donor engagement

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It’s Year-End: Pick up the Phone and Smile!

By Mary Moss, Founding Partner. Are you worried that you have not reached your year-end goals, that you have not talked to the people you thought you should, and that no one is returning your emails? It’s not too late. Pick up the Phone and Smile! In front of you, have the information you need: (1) their names and family names; (2) past giving amounts and patterns of what they usually support; (3) materials that will give you language about the impact of their gift and other details, and (4) how much you are going to ask for. If they have been a past supporter, thank them at least twice during your call. If they have not, make sure they know the impact their gift will have and how they will be recognized, if that’s important to them. Wish [...]

Living Lived Experiences

By Carolyn Rhodes, Senior Associate. As a Black woman gaining momentum in the non-profit sector, I used to begin every new interaction with my lived/living experiences. It was something I felt like I had to do in order to be connected to mission-driven work. I have grown to understand that my lived/living experiences do not have to be my identity and only need to be shared as I choose to disclose them. My lived/living experiences can help organizations see or do things differently in the communities they serve, but it is my skills and experiences that will help make long-lasting change in the organization. I believe you need both. And I recently sat down with some amazing leaders who felt the same way. At the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits Conference earlier this month, my colleague Jeanne [...]

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 [...]

2022-11-06T09:45:20-05:00September 20th, 2022|All Posts, From The Partners, Fundraising Counsel|

Servant Leadership and the Usher Protocol

By Kimberly Moore. My first experience with servant leadership was watching my grandmother serve as an usher in our small rural Baptist church in Gibsland, Louisiana. I am reminded of that usher protocol through moss+ross’ work in executive search, strategic planning, and fundraising counsel as well as my service on nonprofit boards. Through my grandmother’s example as a servant leader, I witnessed her preparation, setting of the tone, and anticipation, and can trace it through all the stages of organization engagement. Preparation My grandmother spent a few hours each Saturday washing and ironing her uniform – a starched white dress with matching stockings, shoes and gloves. This first step in her process was a labor of love to meet the crisp uniform standard. Similarly, when the moss+ross team assists an organization with executive search they come to [...]

2022-05-25T10:46:19-04:00May 25th, 2022|All Posts, Team Expertise|

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

2020-05-21T20:19:03-04:00May 21st, 2020|All Posts, From The Partners, Fundraising Counsel|

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 [...]

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

Making the best of unexpected circumstances by Mary Moss and Susan Ross

Perspectives on change and the unexpected from moss+ross co-founders and partners Mary Moss and Susan Ross... Over the course of our consulting careers, we have worked intimately with more than 100 organizations. Some embrace change, planned or not, while others grit their teeth and hope they make it through. Our perspective is that change can be a wonderful catalyst for leaders to step back and rethink, reorganize and restructure operations for the best. And in the 21st century, change is a given in almost every environment. An organization that is not changing is probably withering. Sometimes forced change offers opportunities that were not there before. Maybe you have an unspent salary to invest in strategic planning or an assessment you know you need. Perhaps you have been organizing your staff workload around a person’s strengths or weaknesses, and the change [...]

Succession planning: What can you do now?

While the departure of an executive director is not something that can always be planned, there are things that can be done along the way to ensure the organization is not crippled when this happens, because sooner or later, it will. Executive directors play such key roles representing an organization to all of its constituents. Often, he or she really is the face of what you do, so it’s not surprising that a departure can send waves of anxiety through an organization’s staff and board. Succession planning applies also to boards of directors. Many boards have a founding board chair who has become the driving force of the organization, functioning almost as staff. It is just as critical that the board members have a plan for what happens when that person wants to step down or cannot serve any longer [...]

2015-08-20T01:45:31-04:00August 20th, 2015|All Posts, Staffing, Strategic Planning|
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