Donor Recognition: 7 Strategies

April 3rd, 2015

Donor Recognition is simply under-utilized as a tool for building a culture of philanthropy for a non-profit organization. Donor recognition is to be plaques, parties,  personal conversations and perpetual. thinking-cap

It simply begins with your own unique, strategic and focused thinking about thanking. It’s usefulness is bought to bear by your attention to and application of its potential as a proactive partner in all efforts toward enhanced and broadened giving for your organization. Continue reading »

“Just in Time” Donor Recognition

March 24th, 2015

Donor Recognition is the most powerful communication tool a fundraiser has. Yet, why is it that Donor Recognition plaques and displays seem to be ordered ONLY at the last minute? Continue reading »

Stewardship: Picture-perfect

January 28th, 2015
Brand Integration

Brand Integration

A picture is worth 1000 words….done well, like this University has, a single picture is worth $1000s!

Years ago my firm worked closely with Columbus State University (GA) to establish a recognition program brand:  a signature for philanthropy on their campus.

They have remained committed and true to that brand. They consistently present their philanthropy brand as a sort of “visual byte” throughout  fundraising collateral, give-aways and campus recognition.

I urge you to establish your own visual signature and then work to integrate it throughout all that is fund-raising.

Written by Robin E. Williams

Insights for Successful Campaigns from Barrett Carson

December 18th, 2014

BarrettBarrett Carson, now Vice President of Development at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), was the speaker at this week’s Atlanta AFP Breakfast meeting . Having led many campaigns in his tenure at higher education institutions, he has had particular success at Georgia Tech (GT). He was asked to share some insights with those gathered there.

I took notes and they follow here. I present them here as he did, as “food for thought”. His experience is palpable so he just shared the keys he seemed to think would be most helpful to the rest of us. Am sure everyone took away pieces and parts they found useful and so I share my notes here.

Since joining GT in 1997, his first campaign was set for $300 million but ended with $715 million. Currently having exceeded $1.5 billion for this state university, he expressed his dismay that their fundraising organization is now ranked 53 in the world!

  • Define the campaign’s scope: Comprehensive or just Capital needs. For him, Comprehensive refers to wall-to-wall needs. It’s the type of effort he has focused on while at Georgia Tech.
  • Establish metrics that make sense for the organization from the outset to track progress
  • Diligence, discipline and reporting are easy words to list but key to achieving success
  • A campaign, by definition, elevates the sights of an institution. To that end he urged the audience to make the commitment never to revert to the staff or energy levels found during  pre-campaign status
  • Specifically, don’t gear up just to lay-off.
  • He is careful annually throughout the life of a campaign to add staff positions, which had been taken on for campaign purposes,  to become part of his annual budget. The idea is that by end of campaign those extra dollars allotted to new staff are by then part of his annual budget, allowing all new hires to be permanent members of the team. He never wants to step back to pre-campaign thinking or performance
  • When choosing staff choose who can be self-sustaining. Pay more to get better folks and then expect more of them. And demand that they do so without close supervision
  • Hire for collegiality not for rainmaking. Think long-term relationships with staff as well as donors. Their average tenure of staff at GT Development is 15 years
  • Define the Case for Support based on your organization’s aspirations. Temper each with reality and then set priorities and goals accordingly
  • Be diligent about accounting. Use accepted methodologies such as those set forth by CASE or CAE; make your own decisions as to how to “count” different gift types, like planned gifts, and then stick to it. Report each accordingly. Don’t deviate from your methodology
  • Outside fundraising counsel can be extremely valuable to leadership as an external source of legitimacy. As he explained it, his counsel often functioned as a sounding board for leadership’s new ideas. But be sure to hire the person, not the firm. You’ll be working with the person, not the firm.
  • Perhaps the most useful, not-to-be-overlooked statement to fundraisers was his view that Development is not to be evaluated for its cost center to an organization, but rather they are to be viewed as a Revenue Center. If management agrees, the organization will succeed because the fundraisers are then seen as respected, well-paid achievers/revenue producers 

 

Think Differently: Bench Namings

September 8th, 2014

Bench namings New for Bench namings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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