Fund Raising Matters

Fund Raising Matters
Goettler Associates presents Fund Raising Matters™, a regular publication offering the latest insights on fund raising.  We first introduced Fund Raising Matters as a traditional quarterly newsletter in 1996, continuing our commitment to advance the business of philanthropy.  

We hope you will find Fund Raising Matters insightful and informational. We hope it will assist your efforts in developing successful fund-raising strategies. As always, we welcome an opportunity to learn more about your situation and discuss how our experience and talents can further your success.

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All Articles

Use Your Case to Win the Campaign

Category: FRM Issue 68
Emphasize the Process for a Better Product [caption id="attachment_2777" align="alignright" width="300"] Early involvement of key stakeholders is essential to the case process[/caption] When it’s done right, the process of developing the case for support can be as valuable as the finished product. Poorly executed, the process can become a nig...

What Makes your Case Credible?

Category: FRM Issue 68
The Marketplace Perspective Together with sufficient prospects and volunteers, a compelling case for support is generally considered indispensable to a successful capital campaign – or any other major gift fundraising activity. Most experienced fundraisers can easily give you a clear definition of the case for support. But, ask someone to define...

On Second Thought: Use Your Donors to Write the Case

Category: FRM Issue 68
We’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: the donor’s perspective is essential to the case for support. When you initiate the preparation of your case, you should involve key members of your organizational family and your best donor prospects in the process. In doing so, you are not only working to identify the unique perspective of your ...

8 Elements of an Effective Case for Support

Category: FRM Issue 68
When the time comes to review the first draft of the case, what should you look for? Based on our experience, an effective case for support should: Maintain the donor’s perspective and reflect the values, interests, and aspirations of prospective donors and volunteers. Build upon the strengths, accomplishments, and capabilities of the ins...

On Second Thought: Is Development Too Good for Marketing?

Category: FRM Issue 67
When we try to explain the marketplace perspective and its application to fundraising, we’re sometimes challenged by those who believe that the high-minded pursuit of philanthropy should not be contaminated by the crass business of marketing.  Is development too good for marketing? [caption id="attachment_1927" align="alignright" width="168"]...

Positioning Your Campaign for Success

Category: FRM Issue 67
Recently, we hear more and more funders hoping that local nonprofit organizations will collaborate with each other more often and more substantially. In some situations collaboration between two independent groups makes sense for the good of the community, but not always for the nonprofit organizations. Whatever one’s perspective is on the issue ...

Five Essential Campaign Marketing Principles

Category: FRM Issue 67
Are you working to position your fundraising campaign for success?  If so, make sure that you are employing the five essential campaign marketing principles: 1. Design for people. Today’s winning campaigns are successful because of the people involved — the campaign leadership, volunteers, and donors. Any marketing materials used in your ...

Marketing to Attract Donor Investment

Category: FRM Issue 67
Too many nonprofit organizations operate on the assumption that the greater their need — and the more they talk about it or “sell it” — the stronger their fundraising appeal will be and the more money they will raise. We must realize that simply being "for the social good" is no longer good enough. Today, what is more likely to attrac...

Define and Promote the Value You Provide

Category: FRM Issue 66
You should never assume that people understand exactly what your organization does – its mission, purpose, constituency, people, programs, performance, plans, etc. In our consulting work, we see time and again that the public’s perception of an organization can lag years behind the reality, even among well-informed community leaders. To most...

Find Out What They Really Think Before You Plan!

Category: FRM Issue 66
What is the first step you should take to move your nonprofit organization to a higher level of performance and effectiveness, especially in fundraising and development? If your first thought is strategic planning, then you have a lot of company. Among the organizations we serve, many have embarked on some kind of strategic planning exercise this y...

What is Branding?

Category: FRM Issue 66
Branding seeks to identify and express the competency that distinguishes your organization. The brand evokes the essence of what your organization is, what it does, and what it stands for. The intent is to create or reinforce, in the minds of your constituents, a powerful bond with the organization and/or program. For a nonprofit organization, a...

On Second Thought: Making the Case for Development

Category: FRM Issue 66
To some of our colleagues, development professionals must seem like a very demanding bunch. We always want or need something: new software, more staff, more volunteers, or a more visible office space closer to the CEO.  And we’re always pushing our way onto the board agenda to present and discuss some urgent matter related to the organization’...

The Proactive Study Interview

Category: FRM Issue 65
A pre-campaign planning study provides an opportunity for your organization to have a meaningful face-to-face exchange with affluent and influential people, through an experienced fundraising consultant. You will not only present your agenda, but learn about theirs— their values, preferences, priorities, and proclivities. The planning study is...

"I Know It's Feasible…"

Category: FRM Issue 65
We talk to a lot of development professionals about their plans for fundraising campaigns and sometimes hear them say, “I know it’s feasible, so we don’t need to do a study!” These individuals are exactly those whose organizations stand to gain the most from conducting an in-depth pre-campaign planning study. When properly conducted, a c...

Ten Sequential Steps to a Successful Feasibility Study

Category: FRM Issue 65
If you anticipate conducting a pre-campaign planning study (or feasibility study), be sure to allow sufficient time for fundraising counsel to plan and lead your organization through an inclusive process. Counsel will need to prepare for and conduct the study interviews, then carefully analyze the data, and prepare and present the final report with...

Goal Getters: Associated Charities of Ashland County

Category: FRM Issue 65
When Associated Charities’ leaders first began thinking about raising funds to build a new facility, they faced a number of challenges. Although they had been providing short-term emergency financial assistance and food to Ashland County (Ohio) residents for over 100 years, many people in the community were not familiar with the full scope of...

Major Gifts Solicitation

Category: FRM Issue 64
Converting Interest and Involvement to Investment The moment will arrive when it is most advantageous to solicit a major gift. The success of the entire development process depends on your ability to recognize that moment and direct staff and volunteers to act upon it wisely. The “Four Ws” of Major Gift Solicitation Who should ask whom...

On Second Thought: Move Toward the Next Major Gift Through Stewardship

Category: FRM Issue 64
We owe it to our donors to use their gifts responsibly, in accordance with their wishes. Good stewardship is in our own interest as development professionals. Major donors, in particular, are much more willing to continue their support when they’re given lots of reasons to feel good about their last gift. Making our donors feel good requires m...

Major Gift Metrics: Winning the Numbers Game

Category: FRM Issue 64
Strategies for Success Action is fundamental to fundraising success, but it is managing the right actions that can turn a mediocre effort into a record-breaking performance. This is the factor driving the growth of planning for a major gift metrics program. More than just a buzzword, metrics has been pushed to the front of the line as a way to def...

Time to Check the Health of Your Major Gifts Program

Category: FRM Issue 64
Planning for Major Gifts The new calendar year arrived once again with the anticipation of growth in our fundraising results and new levels of accomplishment for our organizations. For most development professionals the New Year also begins with zero dollars raised toward our annual goals. The best way to achieve these goals and to fund your organ...

The Essential Elements of Winning Campaigns

Category: FRM Issue 63
Looking back over our firm’s collective experience, it is obvious that changes in the development field have affected how the philanthropic marketplace functions and how capital campaigns are conducted. The essential elements of successful campaigns, however, are not very different from those which have applied for decades. This is the questio...

The Campaign Plan: Putting It All Together

Category: FRM Issue 63
An Essential Element of Success Campaigns rarely unfold precisely as planned. No campaign plan can ever anticipate all the contingencies that are bound to occur during a capital campaign, or how each of these unique situations can best be resolved. Most capital campaigns aim to generate support at several different levels, from a number of dist...

On Second Thought: Is Your Fundraising Campaign Undercapitalized?

Category: FRM Issue 63
Is your fundraising campaign undercapitalized?  Too many organizations work to demonstrate how little they spend on administration and overhead.  But, to take advantage of all the possibilities presented by an intensive capital campaign, the development office must have sufficient human and financial resources to do the job. The presence of couns...

Be Specific!

Category: FRM Issue 63
The Campaign Principle The best way to be successful with any fundraising campaign is to be specific. Put another way, the essential principle of any campaign which achieves or exceeds its goal is that it answers these three questions: Why is the money necessary? How much money is required for the project? When will the campaign be co...

Strategic Planning and Fundraising

Category: FRM Issue 62
Donor Involvement Whenever a major fundraising effort is contemplated, at least one volunteer can be counted on to ask, “Why can’t we just skip the planning part?  We know what we need to do: get out there and raise the money!” It’s a fair question.  What does the strategic leadership process – or any planning process – have to ...

Will Strategic Leadership Help Your Organization?

Category: FRM Issue 62
The strategic leadership process is a disciplined approach to getting organizations to focus on results, and it is more than strategic planning.  The process helps leaders define and successfully implement their goals.  It can be beneficial to almost any organization, public or private, that seeks to improve its service to society.  The process ...

How Effective is Your Planning?

Category: FRM Issue 62
A simple self-evaluation To assess the effectiveness of your last planning endeavor, ask yourself and your colleagues if the effort generated the desired results and impact on your organization.  Use the following checklist to assess your performance.  Are all of your board members, staff, and key volunteers able to articulate the organizatio...

What Ever Happened to Our Strategic Plan?

Category: FRM Issue 62
Organizational Success What is the relationship between your organization’s fundraising objectives and its long-term vision for the future, and its strategic plan?  Most fundraising professionals will concur that your campaign objectives should be tied to a higher vision developed through long-term planning. In our experience, however, we ...

What kind of support do our volunteers need most?

Category: FRM Issue 61
Volunteers bring to us their commitment, enthusiasm, reputation, and relationships. As development professionals, what we can give them is the benefit of our knowledge and experience. To make our volunteers effective (which will keep them coming back), we need to ensure that they: Know the organization and its purpose Understand the case fo...

How to Spot Effective Volunteers

Category: FRM Issue 61
Identifying fundraising volunteers and leaders amidst your corps of volunteers is no simple process. Not all will have the ability or desire to be effective fundraisers, so when you identify someone who is willing and able, seize the opportunity. Of course, not everyone who volunteers to assist with fundraising will possess all of the ingredient...

Why Bother with Volunteers in Development?

Category: FRM Issue 61
The Role of Volunteers in Development Contrary to some notions today, volunteerism is more important than ever. In a time when more and more fundraising efforts are partially or completely dependent on professional staff, the notion of volunteerism in development may seem impractical or even anachronistic. Admittedly, managing a corps of volunteer...

What Do Volunteers Want?

Category: FRM Issue 61
 Organizational Success The most recent data reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that 62.6 million people volunteered through or for an organization at least once in the 12 months that ended September 2013. However, this volunteer rate was the lowest it has been in the past decade, declining 1.1 percentage points to 25.4 per...

The Donor-Centered Marketing & Fund Raising Process:

Category: FRM Issue 56
When you follow this seven step process, you will be adopting the donor-centered marketing and fundraising process, and well on your way to improved results. 1. Listen to your constituency.  (Research) Go outside the institution and ask people what they think of it, and what they want from it.   2. Define and segment your market.  (D...

Build A More Effective Board

Category: FRM Issue 60
Board Development Techniques It is undeniable that a nonprofit organization’s success in fundraising is affected by the way it goes about selecting and recruiting its board members.  Success is also influenced by the way new board members are introduced to the organization and how they become involved in the operational and organizational life ...

Forming a new Committee on Governance

Category: FRM Issue 60
An organization stands to gain a definite edge if it does a better job of enlisting, training and involving its board members, and managing the board, than its competitors do.  One way to do this is to replace the standard nominating committee with a committee on governance.  The committee should include the current board chair, two to three othe...

Focus on Board Participation or Board Leadership?

Category: FRM Issue 60
Which will your board choose? In today’s competitive fundraising environment it now seems universally recognized that successful organizations strive to attain 100 percent gift participation from their board members. We have observed that many organizations and development officers seem overly fixated on achieving this significant goal of partic...

On Second Thought: Board of Directors -or- Board of Trustees, does it matter?

Category: FRM Issue 60
Is there a changing preference for the name of your nonprofit governing board?  In our experience it’s hard to say that there is a clear industry standard.  As we observe the practices of our clients, there are actually some that have both a governing board of trustees and a supporting board of directors. [caption id="attachment_1927" align=...

Ready! Set! Go! Are you ready for a fundraising campaign?

Category: FRM Issue 59
A fundraising campaign is won or lost long before the kickoff. How do you know when your fundraising campaign will be successful?  It's when the right people are asking the right prospects, in the right way, for the right amount of money — for the right reason and at the right time. Sounds like an easy walk in the park — right? Getting to ...

Get it Done. Do it Right. 10 Fundraising Essentials

Category: FRM Issue 59
A top ten list of fundraising essentials Whether you like him or not, David Letterman now has the longest late-night hosting career in the United States. To recognize his accomplishment, we thought a Top Ten List was in order.  Here are ten fundraising essentials for the development officer. Our list is not necessarily in order of importance, nor...

Quiz: Are You Ready to Launch a Capital Campaign?

Category: FRM Issue 59
Pre-campaign preparation is essential to the success of your next capital campaign. Test your readiness by taking a moment to answer the following questions: Q:  Have you involved your board and other key donor constituencies in planning and preparing for the campaign? ☐ Yes      ☐ No Q:  Does your organization have a strategic plan tha...

Outlook 2013 Survey: The Road Ahead Analysis and Report

Category: FRM Issue 58
Who is raising more?  How are they doing it?  What changes have organizations already made?  What changes are organizations planning for the future? You want to know what the philanthropic marketplace is thinking and doing.  Our Survey Report will provide you with the information you need to chart The Road Ahead. Download Your Copy Now! ...

Reported Increase in Fund-Raising Results

Category: FRM Issue 58
Fund-Raising Results are Improving The most encouraging discovery in our Outlook 2013: The Road Ahead Survey is the report of more favorable fund-raising results for last year. While it does not appear that as many organizations have reached the success levels reported in our 2006 survey, things are clearly improving . . . a lot! The adjoinin...

Outlook 2013 Online Survey Results

Category: FRM Issue 58
Outlook 2013 Online Survey Results Goettler Associates has completed it’s fourth survey of the philanthropic marketplace, and we are pleased to discover that there has been a dramatic shift toward a more optimistic outlook for the future. Seventy-four percent of organizations anticipate a future increase in gift revenue from individuals. This ou...

Focus on Individuals to Raise More

Category: FRM Issue 58
Our analysis of the Outlook 2013 survey took an in-depth look at a wide range of factors that may have contributed to how and why organizations raised more. Seventy-one percent of the organizations that raised more in Outlook 2013, did so because individual donors are giving more — more than corporate and foundation giving. This is not new inf...

What changes have you made to improve fund-raising results?

Category: FRM Issue 58
Let’s face it, it’s basic human nature, everyone wants to know what the other guys (e.g. all y’all) are doing. . . so we asked! Survey participants told us what changes they have already made toward improving their development programs, and: 82% have increased overall strategy and methods 63% have increased the use of social media ...

We Don't Need a Strategic Plan . . . Just a Good Case for Support!

Category: Case for Support
A Solid Organization and a Worthwhile Project Most development professionals can probably count on one hand the number of times a donor asked for the organization’s strategic plan. Rarely is anyone interested in seeing a detailed planning document — they just want a summary of the case for support, or the elevator speech. So who needs a strate...

Who Should Write the Case for Support?

Category: Case for Support
Invest in an Inclusive Process One of the earliest steps in preparing to raise money is to research and write a case for support. Unfortunately, not everyone knows what a case for support looks like or what it should contain. We can honestly state that the concept of the case for support is probably the least understood, and one of the greatest ...

Your Case for Support should include a Profile of the Institution

Category: Case for Support
In today’s fast and faster pace, we often lose sight of what should be included in the case for support. The preparation of your case for support should begin by creating a clear and factual profile of your organization. The accumulation and centralization of information is often the first vital step of positioning your organization. The followin...

Ohio State Bar Association’s Moyer Legacy Fund Reaches Goal

Category: Case for Support
Goal Getter:  At the time of his unexpected death in April 2010, Thomas J. Moyer served as Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court for nearly 24 years — the longest tenure of any sitting chief justice. In response, members of the Ohio State Bar Association discussed an initiative to raise funds in support of a lasting legacy that would embody...

Targeted Fundraising Improves Marketing

Category: FRM Issue 56
Research and Segmentation Many people are confused about marketing versus fund-raising. They’re not actually the same thing. Marketing can best be described in the for-profit world as getting the product to market, whereas the fund-raising function of your nonprofit involves receiving a donation. It is undeniable that there are areas where no...

Use Pronouns to Maintain Marketplace Perspective

Category: FRM Issue 56
Whose “needs” are important? When trying to explain the marketplace perspective and its application to fund-raising, we’re sometimes challenged by those who believe that the high-minded pursuit of philanthropy should not be mixed with the “crass” business of marketing. For some, marketing is little more than a euphemism for selling,...

The Human Race Theatre Company Announces 25th Anniversary Campaign

Category: FRM Issue 56
Goal Getter The Human Race Theatre Company, Dayton’s only professional theatre company, recently kickedoff the public phase of a capital and endowment campaign in celebration of its twenty-fifth anniversary. The 25th Anniversary Campaign for the Development of New Works was initiated in May 2011 and has already raised nearly $1.2 million tow...

Are Campaign Planning Studies Only for Brick and Mortar Fundraising?

Category: FRM Issue 55
Campaign Planning Studies Over the years we’ve encountered more than a few organizations that have an outdated view of capital campaigns, thinking major campaigns can only support brick and mortar expansions. There is no denying the fact that capital campaigns are often successfully conducted for new and expanded buildings. But is that new bui...

When NOT to Conduct a Campaign Planning Study

Category: FRM Issue 55
Does A Careful Campaign Planning Study Always Lead to Greater Success? If a nonprofit executive tells a consultant they want to launch a capital campaign, the consultant will first recommend a study, right? Best practices in fund-raising management point to the importance of and the need for a campaign planning study (a.k.a. feasibility study...

Warning signs for when NOT to conduct a campaign planning study

Category: FRM Issue 55
A Self-Assessment: If any of these statements accurately describe your organization, you may NOT be ready to conduct a campaign planning study. Your organization has not conducted an externally-based strategic plan. Your proposed goal is indistinguishable from annual or program goals. Your organization lacks a general case for...

On Second Thought: The New New Normal

Category: FRM Issue 55
  On Second Thought . . .  I first met Gayle in May 2009. She has been on the board of a public library in Pennsylvania for a long time. After a considerable amount of energy researching the community's usage and strategic planning, the board decided the current library was far too small to effectively serve their community. As part ...

New Uses of IRS Form 990: To Improve Board Involvement

Category: FRM Issue 54
Strengthening Your Governing Board Larger nonprofit organizations have now navigated the second year of preparing the expanded IRS Form 990. Next year will be the last of a three year phase-in of the new form, and will subject even more nonprofit organizations to the heightened reporting requirements. Organizations with just $200,000 of gross annu...

Strategic Advancement: A Team Effort for Continuous Improvement

Category: FRM Issue 54
Strategic Advancement At a recent Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) luncheon, the speaker from a respected Community Foundation offered several observations about the state of philanthropy in 2010. The executive described the current state of philanthropy as “competitive, to say the least.” The path forward, in her view, is for no...

New Requirements for Charitable Hospitals

Category: FRM Issue 54
Federal Health Care Legislation (HR 3590 Sec. 9007) The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has far reaching implications for our nation’s broad network of nonprofit health care providers. Effectively section 501 of the internal revenue code has been re-written with regard to nonprofit hospitals: “A hospital organization shall no lo...

The Continuing State of Philanthropy

Category: FRM Issue 52
Time-Tested Resolutions for a Good Year In our last issue of Fund Raising Matters, we took measure of the unfolding turmoil in world financial markets. As we prepared the commentary last fall, we suggested that “Many will sit behind the desk and hide. Those who recognize their organization’s mission and services are even more critical today, w...

The Road Ahead in a Changing Marketplace

Category: FRM Issue 53
Responding to Current Market Survey Results The results of our Outlook 2009 on-line survey* painted a clear picture of what most of us already know. . . raising money today is challenging. But, as development professionals are an optimistic lot, let’s focus on the positive and work to find the best path forward. What did we learn? We learned ...

Is It Time to Throw Out the Campaign Manual?

Category: FRM Issue 53
Major Gift Strategies for Success As our country works toward recovery from this severe recession, many development professionals are asking if the rules have changed. Is it time to rethink our approach to fund-raising and donor engagement? If there is a call for greater efficiency and effectiveness of your development program, we suggest you t...

On Second Thought: Our SMART-Focus Fund-Raising Analysis Report Card

Category: FRM Issue 52
Strengths + Objectivity = Success The response to our SMART-FOCUS service – a new service that carries a money back guarantee – has been both exciting and insightful into the state of the non-profit sector. We have recently worked with a wide variety of nonprofit organizations through this unique, effective and efficient consulting service. ...

On Second Thought: Is Social Media Right for Your Organization?

Category: FRM Issue 53
The phenomenal impact of social media on the ‘08 Presidential election has spawned a tidal wave of nonprofits that want to put Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and similar applications to work as a fundraising tool. But what is social media? For anyone beyond their 30s, such as board members and possibly chief executives, there remain questions. Ho...

Our SMART-Focus Fund-Raising Analysis Report Card

Category: FRM Issue 54
Strengths + Objectivity = Success The response to our SMART-Focus Fundraising Analysis service – a new service that carries a money back guarantee – has been both exciting and insightful into the state of the non-profit sector. We have recently worked with a wide variety of nonprofit organizations through this unique, effective and efficient c...