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Strategic Fundraising

Presentation at CASE Conference on Major Gifts, San Antonio, February 2009

Strategic Fundraising

  1. 1. Strategic Fundraising William R. Lowery, Ph.D. Vice President for Development and External Relations Claremont McKenna College February 11, 2009 CASE – San Antonio
  2. 2. Fashions in fundraising <ul><li>The old way to campaign </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Find a project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Desire </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Need </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Desperation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make the case </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>This will allow us to . . . . </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>All the others are . . . . </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If we don’t do this, we’ll . . . . </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Fashions in Fundraising <ul><li>The current version </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on the donor (“donor-centric”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Identify his or her values, background, “hot buttons” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Discover her or his financial problems </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Find solutions to the problems </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Make the donor feel as if goals have been met </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Match the gift design with something in the campaign </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. The new new thing: strategic fundraising <ul><li>Bringing things into alignment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Remember that first things come first </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Value the donors who can meet the first need </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make the case for what’s crucial </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Build the program to make this happen: be strategic </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Design the case </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Design the pool </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. The players Deciders Prospects Solicitors
  6. 6. The deciders <ul><li>Board of Trustees </li></ul><ul><li>President </li></ul><ul><li>Deans and faculty </li></ul><ul><li>Alumni leaders </li></ul><ul><li>Athletes and fans </li></ul><ul><li>Institutes and organizations </li></ul>
  7. 7. What deciders consider <ul><li>Markets </li></ul><ul><ul><li>External (prospective students, faculty, researchers) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal (current students, faculty, researchers) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reputational (the world they’ll live in) </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. What deciders consider: more <ul><li>Values </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How the institution defines success </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What the deciders see: success or failure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What the markets see: success or failure </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Finance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Total revenue </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Revenue provided directly by clients </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Revenue from other sources </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. The decision <ul><li>The institution needs to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Build (bigger, better, classier) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hire (more, better, more visible/productive) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recruit/expand (student body, faculty) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Add (programs/sites) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Change (programs/sites) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>There is priority among them, even if not stated </li></ul>
  10. 10. The solicitors <ul><li>The major gifts team and others </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Trained to learn from prospects: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Asset strength </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>History </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Motivators </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Values </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hot buttons </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Good at determining when to ask, and how </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Likely to move on schedule – theirs or donors’ </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Solicitors: more <ul><li>Good solicitors work closely with prospects to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Define the gift most likely to fit donors’ values </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make the gift make the donor feel bigger </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Structure the gift to make financial sense for the donor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leave the door open for future relations </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. The prospects <ul><li>Define and change their relations with the institution </li></ul><ul><li>Have a life outside the institution </li></ul><ul><li>Could get along without you </li></ul><ul><li>Need to be reminded that you share their goals and values </li></ul><ul><li>Have varied and varying needs </li></ul>
  13. 13. The prospects: more <ul><li>Desires and needs may have no order in donors’ minds </li></ul><ul><li>Motivators and hot buttons can change in importance </li></ul><ul><li>The solicitor may be able to change the priority order </li></ul>
  14. 14. Getting to the center Highest importance Deciders Prospects Solicitors
  15. 15. What the solicitor must do <ul><li>Canvass the prospects – assess their relation to the Project of Highest Importance </li></ul><ul><li>Instinct trumps data here </li></ul><ul><li>Reorganize the priority and the schedule to reflect these analyses </li></ul><ul><li>Move forward swiftly but do not ignore the rest of the pool </li></ul>
  16. 16. Essentials for success in strategic fundraising <ul><li>Create feedback loops </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Solicitor to deciders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Solicitor to prospects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deciders to prospects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deciders to solicitor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prospects to solicitor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prospects to deciders </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Essentials for success in strategic fundraising: more <ul><li>Give deciders assessments of likelihood for success </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure prospects/donors know the Project of Highest Importance is on track </li></ul><ul><li>Connect deciders to prospects when that will strengthen the connection </li></ul><ul><li>Give prospects’ thoughts back to deciders if that will improve the project </li></ul>
  18. 18. Takeaways <ul><li>This new new thing is a blend of fundraising fashions </li></ul><ul><li>Being strategic we still pay attention to prospects’ values and desires </li></ul><ul><li>Being strategic, we respect the institution’s legitimate need to put first things first </li></ul>
  19. 19. William R. Lowery Vice President for Development and External Relations Claremont McKenna College 400 North Claremont Boulevard Claremont, CA 91711 [email_address] O: 909-621-8096 M: 909-568-1964
  • AuroraCarmichael

    Sep. 30, 2016
  • RobZuback

    May. 20, 2016

Presentation at CASE Conference on Major Gifts, San Antonio, February 2009

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