Good afternoon, I’m Lawrence Durance my name and how to get hold of me as it should be in the bottom of the screen. This is the second installment of a series of five that are dealing with major gift programs for small and medium sized nonprofits. Our first session that I had a week or so ago on YouTube was do we really need a major gift program?
And today we’re going to turn our attention to how do you develop a case for support for a major gift program for your organization. And we’re going to work through and see what difference it makes on how you do them. Now see if this fits you at all.
When I come in organizations and I asked to receive their case for support. Often what I will hear is we have a draft of our case was done by Stafford grant writer someone probably pretty well done. It was taken to the board. The board was asked to look at it. They did. They were asked to approve it. They did and they voted on it and often unanimously approved it and put it aside. That was the end of it.
You have a case on file but you don’t have buy in or ownership. And the reason you need buy in their ownership with major gift programs is that helps to motivate them to make major gifts not when they’re just handed a case for support. So how do we go about doing this? Get ownership. I want to first note to you an ad each is true in fundraising in my work. Developing your case for support.
Should the board lead and staff support it not the other way around. That’s easy enough for me to say; but how do you make that happen? I’m going to give you a way that I’ve seen at work with a number of organizations and see if that fits for you or some modification.
You bring together for a half day session or plus a plus session. And the purpose of the session is to look at and examine the future of the organization. And you invite your board they are the host. You have key senior staff and other stakeholders especially major donors and major give prospects and now you’ve got to be grouped together. What I suggest to you in the first instance is that you break him into small groups.
That way everybody will participate. And when you got broken into small groups pose this is the first question. If your organization were to disappear tomorrow what difference would it make if any? To the community you purport to serve. There’s no right or wrong answer to them.
Ask the groups to write down what their thoughts are individually write them down write them down then bring them back together once they’ve had time to do them and have them report out so everybody can hear what everybody else said. Have a staff person making close clear notes of what is gone on and watch for the threads that come through the common issues etc. then send them back into their small groups again and ask him to address this. We want for our organization for you to come up with.
We believe that statements we believe that no child should go to bed. We believe that every person deserves a hot meal a day whatever it is you believe and each group should come up with I would say I based my experience three four five. We believe that statements again.
There’s no right or wrong answer you just get the input them bring back everybody together and have them report out. And again the staff person take notes at this point you want to take a bit of a break. And the staff person or to keep you know that they will go away take the information has been presented and put it into some logical form on why you should exist what would happen if you disappeared.
What he believed that statements then come back after your break present that to the group. Put it up on flip chart have a printed out etc. however you want to do it and ask people for comments input. Does it accurately reflect where we are? That’s the end of what you’re going to do from that day. That takes a while to get through.
You may have other work you’re going to do but in your case that’s what you’re gonna end up with. And then the staff should be charged to go out and pull together a draft of their case. And then just share that back with the group at a later date and you have the makings and a framework for a vision for the future based on what this group’s done and now the staff completely and the needs we have. What kind of money we need to make this come about etc. etc.
Then I would suggest to staff to the chief executive send that out to everybody who participate this draft you have and let them comment back individually. And I won’t go into it here but I suggest doing that in writing don’t bring them back as a group to critique it but let them comment on the draft that you’ve done. And then you tidy that up and then take on board.
The common issues and concerns people have you now have a draft of the case and you have some ownership and some buy in and by buy in I mean these people will step up and they’re more likely to make significant gifts because they have been a part of coming up with what are going to be the issues in the direction of the organization.
Some boards feel threatened by this because they feel like it’s a board responsibility. And my comment to that is if you’re going to pay for everything. That’s fine. But if you need others to step up and make significant commitments they need to be able to have some. Piece of the action so to speak. So what do you do now?
Once you have this and you’ve got a draft I think you’ve got the makings of how you put together a case your case then can be used in brochures. It can be used in videos it can be used in social media etc. We’ve got a working viable case for support. Now what I suggest to you for homework out of the session is you go back take a look at what you have for a case. How did it come about?
Chief executive and board chair talked to each other. Is there real buy in? Is there ownership? Will board members keep prospects? Step up and financially support this with meaningful gifts. The answer is yes fine if the answers we don’t know or we’re really doubtful. Then you need to do something about that.
And you can either take on perhaps a little exercise like I’ve mentioned the workshop have a workshop or something else that fits you better. But the answer is not I don’t like what Lawrence Durance presented and we’re not going to do anything. The answer is we don’t like necessarily what we saw on YouTube but here’s where we’re going to do instead.
And at that stage of the game you’ll have a chance to pull together a case that makes sense that people can buy into maybe you don’t have a case for support. You still have to go through the same type of exercise. So at the end of the day what you have hopefully is a case that’s vibrant, alive. It’s clear, it’s compelling and it’s ready to be supported by your major donors. I hope this is helpful.
Now next week we’re going to turn to another topic. I have to take a peek at what that is. Oh we’re going to focus on. The question or comment I get from organizations look we haven’t focused much a major gifts in the past. We even doubt whether we have any major gift prospects much less donors. How do we find major give prospects and turn them into donors? But how do we find them the first instance? That’s it for the day. Have a great day. Thanks