Articles

A Winning Team – Working With Volunteer Leadership

by Joni King, Senior Vice President, Pride Philanthropy

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things.  He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”  – Ronald Regan  Sound familiar? Does this describe volunteer leaders who are involved with your organization?  All across the country and our world, people are volunteering and investing their time, ideas, resources and experiences to lead others in service for the good of our organizations. Key volunteer leaders, along with staff, are leading projects and programs that help to meet the needs of those in our communities.  Volunteers provide a positive experience so that others, involved can and want to continue their journey of service.  So, are you doing what you can to recruit and retain volunteer leadership?  Here are a few things for you to keep in mind, and to pay attention to, as you build and sustain your volunteer program:  Identifying and recruiting top volunteer leaders who are:

  • Committed to your mission and vision
  • Willing to donate time, energy, support
  • Eager to become a part of your organization
  • High profile: respected and well-known
  • Seen as generous: willing and able to contribute
  • Respected leaders and have the ability to invite others to “Join” them

Work at involving and sustaining key volunteers by:

  • Recruiting a volunteer for a specific committee and task
  • Providing orientation and training as well as ongoing staff support
  • Developing a long term relationship with volunteer leaders as we do with donors is important
  • Recognizing volunteers as you would recognize donors

Involving volunteer leadership is “key” in our fundraising success. We know that the competition for volunteer leadership is most often greater than the competition for donations.  It is easy to write a check; not so easy to give of one’s time.  Folks have a lot of choices of places where they could give of their time, talents, and expertise. If we are able to be the organization they select to give back to by volunteering and if we become their charity of choice, the impact they will have on our programs will be everlasting.  Volunteers like to be successful and to be part of something positive for their community.  Volunteers can bring donors closer to us, create a positive momentum, and make incredible things happen.  Remember . . . People give to people, and people give to leadership!

What Can You Gain From a Feasibility Study?

“My charity is considering launching a capital campaign later this year. Should we conduct a feasibility study?”  A feasibility study is an objective assessment to determine whether a capital campaign is “feasible” for any given organization. Revealing potential donors and identifying a constituency’s inclination and ability to support are critical components to financial success.  The most effective feasibility studies are actually expanded “opportunity assessments” and offer more than just an evaluation of external and internal readiness for a campaign. They also provide defined strategies and supporting actions that need to be incorporated and implemented in a successful capital expansion effort, and a specific set of suggested next steps for targeted prospective donors.  A valuable, thorough assessment process provides insight along with concrete, specific recommendations for early action to create and maintain positive momentum. A well-orchestrated effort can actually serve as a valuable ongoing assessment and motivational tool for staff and volunteers, whether or not an organization is embarking upon a major capital campaign.  The “w’s” and the how-to’s of a study should include:

  • What are the clearly defined needs in the case for support?
  • Which components are most compelling, and why?
  • What are the benefits — and to whom — of this campaign?
  • How should the campaign messaging be unveiled and presented?
  • What is the very specific range of financial potential for the project or cause?
  • What is the suggested timetable? Will it be a single or multi-phased campaign?
  • Who are key leaders within the constituency willing to engage?
  • Which individuals – both staff and volunteers – are solidly committed to the launch?
  • Who will recruit the leaders? When and how will that process occur?
  • How should the campaign be structured, both internally and externally?
  • What are the key next steps, and who is responsible for each?

Occasionally, information gleaned from interviewees and supporting research during the study can alter an organization’s expected course of action. In a recent opportunity assessment Pride Philanthropy conducted for a large health system, many key interviewees were not motivated — or seemingly even interested — in the primary capital initiative that was being tested.  Several suggested expanding and including other more compelling needs. As a result, the campaign focus shifted to focus more upon the community’s perceived needs, not just hospital needs, and previously unidentified prospects surfaced in support of the new more broad-based initiatives.

Profiling Your Prospects

By Trish Williams, Client Resource Specialist, Pride Philanthropy

Having good information on your prospects is invaluable before approaching them for donations – the majority of donations in the United States still come from individuals, and being able to combine financial ability and a personal passion can be the key to forming a long-lasting philanthropic relationship between your donor and your organization.

As prospect researchers, we generally only have access to information that is available in the public domain and the easiest access to this information is the Internet. Known for its plethora of information, the Internet can be filled with overwhelming amounts of data but it is still a treasure trove for prospect researchers. We must act as Internet detectives to sort through all the information in cyberspace to get to the meaningful and accurate nuggets of information that will be useful in profiling a donor. The more information you start with, the better your search results will be. Knowing the full name (with the middle name, maiden name and any generational names), last known address and birthdate of your prospects as well as any business affiliations they may have or have had will allow you to drill through the vast amount of data that is out there quickly and efficiently. Armed with this information, a very thorough and accurate profile of a prospective donor can usually be obtained.

Another great resource for information regarding your local area prospects is your local newspaper. Keep a close watch on the public interest articles for the names of your prospects to find out what they or their family may be doing. Everyone wants to feel that others care about them and the things they do. Being able to express genuine interest in what your prospect has been doing in the community will go a long way to being able to create a mutually beneficial relationship. The local paper is also a great place to learn of others who might be perfect prospects for your organization.  Is this information really helpful? Absolutely! Knowing that your prospect used to play golf competitively while they were in college gives you the chance to invite them to your Annual Golf Gala. Being aware they have children in the band at a nearby school can lead to a conversation about the need for more funding for a music program and concert series at the area performing arts facilities. Knowing which political party they tend to support can prevent any blunders from derailing an otherwise excellent ‘ask’ opportunity.

While the information available to us in the public domain can never tell the full story of someone’s interests or ability to give, it can definitely give some useful insights. That sweet lady you see at every garden club meeting who never says a word, the garrulous gentleman at every city council meeting, the couple who attend every football game to cheer along their children may just be your next signature gift donors. Do you know enough about them to ask?

Seven Paths to a Successful Board/Staff Retreat

We all know that extended meetings are hard to schedule and coordinate. Regardless of the challenge, the fact remains that there are occasions that demand more time than a typical 60-minute meeting as we deal with issues of planning, goal setting, and problem solving. Following are seven ways to ensure a successful retreat meeting with productive and positive interaction.

  • Schedule around key leaders.  There are certain people who must be present at meetings. If major decisions are going to be made, the key leaders need to be in the room. Check their schedule first and coordinate accordingly.
  • Get input on the agenda.  Although you may have a sense of what you need to accomplish, there may be separate issues on others’ minds. You will need to include their thoughts on agenda items; this will help to provide more enthusiastic participation as participants are allowed to address issues they feel are important.
  • Have your agenda be “action oriented”.  This means decisions need to be made, tasks accomplished, objectives set, and problems solved. Sometimes even with the best of intentions, meetings become about reporting information, which can be put in written form and read at any time. Make sure you have an opportunity to make things happen at the meeting.
  • Be aware that everyone needs to participate.  There are always individuals who are more introverted and not as eager to speak up. A good facilitator knows how to encourage participation from everyone and keep the tone non-judgmental as people put forth suggestions, solutions, and their own thoughts.
  • Record and chronicle the discussions.  Taking minutes can be a tedious process. While not every word needs to be taken down and shared later, it is important to capture significant thoughts, ideas, and discussions as they happen. Even though we may think we will be able to remember the high points of a given meeting, it is always surprising how quickly the details can be lost.
  • Build in social time.  Although we have business objectives when we plan any type of extended meeting or retreat session, often the part that people look most forward to is the social time. People are social creatures and the opportunity to interact after the session over dinner with spouses and guests has the potential to be as valuable as the work session that was conducted. It is an opportunity for people to get comfortable with each other in a different setting and ultimately creates a trust environment which will be more productive for the organization in the long run.
  • Follow up.  It is not unusual that even with the best discussions and productive time spent at a retreat, decisions and actions may be set aside for some period of time before everyone is reminded. As assignments are made, people commit to certain activities. Follow up with a reminder to everyone on what was agreed.

Things happen when people get together. When we provide the right structure and plan in advance, the odds of a successful session improve dramatically.

6 Techniques to Maximize Your Hospice Online Fundraising

1) Use the same colors and design

Use these in your logo, printed materials and overall brand, including website, email campaigns, social media and printed material.

2) Brand email communications to your donors 

Brand your email consistent with your website. You have just three seconds to capture attention and don’t want donors spending that time trying to determine who you are. Have your web designer create an html email campaign template that matches your website when you are setting up or redesigning your site.

3) Keep your navigation simple and easy

Have a prominent DONATE NOW button on every page. Visitors to your site know what they are looking for (contact information, services, etc.), so make it easy for them to find gift information.

4) Have your donation page clearly state it is secure 

With so much online fraud these days, assure donors their information will be protected.

5) Use graphics for links and make sure any graphics have links

Too much text with links embedded will be lost. Use bold colors so the buttons stand out and draw the eye to them.  Make existing graphics actionable to get to the most out of their use.

6) Beware the scroll

Often, visitors to your site will not scroll down your home page to find information, especially if they are in a hurry. Don’t use up valuable real estate “above the line” with pictures. Include all pertinent information at the top so they won’t miss anything important.

Questions about Hospice Fundraising? Ask the experts!   results@pridephilanthropy.com

7 Ways to Ensure a Successful Board/Staff Retreat

We all know that extended meetings are hard to schedule and coordinate. Regardless of the challenge, the fact remains that there are occasions that demand more time than a typical 60-minute meeting as we deal with issues of planning, goal setting, and problem solving. Following are seven ways to ensure a successful retreat meeting with productive and positive interaction.

1) Schedule around key leaders. 

There are certain people who must be present at meetings. If major decisions are going to be made, the key leaders need to be in the room. Check their schedule first and coordinate accordingly.

2) Get input on the agenda.  

Although you may have a sense of what you need to accomplish, there may be separate issues on others’ minds. You will need to include their thoughts on agenda items; this will help to provide more enthusiastic participation as participants are allowed to address issues they feel are important.

3) Have your agenda be “action oriented”. 

This means decisions need to be made, tasks accomplished, objectives set, and problems solved. Sometimes even with the best of intentions, meetings become about reporting information, which can be put in written form and read at any time. Make sure you have an opportunity to make things happen at the meeting.

4) Be aware that everyone needs to participate. 

There are always individuals who are more introverted and not as eager to speak up. A good facilitator knows how to encourage participation from everyone and keep the tone non-judgmental as people put forth suggestions, solutions, and their own thoughts.

5) Record and chronicle the discussions. 

Taking minutes can be a tedious process. While not every word needs to be taken down and shared later, it is important to capture significant thoughts, ideas, and discussions as they happen. Even though we may think we will be able to remember the high points of a given meeting, it is always surprising how quickly the details can be lost.

6) Build in social time. 

Although we have business objectives when we plan any type of extended meeting or retreat session, often the part that people look most forward to is the social time. People are social creatures and the opportunity to interact after the session over dinner with spouses and guests has the potential to be as valuable as the work session that was conducted. It is an opportunity for people to get comfortable with each other in a different setting and ultimately creates a trust environment which will be more productive for the organization in the long run.

7) Follow up. 

It is not unusual that even with the best discussions and productive time spent at a retreat, decisions and actions may be set aside for some period of time before everyone is reminded. As assignments are made, people commit to certain activities. Follow up with a reminder to everyone on what was agreed.

Things happen when people get together. When we provide the right structure and plan in advance, the odds of a successful session improve dramatically.

 

 

Questions about Board or Staff Retreats? Ask the experts!   results@pridephilanthropy.com

5 Reasons Your Hospice Should Ramp Up Your Annual Gifts Effort

Demands on hospice fundraising efforts have never been higher. With the pressure on for the big gifts necessary to make large goals possible, it is easy to neglect annual giving. Here are some reasons to get back on the program:

1) Ongoing Donor Relationships

Perhaps obviously, an annual giving club can be effective in sustaining continuous philanthropic income AND participation in your organization. Rather than simply making a gift each year, donors are renewing a membership in a club, simultaneously sustaining their membership and the charity’s donor pool. Well-planned donor recognition – dynamic displays, regularly refreshed newsletter lists, annual receptions, and plaques with blank spaces for subsequent years, for example – can further improve donor retention.

2) Capturing New Donors

Donor acquisition is the primary objective of an annual giving program. An annual membership drive is a tremendous opportunity to continue to grow donor pool each year. Keep the membership invitation in front of prospects year-round by adding it to your business reply envelope flap, mentioning it in each issue of your newsletter, and including it as a P.S. in your annual appeal.

3) Larger Gifts From Existing Donors

Annual gift clubs with defined tiers of giving can encourage donors to reach for higher levels of recognition, and in these challenging times, allow a donor to stay engaged. Annual levels of $100, $250, $500, and $1,000 offer natural milestones for your contributors. Consider using your annual membership renewal notice as an opportunity to invite every donor to advance to the next level. Conversely, consider how to offer a reduced level of giving to a lapsed donor.

4) Sustainability Between Campaigns

Established giving clubs allow mature development programs to enlist new donors between projects. As clubs achieve momentum, they can become less dependent upon a project or campaign to grow and sustain membership. In this way, you keep your philanthropic income high, even when not soliciting for a large fundraising campaign.

5) Widespread Community Recognition

Recognition of club’s membership is a powerful and persuasive way to demonstrate the endorsement of the community. Recognize your annual gift club members by level. Publish and distribute the list on at least an annual basis, if not in your quarterly newsletter. Be prepared to remove lapsed donors from the list. Remember that your goal is to put your donor list in the hands of as many of your prospects as often as possible.

Questions about Annual Giving Clubs? Ask the experts!   results@pridephilanthropy.com

 

Original content by: Chris Rollins – Chief Development Officer for Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice, in Marlton, New Jersey

5 Ways to Increase Your Planned Gifts this Year

Regardless of the size of your non-profit, you can make planned gifts a part of your culture. Feature planned gift opportunities throughout your development program from your website to your collateral materials. What are some approaches?

1) Use stories.

Planned giving can be intimidating and confusing, so use testimonials from current planned gift donors. Share real life examples. Include photos and tell stories about your donors and the benefits of the gifts they created.

2) Utilize your board.

If you don’t have any planned gift donors, recruit your board members to make a planned gift, then promote each one.

3) Create collateral material.

Include a simple planned gift brochure in your gift acknowledgement letters. Focus on a different type of planned gift each year.  Make the brochures unique to your constituency and organization.

4) Spread the word.

Educate your constituency on an ongoing basis. In all your materials include basic “how to’s” on the mechanics of simple planned gifts vehicles such as including bequests in wills. Have a postage paid return envelope or link back to your website so it’s convenient and easy for a prospect to contact you with questions or for more details.  Include an article – or even a paragraph or checklist – on planned gifts in every publication, particularly those that include your donor listing.  These can be written by development staff or planned gift volunteers affiliated with your organization. Keep the copy simple and practical.

5) Find a professional.

Partner with your local estate planning professional to present estate planning seminars to your constituency.

If your non-profit is not large enough to support this effort, consider partnering with another local charity. The initial goal is simply educating prospective donors about planned gifts, and the visibility will benefit everyone. Cultivate planned gift professionals as invitees, participants and sponsors of your special events. Keep your non-profit continually visible as they are often in the position of offering clients suggestions about specific charities.  Offer a Heritage Circle/Legacy Society recognition mechanism for your planned gift donors, then publicize and recognize them consistently.

Questions about planned or estate giving? Ask the experts!    results@pridephilanthropy.com

King’s Daughters Foundation Receives Naming Gift

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A community wide fundraising effort by King’s Daughters Foundation has been underway for the past several months to build endoscopy suites at King’s Daughters Medical Center. This campaign was kicked off by the 1914 Club which consists of approximately 100 individuals interested in KDMC and in continuing the provision of quality health care services with donations totaling $25,000 and the E3 Employee Giving Club with 228 employees pledging $159,000 over a three year period. Recently the project received a major gift of $100,000 from the Willing Hearts Circle that was made possible by the Silver Cross Foundation.

“The goal was to raise $500,000 of the one million needed to complete the project. At this point we are closing in on the $300,000 mark. We are very pleased with the community’s support and the strong support internally from our employees in just a few short months. The renovation gives us an opportunity to offer more gastrointestinal services on a larger scale in the future.” said Johnny Rainer KDMC Chief Development Officer

The dedicated endoscopy suites will be located on the third floor of KDMC adjacent to the intensive care unit (ICU). With the increase in outpatient surgeries and procedures and the available space upstairs, the project was launched. The space will consist of two suites for procedures and six private rooms for prep and recovery. “Endoscopies are routine, quick procedures that are primarily colonoscopies. By removing these procedures from the outpatient surgery area and moving to a dedicated space we will improve efficiency while giving patients a much better experience,” explained KDMC Chief Operating Officer Tom Hood.

David Culpepper, KDMC’s Director of Marketing stated “The gift secured a naming opportunity: The Willing Hearts Circle Endoscopy Suites at King’s Daughters. The Willing Hearts Circle has played an integral role in the development of KDMC since its inception with their leadership and prayers. This gift insures the Willing Hearts Circle will always be visible at KDMC. It will be a reminder that many have gone before us to prepare the way.”

Sarah Foster, Board Chairman for Silver Cross Foundation stated, “On behalf of the Silver Cross Foundation Board, we are very excited to present this gift to KDMC to help with the renovation of this area of the hospital. This gift is in honor of the Christian heritage and service of our past, present and future Willing Hearts Circle members. The Circle which was started over 100 years ago here in Brookhaven is part of the International Order of the Kings Daughters and Sons. It has been a driving force in the building and overseeing of KDMC, Silver Cross Home & Rehab and Kingsborough Elderly Housing. It is such a privilege to have the ability to give back to our community through the fruits of those that came before us.”

Mary Lu Redd KDMC Board Chair stated “This generous gift is pushing us even closer to expanding a service that is so essential to our community. Our goal at KDMC is to regularly assess the medical needs of the community and, whenever possible, supply those services. A gift such as this helps make that possible. It is with sincere gratitude to Silver Cross Foundation and the Willing Hearts Circle that KDMC welcomes this donation.”

Anyone interested in becoming more involved or getting more information about the project you may contact Johnny Rainer or David Culpepper at King’s Daughters Medical Center.

3 Ways Nonprofit CEOs Succeed

The best philanthropic CEOs drive a solid culture of ‘healthy philanthropy’ throughout their charitable organizations. How do they do that?

Engage…in the Case for Support

  • Provide evaluation, input and insight on projects
  • Relate defined needs to strategic plan
  • Incorporate governing board and management team priorities
  • Listen and encourage discussion and buy-in from constituent publics

Engage…Leadership 

  • Involve volunteer leaders in project selection and goal-setting
  • Participate in key meetings
  • Share updates and plans to further alignment
  • Recognize positive impact of CEO encouragement and support of staff and volunteers

Engage…in Major Gifts 

  • Join staff or volunteers in key asks
  • Answer the “tough” questions, including financials
  • Cultivate and steward major donors and prospects
  • Serve as visionary to compel others to achieve philanthropic success