Mission Advancement

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NEW Planning for Every Aspect of Your Donor Experience (Clone)

Donors, | Major gifts | 0 Comments | by Mission Advancement

For a donor, the decision to give their largest gift is not one taken lightly, and there are specific phases to making the decision to give. We often see organizations move too quickly from introducing themselves directly to the “ask” without a carefully thought-out plan, which can often come off too strong too soon. In order to lead a donor towards making the decision to culminate a major gift, you need to prepare for each aspect of the donor experience. We recommend you use these five steps when designing your solicitations:


The first phase is simple,  giving your donor your information about your organization. Tell your donor all about who you are, your mission, your impact, etc. When creating your donor experience, this phase may happen organically or deliberately. Identify key characters in your story, and the settings where they learn about your organization.


The next phase deals more with the “heart” side of things. After giving your donor information about your organization, it’s critical to form a strong bond between them and your mission. What are their passions and how does your mission align with those passions? This is when your organization’s work becomes deeply personal, and you demonstrate your organization’s impact on people.     


Now, it’s time to inspire. You are introducing your donor to “what could be.” What challenge are you wanting to overcome? What opportunity are you wanting to seize? This piece of the story is the one most overlooked when developing a donor experience, but it is often the most important. All donors want to solve a problem, and inspiration is what will move a donor from a transactional to a transformational gift.             


Finally, the ask! This is the part of the story where the donor becomes the hero – the missing link to your success. When determining the right time to ask, make sure you are confident in the relationship, trusted and liked by the donor, and certain the proposal is understood.


It is important to think about how you will honor your donor before the ask. Beyond thanking them for their generosity, you will want to show the donor the impact of their gift on the people you serve. This will reiterate how they have made a quality decision and improve their likelihood of donating again in the future.

Following these five steps to crafting a donor experience will help lead your donor to a quality decision to give. When you take a donor-centric approach, you are on the right path to building long-lasting relationships with your donors that will help transform the mission of your organization.

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NEW Other Duties As Assigned – Why Don’t We Give Them More Credit? (Clone)

Development office, | Fundraising | 0 Comments | by Mission Advancement

Oh, the infamous “other duties as assigned.” That little phase at the end of your job description that seems so innocent and benign in your interview that you barely notice it. It’s just the bullet point that they “have” to include - it’s no big deal, you tell yourself. 

In nonprofit fundraising, “other duties as assigned,” or ODAA, might as well be the first line of your job description. It means, not only do you have to do your primary responsibilities all the time, at any point you may also have to do a variety of tasks from catering, to being a chauffeur, an unofficial therapist for your team, or flower arranging - and these aren’t even the strangest ones we’ve seen.

ODAA tasks may seem mundane, but I believe they are the core elements of what makes nonprofit fundraising professionals special. I would argue that if you are not willing to drop your work and get these tasks done, you are probably in the wrong field.

No, I take that back. You are definitely in the wrong field.

I believe “that’s not my job” are words that should never be uttered on a development team. We must be a team and back eachother up, and we must be donor-centered/customer-centered at all times. Donors and our missions are at the top, while we are the worker bees who work to connect these two groups. A selfless approach to our work is truly needed to achieve success in this field. It is not about our accomplishments, how much we raise, or how fantastic an event we produce. What matters is that we are helping our organizations to accomplish their missions and ensuring the donors are engaged, stewarded, and connected to the great work their donations enable.

 We are the stewards, not the stars.

This field chooses us, folks. We are the givers, the providers, the stewards. It does not mean that we cannot enjoy our work or interact in the philanthropic world with our donors, but it does mean that we should always have a sense of humility and grace in all that we do.

So, don’t sweat the ODAA. Embrace them. Learn from them. Use them as a time to remember why we do what we do. Help your team members with whatever task it is that needs to be done, just do it. Remember that a selfless approach to our work will reap rewards tenfold in the end. Do whatever it takes to make it work, help your team, and show what it is to be a good steward.

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Mission Advancement Trendy Tips: How to find & keep a development rockstar

Development office, | Counsel | 0 Comments | by Mission Advancement

Are you struggling to find and keep a Development Officer? Check out the video below and read our Blog Post: Finding and Keeping a Development Rockstar to learn more.

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Tell Me Again - Why We Do This Golf Tournament?

Development office, | Fundraising | 0 Comments | by Mission Advancement

A charity golf tournament is always great fun – especially when the weather is fine. Personally, I love playing in golf tournaments! It's a day away from the routine, an opportunity to be out in fresh air and spend time with fun people while supporting a good cause. Here is to playing in golf tournaments!

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When is the Right Time to Engage a Professional Fundraising Firm?

Fundraising, | Capital Campaign, | Counsel | 1 Comment | by Mission Advancement

This is a question that all nonprofit organizations ask as they prepare for a capital campaign. And many nonprofits choose the wrong answer for reasons that seem responsible and sound in that moment. The correct – and short – answer is this: a nonprofit organization should engage professional counsel as soon as the need for capital is determined – long before the campaign begins.

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The Elements of a Successful Capital Campaign

Capital Campaign | 1 Comment | by Mission Advancement

There comes a time in a nonprofit’s lifecycle when it is faced with an extraordinary opportunity – a vision of how to expand and further its mission.

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Finding and Keeping a Development Rockstar

Development office | 1 Comment | by Mission Advancement

Losing a development officer can have serious implications on a nonprofit's mission. And finding the right replacement is a process that is rarely done well. There are many opinions on what the ideal characteristics are for a good development officer. Unfortunately, most of them miss the mark and bring little value to the search and hiring process. Here is another take on how to find and keep a Development Rockstar and help bring an end to the revolving door of the development office.

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Time to Plan

Fundraising | 0 Comments | by Mission Advancement

It's a busy time of year for us at MAP. I know it's a busy time for you, as well.It's always right around this time of year when I fail to remember to do some really important things. Perhaps, most importantly, setting aside time in the coming months to do some serious strategic planning for the year ahead.

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So, what is a major gift, anyway?

Fundraising, | Major gifts | 0 Comments | by Mission Advancement

This is a seemingly innocent question that elicits responses all over the charts. Nearly every nonprofit uses the term ‘major gift’ and has a quick definition of its meaning, but no two definitions are the same.

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Apples or Oranges

Fundraising, | Major gifts | 0 Comments | by Mission Advancement

Depositphotos_2556223_l-2015All too often, the term "major gifts fundraising" is misused, misrepresented, and misunderstood. Nearly every nonprofit professes to do some version of major gifts fundraising, and all consulting firms claim to be major gift experts. However, I believe that few nonprofit organizations have a true major gifts program and even fewer consulting firms grasp the philosophy behind a quality relationship-based funding strategy. In fact, major gifts fundraising often becomes a game of confusing oranges for apples.

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