Building a Center of Excellence for Business Analysis and Advancement

Building a center of excellence for business analysis modernizes your advancement programs and expands your fundraising initiatives—from programs such as peer-to-peer, corporate foundations, as well as, grateful patient fundraising.


But first, you must consider where you’re starting from. This includes understanding your baseline with documented business processes and procedures. Specifically, who does what, when they do it, and how it gets done.


A keen understanding of your baseline enables you to identify opportunities. These opportunities improve your business analysis and advancement proficiency. And the outcomes—from an operational standpoint—support new initiatives or expand existing ones.


On the contrary, if you don’t establish your baseline, you will likely experience chaos from an operational perspective when you expand your center of excellence for business analysis and advancement. This is because no one knows what’s happening, and there is no clarity.


Here are some options—including challenges—as you consider building a center of excellence for business analysis and advancement.


Option 1: Outline Processes and Procedures

The tricky question remains: Who will be responsible for creating or maintaining the documents for business analysis and advancement? You can’t neglect maintenance; otherwise, you risk them becoming obsolete. The most common practice is for the manager to maintain documents, but not all managers have the proper skills and tools to be successful.


If managers are supposed to be responsible for building and maintaining the center for business analysis and advancement, then each manager must understand the differences between process diagrams, operating procedures, and user guides for the Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) platform.


But sometimes, those often have many similarities.


  • Process flow diagram maps outline the end-to-end steps of the process. The purpose of the process flow diagram map is to provide a high-level view of the workflow, identify who’s involved and where the hand offs are, and help you clearly understand how you get from the beginning to the end. It is a complete overview of the inputs and outputs of the process.
  • The standard operating procedure outlines the standard operating steps to execute. This may be one or many, but the goal of a standard operating procedure creates consistency for training staff—their involvement in the process yields consistent results.
  • User guides explain how to use software systems like the CRM to support the process. This encourages system adoption and proficient usage and defines the ins and outs of the tool set you’ve been given.

It’s common for managers to have knowledge gaps regarding the processes and procedures—often, specifically with how things are done in their department. This is simply because they aren’t doing it themselves and not necessarily improper management. And it’s often assumed that every manager has good delegation skills and comprehensively elicits information from others. Again, that may not be the case.


Now that’s just gathering the information. In this model, it’s also assumed managers have the skill sets to know the difference between documentation and gathering information.


You risk creating chaos again if managers are tasked with creating their processes and procedures because everyone has different ways of doing things.


Using managers to build a center of excellence for business analysis and advancement requires training. The training should include elicitation techniques, process mapping workshops, and stakeholder interviews. Building a center of excellence for business analysis and advancement requires templates and tool sets to enable consistency and standardized documentation.

Option 2: Identify Business Analysts

The ideal state is to have dedicated business analysts. These experts are individuals with the proper skill set and training in methodologies for business analysis and can create and maintain rich documentation. General managers often lack this focused skill set and can’t capture processes or identify inefficiencies that might be a blind spot to management.


In this model, business analysts develop metrics and shape behavior toward objectives such as efficiency, collaboration, and transparency—all things you want within your department. The business analysts become the partner, acting as an external counsel to help you push toward the goal.


With the proper skill sets, your business analysts can also oversee some change management aspects. But of course, using business analysts do have a downside. An entire advancement division can’t just be supported by one person. You need multiple people to become a dedicated resource for advancement departments. But most institutions don’t have the budget to support dedicated business analysts.

Option 3: Establish a Consultative Model to Build a Center of Excellence for Business Analysis and Advancement

Establishing a consultative model to build a center of excellence for business analysis and advancement is more cost-effective because it provides oversight for consistency without long-term expense. This model is especially effective for small teams.


In this model, the department head still contributes in establishing the fundmental basis, but by partnering with a consultant, you now have someone to guide you through the process. And you’re still getting the back-and-forth communication while identifying potential blind spots and establishing direction with change management. The consultative model ensures the CRM implementation is not solely resting on the business analysts’ group—instead, the burden is shared and functionality is improved.

Things to Consider for Managing CRM Upgrades

Implementing a Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) platform is a significant undertaking, but the work is not complete at Go Live. You may have reached implementation Go Live, but now you’re faced with CRM upgrades multiple times a year.


It’s time to approach upgrades differently and establish a standard process to maintain the stability and quality of your CRM system.

How often should you plan for CRM upgrades? 

CRM upgrades could happen three to four times a year.

What resources do CRM upgrades require?

Before upgrading your CRM system, you must assess your current and future needs and the internal resources required.

  • Are you prepared for the upcoming upgrade?
  • How will the upgrade impact your current business processes?
  • How will the upgrade support the goals and objectives of your CRM strategy?

Consider the upgrade’s costs, risks, and benefits, comparing options and vendors. This helps define your CRM system’s upgrades scope, requirements, and expectations.


More things to consider for managing CRM upgrades.

Planning and Scheduling Your CRM Upgrades

Planning and scheduling are important aspects of CRM upgrades. Create a detailed project plan that outlines the tasks, milestones, responsibilities, and resources involved in the change.


Decide your available internal resources. Does your budget support hiring staff or working with an external resource to augment the upgrade?


A few resources you will require to complete upgrades are:

  • Project manager
  • Project manager “light” (i.e., someone to monitor the process and system in place)
  • Technical specialists

You may not be aware until you’re going through an upgrade whether or not you can do this internally—but planning ensures you don’t fall behind on the upgrades. Once you determine a plan and schedule, coordinate with your internal and external stakeholders to ensure everyone knows their roles and expectations.

Communication Throughout CRM Upgrades

Like the CRM implementation, communication remains vital during upgrades. Upgrades require different administrators, integration specialists, and frequent and ongoing communication.

Monitor Following CRM Upgrades

Once you have planned and prepared for your CRM system upgrade and communicated it appropriately, create a testing plan and schedule to outline the testing, resources needed, and how to communicate the feedback.


Monitoring includes testing the new system and tracking performance and any issues that may arise.


To test CRM upgrades effectively, you need to follow a systematic and structured process that covers all the critical aspects of your CRM system.


Define testing objectives, scope, and criteria.

  • What are the goals and expected outcomes of the upgrade?
  • What features, functions, and integrations do you need to test?
  • How will you measure the success and performance of the upgrade?

Different types of testing may be required depending on the complexity of the upgrade—like unit, integration, functional, regression, user acceptance, and performance testing. Lastly, document and report the testing results to record and track the outcomes, issues, and resolutions. Share and discuss the findings and recommendations with stakeholders and users.

Streamlining Advancement Gift Operations with Next Level Automation

Gift operations processing is the backbone of fundraising. However, many institutions have a hefty volume of manual gift entry that requires many staff hours and much personnel power. Increasing your gift volume but simultaneously taking on operational overhead is not a winning combination. Not to mention, this back-office element prevents growth and hinders institutional strategies to grow and expand programs—it would just become an albatross. 


It is necessary to look toward technology and automate repetitive tasks to free up time for staff members. This enables you to upskill individuals and focus on high-level or mission-critical tasks. 


If it’s been six months or more after your Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) Go-Live and stabilization is done, it’s time to refine your toolset and streamline gift operations with next-level automation.


Here’s what to consider. 

Importing Gifts 

We’ve already established essential gifts can be a cumbersome to-do. But what happens if you’re receiving daily gift files from the lockbox of your caging vendor? In this scenario, your caging vendor is inputting data into their system, not yours, creating a file and sending it to you with your information. Caging vendors are best leveraged for straightforward data; complicated stuff doesn’t even get entered.  


Additionally, you may receive high-volume gifts from online platforms that automatically structure the information to convert it to a digital file. These digital files are usually separate from your CRM. 


Importing gifts in these ways require much time and effort to augment the integration process. When it comes to importing gifts, staff time should be reserved for evaluating exceptions with the goal to receive and handle information with as little human intervention as possible. 


Whether acquiring tools that use data and improve automation file cleanup, complete data transformation, or restructuring, streamlining your gift operations with next level automation helps your data flow into your CRM with minimal human intervention.

Leveraging Features 

If manual gift entry is necessary, look to the advancement CRM platform you’ve purchased to ensure you’re leveraging data entry automation features. Data entry automation features prevent errors, eliminate rework, and empower analytics.


For example, data entry automation templates focus user attention to required fields, preventing missed data points. Additionally, default values prevent the user from having to enter the same value repeatedly. 


Data entry automation features also help you better assess error rates. Error rates for gift operations are essential because they help you understand the time spent correcting gift errors. If your error rates are higher than expected, consider looking at your processes upstream, leveraging tools in your advancement CRM to prevent mistakes and reduce rework for gift entry. 


Digital Communications 

The world expects to receive digital responses instantaneously. For example, you purchase something and receive an email or text confirmation upon checkout. Your donors have similar expectations. If you’re not already, you should be using instantly triggered emails, receipts, and thank you notes to automate gift operations. This helps build a personalized strategy and engage donors.


But using automations also creates more data you can use to enhance your fundraising strategy. With automations, especially as they relate to digital communication, not only can you deliver information at scale, but you can assess how often it is opened, track clicks, and analyze trends to tailor future communication. This prevents your communications from becoming sterile, and if done well and strategically, increases your initiatives.

Gift Operations Documentation Integration 

As an institution, you must keep gift operations documentation for a designated period. Gift documentation is often maintained in another system or folder and disconnected from the advancement CRM. But automation can bring these two critical things together without requiring additional resources.


Automation as a holistic strategy = time-saving. If a question comes up about gift operations, but you’re in a different system, information may get lost and time waste. Time-saving is enhanced when everything is synced and at your fingertips.

Strategies to Leverage the Power of Analytics in Fundraising

We are moving toward an increasingly data-driven world where leveraging analytics has become the fabric of business as well as building effective fundraising strategies. But the advancement industry still seems to lag and remain focused on traditional approaches.


Those who can get on board and leverage data analytics will rise above the masses and more effectively compete for philanthropic dollars. 


Don’t throw away your prior, proven strategies. Do consider how to incorporate the wisdom of the past with the capabilities of the future. 

How can analytics in fundraising help my institution? 

One of the most prominent ways analytics in fundraising help your institution is by transferring information quicker to your fundraising staff. Analytics also equips them with more readily accessible and actionable information. Fundraisers can engage with donors and have more strategic conversations because they can realize the philanthropic vision of that donor. 


Leveraging analytics in fundraising is an element of working smarter, not harder. It also aligns with the notion that we all must do more with less. Using analytics in fundraising is your tool to do that. 


Here are some specific strategies to leverage analytics in fundraising.

Pinpoint Major Gift Prospects

Institutions have vast donor applications, making it impossible to wade through relevant data like giving history and past interactions. Analytics in fundraising provides your team with statistical monitoring and predictable scoring to enhance the critical list of vital supporters.

Focus on Affinity

Identifying wealth and capability is essential when it comes to prospective donors, but determining affinity may be even more impactful. This is because affinity focuses on the relationship and is more of an indicator of long-term giving capability. 


But when wealth, affinity, and philanthropic tendencies are combined, you can identify a prime constituent for any institution. And determining these components are best done with data analytics. 

Tailor Fundraising Appeals 

A fundraising appeal is a formal request for donations. Most institutions have annual giving programs where there could be multiple appeals like direct mail, email, and social media outreach—all of which you’re speaking to the masses. 


The most effective fundraising appeal strategy encompasses speaking to the masses and simultaneously tailors the messaging. Tailored messaging helps your prospects feel like you’re talking to them individually. But creating tailored messages as scale is impossible unless you’re using analytics in fundraising. 

Analyze Trends 

Gone are the days when you can do set-it-and-forget-it fundraising strategies. You must analyze trends, including donor tendencies and reactions. Then, you must continue to refine that. 


To put it firmly, if you’re still setting your strategy at the beginning of the fiscal year and keeping it the same, we’re talking to you. 


Again, staying abreast of trends is only possible with analytics. Analytics in fundraising helps you examine your trends—in terms of who engages, when, and what communication methods are most effective.

Maximize Event Funding

Traditionally, institutions set their standard yearly events regardless of trends. But if you separate yourself from the emotional ties to the event for the institution, is it best serving the institution? 


It’s not as common, but you can leverage the power of analytics to maximize event fundraising.


Using analytics in event fundraising doesn’t necessarily mean eliminating events—that is one aspect. But more so, it helps you identify the effectiveness of the event. This is even more relevant is the event is for cultivation purposes. If the event is for cultivation purposes, what guest list are you attracting? If you’re not drawing a guest list with the three components (wealth, affinity, and philanthropic tendency), that’s still not a win. 


It is necessary to use analytics in fundraising to evaluate your events. Only then you can decide whether it’s something you should continue (or improve), who it’s reaching, and how its driving interest and attracting audiences to support your institution.

Grateful Patient Fundraising Programs, Success and Compliance go Hand in Hand

A grateful patient program, sometimes called “Grateful Giving,” is a fundraising initiative that healthcare institutions use to cultivate relationships with patients whose lives have been positively affected by their providers and services. These fundraising programs allow patients to express their gratitude while simultaneously helping institutions.

Like all fundraising, a grateful patient fundraising program requires the following:

  • building relationships;
  • understanding donor affinity;
  • engaging donors; 
  • understanding the donor’s philanthropic vision; and
  • presenting opportunities to support your organization that align with the donor’s vision.

Meeting all the demands of these fundraising programs requires data. With a grateful patient fundraising program, data is regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and must be handled carefully. Compliance and success go hand in hand when it comes to a grateful patient fundraising program. Here’s what to consider.

Understand How Patient Can Be Used

Because there are so many rules and regulations regarding patient data, you must have a secure system in place for managing donor data for your grateful patient fundraising program.


You’ll want to use that data to create robust profiles and identify your top prospects for stewardship. Above all, patient information must remain private, and there are limitations to the data that you can obtain and share.


Federal, state, and local laws govern patient privacy, and institution policies regarding handling patient information may vary. Once you’re abreast of all privacy policies, create a plan to protect the data of both patients and their families. Here are some guidelines to remember.


Able to use without patient authorization:

  • Name, address, phone number, age, gender
  • Dates of health care provided, department of service, and treating physician can also be utilized.

Able to use, but requires a patient’s explicit authorization:

  • Specific health information like diagnoses, test results, and medications.
  • Sharing a patient story is especially important to your grateful patient fundraising program. All identifiable information must be removed unless the patient explicitly gives permission when using patient stories for fundraising.

All tools and processes to support your grateful patient fundraising program must comply with HIPAA requirements and best practices. Make sure you use HIPAA-compliant software and invite your compliance team to weigh in right from the start. Don’t forget these guidelines for opt-outs and data security. 



  • Fundraising materials should allow patients to opt out of future communication at any time.
  • If a patient has opted out of fundraising communications, no information can be used to contact them. Their opt-out status must be honored.

Data Security

  • Reasonable safeguards must be in place to protect unauthorized use or disclosure of protected health information.
  • Limit access to patient-specific data; only allow access for those who need it for job duties.

Partner with Your Compliance Officer

Too often, those in Advancement skip partnering with their Compliance Officer because it feels like an uphill battle. Those in Advancement might feel like compliance will never understand fundraising. We highly recommend avoiding this mindset. 


Instead, educate your Compliance Officer about fundraising and how it furthers the institution’s mission. Simultaneously illustrate that your goal is patient privacy and the safeguards you have implemented. 


Here are some essential ways to partner with your Compliance Officer:

  • Develop policies and procedures for safeguarding patient information.
  • Training
  • Establish periodic check-ins to share the team’s success in using patient data.
  • Review how everyone has collaborated to respect the patient’s privacy and secure the information.

If there has been a misstep or misuse of patient data, come clean, review the facts, and discuss what adjustments will be made to prevent it in the future.

Beyond HIPAA Training

Ensuring a successful, grateful patient fundraising program goes beyond standard HIPAA training—partner with your Compliance Officer to develop training specifically for your fundraisers and support staff.


This gives your fundraisers the tools they need for their best work and equips them with the knowledge to remain compliant.


Topics for training that go beyond HIPAA may include:

  • Do’s and Don’ts: WHAT IS and WHAT IS NOT appropriate use of patient data for fundraising?
  • How to properly obtain patient consent: Fundraisers need to know when and how to obtain a patient’s consent before using their information for fundraising purposes. This includes getting written authorization to use Protected Health Information (PHI) when required.
  • Opt-outs: How to make sure you adhere to and respect the patient’s wishes.
  • Tips for using data securely and appropriately.
  • How and when to encrypt emails.
  • Guidance for storing and controlling access to documents with patient information.


Now that you’ve learned some compliance how-tos for your grateful patient fundraising program, it’s time to get out there and kickstart your work. Your institution and community will be better for it!

Data Governance Committee, Best Practices for Your New Advancement CRM

In today’s data-driven world, organizations recognize the critical role of governance in managing and leveraging their data effectively. Effective data governance is essential to guarantee data quality, regulatory compliance, and enable better decision-making. 


By establishing a solid data governance framework, organizations can unlock the full potential of their data assets and drive success.


We discuss some how-to best practices for establishing a data governance committee for your new advancement Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) platform. 


Here are five tips to consider. 

What is a data governance committee? 

Data governance is managing the availability, usability, integrity, and security of the data in enterprise systems based on internal data standards and policies controlling data usage. 


The data governance committee is responsible for developing, implementing, and maintaining policies and procedures that guide how the organization’s data is handled, used, and shared. 


Effective data governance ensures that data is consistent and trustworthy and doesn’t get misused. Practicing good governance is increasingly critical as organizations face new data privacy regulations and rely more on analytics to optimize operations and empower decision-making. If you’re trying to establish a culture of data-driven decisions, you can only make good decisions if you have good data.

Tip 1: Establish the composition of the committee. 

Your data governance committee should be in effect at the launch of your CRM. Developing a robust data governance framework starts by establishing the composition of the committee. The committee should be cross-functional and include representation from multiple departments and stakeholders.


This is because people managing your data will view it differently than those who consume it, but both viewpoints are required for optimal data quality.


Additionally, consider various tenures of committee members. Involve permanent members and guests or ad hoc positions. The guest or ad hoc positions should represent a topic that may be specific to a data exchange in another system. And they should be familiar with a particular data governance question rather than stand-ins. 

Tip 2: Appoint a data governance committee chair and charter. 

Now that you’ve established the composition of your committee, you’ll need to appoint a data governance committee chair and charter. 


Data governance committee chair supports orderly decisions. This person leads productive discussions, reinforces guidelines, and aids the purpose of the committee. Having a data governance committee chair in place is even more critical regarding heated debates. The committee chair eliminates “round-table discussions” and maintain functionality despite disagreements. 


Data governance committee charter formalizes documents, defines your strategy, and outlines roles. They also decide how the members should work together to meet goals. For example, the charter sets goals and metrics for data quality.

Tip 3: Develop a data governance training program.

Don’t assume everyone—regardless of their participation in the committee—knows and understands data governance. Develop a training program and deliver it equality. 


For those on the data governance committee, training eliminates confusion and synchronizes information. 


For those who are not on the committee, training eliminates any fears of “missing out.” Additionally, training creates transparency and empowers them to bring issues to the data governance committee.

Tip 4: Identify a communication plan.

The data governance committee needs an overall communication plan that acts as a public relations campaign. The communication plan should clearly identify metrics.

  • What are the metrics that are resulting from this data governance strategy and committee being in place? 
  • Are there improvements being made?
  • What spheres of excellence have come about for data governance strategy and commitments? 

The data governance committee may not be the most popular people in the organization, so you must maintain metrics and communicate how these efforts are pushing the institution in a positive direction. 

Tip 5: Provide resources for the data governance committee.

While the data governance committee will make recommendations, discuss challenging issues, and help the institution move forward, they can’t be successful without a supportive infrastructure. One of the critical components of the infrastructure is having data governance security policies and guidelines. 


The data governance committee will turn to executive leadership to support and approve these guidelines. And executive leaderships should be willing to have ongoing and interactive discussions. If the committee can’t lean toward executive leadership to enact change, they’ll be stuck in a perpetual cycle reviewing the same situation repeatedly. You don’t want to make them the enemy, but you do want them to be the think tank advisory board on data quality and management.

60 Day Window of Opportunity Driving Your Advancement CRM Adoption After Go Live

A lot of planning and energy happens during a Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) implementation, and when you cross the Go-Live mark, you may think your work is done—that’s far from the truth.


After Go-Live, another level of focus and work needs to be done. This is because up to this point, everything you’ve discussed was in theory. But now that you’ve made it post Go-Live, the theory is realized and tested.


Post Go-Live sets the tone for ensuring long-term adoption and success. This stage of CRM implementation determines the impression of the system. For example, are users going to buy into the idea that the new CRM is better? And are they willing to step into a new era and master the system?


You have a 60-day window of opportunity post Go Live. Here’s how to maximize it.

Offer Continued Training After Go Live

Too often, organizations drop off with their training post Go-Live.  But this is a mistake. Even though you used “real” scenario examples to train, users learned the CRM system in theory without worrying about making mistakes and their job performance. Not that they’re using it in practice, their point of view is different and what happens within the CRM matters. 


Your 60-day post-Go-Live is a perfect opportunity to provide refresher training of what you covered pre-launch. Post-Go-Live refresher training increases engagement. Users can ask more meaningful questions and enhance comprehension because they have first-hand experience. 


Consider these ways to continue training post Go-Live.

Provide Timely User Support

Within the first 60 days post Go-Live, people may panic when faced with adversity. This is because the now that the experience is “real”, users can’t escape not doing things in the system like they may have in the early days. Users can no longer hide, and they must learn how to do their job effectively. But if they have yet to grasp processes and procedures, they may panic. Curb feelings of panic by offering timely and responsive user support.


Review Processes and Adjust Workflows

The first 60 days post Go-Live is also the perfect time to review processes and adjust workflows. During the post-Go-Live period, people tend to break their silence and share feedback. And as actual usage occurs you’ve likely uncovered processes and workflows based on assumptions that are wrong—maybe there are a few glitches or missed steps.


Overcome these challenges by identifying the processes and workflows that need to be revised, streamlined, or optimized. This is also the perfect time to consider automating the highly manual processes you couldn’t get to during implementation.

Practice Good Communication

Project communication remains critical during your CRM 60-day post-Go-Live phase. Communication with all those involved—whether users on expectations or stakeholders about progress. 


For example, illustrate to stakeholders how far you’ve come, publicize wins, and discuss return on investment. There will likely be more qualitative than quantitative data to share during this stage.


In many cases, people will still be adjusting to change in the first 60 days post Go-Live, but will always appreciate hearing the wins—which often gets lost amid change.

Go Time, How to Establish an Effective Go-Live Command Center for Your CRM

Your Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) implementation is a big undertaking—one that takes many months of planning and work. As you head closer toward Go-Live, you might be anticipating an end of the to-dos. But reaching Go-Live is just the beginning and not the time to retreat. 


Regardless of your CRM platform, a Go-Live Command Center supports your CRM implementation and increases adoption success. An effective Go-Live Command Center creates a centralized operation that is critical to triaging issues, questions, and concerns.


Here are five things to consider as you establish your Go-Live Command Center. 


Your Go-Live Command Center is only as effective as the staff that supports it. When it comes to adequate staffing, it’s all about balance. Staff your Go-Live Command Center with personnel from various departments and skill sets to make your offerings robust. 


For instance, a technical person addresses issues troubleshooting, whereas a project manager or lead type coordinates efforts or connects other resources. Having both available in your Go-Live Command Center better supports users and increases the likeliness of long-term success.

#2—Analysis and Assessment

Once you’ve determined who will be a part of your Go-Live Command Center, next establish how you’ll analyze and assess requests. This proactive approach allows you to monitor performance and identify errors early on.


For example, if a component of your CRM system is down or an integration is not running that day, you can address and communicate the issue to eliminate request redundancies. Communicating errors early on eradicate the need to respond to numerous similar requests, but it also conveys confidence in your support team.


Here is a sample message to that communicates challenges. “Yes, the [insert CRM platform] is currently experiencing [insert challenge] and it is a work in progress, but we’re on top of it and will update you as soon as it’s resolved.” 


Once you’ve established your team and a process for analyzing requests you can decide how to deliver solutions. As you decide on delivery, you must also consider a timeline because now is not the time to rush the delivery. Rushing delivery increases the likeliness of introducing more problems. Comprehensive testing decreases risk and ensures you’re providing solutions with long-lasting effects. 



We’ve mentioned including staff members from varying departments and skill sets in your Go-Live Command Center. For them to be effective, you must provide adequate training. Anyone who will be a part of the Go-Live Command Center should be appropriately trained and in sync with the information provided. 


Establish a training plan—prioritizing those supporting the user population and the persons who input information into the system. This streamlines your Go-Live Command Center experience and prevents errors.


The final step toward establishing an effective Go-Live Command Center includes an escalation component. Your Go-Live Command Center is at the forefront of your CRM. The quicker you can identify catastrophic points or issues, the better you are at successfully getting on top of that issue and enacting a contingency plan. The more delay that occurs, the more harm to the system and decreased user confidence.


An escalation process helps everyone—from individuals to executive leaders—develop a deep understanding of the criteria and be able to classify high-risk issues. 

Maximizing Impact for Advancement Operations with Limited Resources and Budget

Advancement operations—fundraising, alumni engagement, and donor relations—are crucial to an institution’s success. However, many institutions face the challenge of limited resources and budgets when it comes to Advancement. 


The key to success lies in strategic planning, adaptability, and a relentless focus on your institution’s mission. With the right approach and a dedicated team, you can achieve remarkable results and advance your institution’s goals even in resource-constrained environments.


Here are our top five suggestions to employ strategic approaches that maximize Advancement’s ability to thrive with limited resources and budgets. 

Data-Driven Decision-Making

Investing in donor management software streamlines data collection and analysis, helping you make informed decisions. Data is your most valuable asset, especially when resources are scarce. You can leverage data analytics to identify your most promising donor prospects, understand their giving behaviors, and tailor your engagement strategies accordingly. 


Data enables you to send segmented messages. Segmentation allows you to deliver personalized messages and appeals suited to donor desires. By sending targeted communications, you increase the likelihood of donors responding positively. 


Data helps you uncover trends and opportunities, enabling you to understand where they’ll have the most significant impact and allocate resources effectively.

Relationship Building and Stewardship

Institutions often far short when it comes to building solid, long-lasting relationships with donors. Yet, this can be one of the most cost-effective ways to secure support. Strong relationships can increase giving and referrals, making the most of your limited resources. 


Regularly engage with donors through personalized communications, acknowledge their contributions and update them on the impact of their gifts. Implement a donor recognition program to express gratitude and foster loyalty. 

Volunteer Engagement

Volunteers can extend your reach, enhance engagement efforts, and reduce operational costs. Their involvement can contribute to fundraising and strengthen the sense of community and connection within your institution.


Leverage your alums and supporters as volunteers. Implement a robust volunteer management system to match volunteers with suitable roles and ensure they feel appreciated. Encourage them to participate in fundraising campaigns, organize events, or mentor students. 

Collaborative Partnerships

Collaboration is key when Advancement resources are scarce. Collaborative efforts can reduce costs, pool resources, and expand your reach. Seek partnerships with other departments within your institution, external organizations, and businesses with a similar or complementary mission. 


For example, partner with academic departments to create fundraising campaigns that align with their programs or collaborate with local businesses for sponsorships or in-kind donations for events. 


By collaborating with internal and external partners, you achieve more significant results with fewer resources.

Digital Fundraising and Marketing

Digital tools offer cost-effective opportunities for fundraising and engagement. Invest in online fundraising platforms that offer streamlined donation processes, security, and data tracking. Maximize your online presence through social media, email marketing, and a user-friendly website. 


Consider hosting virtual events, webinars, and crowdfunding campaigns to expand your fundraising capabilities without the overhead of physical events. Remember to create compelling campaigns that resonate with your audience and make donating easy. 


Limited resources and budgets may present challenges for advancement operations, but they also offer opportunities for creativity and efficiency. By employing these five strategies, you can maximize your impact without breaking your budget.

The Top 7 Creative and Effective Fundraising Strategies to Engage Donors and Increase Giving

Staying adaptable and open to new fundraising ideas for your institution is essential—especially as the fundraising landscape evolves. To remain effective and thriving during this evolution, you must instill not only creativity but analysis of strategy performance, seek feedback from donors, and have a willingness to adjust your approach to meet their preferences.


Combining creativity, technology, and a solid commitment to your mission elevates your fundraising efforts, engages donors, and inspires giving. 


Consider these seven creative and effective fundraising strategies to get started. 

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a strategy in which individual supporters host personal campaigns to collect donations from their friends, family, and colleagues on behalf of an organization. This approach benefits you to organically expand your reach to a new, previously unexplored networks of supporters.


This approach also leverages your supporters’ trust and influence while reaching a broader audience. 


Empower your existing supporters to become advocates for your cause. Encourage them to create personal fundraising pages and share stories on their social networks. Provide tools and resources to help them succeed and acknowledge their efforts with recognition and rewards.

Virtual Fundraising Events

The digital age has brought new opportunities for engagement with minimal cost and increased accessibility. Virtual fundraising events like webinars, online auctions, or virtual galas eliminate geographical limitations, making participation more accessible for global donors. 


Increase engagement by including interactive elements like live chats and panel sessions to keep participants involved and excited about your cause.

Crowdfunding Campaigns

Crowdfunding is often used by startup companies or growing businesses to access alternative funds, but it can be a valuable tool for nonprofit organizations because it allows for a dynamic way to raise funds and engage donors. 


When using crowdfunding, create compelling and concise campaigns with clear goals and focus on impactful storytelling. Share your campaigns on social media and encourage donors to share with their networks. Offer rewards or recognition for different levels of support to incentivize contributions and create a sense of community.

Monthly Giving Programs

A monthly giving program is a recurring donation program where donors can automatically donate a specific amount to their favorite nonprofit organization at a consistent frequency—i.e., weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. These sustainable, recurring donations are a valuable source of income for your organization. 


Encourage donors to commit to monthly giving programs by highlighting consistent contributions’ convenience and long-term impact. Consider offering exclusive updates or access to supporters who join the program early on to create a sense of belonging.

Storytelling and Impactful Content

Statistics may shock and awe for a moment, but they will rarely get people to act. Storytelling engages donors emotionally. Stories help you express your mission—even to people who may know nothing about your organization—and inspire action. 


Personalize your messaging with storytelling concepts to connect with donors on a deeper level and emphasize how their support makes a difference. Share compelling narratives that showcase the real-world impact of your organization’s work. Use multimedia content—like videos and photos—to bring stories to life. 

Matching Gift Programs

Donation matching is a corporate giving initiative in which an employer matches their employee’s contribution to a specific cause, increasing the gift without the added effort. Companies often appreciate matching gift programs because they show they support employees and have a philanthropic effect. 


For example, if an employee donates $50 to a local organization, the matching gift would be their company’s additional donation of $50.


Encourage donors to ask their employers about matching gift programs. If your organization intends to offer matching gift programs, make it easy for donors to initiate the matching process by providing the necessary documentation and support.

Giving Challenges and Competitions

Competition is a crucial factor in any fundraising effort—it creates excitement and generates buzz around the event or cause. 


Create a sense of friendly competition among donors by organizing challenges or competitions. Set specific fundraising goals and deadlines and encourage donors to compete individually or as teams. Reward the top fundraisers with prizes or acknowledgment. 


Incorporating a mix of these creative and effective fundraising strategies empowers your organization to engage donors and increase giving. Successful fundraising is built on trust, transparency, and a genuine connection with your supporters. Regularly communicate the impact of their contributions and express your gratitude to maintain donor loyalty and inspire continued support.

Building Bridges: Leveraging Partnerships for Impactful Fundraising at an Institution


In today’s competitive fundraising landscape, institutions must explore innovative ways to secure financial support for their initiatives. One effective strategy is to create and leverage partnerships with corporations and other organizations. 


These collaborations can open new avenues for fundraising, foster community engagement, and drive impactful change. 


Here are nine tips to make the most of these partnerships.

#1—Identify Shared Values and Objectives

The foundation of any successful partnership is a shared vision and goals. Before approaching potential partners, identify what your institution stands for and what you aim to achieve with the partnership. 


Seek corporations and organizations aligning with your mission and values. When your objectives are harmonious, the partnership becomes more meaningful and mutually beneficial.

#2—Research and Target Prospective Partners

Conduct thorough research to identify potential partners with a history of supporting causes like yours. Look beyond their financial capacity—consider their industry, reputation, and corporate social responsibility initiatives. 


Craft a tailored pitch that highlights how a partnership with your institution can align with their goals and values.

#3—Create Compelling Partnership Proposals

Develop compelling partnership proposals that outline the benefits of collaboration. Clearly articulate the impact their support can make on your institution’s initiatives and the broader community. 


Highlight the value of the partnership, including opportunities for brand exposure, employee engagement, and alignment with corporate values. Adapt your proposals to address each potential partner’s unique needs and interests.

#4—Cultivate Relationships

Building successful partnerships is not just about securing funds—it’s about nurturing relationships. Invest time getting to know potential partners, their key decision-makers, and corporate culture. 


Attend networking events, engage in conversations, and seek opportunities for face-to-face interactions. Solid and genuine relationships are the foundation of long-lasting partnerships.

#5—Offer Customized Engagement Opportunities

Recognize each partner is unique and may have varying levels of commitment and resources to offer. Flexibility in your approach can make it easier for potential partners to find a level of involvement that suits their capacity and interests.


Provide engagement opportunities, from one-time donations to multi-year partnerships, in-kind support, and employee volunteer programs. 

#6—Demonstrate Impact and Accountability

Showcase the tangible impact of past partnerships and demonstrate accountability for using funds. Regularly update your partners on the progress of initiatives they support, including success stories, key milestones, and measurable outcomes.


Transparency and accountability build trust and credibility, which are essential for retaining and attracting partners. 

#7—Employee Engagement Programs

Many corporations value opportunities for their employees to engage in meaningful volunteer work. Leverage this by developing volunteer programs that align with your institution’s mission. 


Partnering with organizations to offer employee volunteer opportunities enhances your institution’s visibility and fosters a sense of employee pride.

#8—Recognition and Visibility

Recognize your partners publicly and prominently. Acknowledge their support through various channels, such as your website, social media, annual reports, and events. 


Emphasize their commitment to your institution’s cause and share success stories that showcase the positive impact of their partnership.

#9—Long-Term Thinking

Consider partnerships as long-term relationships rather than one-time transactions. Nurture and sustain these connections by regularly communicating, assessing the partnership’s progress, and seeking opportunities for renewal and expansion.


Creating and leveraging partnerships with corporations and other organizations can be a powerful strategy for impactful fundraising at an institution. By aligning values, conducting thorough research, cultivating relationships, and demonstrating accountability, institutions can unlock opportunities for financial support, community engagement, and lasting impact. These partnerships benefit the institution and contribute to the broader goal of making a positive difference in society.

Navigating the Storm: Effective Crisis Management and Communication Strategies for an Institution’s Go-Live Date


The anticipation of an institution’s Go-Live date for a Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system can be both exhilarating and anxiety-inducing. This milestone represents a crucial juncture, and disruptions of any kind may trigger far-reaching consequences.


If you find yourself amid a crisis during your CRM implementation, it’s imperative to enact an effective crisis management plan with appropriate communication strategies. But you can’t wait until you’re in the middle of a crisis to decide how to handle it. 


Here’s what to consider as you create an effective crisis management and communication strategy that minimizes potential fallout.

Pre-Go-Live Preparation

The first step to avoiding or managing any crisis is establishing a comprehensive crisis management plan before reaching your CRM Go-Live. As you develop this plan, consider including a range of scenarios, identify potential issues, assess their anticipated impact, and outline clear steps for resolution.


Here are a few questions to think about as you develop your crisis management plan.

  • What does crisis management mean to your institution? Specifically, your CRM project team?
  • How will your institution and team prepare for crises?
  • How often will you review your crisis management plan?
  • What are the current threats to your institution, and how will they impact your CRM?
  • If you experience a crisis, what are the ramifications?

Once you’ve outlined what to include in your comprehensive crisis management plan, establish a well-defined hierarchy of roles and responsibilities within your team. Identifying roles and responsibilities eliminates confusion and ensures everyone has a clear understanding of expectations during a crisis. Additionally, designate spokespersons for both internal and external communication.


Finally, develop an effective crisis communication strategy to ensure team members understand how to report issues, who to notify, and how the information will be disseminated to relevant parties.

Effective Crisis Communication

The key to effective crisis communication strategy is to be selective about the information you share—be honest, but you also need to be strategic. Hiding information makes your institution look suspicious, which, by extension, hinders trust.


Instead of hiding information, focus on transparency. Transparency builds trust, and stakeholders will appreciate your forthrightness. The first step toward transparency is sharing your crisis management plan with key stakeholders. This sets the tone and helps stakeholders understand how you’re prepared to address issues.


Being transparent is not simultaneous with being silent. In times of crisis, silence can cause more damage. Instead, provide frequent updates to stakeholders—whether internal or external. Consistent communication helps manage expectations and demonstrates your commitment to resolving issues promptly.


As you communicate during a crisis, tailor messaging for different audiences. This builds trust and proves you understand how the risk may implicate others or your organization. For example, what the technical team needs to know during a crisis will differ significantly from what your stakeholders need.


Lastly, encourage two-way communication. Actively listen to stakeholder concerns and questions. Acknowledge their feedback and provide prompt answers. Open lines of communication foster trust and enable you to address issues effectively.

During a Crisis

If your institution finds itself amid a crisis during your CRM Go-Live, don’t despair—you’ve already established an effective crisis management plan! This stage is when your crisis management plan will be put into action: Initial crisis management messages are released, employees and stakeholders are contacted, and public and company safety is prioritized (more than usual.)


There are a few additional things to consider during a crisis, especially if it escalates.

  • Escalation Protocols: help address issues that cannot be resolved at lower levels. Ensure decision-makers are readily available and informed about critical developments—time is of the essence in crisis management.
  • Multi-Channel Approach: Be prepared to disseminate information via email, phone calls, social media, and other platforms. In a crisis, different stakeholders may prefer various means of communication. 

Most importantly, during any crisis, remain calm, listen to stakeholders, and identify and monitor risks.

After the Crisis

Your crisis management work is hardly finished when a crisis passes or subsides. You must continue contact with your employees and stakeholders—sending proactive updates and being available to answer questions.


This is also when you will conduct a post-crisis evaluation. Identify what went well, what didn’t, and how you can put lessons learned to good use for other projects. Document your findings to refine your crisis management and communication strategies. Each experience should be a learning opportunity that strengthens your institution’s ability to handle future crises.


Effective crisis management and communication strategies are vital to successfully navigating the challenges of an institution’s Go-Live date. Transparent, well-prepared, and responsive institutions inspire confidence in their stakeholders, even in adversity. By integrating these strategies into your institution’s culture, you ensure surviving the storm but emerging more robust and resilient.

Engaging Millennials, Developing an Effective Advancement Strategy


Advancement departments may consider Baby Boomers and Generation X as the most likely to contribute when it comes to donor relations and securing donations. The Millennial generation accounts for 21.67% of the population as opposed to Baby Boomers (20.58%) and Generation X (19.61%), according to a 2023 Statista report.


Millennials are quickly growing in buying power. According to two U.S. studies, Millennial spending is just over $65 billion. You’re missing valuable opportunities if you’re not engaging millennials as a viable donor base.


But Millennials have different expectations for donor engagement. 


Historically, data strategy around advancement focuses on the information collected and how it’s used. When considering a traditional data strategy perspective, advancement departments emphasize data maintenance and contact information. This strategy is all about getting accurate contact information to send direct mail or phone numbers to converse—aiming to grow their allegiance or affinity to the organization.


Organizations need to rethink their advancement strategy for millennials. Precisely, one that includes having digital communication at the forefront. 


Here’s how to develop an effective advancement strategy that engages millennials.

Understand How Millennials Differ

Millennials are interested in something other than receiving direct mail or getting caught on the phone. To them, those are outdated approaches. Creating a strategy in the digital communication space is essential, specifically on social media.


Choose the social media platform carefully because the platform you use will impact their willingness to donate. Identify how you can leverage your existing platforms to engage millennials. Is it necessary to acquire another? Or can you add something to complement your strategy? 


For example, in eCommerce, omnichannel shopping allows customers to shop in-store, online, and via mobile. Use a similar methodology for your advancement strategy to offer a complete donation approach.


Here are some other ways Millennials differ from other generations.

  • Impact: Millennials want to know their gifts will make a difference.
  • Influence: This cohort is primarily influenced by their network including peers, family, and friends.
  • Efficiency: Millennials value speed and efficiency. You must capture their gift quickly and easily—if you don’t, it may never happen.
  • Authenticity: They are not impressed by a nonprofit with a well-established brand or respected name; it’s all about the cause and whether it speaks to them authentically.
  • Flexibility: Millennials expect omnichannel donation options, including online (social media, text message) and offline options. 

Develop a Data Strategy

The traditional approach regarding data strategy around networks and relationships for a particular donor focuses on finding the six degrees of separation. The six degrees of separation is the idea that all people are six or fewer social connections away from each other. As a result, a chain of “friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps. It is also known as the six handshakes rule.


The new approach for data strategy includes collecting information about networks and relationships and provides opportunities for group engagement. For example, a group engagement that consists of volunteer opportunities. If you can get one person on board, it is likely you’ll have the rest of the group because millennials are influenced by their peers.


Another aspect of data strategy, from a networking perspective, is to review what social activism groups millennials participate in. Prioritize collecting information about what is important to them. This inspires engagement opportunities and segments accordingly.

Refocus Stewardship 

Donor stewardship is the relationship-building process that occurs after a donor makes a gift. The main purpose of stewarding your donors is to inspire them to give again. Creating a connection with your donors will make them feel loyal to your nonprofit. And this, in turn, will help your future fundraising efforts.


The underlying element of stewardship is to show the donor their gift is appreciated and communicate the impact of their support. The traditional approach does this but focuses on general acknowledgement. 


For example, organizations say thank you with a general acknowledgment of the gift’s impact—i.e., your contribution helped us raise $2 million for gymnasium renovations—statistics may be provided to further the case.


But generalizing stewardship eliminates opportunities to engage Millennials and makes it feel less authentic.


A better approach to stewardship includes “we,” effectively bringing the Millennial donor into the fold. Showcasing we empowers Millennials to want to be a part of something that makes a difference. If you choose to include statistics, supplement with a real-life story that Millennial donors could potentially see themselves in. Statistics are great, but they don’t have as much impact as sharing a personal story.




Statista Report:

Millennial Spending Statistics: 

Evaluating Your Executive Leadership Team Readiness During an Advancement CRM Implementation


When identifying project sponsors for your Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) implementation, most organizations choose an executive leader with an outgoing personality who can garner excitement about the project. 


But it takes more than a vibrant personality to lead a successful advancement CRM implementation. And having successful leadership for your CRM implementation may be one of the most critical steps toward a successful adoption. 


We discuss how to evaluate your executive leadership team readiness during an advancement CRM implementation.

Situational Leadership Style 

Like each person is unique, so are their leadership styles. And depending on your organizational goals and team members, leadership styles may conflict. Consider the four quadrants of situational leadership and where your executive leaders may be placed. 

  • Delegating: low directive and low supportive behavior 
  • Supporting: low directive and high supportive behavior 
  • Coaching: high directive and high supportive behavior 
  • Directing: high directive and low supportive behavior 

When viewing the situational leadership style chart, one axis is cohesive, and the other axis is coachable. The best-case scenario is leaders in the upper quadrant because they are highly cohesive and coachable. 


As you land in other quadrants, you may begin to experience challenges. For example, someone who is highly coachable but has low cohesion may hinder training traction. If someone has high coachability but is unwilling to listen, they may get on the right track, but only if they keep their differences at bay. 


Someone with low coachability but high cohesion may be able to make decisions for the greater good. However, they may not be rated successful because this style will only work for some people. And someone who has low coachability and low cohesion will make things extremely challenging.


As you assess their situational leadership style and whether it will harmonize with your organization, consider the following questions. 

  • Can this leader distinguish between a complex, adaptive challenge vs. a technical problem requiring more specific expertise?
  • Is this person able to handle multiple interpretations of complex situations requiring leadership?
  • Does this person regularly ask curious questions that make others pause and think differently?
  • Can they manage discomfort and tolerate uncertainty?
  • Will this person act experimentally to make progress toward big aspirations?
  • Does this person seek coaching and support?

Leadership Characteristics 

Evaluating situational leadership styles is only part of the equation. You’ll also need to consider leadership characteristics and how they may benefit or impede your CRM project. 


The best leaders focus on transformational leadership and rallying employees to spark teamwork. They position a united commitment regarding effort, time, and energy. Strong leaders lead by example and exude coachability to increase momentum.


Another important leadership characteristics during your CRM is ability to actively listen. Active listening is particularly transformational, especially during a CRM where users may be hesitant to change—asking them to participate vs. telling them can go a long way. 


And when it comes to decisions, the best leaders identify decision-making processes instead of making decisions by committee or autocratically. Finally, effective leaders establish a method for accountability because they understand a lack of responsibility leads to an absence of ownership. 

Business Process Improvement During an Advancement CRM Implementation


You’re embarking on a new advancement in Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) implementation, and everyone is excited about the possibility of improvements.


Institutions assume that by implementing a CRM and overhauling their business processes, everything changes. 


Advancement CRM implementations can last anywhere from 12 to 24 months. Many of the behaviors that users have developed—whether good or bad—have been refined over more extended periods. In some cases, decades. You can’t unravel that knowledge and expect users to adapt to high productivity within that short timeframe. 


Additionally, users working with new technology will also work differently as they adapt to the new CRM.


The complexity of a CRM implementation makes it challenging to revise business processes. But you can make impactful improvements. Here are three things to consider.


As you consider what business processes to improve, you must focus on prioritization to make the most impact. The saying goes, “To focus on everything is to focus on nothing.” 


Don’t cast a wide net and hope to get results. Instead, decide with intention and where to put a concerted effort.

  • Make a case for change: Business process improvement will change how your team operates—especially during an advanced CRM implementation. First, decide why the change is beneficial; specifically, what does your institution stand to gain as a result? And consider what do you need to make the change and who will be impacted. 
  • Garner support: Improving business processes during an advancement CRM (potentially any time) can be expensive and time-consuming. This is why it’s important to get buy-in—from leadership and possibly project team leads. 
  • Consider milestones: Your team is likely overwhelmed with the CRM implementation. Consider how you break the business process improvement into manageable milestones—start small and celebrate progress.


Planning and strategy are a significant part of any advancement in CRM implementation, and the same applies to your business process improvements. A well-thought-out plan establishes clear outcomes for progress and defines methods for measuring improvement.


As you plan for your business process improvements, consider the Six Sigma methodology—a quality-control methodology to significantly reduce mistakes and improve processes.

  • Define the problem
  • Measure the current performance of your projects
  • Analyze the root cause of the problem
  • Design potential solutions
  • Control and track improvement
  • Design an alternative solution
  • Evaluate and adjust

Behavior Change

Technology organically facilitates an improvement in business processes, but it cannot adjust behavior. For business process improvements to succeed, you must consider how to correct behavior—otherwise, you risk repeating mistakes in your new technology.


Behavior changes effects change management initiatives in many ways. Better attitudes and behaviors result in greater cooperation and team synergy, and thus improving overall results. Promote behavior change during your business process improvements by focusing on how people interact and share information.


Specifically, to promote organizational behavior change, consider these principles.

  • Guide—avoid mandates. Cultural and behavioral changes require a movement, not a mandate. Dig into your mission, philosophy, beliefs, and values of institutional culture and adjust to reflect the improvements.
  • Lead—don’t dictate. True change is led by example. But it also earns trust and support from your team.
  • Explain—why and what. Explaining the reasons for a business process change will drastically improve results. Helping your team understand the “why” of change and “what” will change increases the chance of successful adoption. 


Six Sigma Methodology: 

Operational Excellence in Advancement, Can You Have It All? 


Operational excellence is critical for any institution looking to stay on top of the latest trends and ensure long-term success. Achieving operational excellence requires thoughtful planning and dedication from everyone involved.


But like every industry, advancement has a triple constraint challenge when it comes to achieving operational excellence, including:

  • Donor centric
  • Operation excellence
  • Resource availability

When your institution moves toward operational excellence, it impacts another area. So, the question remains regarding operational excellence in advancement: Can you have it all? 


Here’s what to consider.

Donor Centric

In advancement, being donor-centric is a focus for many fundraisers. Responding to your donors’ needs is essential to succeed at fundraising and engagement. In addition, being donor-centric means fundraisers must adhere to donor intentions and steward funds correctly.


Most times, the ability to be donor-centric relies on response times and your capabilities to move to the rhythm of your constituents. To combat this challenge, institutions often establish a board of advisors, including their constituency, to inform their fundraising strategy—providing feedback on what your institution should be doing and whether your programs resonate as intended.


And in the donor-centric realm, the ability to create opportunities that align with your donor’s philanthropic vision is essential. It can’t be an exchange or sale in fundraising—it must support donor desires. Donors may want to make improvements or leave a legacy. 


  • How do I want to make my mark in the world?
  • How can I make things better?

The key is to align donor desires with your institution’s mission. 


But focusing on being donor-centric impacts operational excellence and resource availability. This is especially true if your institution needs more resources to advocate for donor-centricity.

Operational Excellence

Most institutions—specifically advancement—want to achieve operational excellence. Operational excellence includes effective, repeatable processes and agility in responding to donors.


Focusing on operational excellence requires expertise and a variety of disciplines within your institution. For example, to achieve operational excellence in advancement, you’ll need expertise in finance, fundraising, developing and refining engagement programs, marketing, daily operations, and technology.


But the reality is that in the advancement industry, there are a lot of vacant positions and budget constraints, requiring you to make do with your resources. The resources needed to achieve operational excellence sometimes conflict with availability—that’s the challenge you must manage.

Resource Availability

Resource availability is critical in driving success. But resources are always limited by your budget, the talent you can attract, and the number of individuals.


Being donor centric requires enough people to give time and attention to donors that are personalized—including one-on-one conversations and time to build relationships. However, as you aim for operational excellence, you may encounter challenges related to constituent expectations, shorter attention spans, and a lack of available fundraisers.


  • Constituent expectations: May be based on experiences with their bank—expecting easy, instant gratification.
  • Shorter attention spans: There is an ever-increasing need to manage shorter attention spans, especially as you continue to reach a younger generation.
  • Technology: While technology and data analytics tell you where to focus your efforts, talented fundraisers must act on those technology components.

Too often, institutions think they can be significant in all three areas. But that’s nearly impossible since focusing on one often conflicts with another. Achieving operational excellence requires assessing where you are on the spectrum in these three aspects and deciding how to balance them. 

Building a Grateful Patient Program During a Recession


As fundraisers look ahead to the new year, many see storm clouds gathering on the horizon. 


There has yet to be a marked shift in donor behavior, but some fundraisers say it’s only a matter of time until that changes because of inflation and a possible economic recession.


A poor economy presents real challenges for fundraising. From total giving decline to fewer donors, fundraisers are feeling the pressure on their already demanding job. 


The need to fundraise persists and often increases during an economic downturn—especially for healthcare fundraisers. Here are ways to move forward with your grateful patient program despite a recession.

Communicate Clearly

Total giving will most likely decline if economic conditions don’t improve. Clearly communicate the impact of the recession on your organization and how donations from grateful patients can help.


This could include information regarding budget cuts or challenges your organization is facing. Additionally, communicate the specific ways donations can make a difference. Donors who have a clear understanding of how their funds make an impact will be more inclined to give. 

Leverage Social Media

Use social media to share stories and updates about the impact of grateful patient donations. This is also a great way to engage with existing and potential donors.


Being active on social media increases the visibility and awareness of your program—all of which benefits your fundraising efforts.


  • Facebook: Shorter posts usually receive more likes, comments, and shares. People prefer messages that are quick and concise. You’ll also want to include the “ask” early on. Put your donation link at the beginning of your post, followed by brief copy.
  • YouTube: Educational videos create awareness about the important issues of your nonprofit and are good ways to make your brand visible on YouTube. Focus on videos that appeal to emotions—people are more likely to give to a cause they can relate to. 
  • Instagram: Stories generally are viewed more than regular Instagram posts. Highlight your best stories to increase followers and inspire donations. Gain more followers by hosting interactive question-and-answer sessions through your Instagram stories.
  • Twitter: Twitter is most effective when you post often. Frequent posting with hashtags offers a better opportunity for people to discover your organization’s content. It also creates more opportunities for engagement.

Offer Flexible Giving Options

During a recession, donors may have less disposable income than they did previously. Consider offering flexible giving options, such as making small, recurring donations or donating in-kind goods or services.


Here are some other ideas for flexible giving options.


  • Digital wallets: Google Pay and Apple Pay automatically populate payment information on a donation form through secure facial recognition. This eliminates additional barriers for donations and reaches donors where they are.
  • Hybridization: Hybrid campaigns allow donors to show their support in multiple ways. For example, before your signature event, donors could upgrade their one-time donation to an automatic recurring donation.
  • Cryptocurrency: Cryptocurrency is a tax-deductible digital payment method when donated directly to a nonprofit organization. With a marketplace worth over $3 trillion and more than 100 million users across the globe, this form of flexible giving is a growing method for nonprofits.
  • Payment apps: Apps like PayPal and Venmo increase action from supporters who have already established trust with these platforms. They can use existing balances and stored information to donate.

Engage Donors

Engage with grateful patients by thanking them personally and sharing updates on the impact of their donations. This helps to build strong personal relationships and encourages ongoing support.


Donor retention vs. acquisition can be effective regardless of an economic downtown. Donors are retained when they are:

  • thanked (early, often, sincerely, and graciously);
  • communicated with;
  • engaged regularly (and not always about giving a gift); and
  • invited (when appropriate) to invest more in the organization and its mission.

Diversify Fundraising Efforts

In addition to your grateful patient program, consider diversifying your fundraising efforts to include other types of fundraising, such as grants, corporate partnerships, and online fundraising campaigns.


Diversifying your fundraising portfolio with multiple revenue streams is crucial to sustainability. Just like a financial advisor wouldn’t recommend investing in only one avenue, your nonprofit shouldn’t rely solely on one fundraising effort. Instead, diversified fundraising efforts help to ensure a steady stream of support for your organization and improve your adaptability.

Best Ways to Use Artificial Intelligence in Fundraising



Artificial intelligence (AI) can be traced back to World War II. The famous mathematician, Alan Turing, helped the Allied Forces crack the Nazi encryption machine. At the war’s end in 1945, Turing focused on computing machinery, famously positing whether “machines could think.” His writings laid the foundation for a future vision of artificial intelligence—the replication of human intelligence in machines. 


Fast-forward to the present, and AI is now ubiquitous. Innovative technology has provided us with assistants like Alexa and Cortana, recommendations on YouTube or Netflix, chatbots, facial recognition, and self-driving cars, to name a few. However, AI is no longer the future; it’s the present. 


Yet, there are some industries where AI may not seem to be an obvious fit—namely, those characterized by a high level of interpersonal relationships and human connections. However, even in industries requiring constant human interaction—such as the field of development—AI can still play a significant role in simplifying tasks and freeing up time for your constituents and staff.  


Here are some of the best ways to use artificial intelligence in fundraising. 

Data Analysis 

Nonprofits collect much data on their operations, donors, and the people they serve. AI helps analyze this data to identify patterns, trends, and insights that inform strategy and decision-making. 


For example, AI can analyze donor data to identify trends in giving patterns. These trends can then be used to tailor your fundraising campaigns.


AI automates time-consuming or repetitive tasks, freeing staff to focus on more impactful work. For example, you can use AI to automate sorting and categorize incoming donations, analyze social media data to identify potential donors, or address common (repetitive) questions. 


  • “Can you give me the bank transfer details? I can’t seem to find them.”
  • “When did I make my last donation?”
  • “I know I saw a date for the gala. When is it again?”


Using AI eliminates the need to respond to these commonly asked questions and allows your development staff to focus on more mission-critical activities. 

Predictive Modeling

Another way that AI is beneficial for fundraising is how it can help anticipate future needs and trends. This allows your organization to be proactive in planning and resource allocation. 


For example, AI in fundraising can improve workforce efficiency by analyzing donor data to identify prospects and predict upcoming donor lapses. This could potentially shape how you prioritize your time with donors.


It’s important to note that while AI can be a powerful tool for nonprofits, it’s not a replacement for human judgment and decision-making. You must also consider the ethical implications of using AI and ensure you are using it responsibly and transparently. This is because AI can unintentionally result in a bias against constituents since it is trained on large data sets compiled by humans, and natural preferences (age, gender, or race-related) can creep in. 


If AI is employed correctly, efficiency and productivity invariably increase, resulting in more high-value solicitations and additional revenue.

Donor Retention Strategies: Inspiring Donors for Continued Giving


Donors are a vital part of any nonprofit—their support aids the overall impact of your mission. But donor retention rates continue to diminish year after year. In fact, donors who gave in the first quarter of 2021 and again in the first quarter of 2022 fell by 6.2%, according to the Foundation for Philanthropy 2022 First Quarter Fundraising Report.


Donor retention vs. continual donor acquisition can be a more impactful strategy to support your development efforts. This is because acquiring donors is a costly endeavor—donor acquisition often represents a substantial portion of any nonprofit’s overall marketing budget. And the return on investment for donor acquisition may feel defeating—in some cases, the cost to acquire a donor can be 50–100% more than the donation itself.


Invest your time in donor retention vs. donor acquisition. Here are some strategies to consider.


Donors value being informed about how their contributions are making a difference and how the organization uses the funds. Communicate with your donors through regular updates, newsletters, and impact reports.


  • Updates: Schedule a time on your calendar to send regular updates to donors. Choose a frequency you can realistically follow because consistent updates help build relationships. 
  • Newsletter: Use your newsletter to inform your audience about recent donor successes. This also connects readers to the donor and highlights their support.
  • Report: Allot a section in your annual report to highlight donations—whether quarterly, biannually, or annually. This gives donors a chance to see how their donation is helping your organization strive toward the goal. It’s also an opportunity to detail the effects of the problem they’re addressing.


Show your appreciation for your donors by recognizing their contributions publicly, such as through social media or on your website, and privately, such as through personalized thank-you notes or phone calls.


  • Social media: This is an excellent avenue to showcase donor contributions. Social media is all about storytelling, so create visually appealing and engaging content that tells your story. A bonus is when users opt to share your content (user-generated content). This type of content acts as a testimonial for your organization and helps broadcast your mission beyond your immediate audience.
  • Thank-you notes: Saying thank you should be obvious, but sending a thank-you note is often forgotten. When possible, aim for a personalized, handwritten thank-you note to make supporters feel instantly connected. If that isn’t feasible, use segmentation to send different groups of donors customized thank-you emails.


Engage your donors in meaningful ways that align with their interests and passions. This provides a unique opportunity for supporters to interact personally and immersively. Look for continuous opportunities for donors to volunteer, attend events, or participate in decision-making processes to boost engagement. 


  • Events: Plan a special donor appreciation event—like a gala, dinner, or auction—to recognize and engage donors.  
  • Volunteer: Invite donors to volunteer for special events or to be on committees. This helps deepen their involvement in your mission and offers a unique perspective.
  • Decision-making: Ask donors for their feedback. One area to consider is your communication strategy—specifically, how does your communication messaging align with your mission? Receiving this type of feedback eliminates barriers in the donation process and facilitates easier giving.


Donors are more likely to keep giving when they know how their money is making a difference. Help them understand the impact their contributions are having on your mission and the people you serve by sharing stories and data that demonstrate the difference their support is making. 


  • Email campaign: Create an email campaign that has an emotional appeal—whether the emotional appeal is heartwarming or humorous, donors are more inclined to respond to stories they can relate to. 
  • Interactive video hangouts: Host a video hangout with donors and discuss exactly how their donation is making an impact. 
  • Photo collages: Post photo collages to your social media channels to express your appreciation.


Being transparent increases donor trust and loyalty by demonstrating your ability to be ethical and responsible with donations. Identify how your organization uses donations and how funds are allocated. This includes providing clear and concise financial information, such as annual reports and audited financial statements.


As you continue to plan your donor retention strategy, combine these tactics to help deepen your donor relationships and earn their loyalty.

Four Areas to Consider as You Prioritize Your Advancement Resources


Advancement services often support many departments by employing their expertise in managing, analyzing, and leveraging data to inform organizational strategy and conduct daily operations that engage and steward stakeholders, supporters, and members. From prospects to alumni and everyone in between, advancement services play a critical role in advancing the organization’s mission.


When your advancement services team supports many different departments, this valuable resource can often be spread too thin. Avoiding this common challenge begins by focusing on effective prioritization.


Here are four areas to consider as you prioritize your advancement resources.


Division Goals

As you begin to prioritize your advancement resources, consider how they align with your established division goals. Focus your prioritization efforts on being strategic. Identify specific projects that directly support the division’s goals. As you do this, ask yourself, “How are the different advancement projects aligned with those goals?”


This may require further analysis into the type of project and its impact. For example, if you have 100 projects, what will make the most impact toward your division’s goals and help propel the organization forward?


Overall Tenant

Another thing to consider as you prioritize your advancement resources is to focus on the overall tenant as a more operational team. Common tenants behind properly stewarding resources are the data that philanthropy or alumni relations use as an asset.


They can influence properly stewarding the resources that are essential to operations.

This is important because in many instances, properly stewarding resources improves the data quality that supports your data-driven decision-making. When it comes to data quality, your organization should always prioritize these types of projects and requests.


Business Practices

Standardizing business practices is always top of mind when it comes to your Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) project implementation. Advancement services are often at the forefront to drive operational efficiency and can impact efficiencies overall. If an advancement project can significantly standardize your business practices, consider prioritizing your advancement resources there.


Division Knowledge

Finally, when considering how to prioritize your advancement resources, consider the projects that offer opportunities to increase the broader knowledge of the division. This also includes increasing the ability to self-serve. Both types of projects should rise to the top because they will increase your return on investment and offer long-term dividends.

Here’s What to Do When Your Advancement CRM Vendor Relationship Goes Bad


Precision Partners has worked with multiple Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) clients and vendors in our years of practice. Through our experience, we’ve seen many vendor relationships in action—some end well, whereas others do not.


Here’s our best advice for what to do when your advancement CRM vendor relationship goes sour.


Scenario No. 1—Reconciliation

When your advancement CRM relationship is starting to go wrong, reconciliation is the first and often the most viable option. This will likely require effort from both parties, including a factual discussion. Fact gathering helps to identify the root cause of the issue.


The most effective way to establish reconciliation is to create a two-part plan. First, all parties must be willing to work collaboratively to create a plan that rights the wrongs that created the issues.


Secondly, both parties must address safeguards that will prevent from getting back to the same situation.


The goal of reconciliation is to create something satisfactory for both parties.


Scenario No. 2—Future Collaboration

If both parties are unable to agree on satisfactory reconciliation, the second option is to sever the relationship with your vendor but allow the opportunity for future collaboration. This option is viable if both parties can’t come to terms now but want to leave it in a way to work together in the future. This option requires both parties to compromise to some degree.


The compromise must be done in a way that leaves each party whole or satisfied.


Scenario No. 3—End All Ties

The final and least favorable option for responding to a vendor relationship that has gone sour is to sever the relationship with no possibility of future collaboration. Organizations should only use this scenario if they’ve exhausted the first two options, and they have decided there is no way to come to any sort of agreement.


This scenario happens most frequently when there is an unwillingness to compromise on both parties. And too often, this decision is a result of the parties involved making the advancement CRM relationship personal instead of focusing on what’s best for the institution.


Deciding to sever the relationship with no possibility of future collaboration is always advised against. The advancement industry is small and dissolving a relationship may prohibit future initiatives. If possible, it is best to devise a satisfactory amendment where both parties can walk away from concluding that relationship. In any scenario, all parties should not feel taken advantage of.

Hiring an Advancement Services Executive: What to Consider Beyond the Resume


Hiring an Advancement Services Executive is essential to your institution’s overall advancement goals. However, doing this requires you to go beyond the resume to understand a candidate’s expectations and what truly motivates them. When you go beyond the resume, you can more effectively align expectations of the role with their interests—subsequently increasing your ability for retention.


Here’s what to consider.


Organizational Culture

When it comes to hiring an advancement services executive, most institutions think deciding on organizational culture starts and stops with answering the question, “Is this person a good “fit” for our organization’s culture?”


But when organizations make assessments based on the personality perspective, it can often be opinion-based. This is especially true considering the industry standard of a series of panel interviews that include peers, reporting managers, and internal customers.


Organizational culture comes up a lot when it comes to personality fit. But it’s necessary to dig deeper and assess the path you’re developing with your organizational culture before you can decide if (and how well) the candidate fits.


To do this, consider the objective of the position and how that applies to your current organizational culture. Additionally, you must clearly understand your organization’s cultural status. For example, have you established an organizational culture that you want to maintain, or are you looking for a disruptor to be a change catalyst?


To understand where your organization’s culture is within the process, ask yourself these questions.


  • Have you done a lot of work and established a vision for your organizational culture?
  • Do you have a direction in your organization’s culture you want to maintain?


If the answer is “yes,” then the traditional personality assessment for organizational culture fit would work because you have guidelines established—you’ve developed the organizational culture to flourish—and you are looking to fulfill the position from a personality fit perspective. In this case, you would want to answer the question, “Does this person align with the direction we’re going in?”


But on the contrary, and something many organizations don’t often look at (or are unaware of) is they are actually looking for a new hire to be a change catalyst. When this is the case, you’re not looking for a culture fit, but you’re looking for a disruptor that goes beyond the resume evaluation process.


First, determine where you are with your organizational culture. Have you assessed whether you want to maintain that path, or are you ready for a change? Depending on your answer, your new hire evaluation should differ.


The assessment for hiring an advancement services executive should then consider their role in disrupting your organizational culture. But first:


  • Are they aware and comfortable with being a disruptor?
  • Are they prepared and have the strategic vision to be a disruptor?


Knowing where your organizational culture stands is an important part to hiring the best candidate for your advancement services executive position.


Strategic Advisor

Every institution “thinks” they need to hire for a lateral move. They want the person who’s done it before—one who’s been in a similar organization and succeeded with similar tasks. But you must be honest with yourself and assess, are you an institution that can attract top talent that has done it before?


If you’re not a sought-after institution, recruiting top talent can be challenging. It can even be more difficult to retain a person of this stature because when they’re done doing the task you hired them to do, they often move on.


Before you “think” you need to hire for a lateral move, clearly define the type of position you’re hoping to fill. Ask yourself:


  • Is this a strategic advisor—a lateral move where you want this person to impact your institution the same way they did for another organization?
  • Or is this a growth position where the candidate has the potential to grow with your institution and the capability to establish a vision as they evolve?


Hiring for a growth position is not wrong, and it’s not a “second-best” choice. But it does, however, create an opportunity for your organization that is often overlooked. With the growth position, you’re allowing the person you hire to evolve alongside your organization.


And in many cases, this develops loyalty and increases retention. This is because they’re growing in their career and with the institution.


Internal Service Model


As you consider hiring an advancement services executive, you’ll need to understand where you are in terms of advancement services. Specifically, what type of support advancement services provides to other departments within Development and how they operate as an internal services department.


What type of internal service model are you looking for?


The focus is either developing a service team to support other departments within Development OR are you looking to establish a strategic partner who can influence and consult other departments on how to get things done.


With the influence scenario, not only are they servicing other departments, but they are the experts that individuals can come to to get advice or help make things better. This creates a different dynamic within the internal services team and requires an openness to influence other departments effectively. Be aware that if you’re looking for the influence option, some team members may be reluctant to share their expertise because they think, “You’re not in our world, don’t bring in someone new.”



Leadership is a vital skill and must be carefully evaluated during the hiring process for your advancement services executive position. But first, do you know exactly what type of management you need?


Too often, institutions “think” they need one type of leadership and hire accordingly, but quickly realize they needed another type of leadership.


  • Are you looking for an individual whose primary focus is team development and management where their focus is managing and improving operations? OR
  • Are you looking for a contributing manager who is not only managing the team but also must be hands-on to complete task-based work?


If you’re not clear about the type of leadership you need up front, there may be challenges with who you selected and your ability to retain them.

The Great Resignation: Is this a Challenge or Opportunity for Advancement?

We’re amid a moment of dramatic change across American life as people in all industries are quitting their jobs at record numbers. As nationwide labor shortages continue to impact every aspect of everyday life, nonprofits are not exempt.


What may be even more concerning is many nonprofits can no longer compete with wages seen in the private sector. In a recent New York Times article, Carrie Miranda, executive director of Looking Upwards, a nonprofit in Middletown, R.I. said, “we’ve lost our ability to be competitive. We used to compete with hospitals and other health care entities, and now we’re competing with the convenience stores, the fast-food places, the coffee shops … I’ve heard more and more people say, ‘I’d love to stay in this job, I’m passionate about the work, but I need to feed my family, I have to pay my rent.’”


This period has been deemed the “Great Resignation” and arose from what many think was a result of the pandemic and social and political events. In fact, four million American workers quit their jobs in April 2021, 3.6 million joined them in May, and 3.9 million followed them out the door in June.


But the mass-exodus may be more in part to a workforce that feels burned out and disenfranchised, only exacerbated by the pandemic and social and political events. Modern employees are reassessing their values, more aggressively protecting their time, and opening themselves to possibilities that give them a greater sense of purpose. They are seeking a new normal that goes beyond remote work.


The turnover trend has a lasting impact, especially in advancement. In an industry built around relationships—particularly among frontline fundraisers—organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to create a sense of continuity with donors.

The Great Resignation offers one of the greatest advancement recruiting opportunities in recent history. Nonprofit leaders are afforded the chance to shift their recruiting and retention efforts toward motivated, purpose-driven candidates, in search of careers with a more meaningful path. Here’s where to start.


Mentorship is important in any industry, and the lack of mentorship can hinder a career path regardless of job title. Focus on providing your advancement team the mentorship and coaching they are looking for by helping them develop their skills and build their experience.


For more experienced advancement team members, ask the question, “How I can prepare you to take over for me?” They might not want to do your job, but this helps illuminate and frame future discussions and growth plans.



It is incredibly important to set expectations from the beginning. If you’re interviewing an advancement candidate that wants to work remotely, but your organization operates on a hybrid model, it’s vital to make this clear.


Even beyond the interview, transparency should empower all conversations with your advancement team members. Workplace transparency is a philosophy of sharing information freely to benefit the organization and its people. For example, executives share company information with the whole team, or individual teammates sharing feedback with each other.


Transparency has become particularly important, especially as the workforce continues to mitigate several external challenges. Transparency must also coincide with understanding. Today’s modern workforce requires a level understanding that didn’t exist in the traditional workplace.



It’s important to ensure you set your advancement staff up for success by scheduling regular check-ins and managing expectations. Regularly connecting with employees helps you deter future challenges or address issues before they become a problematic.


For example, if your employee is frustrated because a lack of resources, you can brainstorm solutions to ease their frustrations. This may include getting them adequate resources or connecting them with team members for support. Either way, this level of communication helps employees feel supported and decreases the likeliness of resignation.


Professional Development

Most advancement team members want to grow and challenge themselves. In many cases, employees desire to find opportunities that expand their skillset. Growth-focused opportunities equip staff with the tools they need to progress in their career.


Traditional work culture thought of promotions in terms of three-year cycles: The first year you learn the job, the second year you do the job, and the third year you innovate. But it can be helpful to make the steps necessary to advance as clear as possible so employees understand what’s expected of them. Additionally, you may be able to promote an employee earlier than expected, which benefits both parties.


When job openings do arise, evaluate the position’s job description before you rehire. Ask questions that help your organization assess the value of the role.


  • Does this position need to be filled?
  • Does this position need to be rethought?
  • Is there anything in the job’s description that someone else might want to try or add to their expertise?
  • Do the job tasks fit better somewhere else?


Before you fill the role externally, look internally to see if your existing team might be interested. This helps your staff feel engaged in a meaningful way.


Shifting the way your organization recruits and retains your advancement workforce is important for the current moment. But these tactics help to build a healthier, happier, and more productive advancement team, which will be important long after the Great Resignation expires.

Five Tips to Get Creative with Your Constituent Holiday Greetings

For many years, there has been a tradition of institutions sending their constituents a holiday greeting. Unfortunately, this is usually a long, drawn-out process.

Deciding on an appropriate message for your constituent holiday greeting is hard. Constituent holiday greetings require choosing the perfect message. But it can’t be an ordinary message—it must be carefully thought through and appeal to a broad audience without any political or religious affiliations.

Then, the constituent holiday greeting design adds another level of complication. Many institutions ponder how to create a design that is “on-brand” while simultaneously appealing to their many audiences. Again, without any political or religious affiliations.

Finally, there is the delivery method of your constituent holiday greeting. Traditionally, constituent holiday greetings are printed and sent through the mail. This method, of course, requires additional time to package the envelopes, prepare the addresses, and add postage—not to mention the cost of postage. Physical greeting cards may be standard among the older population, but younger folks may think it’s a less-acceptable concept and toss it. Plus, eco-conscious constituents may see this method as wasteful.

It’s time to reconsider the way you send holidays greetings to your constituents. Here are five tips to get creative this holiday season.

#1—Make a Holiday Video

Videos are always a great option to engage constituents without added effort. Your holiday greeting video can be produced—and distributed—quickly and professionally with the help of online services.

Platforms like ThankView build better relationships with personalized video. You can easily create and send personalized videos to raise awareness, promote events, update stakeholders, and thank those that matter most.

#2—Send Mobile Postcards

Using a smartphone or tablet, you can easily create a holiday postcard. Apps like JibJab and Smilebox provide a quick and fun way to send personalized greetings that won’t cause clutter.

#3—Deliver A Photo Slideshow

What better way to say “Happy Holidays” than to create a photo slideshow of how constituent donations impacted your institution? Use a design tool like Canva to make stunning slideshows in seconds.

#4—Say “Happy Holidays” in Real-Time

If you want to deliver a very personalized message, jump on a video conferencing platform like Zoom and say “Happy Holidays” in real-time. This may not be feasible for all your constituents, so reserve it for your new constituents or ones that meet a specific criterion.

#5—Create a Custom Card

If you insist on sending a physical greeting card this holiday season, opt to create a custom design. Look to your art department to create an illustration. If multiple artists want to participate, consider having a few variations to send to constituents.

Avoid putting any text on the front of the card. Then, have the cards printed in a standard photo size of 5 inches wide by 7 inches tall. Finally, write a note inside with instructions that encourage constituents to upcycle the card into a framed piece. This way, constituents who may not love getting a printed card due to waste can repurpose their holiday greeting and save the planet.

Holiday greetings are a great touchpoint during the holidays. Every institution should retain that touchpoint but also rethink the delivery. Happy holidays!

Canva Slideshows:

Preparing for the Year-End Giving Rush

It’s that time of year again when the holiday season is quickly approaching. And if you’re in advancement or development, you’re probably thinking about what else this time of year means: the year-end giving rush. In development, the end of year is synonymous with increased giving.

In fact, 31 percent of all annual giving occurs in December, and 12 percent of that happens in the last three days of the year.


Additionally, 28 percent of nonprofits raise between 26–50 percent of their annual funds from their year-end ask.


Is your team prepared to manage the rush?


This time of year, is demanding for those on the front line of fundraising, but also those in operations. Your gift operations team may face the downstream effect of the increased number of gifts coming in a concentrated period.


Your Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) team can survive (and thrive) with a bit of upfront planning. Here’s how to get prepared.

Schedule a Planning Session

Schedule a planning session and invite your front line staff and operations team to join. Identify how they may be able to support each other during this busy time. Do you need to adjust any processes and procedures to make things work more seamlessly for both departments?


For example, there may be exceptions to cases that require the front line team to let the operations team know more information about a prospective donor. There may also be exceptions to your processes and procedures if there was a push for tribute donations or leveraging corporate matching.


Knowing all the information up front—for the front line and operations staff—will help everyone move through the year-end giving rush more efficiently. Plus, everyone will have access to the information and data they need to measure the success of their campaigns.

Review Messaging and Expectations

Review campaign messaging with your front line fundraisers and giving staff. You wouldn’t want to make a campaign push and have your front line staff be unaware of what is being put out there from a year-end perspective. Your front line staff need to know all messaging and expectations so they can act accordingly when donors and supporters start responding.


You should also review the statistics and identify how many appeals have been sent out. Do your best to project an average response rate so your team can begin to distinguish a number and estimate expectations.


Get prepared with these questions.

  • Is there any unique data tracking that needs to happen with these gifts?
  • Does the data need to be associated with a particular campaign or appeal?

Understanding this information increases the success rate of your front line fundraising teams.

Evaluate Staffing and Conduct Training

You’ve reviewed your messaging and informed your team. Now you need to look at your staff availability. Determine your staffing needs.

  • Are you adequately staffed?
  • Does your staff have the capacity to accommodate year-end giving?
  • If you don’t have enough available staff, do you plan to staff up for the end-of-year demand?

Once you’ve determined the number of staff, now you can consider the tasks they’ll need to complete. Since accuracy and speed are essential, consider refresher training for your staff. Everyone must be proficient and able to get the information entered quickly and correctly. Additionally, all staff members on the gift operations team should be experts on managing what you consider “high volume.”


If necessary, establish specialists to handle low-volume, high complexity gifts—things that need to be dealt with “kid gloves,” such as a VIP donor.

Establish Clear Guidelines for Records Management

Since this is a busier time for your staff, the tendency to make mistakes may increase. Set clear guidelines for record management. You need correct information for receipting and acknowledgment reasons—the objective for year-end needs to be on what is required to get the gifts in correctly.


But be aware that mistakes will still happen. You can fix some mistakes, but it is unrealistic to correct all errors on a record due to the volume of gifts. Identity where to expend your time and effort from a records maintenance perspective. And establish a method of tracking records that will need attention once the rush is over.

Communicate Progress

It is essential to communicate your progress for year-end gift processing. Your front line fundraising colleagues are waiting and looking closely at the results of their year-end giving campaigns. This is why it is important to publish and communicate your progress.


Communicating your progress helps your fundraising team determine their success as it relates to their goals. In addition, keeping communication open during this time helps ease stress, allowing your team to focus and work more efficiently.

Overcome the Challenge of Managing Advancement Operations During a CRM Implementation 



Undergoing a Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) Implementation is a significant undertaking. It can become increasingly challenging to juggle all that needs to occur in operations while not derailing your CRM implementation project. 


Even during an 18-month CRM implementation project, your institution is trying to raise money and increase donor engagement. This is in addition to your everyday responsibilities—your team can’t hit the pause button to complete your CRM implementation. 


Because of this, you need to focus on the types of decisions being made. Here’s how to overcome the challenge of managing advancement operations during a CRM implementation. 


Avoid Unnecessary Changes 


Avoid making unnecessary changes to your existing donor management system during a new CRM implementation. When you undergo unnecessary changes, your risk to the CRM implementation increases exponentially. It can push your project to focus on the “current state”, while the project is trying to identify and facilitate a “future state.” It is problematic if the current state becomes the moving target. 


All aspects of the implementation—from data conversion to process engineering to business requirements—start to shift on the project team. The change management impact of moving that current state target is enormous. 


Additionally, fulfilling changes outside of your CRM implementation can disrupt your stakeholder’s transition period. For example, you go from steady-state to transition, then you come out on the other side. But you’ve thrown your stakeholders into a transition that has nothing to do with the actual CRM implementation. 


Throughout the project, your stakeholders have multiple streams of change and get confused. They may: 


  • wonder what they were doing before;
  • be confused as to how they can adapt and adjust to what they need to do in the future; and  
  • be frustrated that they must adapt and change again.


One way to avoid this is by making your CRM transformation roadmap an integral part to your overall framework—step-by-step navigation to get your institution from the point of departure to the end of arrival. Your roadmap should include:


  • taking a set of actions;
  • implementing activities; and
  • achieving outcomes in a planned sequential manner. 


The CRM transformation roadmap, as the name implies, is more than a “quick fix.” Instead, a practical roadmap needs to be based on strategic and operating model considerations. 


Make It Mission-Critical 


If changes must happen during a CRM implementation, they must be mission-critical. But before you make that kind of decision, there needs to be a complete risk management plan around the change in the current system. That risk management plan will then become a part of the CRM implementation and should be a well-thought-out process and not taken lightly. The absence of a risk management plan increases the risk of CRM implementation success. 


The risk is essential to user adoption of the CRM implementation and their ability to adjust to the new future state. They will remain in transition and stuck figuring out the changes made to the current system. 


Resist Launching Other Initiatives 


Launching other projects or initiatives during a CRM implementation can create a resource strain. You don’t want to “shut down,” but you also don’t want to put unnecessary pressure on your stakeholders. 


In and of itself, a CRM implementation is a considerable effort. However, adding ancillary projects or initiatives splits your stakeholder’s time. Taking on projects—including a CRM implementation—is usually in addition to your team’s workday. 


Continually fractionalizing your team’s time and input can jeopardize their well-being and quality of work. They parse out their time and attention, so their productivity, level of engagement, and overall contribution diminish—it becomes unilateral suffering.


Avoid spreading your team too thin by looking at your resource plans. Eliminate launching new projects and initiatives during a CRM implementation. It is such a heavy lift, there is not much else your team can manage during this time. If you must focus on additional projects that can’t be avoided, divide up the resources. Dedicate one group to working on the CRM implementation, and a different set of resources to work on the mission-critical project. 

5 Tips to Offset the Daily Struggle of Advancement Services and Support Your Development Officers



Those in advancement services often face many obstacles when it comes to being pulled in different directions. The first obstacle is time management. They may be faced with managing operational activities on top of a slew of daily tasks. Your advancement team may struggle to allot time for emergencies—the “at the moment need” that advancement services are tasked with supporting.


On top of their already burdened workload, those in advancement services must work in standard training and development. If they’re able, they may also be tasked with working on internal team projects to innovate or do better in the future. 


If your advancement services team is struggling in the day-to-day, here are five tips to offset so they can provide the quality support your development officers need. 


Conduct A Staff Assessment


Your advancement staff is one of your most valuable assets as an organization. As such, you don’t want to overwork them. Instead, take time to complete a staff assessment to identify how much work each team member has and if it’s time to add to your team. 


First, meet with each employee to identify their primary duties and associated volume. Then, track activities for a set time—this could be a couple of weeks or a month. Incorporate seasonality and non-standard work. As you conduct your staff assessment, decide if you have adequate resources to address all the necessary factors. 


Ask yourself these questions. 


  • Does the advancement team have adequate time to complete operational activities? 
  • Is there enough time in the advancement teams’ schedule to support emergencies as they arise? 
  • Is the advancement services team able to participate in standard training and development? 
  • Does your advancement services team have the ability to participate in internal team projects?


If you’re falling short on any one of these factors, this could indicate that you are understaffed. Conversely, if you’re unable to fit all of these components into your staff’s workload or schedule, you might have too few people. 


Consider hiring to help support your existing advancement services team or offset the workload by hiring a consultant


Be Flexible with the Work Environment 


When it comes to daily operations, consider the working environment. Many times, the “heads-down” work that staff or team members need to complete may not be conducive to their working environment. Do they have uninterrupted time in their schedules that they can use to complete these types of tasks? Consider being flexible with staff in finding that optimal environment. This might mean offering a remote work option to complete the work. 


Or it could mean offering a spare office for them to go into and close the door. Being flexible with the environment provides optimal productivity for team members to complete their daily operational tasks. 


Revert Emergencies to Management 


Emergencies should always be directed toward management.  Any emergency request or needs from the development officers should be reviewed and prioritized by management. Management can help identify what can be removed or postponed from the advancement team’s workload to accommodate the emergency. Always avoid simply piling on more work.


Establish Dedicated Time for Training and Development


Allot time for your advancement services team to participate in training and development on a quarterly basis. 


If possible, ask your team to share insights and ideas on applying the training to their daily tasks. It’s one thing to absorb the information. But training and development should be about bridging the gap on how to incorporate it into everyday usage. 


Use Internal Projects for Team Growth and Future Development


Internal team projects are essential for growth. In many cases, projects that are completed often result in increased productivity and effectiveness. Based on department priorities, your team should allocate time for internal projects each quarter to be fit into their workload. 


Are You Ready to Accept Cryptocurrency Gifts? Here’s What You Need to Know



The number of organizations accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has been steadily growing in recent years. For example, UNICEF has been accepting cryptocurrency since 2019[1], whereas another well-known organization, Save the Children, began taking the digital currency in 2013[2].


For many organizations, the idea of accepting cryptocurrency may feel impossible—you may even doubt the benefits of receiving digital currency. But with the right approach and knowledge, your organization can benefit significantly from accepting cryptocurrency.


Here’s what you need to know if your organization is considering accepting cryptocurrency gifts.


Things to Consider


Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that runs on decentralized networks and has secured cryptography. It does not have an issuer or a centralized regulator—which means it’s not controlled or influenced by a government or organizations like banks.


Cryptocurrency is like a digital asset that exists on a network spread over a vast number of computers. It can be thought of as secure digital files as money for transactions.


The decentralized network usually comes in the form of a blockchain—technology that records and manages digital transactions—and uses a peer-to-peer network to form blocks of information linked to new blocks whenever new data or transactions appear. Because of this, it’s easy to trace and impossible to duplicate or counterfeit.


The Benefits


Accepting cryptocurrency benefits donors and organizations alike. One of the most significant benefits for organizations is the ability to reach a younger generation, specifically millennials and Generation Y. These generations are technology savvy and form the single largest generation of contributors to the economy[3]. Other benefits of accepting cryptocurrency include:


  • offering an additional payment method;
  • expand your donor reach and diversify your audience;
  • take advantage of significant tax breaks;
  • convenient and fast;
  • monetary value remains stable over time; and
  • offers your organization a competitive edge.


How to Accept Cryptocurrency


Even though it may be overwhelming at first, most organizations can begin accepting donations via cryptocurrency with some simple additions to their fundraising policies and procedures.


First, decide how your organization will accept donations. You can opt for a payment processor, a personal wallet, or a hybrid model. Individual wallets help you to directly and manually control your cryptocurrency. The downside of this model is that it does require you to have an in-depth understanding of how cryptocurrencies operate. It may be more of an undertaking but ultimately worth it since you can use web wallets (online), software wallets (downloaded), and even hardware wallets (devices).


The payment processing method is the more preferred choice for most organizations since it acts as a third-party processor and diverts the technical expertise and offers better security. This option offers you a fast and straightforward mode of accepting cryptocurrency donations but does come with its own set of requirements.


Payment processors that can handle cryptocurrency donations include:


  • Engiven: A platform specially designed for 501(c)3 nonprofits to easily manage their cryptocurrency donations.
  • The Giving Block: The go-to payment solution for over a hundred nonprofits and universities that accept crypto donations.
  • Bitpay: Currently one of the most powerful platforms for managing nonprofit cryptocurrency.


Then there is the hybrid model which offers you components of the personal wallet and the payment processor. This model provides better tracing features for donations and blockchain transactions and may have a better interface and user experience compared to wallets. But a hybrid model doesn’t include dedicated management of payment processors or the total independence of wallets.


Cryptocurrency Policies and Procedures


When you decide to move in the direction to accept cryptocurrency gifts, consider these things to ensure compliance.


  1. Update your gift acceptance policy for accepting cryptocurrency gifts for your institution.
  2. Educate your staff about institutional policies surrounding cryptocurrency and why its important.
  3. Establish oversight in these initial stages of accepting these gifts to carefully evaluate the acceptance process and discuss lessons learned to update or modify policies accordingly.


Cryptocurrency is a phenomenon that has the potential to become as far-reaching as the internet itself. For any emerging industry—including nonprofit organizations—those that adopt these policies early on will benefit significantly, including reaching a younger donor population that has historically been a struggle for institutions. Cryptocurrency donations allow you to tap into digital finances and virtual money, which continue to grow bigger every day.






3 Steps for Engaging and Connecting with Alumni


Have you ever wondered how successful colleges and universities convince past students to give something back to their alma mater? Most often, it’s because they’ve established ongoing relationship and engagement strategies with their alumni.


An alumni engagement strategy requires careful consideration of things like nostalgia, trust, and emotion. More importantly, it means identifying marketing techniques to elicit those feelings.


Communicating with your alumni should be a part of that strategy. One of the easiest ways to communicate is through an online platform like PeopleGrove[1].


An online platform can:


  • provide alumni with access to career opportunities;
  • centralize directories, alumni job boards, and chapter management;
  • advance your mission by driving higher engagement; and
  • measure increases in giving.


It’s a no-brainer; your alumni serve many valuable roles for your institution—helping to build and grow your brand through word-of-mouth marketing, plus offer mentoring, internships, and career opportunities to fellow students.


There is a significant investment to implement an online alumni network platform. Often, the same investment falls flat because institutions think, “build it, and they will come.” In turn, the information technology (IT) department acts as the pseudo “community” for its alumni.


That approach is always ineffective. Think about it like this. You’re an alum of the University of California, Berkeley. UC Berkley reaches out to inform you of their new alumni community, offering you the opportunity to join fellow alums and network—suggesting you can catch up with classmates and gain access to powerful relationships.


But six months pass, and you realize you’re interacting with very few people, or worse, the same people, and no one is responding to your inquiries. Alumni quickly become discouraged and leave the platform.


These online engagement platforms are great for enabling meaningful connections throughout your community—whether that’s an alumni community or constituent community, but only if you have a strategy. Here’s how to make the most of your online platform by engaging and connecting with alumni.


Step 1: Market Your Program


Get rid of the idea that just because you build a platform, your alumni know about it and want to use it. Overcome this challenge by marketing your program so alumni are aware of its value and usability. Marketing can’t be a one-time thing. And it should be a thoughtful and continuous marketing plan.


Form a marketing committee. Use your network to find help by tapping into alumni who work in marketing. Then evaluate other alumni organizations. What are they doing to market their platforms? Don’t necessarily copy what they’re doing but take inventory of how they talk to their audience and solve their wants, needs, and desires.


Effective marketing includes understanding your value proposition and knowing what your alumni expect to receive. Think about how you can best reach them, and set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely (SMART) goals. Finally, assess your goals often and evaluate your plan regularly.


Step 2: Educate About Useability


Another reason alumni may leave your networking platform is that they don’t understand how to use it. You can’t assume alumni know how to take advantage of this resource, even if it is a user-friendly platform.


Take into consideration that you probably have alumni spanning several generations. Be mindful of the nuances of each generation and their specific wants, needs, and desires—providing ideas about how (and why) they should use it.


Emphasize the ease of use—which can also be a part of your marketing tactic. Create marketing content that answers alumni questions. For example, “Have you tried the ABC feature? If not, here’s how to use it.”


This type of communication should be ongoing. Develop a communication plan that educates alumni frequently—this promotes sufficient engagement and increases your retention.


Step 3: Maintain Your Metrics and Measurements


Like anything, you need to measure and analyze your metrics regularly so you can adjust as necessary. Schedule weekly or monthly check-ins to see what’s working, what’s not, and determine a plan to course-correct.


Opportunities for Capitalizing on Post-Pandemic Fundraising Online

The global pandemic forced rapid changes across every industry sector, including advancement. As we continue to move toward the new normal, we’re seeing some of those changes—especially regarding the emphasis on online interaction—stick around.


Organizations should continue to take advantage of online fundraising platforms and methods to supplement their advancement initiatives. Donors are continuing to engage online, and we anticipate this becoming even more prevalent in post-pandemic fundraising.


There are two areas to pay particular attention to: Do-it-yourself fundraising platforms and third-party fundraising. Here’s why.


DIY Fundraising Platforms


The shift to DIY fundraising where supporters can easily launch their own campaigns and raise money is growing quickly. Anyone with a desire to raise money for their favorite organization can do so online and begin fundraising quickly. This model is particularly successful for smaller organizations.


DIY fundraising operates like a traditional peer-to-peer[1] campaign—enabling individuals to create personal fundraising pages on your organization’s behalf. Most often, supporters choose to do a DIY fundraiser centered around a holiday, birthday, or special occasion.  They create a fundraising campaign under a parent campaign and ask for donations to fund it.


DIY fundraising is a multi-tier approach, allowing your organization to empower its donors. You can think of it as a tree. You have the main trunk (your organization’s campaign website). From there, personal fundraisers create their own branches from their personal fundraising website. Each branch represents a different campaign—some branches are larger, and some branches are smaller. But each branch is necessary.


Supporters can connect their own beliefs, values, and identity to your mission using their personal fundraising pages to inspire donors with a story, driving your mission forward on their own terms. This leads to high fundraising goals and a personal desire to see your campaign succeed. Plus, you’ll be able to reach a new pool of donors that might have been inaccessible otherwise.


The impact of DIY fundraising is often greater and provides increased fundraising potential because of high personal buy-in. DIY fundraising campaigns increase trust between your organization and new potential supporters, drawing on their network to increase donations.


People are more likely to donate to a cause that their friend or family feels strongly about. In fact, 46% of respondents in a Classy report[2], say they choose to donate to a cause if a family member or friend asks them to. In addition, 50% state that a friend or family member being personally affected by a cause would motivate them to give.


Make DIY fundraising easy and fun by providing support. Create a DIY fundraiser toolkit to assist supporters with setting up their website, procedures for structuring their story, adding images, and other specifics to match the same look and feel of your brand. Offer examples to illustrate what other supporters are doing. Once its live, be open to promoting their fundraiser on your organization’s email list, social media, and more.


Third-Party Events


A third-party fundraising event is when a business, organization, community group, school, or individual plans and hosts a program or an event that benefits an organization. These events are hosted by (or paid for by) the beneficiary, but all proceeds generated support the mission of the organization. Third-party initiatives can be an excellent fundraising tool with a high return on investment (ROI) because it doesn’t require many resources from your organization.


The pandemic taught us that third-party events can still be successful even in an online atmosphere. Virtual events cater to those with demanding schedules or those in distant locations. But they also serve to reach new audiences—specifically, Millennial and Generation Z donors.


Third-party fundraisers give organizations a tool to solidify relationships, inspire new ones, and create an avenue to gain donations. Online platforms let the donors organize and promote their event independently.


Third-party fundraisers can be even more successful if you identify your top fundraisers and then offer them support—whether it’s helping them promote their event or offering guiding principles and fundraising tips. Imagine how your top fundraisers could succeed with your expertise!


For example, help your best supporters build their fundraising website so it has a few extra bells and whistles. Discuss their fundraising strategy and goals and provide feedback for best practices. Help them build their campaign and strategize to engage their network of friends and families through tried-and-true methods.


Supporting third-party fundraisers with these additional resources creates an opportunity to increase the output of the online platforms and fundraising campaigns. Their campaigns will exceed expectations and your organization warrants the benefits.




Understanding Staffing Models for CRM Application Support

Most organizations have little to no control over the structure of their Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) application support staffing models. It’s essential to understand how they are different—plus the pros and cons of each—so you can effectively moderate issues as they arise.


The resources available to your project team may vary and are contingent on your organization’s predetermined staffing models. We discuss the differences and how to mitigate their deficiencies.


Decentralized Staffing


Larger organizations tend to require a decentralized staffing model for their CRM applications[1]. Within the decentralized model, resources and staff may sit within the development team and have their own program analyst and Information Technology (IT) resources. These positions are often placed within Advancement—they are also funded and have a reporting structure that promotes through the advancement team.


A significant benefit of the decentralized staffing model is that you have access to your resources—staff are specialists and understand the business practices for any technical solution they provide. Staff lives and breathes fundraising, advancement, engaging constituents, and the context for technology solutions.


However, a downside of decentralized organizations is that employees may struggle with multiple individuals having different opinions on a particular decision. These organizations will need to overcome the obstacle of getting everyone on the same page when making decisions.


Another downside with this model can be that resources get narrowly characterized from a technology standpoint. The staff becomes experts in the technology, and their innovation may diminish over time because they are so specialized.


Decentralized staffing models are most successful when they utilize diverse expertise and knowledge—including a broad-based management team to ensure the organization has knowledgeable directors or managers to handle various types of situations.


Centralized Staffing Model


In the centralized staffing model, the need for technical resources or support to get things done relies on a “borrowing” structure from a central pool of resources. Smaller institutions tend to benefit from a centralized approach to their technical help. This model allows several departments—including the advancement team, HR team, the finance team, and the institutional teams to be supported by shared resources.


Centralized organizations can be highly efficient regarding strategic decisions. On the contrary, they can face adverse effects of bureaucracy—which can damage organizational effectiveness.


The benefit of a centralized staffing model is that staff can become specialists and remain acutely aware of new technology and procedures. Staff in this model tend to stay up to date on new platforms, programming languages, and other resources—their technical knowledge and skillsets are broader.


Centralized staffing allows an institution to streamline processes and create business operation efficiencies related to policy development, technology, pay practice, and resource management. In this model, you can (in most cases) attract better resources because they have a variety of projects to work on—offering a diverse workload for the highly skilled person.


One of the most significant downsides of the centralized staffing model is that resources and staff are shared. You’ll need to develop policies and procedures to indicate the methods that support you (and your team) to meet their deadlines.


Think about questions like:


  • How will your staff get into the queue?
  • How will your resource staff manage an abundance of requests?
  • Will you be able to meet your deadlines with their current workload?


Changes may take longer to initiate in a centralized model. Leadership must evaluate requests for policy, workflow, or technology changes at an enterprise level, requiring investigation, testing, pro and con analysis, and shared governance vetting. Once approved, the change must be communicated and rolled out—requiring an additional level of planning and coordination.


Sharing resources with the rest of the institution can get complicated. Not all institutions can avoid this type of staffing model and must work to mitigate these setbacks.


Hybrid Concept


A hybrid staffing model allows staff to gain the best of both worlds. In this scenario, employees can experience the benefits of becoming experts in their field while concurrently sharing resources.


In the hybrid staffing model, the resources belong to the centralized team but include staff with a comprehensive technology skillset. Often, the Advancement department pays for the services to have dedicated resources or at least a commitment to dedicated resources at a certain level.


The hybrid staffing model type tends to work well in larger institutions since they can afford resources within their department.


Staffing models vary depending on your organization. One is not necessarily better than another—whichever one you have, be sure to understand its complexities and plan for any deficiencies. Doing so will increase your team’s strategic and tactical capacity—keeping your organization at the forefront.


Best Practices for Digital Communication with Donors



These days, it’s nearly impossible to find an organization that hasn’t conducted some form of online fundraising. Does your team actively engage and support donors with digital communication? It can be difficult with limited in-person interactions.


Plus, the digital environment is a loud and busy space. The competition for donor attention is at an all-time high. Without a coherent, unified digital communication strategy, you risk losing focus and visibility—especially true if you’re targeting an older population.


A comprehensive digital communication strategy is the single best way to ensure a personal interaction without the in-person interface—helping you to put your overarching fundraising or donor acquisition goals into action.


When creating a digital strategy for your organization, focus on these constituent parts to simplify the process.


  1. Determine your goals.
  2. Examine your audience.
  3. Define your constraints.
  4. Equip your team with the right tools.
  5. Craft a communication plan.


A digital communication strategy is only effective if its well-received by donors. Here are four best practices to ensure donors engage with your digital communications.


Personalize Conversations


A nonprofit’s success is related to the relationship they have with donors. Whether you’re sending out an appeal or a thank you letter, you must personalize your donor communications—80 percent of people say they engage with personalized messaging[1].


In a world with primarily digital communication, it feels less ambiguous. Digital communication requires you to be more purposeful with how (and when) you communicate.


Personalize your donor communications by:


  • addressing them by name;
  • communicating with them as an individual, not the organization they’re affiliated with; and
  • referencing their previous involvement and its impact.


Use Donor-Centric Language


Having a donor-centric tone when communicating with your constituents goes a long way. Switch your general messaging to donor-centric messaging—it can be as simple as speaking to “you” vs. “we.”


Incorporating a donor-centric tone also requires an awareness of your donor’s goals. By understanding their unique needs, you can connect and engage with them better.


Empathize with your donors by asking questions that engage with purpose.


  • What is most valuable to you?
  • How do you envision supporting our organization?
  • What are ways we can help you achieve your goals?


Leverage Multichannel Communication


A multichannel approach is essential for donor communications. It allows you to reach a larger audience and reinforce your messaging. Donors vary with how they prefer to communicate.


Email marketing is a common way to communicate, but its important to utilize other channels such as:


  • social media;
  • website landing pages;
  • text messaging; and
  • telephone


Make Technology Simple


There’s no doubt that technology will impact your digital communication strategy in 2021 and beyond. Donations are happening online more frequently, requiring the use of eSignatures or transfer of documents.


Often, donors are sending documents with sensitive or confidential data through email that isn’t always encrypted.


Some donors may be hesitant or discouraged from supporting your organization due to security concerns or complicated technology processes. If you’re dealing with an older population, how do you communicate effectively and leverage technology? You’ll need to simplify technology and clearly explain the requirements.


You may consider implementing programs to support your digital communication strategy. SignNow[2] offer organizations the ability to streamline document workflows, automate and collaborate donation form processing, request eSignatures, and protect sensitive data with advanced encryption to keep contracts and other sensitive information safe.





5 Questions to Assess Your Campaign Readiness for Advancement


At times organizations need to raise substantial funds for a specific purpose apart from annual budgets. Typically, campaigns fund tangible things like an expansion, renovation, or restoration. Capital campaigns are always based on an ambitious vision, or more commonly referred to as Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals (BHAG).


When it comes to capital campaigns, some organizations focus primarily on the question of campaign feasibility. But it is just as (if not more) important to focus on the question of campaign readiness.


If you are preparing for a capital campaign, much focus is on your gift officers and programs to develop your overall campaign strategy and identify campaign priorities. During this process, there are often many questions as planning gets underway.


The campaign feasibility assesses the external environment, whereas readiness examines the organization’s ability to manage and maintain a campaign. Here are five questions to ask within your organization to determine if your capital campaign is ready for launch.


Can we identify a lead gift?


The success of capital campaigns highly depends on the initial lead or principal level gifts. If you aren’t able to identify lead gifts, you likely won’t develop the campaign you are envisioning.


The most successful capital campaigns identify where the top two or three gifts will derive. For example, if you’re looking to raise $1 billion, you’ll need to identify lead gifts upwards of $100 million.


Can we identify major gift donors?


Similar to lead gifts, it’s essential to know where a significant number of major gifts will come from. If you can’t, it might not be time to launch, and your time would be better spent developing your major gift fundraising for your annual fund.


How well-positioned are we to solicit, receive, and steward the gifts that donors will give?


Donor relations are an organization’s comprehensive actions promoting long-term engagement and quality interactions with donors. Positively manage prospect relationships over time by focusing on the seven steps of solicitation.


  1. Identify
  2. Research
  3. Plan
  4. Cultivate
  5. Ask
  6. Close
  7. Thank and Steward


Are our advancement services teams prepared for a capital campaign?


You can’t reach audacious capital campaign goals without the proper teams to support your initiatives. If the expectation is that your current staff and resources are sufficient for campaign production, you might fail to reach new, ambitious goals. Instead, assess the areas you may need additional support.


From prospects to patients, members to alumni (and everyone in between), the people who fuel and fund an organization’s future present an immense amount of data to be captured, managed, and visualized—ultimately leveraged by the experts in advancement services[1].


Do we have the prospect development pipeline to meet our capital campaign goals?


You must know what’s in your fundraising pipeline. One way to determine if the pipeline works as it should, is to determine whether people from your donor list are spread throughout.


Remember, there are three main reasons people donate:


  • deep passion for the cause;
  • belief in the organization; or
  • know someone affected by the mission.


Accurate Constituent Data


In addition to readiness, accurate constituent data, efficient and reliable gift tracking, and reliable campaign reporting are critical components to your capital campaign success.


An organization’s most valuable asset is its accurate constituent data. The Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system is usually the central piece of software at an organization. The CRM is more than a database—proving intelligence and functionality organizations need to optimize fundraising and communication with their supporters.


Accurate data sets you up for fundraising success—allowing you to set reasonable goals, evaluate your team needs, reach constituents, track gifts efficiently, and analyze reliable campaign reporting.




Developing Advancement Operations Procedures

Everything You Need to Know About Developing Advancement Operations Procedures

We’ve all seen what happens when colleagues think the other followed up with a major donor — and then no one does. Without proper procedures in place, it can be difficult to organize complex programs and maintain efficiency.


When it comes to streamlining processes or developing operations procedures for your advancement team, there are a handful of key steps to success to follow. It’s equally as important to document procedures as it is to implement procedures in your department, so be sure to not only write the steps down but also share the new processes within your department and to external stakeholders to ensure alignment and buy-in.


Let’s unpack how to develop procedures that help your advancement operations go more smoothly, as well as the steps to implement the program in your institution.


How Developing Procedures Improves Productivity

Developing Advancement Operations procedures improves productivity by streamlining existing processes.


You see, standard operating procedures can help bring much-needed structure to any organization. This is especially true for institutions with limited budgets and resources. But by investing the time and effort into defining standard ways of working, you save time when amidst the execution of a high-profile event or impending deadline.


If these procedures are developed and implemented in advance, they will be well established  (and quickly accessible) when needed most.

8 Must-Haves for Effective Procedure Documents


What exactly does an effective procedure document contain? When you’re compiling your procedure documents, make sure they have the eight key features listed below.


  • Objective: Describe what will be accomplished by using this procedure.
  • Background: Give the user some context about why this procedure was developed.
    • For example, are you trying to comply with a regulatory or institutional policy?
    • Additionally, are there any significant changes in this procedure that need to be identified upfront?
  • Scope: Describe what this procedure will address. What need will it fill?
  • Responsibilities: Provide a high-level overview of all participants and their role in the procedure.
  • Definitions: Supply a list of business terms that will be used in the procedure.
  • Process Overview: Provide a high-level description of the overall process that will be used for this procedure.
  • Procedure Steps: Describe all the key procedure steps in detail.
  • References: Create references to other related information, including policies, other procedures, forms, templates and other institutional systems.

Getting Buy-in From Stakeholders


To get buy-in on these procedural changes from your stakeholders, you’ll need to be transparent about what you’re trying to achieve. For instance, why are you implementing these changes now? What challenges will they solve? How will your organization improve due to the implementation of these advancement operations procedures?


If you’re able to answer these questions clearly and with confidence, you’re well on your way to creating an operations procedure that your stakeholders will encourage and embrace.


5 Steps to Implement Top-Notch Procedures in Your Organization

Now, let’s take a look at how to implement best-in-class procedures in your organization. To do so, you must take these five steps.

1. Educate Users on Best Practices

Best practices keep organizations in a position to be donor-focused and bogged down with operational challenges, so identify them early and reiterate them often. Once your users are equipped with deep knowledge of these best practices, they’ll thrive under your new procedures.

2. Standardize How Information Is Captured

When standardizing how the information you collect is captured, you’ll want to do two main things.

First of all, increase the speed of your data entry to maximize efficiency. Second, improve the accuracy of your data entry by making every extra effort to do so—without losing the speed gained from increased efficiency.

3. Decrease Ramp-Up Time for New Staff

By streamlining your training processes, you’ll decrease the ramp-up time required for new staff. Decreasing the time needed for onboarding and training is ideal at any point, but it’s especially critical when you want a new hire to dive into their workload right away.

4. Develop a Reference Library of Business Practices

Developing a reference library of business practices for all users will help you get everyone on the same page. As a bonus, it will also help you avoid receiving similar questions from different users down the line.


When developing your reference library, you’ll want to understand the use of reporting in procedures. This will ensure your reference library of business practices will remain relevant as the organization evolves.

5. Inform Users About How Data Entry Impacts Reporting

If users are informed about how data entry impacts reporting, they’ll be more likely to take pride (and extra care) in their data entry tasks. So, let them know the full extent of their impact.


Continuing the Success of Your Procedures

Continue the success of the new procedures you’ve implemented through optimized procedure management processes and robust procedure development services.


Procedure Management Processes

Your procedure management process should establish the procedure owner, along with any Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). This process should also educate business users on new and revised procedures.


Additionally, your procedure management process should establish a procedure review schedule, with a cadence that is quarterly, semi-annual or annual.


Lastly, procedure updates should be scheduled multiple times per year to ensure your procedures are being managed effectively.


Procedure Development Services


When developing your procedures, it’s good to have options. (Such as, a trusted advisor to counsel an organization on the critical selection and number of procedures to establish as an institutional foundation).


When developing these procedures, you’ll want to be mindful of the 8 Must Haves for Procedure Documentation. You should also hold regular procedure review workshops. Reviewing and validating  recently developed procedures and workflow with key stakeholders.


Once any revisions have been made and final sign off achieved, you can then implement the new procedure through staff training. Being sure to measure user adoption across the institution.


Procedure Development Planning: Final Thoughts

To recap, your procedure documents must have an objective, background, scope, responsibilities, definitions, a process overview, procedure steps and references.


Everything You Need to Know About Developing Advancement Operations Procedures


Not forgetting these success factors in your organization, either. They include:

  • Educating users on best practices
  • Standardizing how information is captured
  • Decreasing ramp-up time for new staff
  • Developing a reference library of business practices for all users
  • Informing users about how data entry impacts reporting


Once you develop and implement effective procedures, you’ll also want to manage and measure their success.


Procedure Development Made Easier with a Trusted Operations Partner

As a leader in higher education and/or healtchcare, it can be difficult to maintain service levels to demanding schedules and major donors. With proper standard operating procedures, your team can boost productivity while maintaining quality service.


Reach out for a customized consultation with Precision Partners, so you can focus on achieving your fundraising goals and maintaining excellent relationships with your donors.

Current State of Advancement: Is Your Acknowledgment Process COVID-19 Proof?


Are you struggling with how to fundraise in the current environment? 

Many institutions are. The uncertainty created by the pandemic, along with a slowdown in our economy and growing civil unrest, can make it difficult for your voice to be heard. 

So in these times and beyond, transparency and sensitivity are critical in your donor communications. How can you ask for funds tastefully, and genuinely thank the donors who contribute them? 


Advancement in a Pandemic: The Current Landscape

As you can imagine, this was a difficult year for individual giving. In fact, individual giving decreased by 6 percent in the first quarter of 2020, compared to last year. That’s nearly $25 billion in lost revenue for nonprofits if this trend continues throughout the year.


Although technology and data enable us to live and work in a socially-distanced world, these tools alone will not lead us to success. In the face of a global pandemic, our relationships have increasingly taken center stage. These relationships were always important, but COVID-19 has made us remember their true value. After all, human connections allow us to survive in the short term and thrive in the long term. 


Take a look at one of your most fundamental, human-connection-centric business practices—thanking your donors. This practice of planned gratitude, also known as your acknowledgment process, doesn’t go unnoticed. It’s greatly appreciated by the donors themselves.

But is your acknowledgment process COVID-19 proof? 


Assess and Document Your Current Acknowledgement Process

Currently, you probably follow a standard acknowledgment process that may look something like this: 

Stewardship Image


4 Tips to Revamp Your Acknowledgment Process

Since nothing about 2020 has been business as usual or typical, it’s not sufficient to use standard acknowledgment practices anymore.

Go a little further with your acknowledgment process and tailor it to the times. Below are four (4) tips to help you do just that.


1. Change Your Verbiage

Our first tip is to change your verbiage. The way you word your acknowledgment email and letter should address COVID-19.

Directly address how COVID-19 has had an impact on your institution, and on your community. Recipients will appreciate your honesty and they’ll empathize with your circumstances. Remember, we’re all in the same boat. 

If you don’t acknowledge COVID-19 in these communications, you risk coming across as if you’re going through the motions…and no one wants that. 

So, breathe deep, and craft a message as though you’re communicating from one human being to another—because you are. 


2. Thank Donors at Every Level

Gift minimums might’ve made sense before the pandemic, but they definitely don’t make sense now. 

Discard your gift minimums for saying thank you, and acknowledge anyone who gives a gift during these tough times. Throughout unprecedented uncertainty, these special individuals have decided to support your institution—now that’s a big deal! By thanking all your donors, you’re showing that you truly see and appreciate their efforts. 


3. Get Personal

Don’t be afraid to get a little personal. People appreciate those extra steps, especially amidst all this uncertainty. 

If your standard practice is to send an email or a letter, try giving people a call to thank them instead. After all, people’s routines have been disrupted, and they’re feeling more isolated than ever before. Hearing your friendly voice, and discussing something that evokes feelings of hope (like your institution), can add extra positivity to someone’s day. 


4. Expand Your Acknowledgement Process

Go beyond the donors, and expand your acknowledgment process. Don’t stop at expressing gratitude only to the people who’ve given a gift; include those who are fundraising on your behalf in your communication process. 

Additionally, pay attention to people who are sharing heartwarming stories about your institution on social media, and take the time to thank them. Expressing this gratitude one-on-one is great, but so is sharing their posts on your social media channels (with their permission). Doing this will amplify the appreciation on both sides while encouraging others to follow suit. 


Relevant Acknowledgment for Advancement: Final Thoughts

  • To recap, your current acknowledgment process likely needs an update for this pandemic world.
  • The current landscape for individual giving to nonprofits looks dire. Therefore, change is essential to survival.
  • When it comes to your acknowledgment process, don’t follow the status quo.
    • Change your verbiage, so that people can see how the current landscape has affected your institution and your community. 
    • Don’t set gift restrictions—thank donors at every level.
    • When thanking your donors, get personal. A quick phone call can come across as more heartfelt than your standard acknowledgment email. 
    • Expand your acknowledgment process to include those who are fundraising on your behalf and those who are sharing your institution’s stories on social media.


With these actions, you’ll be sure to strike a friendly, positive chord with those you’re acknowledging. These tips will help you in strengthening and maintaining your donor relationships for years to come.


If you would like an assessment and clear roadmap, contact us to Future Proof Your Acknowledgment Process.


We will help you create an acknowledgment process that is not only effective during the pandemic but sets you up for being responsive to your donors in the future.

How to Improve Your Advancement and IT Partnership

I often find myself at the intersection of Advancement Operations and IT Support. I consider both groups my colleagues. From each area I hear the frustrations and challenges about working together. What makes it so difficult for Advancement Operations and IT Support to work together and how can you improve these interactions?

Acknowledge and understand that you will often feel like you are speaking different languages. Use the following structure as a guide for your communication:


For Advancement Operations:

Discuss the business challenge that you are facing – how does it impact your daily operations? Why is it important to address now? Why do you feel that a technology solution will make it better? Discuss what you have heard and where you have received your information.

For IT Support:

Reiterate your understanding of the business challenge that Advancement Operations is facing. Actively get confirmation that you understood it correctly? Do you agree that a technical solution will achieve the desired results? If not, be very clear and specific why this is the case. If a technical solution is suitable, have you successfully addressed this issue or a similar issue before? Do you perceive any challenges or barriers to success? Are you available to help? If not, provide alternatives to address the challenge.

For Advancement Operations:

Reiterate your understanding of the technical solution, solution approach, or next steps. Actively get confirmation from IT Support that you understood it correctly. Do you perceive any challenges or barriers to success with the solution or approach? If so, be honest and discuss your concerns.

For Everyone:

All discussions should be professional and respectful. Every person in the room is an expert, it requires patience and an open mind  to communicate with colleagues who have a different expertise.

  • Be willing to explain the terms and acronyms that are second nature to you
  • Be willing to share a day in your life to provide context to the conversation
  • Be willing to stretch yourself and learn something new

Why is Business Process Improvement so Challenging for Development?

Why doesn’t Business Process Improvement just happen?  This is an important question many institutions are trying to answer.  Let me suggest a better question to ask: What challenges will you encounter when trying to improve the critical processes that you use everyday?  Let’s investigate why this happens …

Continue reading “Why is Business Process Improvement so Challenging for Development?”

Are You Using the Wrong Fundraising Model?

There are two main fundraising models institutions utilize.


Transactional fundraising and relationship fundraising. Although fundraisers say they want to build lifelong relationships, many fall into the trap of the transactional fundraising model. Can your current fundraising practices pass the pressure test for Relationship Fundraising? Continue reading “Are You Using the Wrong Fundraising Model?”

How do you know your new fundraising system is a success? Your staff actually uses it!


If you are not performing this then you may be missing a great opportunity to improve the success of your new fundraising system.


There is really only one way to find out how your staff feels about their new fundraising platform.

Continue reading “How do you know your new fundraising system is a success? Your staff actually uses it!”

Benefits of Having a Trusted Advisor On Your Advancement Services Team – Stay Ahead of the Curve

(This is Part 2 of a 2 part article. In Part 1 talked about the top 10 reasons why you need to add a Trusted Advisor to your team. In this second part I am going to a little more in depth as to why having one will help keep you up to date on the latest tools and technologies for fundraising and philanthropy.)


Do you ever get the feeling that you are the last to know about the latest technology, tools, and trends in fundraising? Sometimes just the fact of being made aware of new technologies and strategies by a volunteer or the development board can send you scrambling to implement the latest shiny new tool without the benefit of a well thought out plan or strategy.


Maintaining or stabilizing your current operations is important and can take up the majority of your time and focus. As important as that is, it is also imperative you continually strive to evolve and improve the operations. The competitive and ever changing landscape of fundraising demands that you stay current in the latest trends and technology. Without staying current your organization won’t have the right information to make key strategic decisions that will impact your overall success.


How are you supposed to accomplish all of this?


One solution is to dedicate 15% of your staff’s time to tracking and staying on top of the latest trends and technology. Have them get to know the vendors to discover and evaluate what new technology is out there and then determine what will work best for your organization. Have the team spend some time forecasting not only what trends and tools work today but how it will impact you in the future. By doing this you can stay ahead of the game and plan your next move.


Simple right?


Okay, we know that while that might work, the reality is neither you nor your staff have the time to do all that. As well-meaning as you might be to try, your day is too busy putting out fires and just trying to keep up with the backlog of projects. Your staff doesn’t have the time to stay current on everything that is changing and developing. The problem becomes the more it is neglected the further behind you are in terms of the latest technology used that makes all your efforts successful. It’s like being with a group of your friends while they are looking up restaurants in the area on their cell phones while you look at your old flip phone that doesn’t know what a browser or app is.


So what is the solution?


What about a trusted advisor that you can turn to that will provide you the information you need on a regular basis? Someone that specializes in knowing the fundraising market, knows the technology, vendors and trends. Someone that has the relationships built with vendors that would allow them to sit down and evaluate what will work for you. Your advisor needs to be someone that knows your organizational culture and business practices. Someone that can sift through all the noise and clutter and present you solid solutions to your fundraising technology needs. Someone that will listen and be able to advise you what will work now and in the future.


Your organization, the donors and your staff deserves the very best. By adding a trusted advisor that knows the industry and is interested in your success you can achieve excellence.


If you are want to be ahead of the curve in knowing the latest tools, technology, and trends in fundraising, give me call at (424)206-5379.


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Dauwn Parker leverages her extensive background in CRM consulting and experience in fundraising operations to guide her clients to success. She offers her clients valuable leadership coaching, lessons for avoiding common pitfalls, best practices, tools, and techniques. Clients find Dauwn’s communication style as a differentiator in her services, whether conducting a large group facilitation or a one-on-one coaching session, she breaks complex concepts into consumable segments of information making it easy to understand for anyone regardless of their role in the organization, level of experience, or skill set.

Top 10 Benefits of Having a Trusted Advisor On Your Advancement Services Team

(Because this is such an important topic I decided to run a two part article. The following is part 1.)

At some point it becomes necessary to bring on a trusted advisor to take your fundraising efforts to the next level.

As with any business endeavor it helps to get the perspective of someone that is outside the normal team. There are several reasons for this. You don’t have the needed expertise, people who work together every day become comfortable with the way things are and sometimes overlook things, sometimes things just need a fresh perspective from someone that knows the industry and what your needs are.

After all many successful people have business coaches, companies hire security consultants to get an impartial audit of systems and policies, insurance or benefit advisors make suggestions as to the best plans for the company employees and list goes on.

Advancement Services provides the backbone of your philanthropy operations. Doesn’t it make sense that your Advancement Services Team has a trusted advisor to depend on?

The top 10 benefits of having a Trusted Advisor to empower your Advancement Services Team are:


  1. You want to expand and grow, to do this you have to take on projects that you have never done before. Having a trusted advisor who has the experience to guide you will not only reduce costly mistakes but assist in guiding you and your team to achieve the outcome you desire.


  1. You gain the confidence and continued support when collaborating or brainstorming with an expert. Instead of getting a staffer to research and analyze something in an attempt to determine if it is right approach, a trusted advisor will have the knowledge to quickly determine the right direction and present it to you.


  1. When you are inundated with requests for improvements or new technology a trusted advisor is able to give you an objective evaluation of what to do next that will align with your strategic vision and produce the most value.


  1. When you are faced with continual resource constraints having a trusted advisor on your side can help you develop and present a case for not only more but the right staff or technology.


  1. A knowledgeable expert on your team will be able to evaluate and give objective feedback on the health of your projects in progress and also provide an impartial assessment of the level of risk in your current business practices.


  1. A trusted advisor, that knows your industry, can assist you in assessing the skills of the staff and provide training and professional development coaching tailored specifically to your needs and goals.


  1. When you conduct executive briefings for your Chief Philanthropy Officer (CPO) or Chief Information Officer (CIO) having a trusted advisor, who is an industry expert, assisting in the briefing will help you to deliver information in a clear and informative way. The added benefit of having an expert with you in briefings is that it will help you convey your message in a persuasive and powerful manner.


  1. Continuity in the face of staffing changes. Things happen, people leave or have extended periods of absence. A trusted advisor, who understands the overall goals, can maintain momentum of the strategic plan and assist in the selection and orientation of new staff.


  1. A trusted advisor can provide you with access to a network of vendors, contracted resources for staff augmentation, and contacts at other organizations similar to yours. An industry expert will have the necessary contacts and resources, that you may not have, that can help get you to the next level.


  1. Having a trusted advisor brings you to the next level by achieving excellence through continued process improvement in records management, gift processing, prospect research, and portfolio management. Adding an industry expert on your team will help you incorporate industry best practices and keep you informed on how other organizations may achieve success.


Having a trusted advisor to guide you can mean the difference in standing still or propelling your efforts to the next level.

(In Part 2 we will discuss how having a Trusted Advisor is imperative when it comes to keeping up with the latest tools and technology in philanthropy.)


If you have the challenge of mounting demands and not enough resources,contact us at (424) 206-5379 to discuss how to jumpstart your productivity in the new fiscal year.


Profile pictureDauwn Parker leverages her extensive background in CRM consulting and experience in fundraising operations to guide her clients to success. She offers her clients valuable leadership coaching, lessons for avoiding common pitfalls, best practices, tools, and techniques. Clients find Dauwn’s communication style as a differentiator in her services, whether conducting a large group facilitation or a one-on-one coaching session, she breaks complex concepts into consumable segments of information making it easy to understand for anyone regardless of their role in the organization, level of experience, or skill set.

Calling all Frontline Fundraisers – What’s in it for You?

Institutions are now required by their Boards to provide more transparency and accountability for Fundraising Campaigns. This has prompted an array of metrics that not only evaluate progress towards fundraising goals but also evaluates daily productivity.

Here are some metrics that might look familiar…

  • Number of Face to Face Visits
  • Number of Phone Calls
  • Number of Proposals Made
  • Average Time Spent in Cultivation
  • % Increase in the Number of Donors in Your Portfolio
  • % Increase in Dollars Raised from Donors in Your Portfolio

While there is no denying that this information is beneficial to Executive Management and the Board in evaluating progress and performance, what benefits do you receive as a frontline fundraiser? Share how you use Fundraising Metrics  – What works? What doesn’t work?

Leave a comment or email me at [email protected]