makes a $25 gift to your cause or a philanthropist makes a $1 million gift, the relationship you established helped motivate the gift. As you prepare for a campaign, nothing is more important than to build and solidify your relationship with each major gift prospect. Consistent, intentional stewardship and engagement between your organization and the donor are core components of a solid relationship. Personal stewardship ensures that the donor has a positive giving experience and feeds back into the cultivation phase of the new fundraising cycle. A major gift donor who receives good stewardship is likely to become even more involved with your organization and give again when asked. Major gift donors must receive regular, targeted communication and be aware of your social media channels so they are informed about your work. [...]

Do you have a campaign plan? by Brooke Jenkins

Here are seven key components of a campaign plan: Objectives – What you typically want out of a campaign are objectives like the following:  to raise a specific financial goal; to broaden awareness of your organization’s mission and impact; to develop the organization’s prospect base by attracting new donors and strengthening current donors’ support; and, ultimately, to complement and strengthen your annual operating/programmatic fundraising efforts. The Case for Support – Consider your audience, timing, content, and channels when communicating your organization’s urgent and compelling needs. You will use this messaging verbally and in written materials. Leadership Structure – Actively engaged staff and volunteers are essential! The plan should define structure and roles for everyone who will be directly involved, including administrators, development officers, board members and other campaign volunteers. Prospect Review – You must take a hard look at your [...]

2020-02-21T17:57:16+00:00October 27th, 2016|All Posts, Campaign Counsel, Team Expertise|

Do you need a case statement? by Jeanne Murray

Whether it is quick-printed or a beautiful glossy piece, you need to make a solid case to your audience. The most important reason to have a case statement is to help donors understand how they can make a difference by participating in your campaign. The case statement describes the need and the opportunity, and answers the question, "why now?". It assures donors you have thought through specific program goals and financial considerations, and describes the vision for a better future when you reach the campaign goal together. moss+ross Associate Jeanne Murray A recent client example is Durham Nativity School's “Building the Dream” Campaign, which helped renovate a wonderful building gifted to this school for 5th-8th grade boys. The case described a campaign vision of “classrooms equipped for the needs of young men, stability in our community, and investment [...]

From the Front Lines

moss+ross helps clients plan and run campaigns of varying sizes and purposes, from under $1 million to $400 million. We asked two of our clients to talk about the benefits of working with us at various stages in their campaign planning and execution.  The Rams Club at UNC has a long history of great fundraising, but a big campaign creates the opportunity to look creatively at complex messaging and funding structures as well as develop strategic funding goals. Executive Director John Montgomery reached out to moss+ross for involvement at multiple levels, and had this to say in response to the following question: What did you find helpful about working with moss+ross on campaign readiness? “We have just finished our second campaign planning retreat with Mary, Susan and Kim and they have provided our organization with an excellent roadmap for [...]

Strategic Planning: An Art, Not a Science by Chuck Fyfe

For many years, organizations embarking on a strategic planning effort followed an organized, pre-set process that grew out of a desire to justify large capital expenditures to investors.  Many books were written on the subject, and a generally accepted process was the norm.  Plans were populated with such elements as vision and mission statements, competitive analyses, SWOT analysis, risk assessments, resources analyses, etc.  And the plans were developed using similarly structured, replicable and defined processes. Chuck Fyfe, Senior Associate But in today’s world, and especially in the world of nonprofits, more attention must be paid to the specific needs of the organization in designing the process.  Unlike in the business world, nonprofits do not have the same set of performance measures such as net income, earnings per share or return on investment.  Often the goals are less tangible, [...]

Developing a culture of gratitude by Jeanne Murray

At this time of year, you are busy creating year-end appeals and reaching out to donors to say thank you. As a development professional, you probably think of expressing gratitude as making those calls and writing those letters. Have you stopped to consider how gratitude looks and feels from your donor’s perspective? What do donors experience that is gratifying – that is, helps them see the impact of your organization and feel that their contribution made a difference? How can recognition and acknowledgement help donors feel connected to the future work of your organization? How can expressions of gratitude help donors feel noticed and invited to become more involved? Sometimes we are so close to our work that it helps to take a step back and look at ourselves from an “outside in” perspective. What does a donor (or potential [...]

When you are ready for a new relationship by Fred Stang

moss+ross senior associate Fred Stang has read hundreds of cover letters and resumes as he and the executive search team work hard to match exceptional professionals with nonprofit organizations in the Triangle. We think he's the right person to share a few things to think about when you are considering a professional move. At moss+ross we’ve read hundreds upon hundreds of cover letters and resumes reflecting some of the best and worst writing imaginable. The ones that stand out are well written, interesting to read and show us the applicant has done his or her research. 1. Show us you care by proving you have read the job description and done your research on the organization. Your understanding of both should be clear in your cover letter, resume and in the references you choose. The more your resume parallels the priorities for the [...]

2020-02-21T19:37:14+00:00February 10th, 2015|All Posts, Staffing, Team Expertise|
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