Homeless youth

Homeless youth
People we don't see.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Have you seen a development plan lately?

Every job posting titled Director of Development I looked at while on my job search included one item that puzzled me: Must be able to create a development plan for the agency. As I read this my mind would wander off with questions like:

What happened to your development plan?

Why do you need another development plan?

Why do you want a new development plan?

And finally, and most importantly...

Why do you want the newest person on you non-profit team to write the development plan?

Of course there are answers for all of these questions and  I'm sure that in many of the postings the agency was just making sure that when the time came, their new fundraising professional could blow their minds with a development plan.

I am currently working on a new development plan at work. First and foremost, I am not working on it alone. I am working on it with the co-chairs of our board development committee, with my ED (our agency's CEO as well as some of my staff. It's going to be a development plan that rocks and the title of it is "We will rock you!".

NOTE: Development plans do not need a name or title, it's just my personal preference.

Our development plan is going to focus on this fiscal year and the next fiscal year. Being that our fiscal year begins October 1st, this plan will have goals and ideas to support development through September 30th of 2014.

First and foremost, our plan is about building lifelong relationships, not about fundraising.

"We want to be in a lifelong relationship with you" as opposed to "We want you to give us money".

Our development plan includes challenges/opportunities to reaching our goals for the budget as well as specific goals around areas like lapsed giving. One can use a development plan as a support piece while working on the next budget and can also plug in numbers from a current budget as overall goals.

Our development plan also includes major events, corporate partnerships, foundation giving and examples of how simple ideas support some of the goals listed. I always love including a page of what increased giving looks like on certain levels and how the overall reach of that adds so much to the giving totals. An example of this is if 50 donors who currently give $100 increase their gift this year to $200 then that is a $5,000 increase towards individual giving. And that is just one example at one giving level.

Do you have a current development plan? What is your favorite thing about it?

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Don't stop believing

A donor cancels lunch.

The company that bought a Gala table last year said no this year.

A board member doesn't return your call.

The government grant is not going to happen.

You spilled your coffee on your keyboard.

The website got hacked!?!?

It's not always easy. I think if it were, I wouldn't love fundraising as much as I do.

Every day we might deal with one or more of what I listed above. Sometimes all of this could happen in the first hour of your day!

In my time of being a fundraiser I have walked through many a dark moment, or at least it seemed like a dark moment at the time. The reality is that people will say no sometimes. I don't think it means no, never. I think it means that at that particular time it is not good for them to give, for whatever reason.

The deal for me is that I wholeheartedly 100% believe in the mission of the organization I work for and the people who work there making sure the mission is fulfilled every day. No matter if that grant comes in or if a donor says yes or no, we are still going to have youth experiencing homelessness that need a meal or a cot to sleep on or help studying for the GED. That's what we do, and as long as I am truly committed to that and keep believing that this mission is so worthwhile, everything will fall into place.

I also reach out in tough times. I have a list of other fundraisers that I can call or email and say hey, I'm having a tough morning. Or, I just received an email from a donor and I don't know how to respond. Just reaching out and having a conversation with someone who does what I do and has experienced what I am experiencing at that moment is a huge help.

And it's important for me to support other fundraisers.

So let's rock it! Today I am working on my spring appeal and working on a lapsed donor campaign. I am also going to reach out to several donors just to check in. I have my coffee in hand, my music play list on and am ready to ROCK IT!

For all of the fundraisers reading this, thank you for what you do!

And thank you for reading!