"You're in Sales. Get over it!" -Tom Suddes


Relationship-Based Funding Model Overview

What Business Are You In? You are in the RELATIONSHIP ‘business!!’ Everything in your model and process should be built upon a foundation of RELATIONSHIPS – ‘LIFETIME,’ if possible.

Primer notes:

  • Impact Drives Income: In a Relationship Based Funding Model, you don’t have to pit the Annual Fund against Campaign Gifts. Those are internal silos. Instead it’s all about supporting your IMPACT – Today (current programs), Tomorrow (Special Projects – Multi Year Funding Opportunities) and Forever (Legacy Funding).
  • Commit to Sales: Sales is about relationships and engaging with your prospects one-on-one. When you commit to sales you aren’t running an ‘annual campaign’ and then coming back later to run an ‘endowment campaign’. You’re sitting down with people (individuals/corporations/foundations) and saying, “here all the ways you can support us!”
  • Today: This is cash to your CURRENT IMPACT / CURRENT PROGRAMS (read: operations). A big part of this strategy is the user of IMPACT CIRCLES – annual giving clubs with one level at $1K or $10K (depending upon size and scope of your operation).
  • Tomorrow: Multi-year funding opportunities tied to your biggest priorities or programs (often thought of as major gifts).
  • Forever: Legacy Giving (planned giving) and Transformational Giving opportunities. Use Legacy Giving to fund your endowment.

The Today/Tomorrow/Forever matches to your message for each type of giving. More than that, this model illustrates a COMPLETE funding model. This gives you the tool to maximize relationships at any given time:

  • If you’re asking an investor to help you with a special priority it’s important to illustrate (in your model) that you also have a plan to fund operations!
  • You can ask long time annual supporters to ‘protect their investment’ via a Legacy Commitment.
  • TODAY/TOMORROW/FOREVER also matches up to giving out of cash flow, assets and estate.
  • You have THE TRIPLE ASK!!!!! This is an ask for TODAY/TOMORROW/FOREVER on one visit!
  • This creates a powerful engagement tool to use with your investors!

Action: Turn the model into a funding plan.

  • What does your membership (base of relationships) need to look like TODAY – in the IMPACT circle – to fund your GAP?
  • What kind of math do you need to fund all your priorities over the next 1000 days?
  • How many members are you looking for to FOUND your LEGACY SOCIETY? Have a goal. This is the simplest thing you can do to leverage planned giving and transform your funding over the long haul.

Download our Relationship Based Funding Model visual here: