Ready, set, event!
This year I promised myself to start toning up. Yes, I said it. I promised myself I would do the Pilates DVD at least once a week. I paid $1.50 for this DVD at the thrift store and there is no way I am going to waste a hard earned $1.50. And, I need to tone up.
Silly me. The Pilates DVD for the first three months of 2014 sat unused on the coffee table. It’s May now, and frankly, I don’t know where the DVD is located. It’s hiding from me. The ghosts took it because they like my squishy middle.
I will eventually pop in the DVD and actually do Pilates. I’ve been good on other promises including walking regularly and networking to get my business off the ground.
It’s all about perspective. And my unspoken great expectation is to tone up my overall perspective. It can’t be great all the time but it can be good.
Great dialogue, exchange of ideas and information at yesterday’s Planners and Grant Writers Roundtable session exploring the ins and outs of crisis communication!
Special thanks to United Way of Greater Milwaukee for graciously hosting; and we’re especially grateful to our panelists: Andi Elliott of Community Advocates, Georgia Pabst of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Anthony McHenry of Silver Spring Neighborhood Center and Anne Curley of Curley Communications.
Milwaukee Planners & Grant Writers Roundtable will meet on Thursday, April 30th from 9-11am at the United Way of Greater Milwaukee to discuss Crisis Communication. No organization is immune to bad things happening; only smart organizations know how to handle the unexpected. Learn from organizations that have gracefully survived hard times with their community standing intact; get concrete tips from those in the know:
- Ann Curley, Owner – Curley Communications
- Georgia Pabst, Reporter – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
- Andi Elliot, Interim CEO – Community Advocates
- Anthony McHenry, Executive Director, Silver Spring Neighborhood Center
Learn more and register online today!
About Milwaukee Planners & Grant Writers Roundtable:
This group of nonprofit planning and grant writing professionals is organized through the Non Profit Center of Milwaukee. We share successes, challenges and keep current on events and technology that impact your work. Sessions are held quarterly.
Developing a relationship with a donor is one of the most challenging and time consuming tasks for any nonprofit group, regardless of size, mission or budget. It’s not to say that it’s not critical because everyone knows that it is. The challenge is that your nonprofit is probably not the only nonprofit courting the individual giver, corporation, foundation, and affinity group.
Where do you dedicate the biggest chunk of your time when your organization is already running rail thin in the areas of budget, staff and resources? Year after year individual giving is responsible for the biggest dollars at nonprofits. A dollar here, a text donation there really adds up, as high as abut 75% of overall financial contributions to nonprofits.
It’s important to spend a little time going through your donor database and determine who are the givers – passive and active – and begin reinforcing those relationships…
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Everything….and I mean everything starts with a plan. Here’s some thoughts on creating an annual giving strategy for your organization.
Clear, measurable and documented goals and results
- Master timeline of activity, with staff responsibility assigned
- Annual work plan in place with specific dollar and donor-based outcomes
- Reports allow for effective evaluation of progress, and staff are empowered to make program changes based on data
- Formal final report based on the work plan is created, reviewed and discussed before plans are finalized for the coming year
The annual fund maintains healthy growth
- Donor-retention rates are carefully monitored
- New donors are acquired each year to compensate for natural donor attrition.
The annual fund has a strategic focus
- Continually works to identify potential donors
- Strong commitment to personal solicitation for high-level annual-fund support, and it involves asking people to consider an increase
The annual fund is a visible priority across the organization
- Leaders and staff are able to articulate the case for annual-fund support easily
- Annual fund is a visible priority in all fundraising outreach-campaign, annual reports, website, public remarks, events, board members
The annual fund has highly visible and engaged volunteer leadership
- Annual fund has a core group of volunteers willing to invest time and energy
- 100% leadership (Board) participation
- Staff support volunteers with reporting tools, personalized training, marketing materials
- Vehicle for volunteers to provide feedback on an annual basis about their experience
Annual fund gifts are stewarded well
- Accurate, timely and personal acknowledgement for annual fund gifts is provided
- Donor records are maintained rigorously
- Use of annual-fund gifts is clearly articulated to donors in a compelling way
There you are front and center
Staring at me from the screen
I’m alone – no socialite
Oh and yeah, and it is Friday night
Looks like you’re having fun
New girls on your arms
Where’s your wife, center of your life?
It’s all part of the gig, man
There you are on the side
You can’t see me from where I stand
Is there a line in between
The show and what you really mean?
Sometimes things are not
What they seem
But the feelings hold their meaning
All the same
She walked away with tears in her eyes and a new fever in her blood. Knowing she would never see this place again, she found a new rhythm. She knew in her heart that she would only see with positive eyes from then on now that she changed her tune.
First things first. And in the world of fundraising, your organization first needs a case statement. So, what’s your story?
A case statement can be daunting to write. You must be able to clearly communicate your various campaign themes concisely, explain why your nonprofit organization is important, and demonstrate how your nonprofit has been successful in the past.
A good starting point is to follow a common outline for case statements that can help guide your writing. To customize this outline to fit your needs, consider your audience and purpose and write with both in mind to keep your nonprofit case statement effective and focused.
STEP 1: The Introduction
A case statement needs a strong introduction. But unlike a lot of documents that stick to the cut-and-dry (emphasis on dry!), the point is to be compelling and draw your reader in. Think about your own interest and passion in your nonprofit’s cause and what first kindled those feelings in you, and try to convey those feelings to your reader.
- Who are we? Describe the make-up of the organization.
- Do we have a beneficiary/client story that explains our work?
STEP 2: Your Vision
Talk about your organization’s strengths and how you will use them to move toward your future goals. Show the readers that you know the direction you’re moving in and what value this brings to the community.
- Where are you going?
- Why is it important? Why does the community need your vision?
STEP 3: The Campaign
Describe the action steps your organization is going to take to accomplish the vision of the campaign. Tell the reader about the most important steps, and be sure to include what you will spend on each. Explain how each component relates to the overall vision.
- What is our approach to solving this problem and issue?
- How exactly will we work to solve this problem going forward?
- How does this specific campaign solve this problem while carrying out the vision of the organization?
STEP 4: The Donor’s Role
Explain how the participation of potential donors will ensure the organization’s future. If your audience is potential donors, tell them how the organization will be improved by successful campaign. They will want to know what your organization look, feel, and act like after the campaign.
- How can donor support help the organization? Show a financial model and give numbers.
- What are some specific examples of donor support making a difference in this campaign or in solving this issue?
STEP 5: Reinforce With Facts + Enhance With Visuals
Work facts and figures into the document as you go. Take some time to go back and reinforce areas that might need it with supporting statements that contain proof of your organization’s accomplishments. Demonstrate your progress.
At the same time, go back and look for areas that can be reinforced with engaging visuals, whether they be images, graphics, videos, or charts. Visuals provide an emotional connection to content and can seal the entire case statement into an effective package.
- Be Simple.
- Be Definitive.
- Use Stories.
- Don’t Assume They Know You.
- Use Strong Language.