Fundraising on a Napkin summarizes 30 years of fundraising achievement into simple, bold and actionable ideas that any organization can use – Non Profit, For Profit, Social Entrepreneur or NGO.
Whether you’re looking for strategic clarity, ‘sustainable funding,’ a jumpstart in major giving or just no-fluff advice that works – Fundraising on a Napkin delivers on all fronts. Over 3.5 hours, we will share stories ‘from the field’ and the successful and innovative ideas that have transformed thousands of organizations and raised over $2B, including:
How to get strategic clarity
How to simplify your message and communicate the vision
How to find and engage with great leaders, prospects and champions
How to build a high performing leadership team
How to build an effective culture around funding the vision
How to ask
This high energy, motivating session will give you a road map you can follow to re-design (or design) your organization for impact and income success.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Example-based coaching throughout the day
Lots of interaction so you don’t get bored – this is not one of ‘those’ workshops
Proven frameworks and, to the extent that we’re able with time, one-on-one strategy to help you apply the frameworks
No power point (see no. 2) but lots of visuals
Simplicity. Complexity is not actionable, so we give you the tools that will have the greatest R.O.I. to your organization in the near term (next 100 days) and longer term (next 1000 days.)
Value that goes beyond funding! We’re all entrepreneurs, so while we always want to create value in the form of funding results, there is a huge personal development theme to everything we do.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND
This workshop is for Executive Directors, Board Leaders and Development Professionals – Any and all responsible for shaping and implementing funding strategy.
“Two professors who study the science of complexity—Brenda Zimmerman of York University and Sholom Glouberman of the University of Toronto—have proposed a distinction among three different kinds of problems in the world: the simple, the complicated, and the complex. Simple problems, they note, are ones like baking a cake from a mix. There is a recipe. Sometimes there are a few basic techniques to learn. But once these are mastered, following the recipe brings a high likelihood of success. Complicated problems are ones like sending a rocket to the moon. They can sometimes be broken down into a series of simple problems. But there is no straightforward recipe. Success frequently requires multiple people, often multiple teams, and specialized expertise. Unanticipated difficulties are frequent. Timing and coordination become serious concerns. Complex problems are ones like raising a child. Once you learn how to send a rocket to the moon, you can repeat the process with other rockets and perfect it. One rocket is like another rocket. But not so with raising a child, the professors point out. Every child is unique. Although raising one child may provide experience, it does not guarantee success with the next child. Expertise is valuable but most certainly not sufficient. Indeed, the next child may require an entirely different approach from the previous one. And this brings up another feature of complex problems: their outcomes remain highly uncertain. Yet we all know that it is possible to raise a child well. It’s complex, that’s all.”
I want to relate this framing to teams and dysfunction. Building and leading a team is a complex problem. Like raising a child well – “It’s complex, that’s all.” In our work at The Suddes Group, we’re often building or reconfiguring teams to create greater funding results. One of the things we’ve observed is the relationship between the simple and complex problems. When teams don’t execute on the simple problems, the complex problems are amplified.
Any funding effort is largely a function of simple problems:(more…)
Reposting one of our most popular nuggets from Tom about how to measure success and productivity in your Development Operation.
RETURN-ON-INVESTMENT: What every Investor wants from their investment and what every For Impact organization should want from its development/advancement/fundraising effort.
I feel this concept is completely absent or totally misunderstood from our sector – Something I want to help change.
With all due respect to the industry, I just don’t get it. An organization invests money and resources in their development/fundraising operation (whether it’s a one-person shop or 50 people in the college advancement division) but doesn’t measure that RETURN-ON-INVESTMENT. I’m not sure how else you would measure productivity or success without making ROI the #1 barometer.
ROI is very simple to calculate. It’s a numerator/denominator math problem:
Here’s how much money we Raised (the numerator).
Here’s how much money we spent/Total Expenses (denominator).
R – TE = NET, NET, NET CHECK/FUNDS to support IMPACT!
In the For Impact approach, the development function ‘write checks’ to the IMPACT.
R ÷ TE = ROI and COST OF FUNDRAISING.
For example, if you are a hospital foundation raising $2M a year in ‘fundraising Revenue and your total expenses are $1M then your ROI is 2X or 100%; and your cost of fundraising is 50%.
There are two ways to increase your ROI and decrease your cost of fundraising:
Increase the Numerator (Revenue)
Decrease the Denominator (Expenses)
In our For Impact world, our own benchmarks are as follows:
3X is minimum model/benchmark.
4X is great.
5X is something you should be very proud of.
If you’re running a Campaign within an existing development operation or as a separate initiative, I believe the cost of fundraising should be a nickel (five cents on the dollar.) That would give you a 20X ROI.
If you are a For Impact leader, senior staff, executive director or a board member, I hope the above gives you some sense of comparison.
Note: One last example of why ROI is a completely different level of thinking than simply “This is how much money we raised this year.” I can guarantee a small not-for-profit organization an additional $100,000 this year – Hire two ‘major gifts officers’ at $50,000 apiece. Send them to For Impact Boot Camp. I guarantee that they can go out and raise $100,000 in the next year (combined.)Same thing would be true with a larger organization at $1M. Hire five major gift officers at $200,000 each. I’m fairly confident if they followed any sales process they would each be able to raise $200,000 in the next year for a total of $1M.
Have you ever finished a great visit and had the prospect say, “This is great – Can you get me a proposal?”
If someone asks this we need to simplify on the spot – “Sure thing. Are you an email person?” (Everyone is.) “Would it be okay if I summarized our conversation in bullet point form and shot that back by email?”
Save yourself HOURS by converting ‘proposals’ to ‘bullet points.’
His core message: Do less, but better. You can unlock quality and make your highest contribution toward the things that really matter by doing only what is essential.
He dubs this ‘Essentialism.’
In some ways this isn’t a new idea, and yet, I found myself underlining nuggets on every page:
If you don’t prioritize your life, somebody else will.
To embrace the essence of Essentialism requires we replace false assumptions with three core truths: “I choose to,” “Only a few things really matter,” and “I can do anything but not everything.”
Once we accept the reality of trade-offs we stop asking, “How can I make it all work?” and start asking the more honest question “Which problem do I want to solve?”
Essentialists spend as much time as possible exploring, listening, debating, questioning, and thinking… Almost everything is noise, and a very few things are exceptionally valuable. This is the justification for taking time to figure out what is most important.
This makes a lot of sense. Recent discoveries in neuroscience tell us that the decision-making function in our brains does not prioritize!
Essentialism is applicable to any human endeavor:
Sales/Major Gifts. Spend more time with better prospects. Just Visit. Just Ask. The discipline of the Sales Process (e.g., strategy, predisposition, follow-up.) These are the essentials; almost everything else is noise and nonessential.
Life. An Australian nurse named Bronnie Ware, who cared for people in the last twelve weeks of their lives, recorded their most often discussed regrets. At the top of the list: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” McKeown argues for LIFE DESIGN, “This requires, not just haphazardly saying no, but purposefully, deliberately, and strategically eliminating the nonessentials.”
I agree with McKeown’s notion that Essentialism is an idea whose time has come. We are in an age-of-noise. Discern. Focus. Do less. Have more IMPACT.
This week’s theme is: Just Ask. Just Ask. Just Ask.
In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explores the formation of organizational habits. (You can read this quick summary by BusinessWeek.) One case study examines Alcoa’s remarkable business turn-around in the 80’s/90’s. CEO Paul O’Neill focused the cultural energy (and habits) around safety–more specifically, around the number of safety violations.
We call this the ONE LEVER. Meaning, to maximize team cohesion and culture change you need to focus energy on ONE LEVER at a time to create organizational change.
What will that lever be? Be specific. Be clear.
The Orlando Magic focus on ‘butts in seats’.
FedEx focuses on number of packages that don’t arrive when promised (aiming for zero).
Just about everyone reading this is seeking some form or another of improved funding results.
Call it a culture of philanthropy.
Call it a sales culture.
Call it greater revenue for impact.
Call it funding the vision.
When you’re bringing your team along there is so much ‘other stuff’ that can obscure progress. Events, predisposition activities, reporting, deadlines, board meetings.
As it relates to INCOME DEVELOPMENT the ONE LEVER is – in most every case – the NUMBER OF ASKS.
This is what we emphasize, design-around, message, measure, reinforce.
Obviously a funding goal is pretty important. However that is a RESULT of this measurable activity. Similarly, Alcoa’s leap in quality (and then profits) was a RESULT of increased safety.
One lever: Number of Asks. Preach it. Measure it. It will be transformational. I promise.
Note: It’s not uncommon to see an organization (of any size) with fewer than 10 real-asks per quarter. In fact, it’s a safe bet that by our definition most are at ZERO.
We have used the MPL tool to run hundreds of campaigns and major gifts initiatives. It’s simple and powerful. Rate your top prospects to create a Master Prospect List in descending order of importance. Then focus all your time (literally) on your top ten prospects — you will be amazed by the results.
Each prospect receives a rating in each category 1-5 (5 being the highest). The sum weighted total of ratings in each of the five categories will give you the Qualified Prospect Index – You need to visit with anyone 90 and higher today!
Definition of Key Terms
Relationship Manager (RM)
This is the person within your organization that manages the relationship — does not have to be the point of contact but must responsible for thinking about this prospect every day.
This is a person, internal or external to your organization that has the closest relationship to the prospect.
This number is the prospect’s capacity to make a major gift – a gift level that is worthy of one-on-one time with a prospect. This is not an indication of what you think the prospect WILL invest in your organization – it is an indication of what you think the prospect COULD give.
This is an indication of the prospect’s relationship to your organization or to your cause. If this prospect is on your board it should be a five (5). If, for example, you are the American Cancer Society, and this prospect is a cancer survivor, the rating should be a five (5) even with no gift history.
5 – Specific interest in our organization or cause
4 – Heavily invested in our cause or within a sector or geography in which we operate
Generally timing is always a five (5) unless you have specific knowledge otherwise.
What is this prospect’s giving history to your organization? You might determine that a five (5) on the rating scale indicates lifetime giving of $100,000+ or ten consecutive years in your Leadership Society. Below is an example using higher numbers.
5 – Has given multiple lifetime gifts and/or has given $1M lifetime
4 – Has given one or multiple gifts and/or has given $100k lifetime
3 – Has given one or multiple gifts and/or has given $10k lifetime
2 – Has given 1 lifetime gift and/or has given $1k liftetime
1 – Has never given and/or has given less than $1k lifetime
Philanthropy (or Gut Feeling)
This is a measure of the prospect’s general willingness to give. Has he or she supported other organizations? Is it a foundation (5)? Do we have a good feeling about them? Give it a 5! This is also where I take into account the person who reaches out to us first or has said, “I want to help.” or “I want to do something big, can we talk?” Give that a 5 as well.
This week’s theme is: Finalize your MASTER PROSPECT LIST.
97% of all your INCOME (SALES/REVENUE) will come from
3% of your PROSPECTS (Portfolio/Community/Family).
This is a fact. Don’t fight it. Deal with it.
97/3 just reinforces the need to find your BEST and most QUALIFIED prospects!
The whole ‘80/20’, Pareto the Italian Economist thing is soooooo 1980. (Actually, it was in the 18-somethings.)
A quick parable/metaphor to reinforce this concept.
Lions, Mice, and Antelope. A lion can hunt, capture, kill, and eat a field mouse. But the ENERGY expended is greater than the caloric content of the mouse. If a lion spent her whole day hunting and eating field mice, she would slowly starve to death!
A lion cannot live on mice. Lions need antelope. Antelope are BIG. Antelope take more planning, persistence, speed, and strength to capture and kill. But, once killed, they provide a huge feast for a lion and her pride.
A lion can live a long and happy life on a diet of antelope. She will die ‘chasing mice.’
Our most used frameworks is the Altitude Framework – Used to order thinking, communications, and storylines; to develop Engagement Tools; and, to think through the Flow of a Visit.
This framework is used for everything from visits to strategy sessions to dealing with objections. However, it’s best use is COMMUNICATION and SIMPLIFICATION of your message.
14,000’ is the view and perspective from the ‘top of the mountain.’ (In the Rockies, they’re called ‘fourteeners.’) At this altitude, the air is thinner and the raptors soar. If 30,000’ is about vision, 14,000’ is about focus. A place to talk about Business Models and Strategy, but most importantly, a place to finding clarity around Priorities.
One of our favorite devices for simplifying your message at 14,000’ is The Rule of 3.
The Rule of 3 is a magical rule for SIMPLICITY.
As human beings, we’re wired to understand, internalize, and remember threes. Politicians know this, as does the media. Neuroscience tells us that the brain actually finds harmony in threes.
One is lonely (no choice.)
Two creates an either/or conflict. (Sophie’s Choice, anyone?)
Not only is Three just right (thank you, Goldilocks) but anything more than three is too complex!