We work with nonprofit organizations to enhance their fundraising effectiveness by creating strategies specific to their needs and capabilities. The most productive engagements include personal involvement with the triad of those most responsible for organizational fundraising success – development director, executive director, and board of directors.
Our services focus on those efforts that have the greatest potential for transforming the capacity of organizations to realize their visions.
Campaign success rests upon thorough planning and preparation followed by disciplined implementation. A campaign depends largely on voluntary action – a voluntary commitment of time by campaign leaders and a voluntary commitment of financial support by donors. That makes planning, preparation, and implementation all the more important. Our services are matched to the needs and capabilities of our clients.
- Pre-campaign consultation: Planning is focused internally while preparation concentrates on the donor constituency. These efforts should be undertaken coincidentally. Too often an organization neglects the preparation of donors. The result is that the organization can be out of sync with its supporters. We help clients determine how to involve donors appropriately as planning for the campaign is undertaken internally, which is often over a prolonged period marked by fits and starts. The objective is to prepare donors for a campaign study that will provide the most meaningful feedback and to accelerate the cultivation process that will lead to major campaign commitments.
- Campaign strategy consultation: Every organization and every campaign is unique. It's a bit like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Certain basic principles apply, but the pieces are always different and a variety of approaches can be used to tackle the project. It's both art and science. That's why a seasoned consultant can be extremely useful.
A campaign needs an overall strategy with a detailed plan developed for the organization's specific situation. It also needs strategies for particular prospects for leadership positions and major gifts. We provide both essential elements. However, even the most meticulous plan and judicious donor cultivation cannot avoid the inevitable disruptions and disappointments. We draw on considerable experience to provide objectivity and to develop viable options to keep the campaign moving toward its goals.
Campaign studies are designed to test constituents' readiness to support organizational goals. In undertaking a campaign study, our purpose is to discover how a campaign can be structured to achieve those goals. It requires insight, creativity, and experience. We carefully tailor every campaign study to each organization's unique situation and constituency profile to find answers to the right questions. For example, for organizations with:
- limited fundraising history, is a campaign truly feasible? If the answer is yes, to what extent are donors willing to support it?
- loyal but limited constituencies, is the giving capacity of members ample enough to meet campaign goals?
- few major donors, are there donors who are prepared to make the level of leadership gifts that are required to achieve campaign goals?
- multiple needs, is the donor constituency adequate and sufficiently interested to meet all of the organization's objectives? If not, which goals will compel donors to give and how will other necessary needs be met?
- successful, longstanding development programs, what are the interests of the next generation of donors and how can they be aligned with organizational vision?
Major and Planned Gifts
Approximately 3% of households have net worth of $1 million or more or annual incomes of $200,000 or greater. Collectively, they account for about two-thirds of charitable donations. We advise clients to focus on those households that have the financial capacity to have a transformative impact on the organization's ability to fulfill its mission. Major gifts to an organization generally are the result of strong relationships that have been developed with donors over time. Such donors are motivated to make extraordinary gifts by a compelling plan that realistically promises to meet the needs of people served by the organization. Further, they are persuaded by people connected to the organization that they know and respect – staff and board members. We counsel organizations in developing processes and guiding staff and volunteers to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward these donors.
Planned gifts can have the same impact, although typically delayed for several years. The processes are similar, but the pool of prospective donors is usually quite different. Relationships tend to be centered on staff. That's why institutionalized systems and consistent, broad-based stewardship are critically important to overcome the staff turnover typically experienced by many organizations over time. Professional counsel also can be especially helpful for coaching staff that may not have experience with planned gifts.
"Mike was generous with his time and advice. Not only did he help us exceed our original $5 million goal, he mentored our Board and staff on meaningful ways to engage prospective donors. His leadership contributed significantly to our success."
Kansas Children's Discovery Center
"Raising funds in this current economic climate requires accurate and up-to-date information. Mike's interviews uncovered important opportunities as well as challenges for our campaign. I know we will be more effective, armed with the high quality information garnered from this feasibility study."
Flint Hills Discovery Center
"Partners In Philanthropy was a valuable resource for us on so many levels. From conception to implementation of our major gifts initiative, Mike brought vast experience and expertise, listened carefully, and crafted a plan to meet our needs. He took the time to understand us and the special perspective of our donors. We had no doubt that his personal approach would lead us to success."
Chief Development Officer
American Liver Foundation
New York, NY