How to upgrade major gift fundraising? I often use a house analogy. It works because both require...
When I started in my new role as a Development Director for a local Denver non-profit I was confident that I was going to succeed. I believed in the mission wholeheartedly and knew that the non-profit was making a real difference in the lives of the people we served. The organization was in the midst of a capital campaign and things were going well, really well. It was every Development Director’s dream.
In the first year, I was met with a few unexpected challenges. Although I had 10 years of experience as a fundraiser I was new to managing a fundraising staff and it was much harder than I anticipated. Walking in to lead a team that was established and set in their ways of doing things was tough and I made many managerial missteps early on. I was struggling to balance the stress of the internal conflict with my team with expectations from the board to grow and become a more donor-centric fundraising shop. I was also tasked with putting a development plan together to cast the vision for the next three to five years. We were experiencing unprecedented growth and everyone, myself included, wanted to see the upward trend continue.
There was one clear area of untapped potential in our fundraising model, major gifts. All of us agreed it was the best hope for our future growth and although we had received some very generous gifts in the past, we had no clear plan for how to go about getting more.
About six months into this balancing act I was introduced to Make Philanthropy Work. It was evident to me from the first meeting that they understood major gifts, and how to create a culture of philanthropy that enables organizations to succeed. I began to have a realization that if I was going to help take our team to the next level of fundraising I was going to need help. Thankfully, the non-profit I worked for believed in investing in the tools we needed to succeed and we entered into a partnership with Make Philanthropy work.
Over the next few weeks, I met with Make Philanthropy Work multiple times. We partnered together to develop a plan that worked for us, analyzed our donor database and mined for prospects. I felt like every meeting with the consultant was a one-on-one conference where I had the opportunity to ask my questions and learn to think of philanthropy in different terms. As they helped us craft the plan, they were also educating our team on the process and the best practices that would help us succeed. The plan that we implemented in partnership with Make Philanthropy Work became the fundraising strategy the staff, board and lead volunteers rallied around and it is still being used today. As a fundraiser, this experience also helped me grow in my personal development, giving me tools and the courage to make the big asks.
If you are interested in learning more about how Make Philanthropy Work can help you and your team succeed I encourage you to learn more about the organizations they have supported and the services they provide: https://makephilanthropywork.com/our-clients/