Fund Development

Three Ways to Move Your Fundraising Forward

By: Patricia Kern, CFRE, Kern + Associates

There’s an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”

For the past 20-plus (ok, 25-plus) years I have been in the non-profit sector. I’ve learned that most of the time those awesome individuals who have ‘fundraising’ in their job descriptions usually have the best instincts, the best listening skills and the best ideas about how to raise needed funds for their organizations.

However, they lack the time to listen to their instincts, act on the information they gathered, or implement their ideas.

I think the Great Gretzky may have the answer to some of the challenges we face in fundraising.

I skate to where the puck is going to be…

How do we know where to skate? Or in other words, where to fundraise? Who to ask?

The best fundraisers I have ever known are readers. They read the local newspapers. They read the business journals, regional magazines, and chamber newsletters to name a few. Why? They are studying. They read about the women and men in leadership in their community and they take note of their companies, their visions, and their plans. They read to anticipate alignment with mission and they take this insight and…

I skate…

Skate. AKA: Move. Do not sit at your desk. Get up and get out of the office. Make appointments with prospects and donors. Schedule coffee time, breakfast huddles, and lunch dates. I know one executive who schedules lunch meetings every day. He schedules them a month out and he has a contact list that is amazing. He is getting to know people of all walks of life and while listening to others, he also builds relationships to share his goals and dreams for his organization. Truth. While you may think there’s no way you could do that every day what if you tried to schedule one lunch meeting a week? It’s all about getting out and skating…

…Not where it has been…

Is there a fundraising pattern at your organization? What? That doesn’t make sense. You’ve likely heard that those that who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it, right? Becoming a student of fundraising means learning what the fundraising story was for your organization a year ago, two years ago or more. Are you raising more or less today? Can you determine why? (If yes, good job! You’re already a good student!) Better yet, do you have a written plan for how to raise more this year? Or next year? If you haven’t yet won it on paper, you don’t have a plan. There are loads of good reading resources on writing fundraising plans but a few of my favorites are:

  • www.GivingUSA.org – This is a resource rich in history and analysis of fundraising.
  • www.simonejoyaux.com – I heard Simone once and it changed my fundraising life. Centering your plans on the donor is essential to your fundraising plan.
  • www.donordreams.wordpress.com – My buddy Erik Anderson has a great blog. Plus he’s cool.

Listen to Gretzky, Fundraiser. You are Great, too.

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Your Needs. Your Network. Together We Can.

NSPN Membership & Safe Place License Renewal Drive Kicks Off April 1, 2015

It’s that time of year again – time to renew or begin your membership and Safe Place license with National Safe Place Network (NSPN). We’ve enjoyed offering benefits and services to our members and licensed agencies this past year and we hope you will join us for an exciting, eventful 2015-2016.

For more than three decades, NSPN has provided services and support to agencies like yours, serving youth and families. Hundreds of thousands of youth have benefited from your work and involvement as a youth service provider. You are the Network’s most important asset – without youth and other agencies who believe in participating in and learning from an experienced community, there is no Network.

Starting on April 1, you will have the opportunity to sign up for or renew your membership with NSPN. As a Safe Place agency, you will have the opportunity to renew your license. Be on the lookout for forms coming in the mail, and be sure to check out our updated webpage beginning April 1.

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Grant Writing Resolutions

January – a time of reflection, new beginnings, resolutions, and preparing for grant-writing season. We are busy preparing for an upcoming webinar for NSPN members on grant writing resolutions. For a preview of the webinar, check out these two grant-writing tips.

Resolution 1: Lose the weight.

Grant writers and development officers carry the weight of the world on their shoulders during grant season. Worrying about whether your words will help save jobs or lose them. Programs may close based on your skill set alone! STOP IT! Just like with a diet, one practice or change is never sufficient to get the healthiest outcome. You are responsible for doing your best. And, that is all you can do. You have to share the burden with others. You need to develop patters of behavior that work for you. If you feel alone, call or connect with your NSPN membership team. We will figure it out together.

Resolution 2: Don’t be a citizen of ProcrastiNation.

We are busy. It is all we can do to get today’s work done. We may often fall short of our goals. Grant season will highlight every tendency you have to wait until a better time. When you wait until the next week or until you can get to it (whenever that is…) there are often challenges. While it is true you do not always know the data a funding application will be due… you do know that you will probably need updated logic models; organizational charts; need data; resumes; and, position descriptions. You can start on all of that now. Pull out your shiny new phone or paper calendar and set aside at least one hour per week to do something related to fund development preparation. It will make things easier in the spring and you may even hug yourself with joy and relief for planning ahead, or at least check something off your to-do list.

Want more tips? Join us on Thursday, January 15, 2015, at 1:00 p.m. EST for the NSPN Members-Only Webinar: 12 New Year’s Resolutions for Grant Writing. You can register here: https://nspn.memberclicks.net/index.php?option=com_mc&view=mc&mcid=form_185042

Please note: This webinar is open to any NSPN member at the basic level or above. The webinar will be recorded and available to members with access to the Training Center after January 15, 2015.