Sunday, March 17, 2013

Planning for Development

Why plan for development?  Well, the answer is pretty simple.  When you don't plan, you don't achieve and "fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants" development work is seldom successful and always frustrating.  There are a number of reasons why a "Development Plan" is a good thing:

A Development Plan helps you plan to meet your revenue goals (your physical needs in your organization and your planned costs)

A Development plan helps you to avoid "mission creep" which is what happens when a great opportunity comes along unexpectedly.  When you don't have a plan and that great opportunity comes along you may say yes to something you don't have time, money, or volunteers to carry out.  If you have a development plan and the great opportunity comes along, you can see that you do have the time, money and volunteers and say yes or that you do not and you can comfortably say no knowing that you are making the best decision for your organization.

A Development Plan helps your organization to raise your level of professionalism among your volunteers, your donors, and your major funders as well.

A Development Plan lets you know, clearly, which funders you can approach for renewals and at what intervals.

A Development Plan allows you to carefully schedule events and such around those that are already in place in your community which will help you work with competitive events rather than suffer because of them.

A Development Plan can feed all other planning such as your Marketing and Communications Plan, all of which, helps your organization work at a pleasing and comfortable place.

Ever a proponate of planning in general, in a nonprofit organization which relies on fundraising, a Development Plan is crucial to your long-term success.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Relationship Building: Cultivation and Stewardship

As a part of what I do, I'll be attending a college basketball game tomorrow along with some key donors and friends of our organization.  What a delightful opportunity!  

Think about it...every board member, donor, and prospect has been invited to attend with a guest to see a great basketball game, enjoy some great food, etc.  

So, what is the plan for this very unique and treasured opportunity?  I plan to meet and greet all of our guests,  obviously.  In addition, I've got a plan for each of our staff there to connect specifically to two or three of our guests.  I've got a little gift for a few children who are joining us and three hours of my undivided development attention.  

This is a fun event light on planning and enjoyable by all, including staff.  The key is in the connections made at the event and the follow up.  This is where we will focus our attention come Monday.

Connections can be as simple as introducing one person to someone else they might not otherwise intersect with in daily life.  These introductions create a great synergy because they learn that they both have a love for your organization, they begin to talk about life events, who they know, etc. and begin to find their own points of intersection.  Before you know it, they've made a connection because of your event. 

Follow up is key to the event's success, too.  Beginning Monday, there will be personal thank you notes written and sent with personal notes regarding the day's events and any details.

Is that it?  Are there other ways to follow up?  Of course!  Let's say this team advances in competition then you've got great reasons to make contact and place that reminder of their game attendance.  

Were all the guests previously known by you or were your donors in attendance graciously bringing potential donors to your door, so to speak?  If so, then follow up will be a little more in depth and include a coffee meeting or more.

The little things you do to make even an easy event successful and memorable make the biggest difference.  Do these little things such as connecting and follow up well.