Archive › Ask the consultant archive

Year-end development priorities

We know that many of our donors will make their gifts between now and the end of the year. What are the most important activities for our development staff during this time? For most organizations, the flow of charitable giving is the greatest in December; in fact, that month alone may exceed the total of […]

Comments Off on Year-end development priorities

Assessing campaign readiness

My organization is considering a fundraising campaign. How do we know if we’re ready? A successful campaign offers a number of benefits, including achieving important priorities that strengthen mission; raising the profile of the organization; building development capacity for the future; and establishing and strengthening relationships with key stakeholders. A poorly planned and implemented campaign […]

Comments Off on Assessing campaign readiness

Creating a campaign budget

What are some “best practices” for building an adequate, accurate campaign budget? When creating a campaign budget, we first stress the importance of careful accounting for all true campaign expenses. Doing so will give your organization the best picture for your campaign’s return on investment and will also help you truthfully answer a question donors […]

Comments Off on Creating a campaign budget

Mentoring for development professionals

Why should my organization consider getting outside help to mentor a new development officer? For persons new to development, a well designed period of training and support can set the right course in a manner that yields best return with the shortest learning curve. This is especially important for organizations whose ongoing support relies on […]

Comments Off on Mentoring for development professionals

Uncertain economic times

How should my organization and I relate with our major donors during uncertain economic times? The key word in this question is “relate.” Creating and maintaining close relationships with major donors is a key activity for CEOs and development directors. And that priority shouldn’t change with the economy. Think of major donors as your best […]

Comments Off on Uncertain economic times

Visioning vs. strategic planning

What is the difference between visioning and strategic planning? Visioning, while a critical first step, is only a part of the strategic planning process. If the vision is the desired destination, the strategic plan is how to get there. To illustrate, when planning a vacation, we picture in our minds a particular experience at a […]

Comments Off on Visioning vs. strategic planning

Board role in advancement

What is the board’s role in advancement? Board members carry an important role in organizational advancement efforts. In an ongoing way, board members should expect to: • Designate adequate resources for the advancement program, including personnel and budget, and review results annually. • Consider potential board members who are experienced in fundraising or well-connected to […]

Comments Off on Board role in advancement

Professional development opportunities

What professional development opportunities do you suggest for fundraising officers? The Fund Raising School at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University offers a variety of valuable courses. These 1-5 day courses are offered in select cities nationwide and, in some cases, online. A complete course listing is available online. Fundraisers should also consider participating […]

Comments Off on Professional development opportunities

Budgeting for professional counsel

How can I justify hiring a consultant when money is tight? We prefer to think of hiring a consultant as an investment versus an expense; that is, the cost must be weighed against what your organization stands to gain. A worthwhile consultant offers valuable skills and expertise that might be under-developed or untested within your […]

Comments Off on Budgeting for professional counsel