The first 3 minutes & 7 seconds of this have a black screen. Fear not! The slides do show up.
Do you envision advancing your mission for decades to come? Certainly! Do you want to strengthen investments made by donors? Absolutely and positively! Do you want to keep your top talent? Of course! This interactive session promises to deliver easy-to-understand and even easier to implement tactics. Systems are the formal processes and procedures used to manage your nonprofit. During this introductory session, you will learn how to create a system to maximize staff performance and engagement around resource development. This will include a compensation system for rewarding team members & a process for formal employee feedback.
The session will teach you how to:
- Classify & frame the importance of resource development (why it’s everyone's job & not just the fundraisers)
- Operationalize resource development (getting others to value & support it)
- Monitor staff performance & measure individual support of organizational resource development goals (with the use of a tool)
- Solicit ongoing feedback (all job-related functions, including resource development)
These initial steps will form a firm foundation to build out and adopt more systems. In addition, these systems are tied to revenue generating strategies and will help solidify the financial position of the organization.
Additional materials for An Introduction to Creating Sustainable Systems for your Nonprofit
Download the audio here: Creating Sustainable Nonprofit Development Systems
Download the slides here: Creating Sustainable Nonprofit Systems Slides PDF
Download the handout here: Creating Sustainable Nonprofit Systems Handout PDF
And you can get the terrific UnderDeveloped study Tycely recommends here: https://www.compasspoint.org/underdeveloped
Transcript for Creating Sustainable Nonprofit Systems
Marc: Well, welcome to today's Nonprofit Academy Presents webinar. I'm Marc Pitman, your host. I am thrilled to be here.
We are using a new platform so I just want to let you know that with the GoToWebinar platform, usually on the right of your screen, there's the GoToWebinar control panel. There is a little chat feature if you want to chat with any of us. There is a question and answer and I'll be trying to monitor both of those. I know I have chat open so that may be the easiest way to communicate with us. You could also tweet to the hashtag you see on your screen at #NPApresents. I'll be trying to tweet there as well.
I'm thrilled today to have Tycely Williams with us. Tycely and I started working last fall on a webinar that I ended up not being able to attend because I was at 39,000 feet in the air. But the few times we spoke I was just impressed both with how good a teacher she was. She was talking about systems and she was talking about things that she's seen in her work, both with the Y and now with American Red Cross and before that with smaller nonprofit organizations as well as in her own business as an entrepreneur.
She was able to take what many would see as disparate experiences, small nonprofit, large nonprofit, entrepreneurial for-profit. And put them together in ways that they could all learn from each other and grow and would help larger organizations and smaller organizations not kill themselves because they'd be sustainable systems in place.
So I immediately, of course, being like I am. I said, "Tycely, could you do a webinar for The Nonprofit Academy?"
So I just want you to know that buckle your seat-belts. We've got a good session ahead of us. Take notes. Be sure to go to the Vault and download the handout. It won't distract you if you don't download it but it will help you because I know we're going to go through that some today too.
Tycely, I don't want to steal any more of your thunder. I guess, everybody, you could tweet her @Tycely, @-T-Y-C-E-L-Y.
And her website, I'll remind you at the end too is tycelywilliams.com. She keeps a lot of her stuff, her goings on's up there.
So Tycely, thank you so much for being here.
Tycely: Marc, thank you for having me. I am so very grateful for the opportunity. And on behalf of all the charitable fundraisers out there, I want to thank you for all that you do to help us do our job better. And The Nonprofit Academy is one added resource for us. And we're just really grateful for this opportunity to have resources literally available at our fingertips. So thank you. I'm excited to dive into: How to Create Sustainable Nonprofit Systems.
Marc: Wow! Well, thank you and as we spoke before, again, I'll be monitoring the questions. I'll jump in at certain points because a lot of people attend live but a lot of people even more like to attend in the recording. So you don't have to worry about looking at that part of it. So take it away.
Tycely: Perfect. Well, guys, welcome. I am delighted that you carved out time to learn about sustainable nonprofit systems. I know it sounds like this is something that is going to be very, very boring. And something that you probably are not sure exactly how these strategies are going to help you reach your fundraising goals.
But we're going to go through things in a very simplistic way. If there are questions, please take advantage of the chat opportunity. Or, feel free to reach out to me and/or Marc after the session.
So let's just learn a little bit more about what we are focusing our attention to today. We're going to talk about resource development.
Oftentimes, in the charitable fundraising world, we use the term "fundraising" and people often think that we're solely thinking about contributed income, cash, money, assets that can be liquidated. But when we use the term, resource development, that is more comprehensive. And it is also going to involve in kind services, donated goods which also help to fuel our mission.
Once we talk a little bit about resource development, we're going to shift gears to talk about what steps can we embrace to actually operationalize resource development. How do you ensure that everybody within your nonprofit organization has an important role to play in helping make sure that we can effectively advance our mission?
Then, we're going think through how do we monitor and measure the engagement? Once we have people involved in resource development, outside of the development shop, how do we monitor it? How do we measure it? How do we ensure that people are truly engaged?
And then, lastly, we're going to talk about ideas for soliciting ongoing feedback. No matter what it is you institute within your nonprofit organization, be it a fundraising strategy, or a human resource plan, make sure that as a leader, you always have a process to solicit feedback.
So what is a system? When I use the term "system" there are four things I want to make sure we are collecting into our understanding of a system. A system is essentially a step of detailed methods and practices. The practice is something that we do oftentimes on a consistent basis. A system is also a step-by-step sequence of activities oftentimes used as a procedure. System is traditionally something that is interrelated, interdependent, and interconnected. And that is why we are highlighting the need and the importance to involve people within the system no matter what function they have in the nonprofit organization. Because all of the work that we do it's interrelated, it's interdependent, and it's interconnected. Yes, even the fundraising work.
And a system is also something that carries out a specific function. Today, we are talking specifically about fundraising/resource development systems. And that is the specific function that we will devote our attention to today.
So what is a resource development system? A resource development system is essentially the manner in which you are going to identify, and secure, and ensure that the source is of resources. I want to make sure that you are going to customize your system based upon the funding structure of your nonprofit.
So how do you raise revenue? That may be vary from nonprofit to nonprofit. For instance, if you are the leader of a girl scouts troop. Cookie sales is a manner in which you raise revenue. You could be the head of school for an independent school. And in that instance, maybe you rely on tuition. Or maybe you're a smaller nonprofit, social-service based, and you rely on grant funding. So I want to make sure that as we walk through development of your system, you are able to structure your strategy around the known fundraising sources and the known avenues for resource development.
And then, I want to make sure that our resource development systems, that we create those in conjunction with staffing and volunteer models. So we'll talk a little bit more about that as we dig deeper into the subject.
But oftentimes, when we think about resource development and we think about who's responsible, we automatically go to the people we're paying not realizing that in many instances our volunteers are our most invaluable assets because they aren't being paid to help us raise money and secure resources. They're purely doing it because they believe in our mission. And so we don't want to overlook the volunteer.
Marc: Tycely, you were saying that. I'm doing a board retreat, working on a board retreat and just was processing some of the survey I did. One of the standard questions I asked all the board members I interviewed was what do you think is the biggest opportunity for your organization to thrive this year?
Marc: And everybody in fundraising and everybody, I think, to a person, focused on hiring new staff or having the staff work more effectively. This is a board that isn't fully giving. There's not a full 100% engagement on the board as far as even making their own donation. So that's interesting.
We do this in staffs but we also do this in boards and other groups. We always think of the paid person, not the volunteers. That's a great point.
Tycely: Absolutely, Marc. You're right. And Marc, that also leads up to ensuring that it's never a siloed responsibility. That it doesn't just reside in a specific department. It's shared and supported by all.
And lastly, I want to make sure that as we're developing our resource development systems that we're aligning them with performance management and a reward system.
Marc just mentioned that oftentimes when we think about how are we going to execute and how are we going to win, we have high expectations for the paid fundraisers on staff. But oftentimes, our reward system is not where it needs to be. So we're going to spend a little time talking about that.
So Marc, what's the importance of resource development?
Betty Bender has this great quote and I absolutely love it. "When people go to work, they shouldn't have to leave their heart at home."
Well, you know, in the nonprofit space, when people go to work they bring their hearts right there with them. And oftentimes, because we are so connected to the work and we love it, it's hard for us to think about the work and to think about the importance of money. We need more than just the love of the cause. I want to make sure that your mantra is, "your mind is on the money. No money, no mission."
So I think Marc, for all of us in fundraising. We realized that no matter how much we love the work that we have to ensure that we are bringing in the dollars.
So Marc, you raised a great question and made an excellent point about whose job is resource development. It amazes me, when I talk to people, either my friends that are serving on boards or fundraising colleagues, oftentimes, people divide resource development in two different categories. It's either internal or external. And traditionally, when people think about internal resource development, they think about those individuals that may be linked to the organization.
So obviously, it'll be the staff, it'll be the board, could be other volunteers, and in some instances, we even have clients, or recipients, who are also involved in resource development. And traditionally, we think of external stake holders as people like community partners and maybe past clients, or past constituents, who are no longer receiving services.
Well, what I'd like for us to do is to have more of a hybrid and a blended approach to resource development where you look at those stakeholders that you're attempting to connect with, those stakeholders that are driving the mission, and have a hybrid approach to resource development.
So now, we're going to dive in a little bit deeper into the actual work and how you get some of these strategies off the ground. First thing I'd like for you to do is to frame the internal importance amongst staff. So we've got to make sure that whenever we talk about fundraising, or resource development that we always connect mission to the dollars.
And so, when people are looking at you wondering why it's so important to raise the money, it isn't because we're trying to keep the lights on. It isn't because we don't want to downsize. It's because we want to provide quality programs, quality services, and to ensure that we are meeting our charitable obligation in a wonderful way.
The way I want you to do that is to make sure that privately and publicly you're sharing your yearly financial goals and submission impact.
Now, we've got to work, see. But I'm going to show you exactly how to break that down and how to do that. But the first thing we've got to do is we've got to communicate this beyond the development department. We can't be afraid that we might not meet or goal, that we don't want to tell anybody, and we're going to close the door and crunch the numbers and hope that we make it.
No! We want to make sure that everybody is aware of what needs to be brought in so that they understand the importance of securing the money and I want to ensure that you're updating them on a regular basis so they can join in celebration when we do make gains.
And so, what is the role of the development department? If everybody is doing fundraising, what's the development department's role?
I want you to look at your development department's role as specialists. They are the in-house experts. They are the ones that create the strategy that drive innovation. They are the architects but they cannot do it alone.
I want you to create opportunities for that fantastic fundraising staff, even if it's just one person to make sure that you're training the staff and the volunteers on how to raise money.
This is where people like Marc come in. Marc Pitman is your fundraising guide and the fundraising guru. So you want to make sure that you're opening the door so that people like Marc can come in to make sure that people are trained and feel comfortable fundraising.
Marc: I didn't ask her to say that, just for the record.
Tycely:That's right but . . .
Tycely: People, look, you are important in this equation. You want to allow each individual staff member to support fundraising, based upon their own strengths, their own interests. You don't want to assign things out and say, "Okay, Nancy. Nancy, I want you to go down the street and get to know the car dealership owner because I think you should ask him to donate a car for the golf tournament."
Well, Nancy, may not be ready for that. Nancy may not feel comfortable. But Nancy may decide, on her own, that she would like to do handwritten Thank You notes. Or, Nancy may volunteer that her husband has an existing relationship with someone who's on your prospect list.
So make sure when you involve staff and volunteers that you're allowing them to self-select the area of the plan that they're interested in supporting.
So how do we operationalize this? How do we go from knowing that it's important and making sure that people are actually jumping in and standing with the development department?
Few tips that I'm going to point out here. First, is that I want you to make sure that we've got a commitment to and a responsibility for fundraising in every job description. Yup! Every job description needs to be modified with just a simple sentence. "I agree to support the annual fundraising strategies of Whitman Walker Middle School."
You can also adopt an annual commitment pledge. Let's say, for instance, you're encouraging all members of the team and the staff to make a personal and/or financial gift. You should, just as if you would ask board members to sign commitment pledges, you can the same with your staff.
You can also make sure in your management goals and the evaluation, which, again, is part of the tool that you have an opportunity to track how people are supporting you.
Lastly, the development department, you want to bring them in because they're your specialists and you want to ask them, "What are some tangible ways staff can support fundraising?"
Again, you're allowing your specialist to come up with ways that save me help. And so, maybe it's through identification. Maybe they need help thinking of new leads. Maybe they need help with cultivation. Maybe they do want to see if there are staff members that are interested in going out to make more asks, or maybe it's stewardship.
And there are different ways. It could be through general support, through your fundraising events, or through your campaigns. But again, we will turn to the in-house experts. Turn to your specialists and ask them to identify tangible ways for staff to support the strategies. And then, you ask staff to identify one or two things that resonates with them. Things that they're interested in learning more about.
So now, we're going to shift our attention, Marc, to the fantastic handout.
Tycely: So guys, I'm going to give you about two seconds to pull up the information that's in the Vault. Again, I will do my best to go through this in a way that is easy to understand.
The great thing about the webinar series is that you can come back. You can play it again. You can make sure that your development team has access to the information. So if we have to speed things up just because of the interest of time, know that you can always come back, replay, and/or reach out to me or Marc with questions.
Marc: Just so that everybody can hear, I'm reminding that on the Introduction to Creating Sustainable Systems page in the Vault. The handout is already there for members. But you could also look at it right on your screen.
Tycely: Great! Thanks, Marc. So first thing that we want to do is we want to create an objective. And that objective is going to be to support the resource development strategies of whatever nonprofit organization is. "In order to" and there, I want you to input your mission.
And so, before you share this information, I want it to be framed in a way that anyone who sees it understands that there is a direct link between securing resources and providing the mission.
A sample objective is listed there where you can see. I've inserted the name of the charity and the mission.
And then, I have the FY2015 financial goal. And so, the financial goal is going to focus in on the financial resources that we need. So the financial goal is going to be to secure through. Again, you want to input language there based upon your revenue stream. Maybe it's contributions, maybe it's grants, maybe it's events.
For the sake of this handout, we're assuming that someone can actually operate a nonprofit at a $500,000 level. I know that there are many small nonprofits. You know how challenging that is and we applaud you for all of your great work.
And then, you want to put in the timeframe. And then the fiscal year is important because all of your strategies need to start and stop aligned with your fiscal year.
And then, of course, you want to end your sentence with what we've been talking about, the blended approach, with collaboration and support from internal stakeholders.
So here are the goals at a glance. And essentially, for this example, I've taken the $500,000 that's needed to support this charity. And I just have a breakdown here of buckets that show you how much we need to raise from each of these buckets in order to reach the $500,000.
I also have listed here what our aim is. And I only use the word "aim" because when we say "goal" the goal is traditionally the financial amount we're trying to raise. The aim is how we're hoping to do that.
So let's just start with our first bucket, which is contributions. Our aim is, 100% participation of the board for $10,000. And so on and so on.
You'll see that these are just very high level goals and strategies. I don't want you to share with the entire staff strategies that may be more understood by the development department. So I want you to think of very simplistic language and ways that you can communicate to people outside of the development shop how you are going to raise the money.
And so, let's just drop down to the event section and you'll see there that tickets sells is just one avenue with an event. And we're aiming to sell 200 tickets at $100 each.
This simplistic breakdown helps people within the organization understand how they can support you. Maybe they can support you by helping to sell tickets. Maybe they can support you by helping to secure an auction item. Maybe they can support you by helping you identify one new grant funder.
And the other thing I want to point out before we turn the page and learn how to use this. Impact is listed right below the aims. The impact, I want you to insert whatever your projected programmatic outputs are for the year.
So with this system, with this $500,000, if you are providing 23,000 meals, then that is what I want you to place there. That is the impact. Again, we're trying to show that we need the $500,000 in order to provide the 23,000 meals.
Marc: Tycely, I've got a couple questions about this.
Marc:Okay, first of all, I love that you keep driving back the fundraising is for impact. When we had Joe Garecht doing, "Creating a Successful Nonprofit Fundraising Plan," training. That was one of his.
The aha moments, for me was that I think that a lot of us slip. We see our department, we see our goal. We're charged with a goal. And we forget to directly tie it to mission. And often, it's not. The board just says, "You've raised this much so raise this much more." Instead of, "We'd like to do this much more mission, which will cost them this much more money" which is much more compelling for everybody.
So when I'm looking at this one of the things I'm seeing is this looks similar, sort of, to structure for capital campaign. You have your board giving amount and participation, your staff goal, your general goal. Am I reading that correctly?
Tycely: Yes, yes. That is an excellent observation. And yes, that is oftentimes, one of the more traditional places where development leaders and development departments feel most comfortable involving staff. And what we're trying to do, Marc, is just, to your point. We're trying to excite within people a desire to involve the staff outside of capital campaigns.
Tycely: Capital campaigns, oftentimes, are big goals, big numbers. We need all hands on deck. But before we even get to the capital campaign, we want everybody to be comfortable fundraising. And think of how much more we can raise if we take that same approach on an annual basis.
Marc: Absolutely. When I was a one-person shop I know there are some people listening that are in that situation. When I was a one-person fundraising shop, I never wanted to . . . Everybody had a full-time job, so I never wanted to impose fundraising activities on them because I knew it would be sort of extracurricular for them.
Marc: And I was flabbergasted when I see United Way on there . . . when I saw how much effort they put into the United Way campaign that didn't directly benefit us in a financial way. It benefited us in other ways because we were good people and it showed that we supported the community and all. But I was just shocked to see the level of creativity and enjoyment that people got out of fundraising. I mean, I wish I had seen this then because I didn't quite make the connection to how they could fundraise for our stuff. But I did start noticing the champions in that because they're the ones coming to me saying, "Why don't we do this? Why don't we do that?" Rather than to getting knee-jerk stressed out, I was able to help them in some way to become partners because they had the best stories. They were already tied directly to the delivering of the mission in a way that donors wanted to hear about. They didn't want to hear about my fundraising prowess. They wanted to hear about the mission.
Marc: Okay, I'm glad to see that correlation is intentional. And I love that you can use this. I don't think I've ever thought of taking a capital campaign division, goals, things to staff or to others and saying, "This is the roadmap. This is our plan. This is our guideposts. Where do you see yourself being able to support that?"
But that makes sense. "Oh, I can sell tickets." Because there are people that do like different aspects of this. That's really cool. I like that.
Tycely: Well, now I'm going to jump into . . . So before we move into how we are going to evaluate them, the one thing, Marc, that you have brought to my attention and I thank you for this is that your aims can also be reported out if you had all staff meetings, or if you had monthly updates. So that way, you're making sure that you're communicating outside of the development department and you're giving shout outs. You're saying, "Let's thank Margery for helping us secure a new donor for our afterschool initiative."
And it's important to highlight the engagement and involvement of others. And that's going to lead us, Marc, to a little tool.
Marc: This is exciting to me.
Tycely: This, of course, can be tweaked based upon your needs within your nonprofit. But at the bottom, you just have a very simplistic Excel spreadsheet that I've shown there and I'll show you how to check for engagement. But essentially, it's important to make sure that if you have an expectation that everyone is a charitable fundraiser, that you are the accountability partner. That you are turning to people within the organization and saying, "This is our expectation. Now we're going to evaluate how engaged you are."
So the first thing, we've talked about this earlier, you've got to inform people that it's an expectation. And then, you've got to define how frequently you're going to evaluate it.
Now, I would recommend collapsing it into whatever existing annual evaluation process you have. I'm assuming on some level, at least on an annual level basis, you're evaluating your staff. So you're not creating a separate opportunity to evaluate their resource development engagement. You're just taking those goals and those expectations and just adding it to the existing evaluation form.
So you also want to make sure, to some extent, you connect it and tie it to compensation and/or merit increases.
So when you go to your board and you're making an argument about why we need to raise more revenue. You may be able to demonstrate the success that you've had collectively, as a staff and as an organization. You may be able to pinpoint how you helped to increase the outreach to the community and to your clients. And you may be able to say, "Separate and apart from the 1-2% raises that we've been giving, we want to reward people for helping us serve more people. We want to, instead of a 1% raise, give people a 2.5% raise because we exceeded our funding goal by 15%."
That's a great conversation to have. Right, Marc?
Marc: Oh my goodness, I have never been privileged enough to be part of a place that actually had that conversation.
I'm just curious. I don't want to waylay the presentation. But how? So one of the questions that I know is coming up. There are people, here, that are leading organizations. So this is a much better conversation for them because they can start, as the leader, be baking this in and setting these expectations and working with their board.
But what if you're, quote and quote, "just the development person"? Do you have some ways to seed the conversations?
Because I work with nonprofits and I'm sure that some of the people that are attending now and definitely, that are listening, they have CEOs and executive directors that don't feel that it's their job. The board and CEO subcontracted fundraising out to the development person. Any ways that you can get some buy in? That's the first one. I've got another one after that.
Tycely: Yeah. So one thing, guys, is that it's important to track the gains. So you want to be able to show that you are able to reach your goals and you are able to involve more stakeholders in the process. And so, really, the numbers and the metrics will tell your success. And so, the first year, you may not reach the goal. But it can still be a success if you involve more employees, if you've trained more people, if you've increased the capacity of the fundraising department.
So make sure that you're not solely focusing on how much money came in the door. But you're also reporting back to your CEO, or your executive director, or your board the other measures of success that are solely connected to the employee engagement piece.
Marc: Just to jump in. That to me was part of my own kind of keeping my job.
Marc: CYA report, I would track. The board was solely focused on fundraising. So I would track other measurements. And I just told them, agriculturally, planting seed, tending seed, harvesting. If we focus only on the harvesting, we'll have a slash and burn. But you guys don't like to be asked, only asked, and asked and asked and asked.
Marc: You want a relationship. So why wouldn't the rest of our donors want that too? The people that you're having lunch with and you're seeing at Rotary. "Oh, right." So trying to train them to see the different . . . Yeah! That's good. You could even start with your own measurements. And track those in your own database.
Marc: And then even move in to . . . If you can even start with mad reaching your goals and involving other people.
Okay, so showing them a more full view of development, I guess. Doing some of your own internal education. Right?
Tycely: Yeah, that's exactly right.
Marc: And then, so that starts the buy in. I guess, it's just having that insatiable curiosity that good fundraisers have of finding people that get this and are interested in helping expand it. Does that make sense?
Tycely: Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. Absolutely.
Marc: So that's one of them. And then the other thing I was looking at this and thinking. You said, "2.5% increase because we reached 15% above goal."
I don't want to get it the whole rabbit hole. And if anyone wants to do this you could. Just type into Google "fundraisingcoach.com, space, should we hire a fundraiser on a percentage."
There was a post I did years ago that I had to finally turn off the comments. It was getting to be so overwhelming with the comments, pro and con, about percentage fundraising. That's not what I hear you saying. But I know that there's something to be said for benchmarks.
How do you help the merit-based aspect? Can you flesh that out a little bit more?
Tycely: That's a great question Marc. And I think it varies from organization to organization. It's largely tied to organizational culture.
Tycely: But what I will say is just supremely important is that as you look to the reasons why someone should be given an increase, a merit-based increase, their engagement in fundraising should be on that list.
Marc: Oh, anybody in the organization. Not just the development office.
Tycely: Anybody, yes, anybody in the organization. So they cannot just be an exceptional researcher and a scientist and have not contributed to fundraising and being given, if they're eligible for 2.5, if they did not participate in fundraising, I would argue that they would not be eligible for the full 100% of their increase because this particular expectation was not met. And so, it's just like any other dimension that you would hold them accountable to.
That everybody in the staff has within their annual evaluation, a demonstration of resource development support. And guys, all you need to do is. Do you see where that little checkbox is? Either yes or no. They just need the box checked, yes.
And the illustration below the table shows you how you can potentially track . . .
Marc: Sorry, right in the middle of the page there? Just that simple yes or no.
Marc: Oh wow!
Tycely:Simply yes or no.
Marc:That's pretty easy.
Tycely: Simply. So you don't want to focus on, "Well, how much did they raise? Did they do this? And how much did they give?" The dollar amount is not what we are praising, and highlighting, and hoping to replicate. It's simply the engagement and the involvement.
So the table there just shows you how you can identify. And going back to the slides that we talked about earlier, if you give them the option of helping either through identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship, then those same avenues are collapsed into their annual evaluation. And I personally, Marc, recommend only identifying these four options. Because things like research is really something your specialist should be doing. That's something that the development department should be doing.
Negotiation, if you've got to back and determine whether or not you're going to get $35,000 versus $50,000. That's something you want a specialist, your development department, doing.
But these four areas, the identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship, those four areas of fundraising are ways that any staff member, and any volunteer can support or augment what the development team is doing.
Marc: Wow! I would love to see this type of thing rolled out. Yeah, and I like the four general basic. That's great!
Tycely: Very basic. So I'm not going through go through the evaluation tips. But you have them there. I am going to move forward just for the interest of time.
Tycely: And we're going to talk a little bit about the feedback. So Marc, you just said, "I'd love to see this rolled out." Well, I would love to hear how it goes when folks that are listening decide to roll it out. I really want to hear from you. I want you to give thought to customizing this and taking a stab at it. And letting Marc know and letting me know how did work? What worked well? What did you have to shift? What did you have to change?
Now, I also want you, just with anything that you roll out that's new, we've got to have feedback. So I want you to consider holding focus groups, inviting members of all departments, and during that time, you want to survey team members on appeal prior to public launch.
So what does that mean? That means the development department, may serve as your specialist. They have ideas about how to communicate with the general public. So they're going to create, let's say, a marketing material, or a marketing piece for Giving Tuesday.
Well, before you take it to the public, bring the members of your staff in outside of development, and say, "Hey guys, we want to show you what we were thinking about sending out for Giving Tuesday. We'd love your thoughts and ideas on how we can make this better."
We want you to take your staff hat off and put on your donor hat. That allows people to see fundraising in a whole new light. It's not just about solicitation. It's about creativity. It's about marketing. It's about promotion and messaging.
So that is an idea to solicit feedback on some of the resource development ideas. You also may want to ask folks, "Hey! We're having an open house and we'd like for you to come and we'd like for you to give us feedback. How did we do at the golf tournament? Did you think it was too long of a wait line in the registration line? What could we have done better?"
So it's important to ask team members, staff and/or volunteers, to provide anonymous feedback so that they don't be afraid because their name is going to be attached to it.
Anything you'd add there, Marc?
Marc: Well, that's intriguing to me because how do you overcome the education cycle? Feedback is good. Asking for advice is great. Helping them to think about the donor in putting their donor hat on. But often, what I see is those that are closest to the cause make the dumbest decisions because we assume too much.
So I noticed in your materials you didn't say, "Edit my fundraising letter."
Marc: Because there's an art and science to fundraising letters that would irritate any high school English teacher.
Tycely: That's right.
Marc: It's not about, people think there. I mean, I still run into CEOs, "I will not put a postscript after my name that does not look dignified." Well, you're not going to raise money then because that's the first thing people are going to read once they see their name is on there.
Tycely: That's right.
Marc: And if you can't say your message in your postscript, you can't write letter. I mean, you've got to be able to succinctly put it there. So is there a way to validate the fact that they've given feedback without necessarily taking the advice?
Tycely: Yeah. I think Marc raises a great point, which is why it's important to identify that you have in-house experts and in-house specialists within the development department or the consultant who are brought in to provide high level guidance.
Tycely: So that's another reason, Marc, that we're trying to educate them. Sometimes people in nonprofit organizations look at our work like this is just silly stuff. And there's no real scientific approach. And there's no rhyme or reason.
Tycely: But there are some decisions. And you'll notice on the slide, some decisions that you can and should open up to staff. And your consultant can help you determine what those will be and/or other people within the field.
Generally, content is not something you would solicit feedback from. You would ask for experiential things like how did you feel having to bid on your office [inaudible 00:49:37] using your smartphone?
Tycely: So focus on things that pertain to emotions and ask them to share with you how they felt as a result of the strategy that you executed to make sure that you are, indeed, evoking the proper emotion.
Marc: And I know some people here are sophisticated too. So if you're doing feedback. One of the things I thought when you said first, Tycely, was get your feedback from your team. And then, also, get your feedback from your donors.
If there's a huge juxtaposition like the donors loved the event and the team thought it made their mission seem tawdry, or there wasn't enough talking about teaching on something. There wasn't a trying to convert donors to understand every single minutia detail about the cause. But the donors had a really good time and they gave. That kind of apparent discrepancy could also be a great way of the in-house experts. I love that phrase, "The in-house experts and sharing with staff."
Yeah, I agree. Our goal is to get donors to take one more step. They sipped the Kool-Aid, they had a great time. They haven't drunk the Kool-Aid yet. But that's why we have these long-term relationships with them because otherwise they'd want a job here and wouldn't be able to donate.
Tycely: That's exactly right. That's exactly right.
Marc: There are more questions. I know this is a lot to take in and Tycely and I wanted to make sure that this is within the hour because it is an introduction. It is, I firmly believe, what Tycely is laying out here is something that nonprofits that are going to survive in the future are going to need to move to.
I think most people that start a nonprofit or get into nonprofit work, still, to this day forget the whole business side of it. They forget that there needs to be resources that are developed.
Marc: That it takes resources to this. That it's not just some magical . . . The universe isn't going to just bend over backwards to fund their cause. Or, there's not a magical rolodex of donors waiting, waiting, yearning, pining, rubbing their hands, "Where should I give my money?"
Probably weekly, I have people reach out to me as though I had some secret rolodex that I was the next lotto that they were going to win. Plus, there are arts. It's why not? If you don't know what you don't know, that could be the way it is.
As I was jotting down my own notes here, I like the concept of development work being done by everyone.
Marc: That part of the mission of the nonprofit is everyone participates. And I'm hearing. I'm struggling now to figure out who I heard it from. There are studies that are showing that nonprofits that have kind of unsiloed this, or permeated this concept across their group are succeeding. I'm totally putting you on the spot but have you seen studies that indicate that?
Tycely: Yeah, actually. Probably the most common study. And Marc, I'm going to see if I can pull it up so I can make sure I'm giving folks the exact title. But I'm pretty sure it's, UnderDeveloped.
Marc: Oh, I love that site.
Tycely: Yeah, and it talks about, in UnderDeveloped, essentially it dives in a little bit on something that we've seen time and time again in our industry with people leaving. Let me see if I can pull it up, but within that study, Marc, one of the defining criteria/marks, a high performing shop. A place where people want to stay is that it isn't siloed. They break down departments. Things are integrated. So we may be able to provide a link to UnderDeveloped, so that people . . .
Marc: If you just Googled it too, it's UnderDeveloped. Or, you can just look on my blog because last year I was brought in to do leadership retreats with associations and organizations about UnderDeveloped.
Marc: So I know I've written about it. Yeah.
Tycely: Perfect. So it's UnderDeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofits Fundraising. And there you will see referenced the need to deconstruct departments and compasspoint.org.
Marc: Thank you. Yeah, I'll put a link to it in the Vault too. That's good.
Marc: Wonderful. So one of the questions, Tycely, I'm sorry. One of the questions that came up. It's sort of the reverse. We've been looking at it internally. But for one of our members in a rural community, it feels like the same donors are being asked by a ton of nonprofits. It could be a really crippling mindset to get into and a reality, too. I'm very aware of our realties being perceptions and we create them as realities. But still, board members will come at you. They're the ones being solicited by a bunch of different organizations.
Marc: Is there a way that these systems can also be used to maybe make you stand out in the crowd? What would you say to . . . how to work with donors that are in communities where they are small communities where it looks like a limited pool of donors that would be able to get your . . .
Tycely: Yeah, that's a great question. The one thing that I would say is that if you're in a small community and/or in an area where people don't have a lot of discretionary income, the economy is still slowly recovering. And we have to mindful that everyone cannot give at certain levels.
The one thing I would say is try to promote within your community that you can or did achieve 100% staff giving. That is a differentiating mark because you're not talking about what the board raised. You're not talking about the new people that you brought in. You're able to say that, "With modest incomes, our staff invested in submission of our work by raising $2,000 this year. And with that additional $2,000, we were able to provide a new bus for the senior citizens Wheels on Meals. And maybe you ask for a match. Maybe you say, "We are looking for a corporate angel to stand with us.
Tycely:Matching our $2,000 contribution."
Marc: Nice. I love how you tied the $2,000 to impact.
Tycely: Yes. Again, when you talk about the gain, when you talk about the dollars raised, you want to always be able to demonstrate and show how it affects, or impacts, the work. Maybe it doesn't add to anything but maybe it protects something from closing. Maybe without that $2,000 you would have had to let go a part-time staff at an after school program.
So just make sure you are giving people talking points. It's amazing. Although I'm a charitable fundraiser, I don't like figures and budgets. And I will never forget I had a financial coach say to me, "Tycely, nothing tells a story like a balance sheet. If you want to connect to the hearts of your donors you understand this balance sheet." And he was exactly right about that. And that totally changed how I felt about day to day numbers. It tells the story about what we can and cannot do.
Marc: So I think part of what the answer is then. Is it's the whole organization permeates that. We're all in this resource development together. Different connections will be made in a way that will make the nonprofit standout in any community because all of a sudden you've got your frontline receptionist making connections.
Marc: "Hey, wait. I was just talking to Tycely about this. Could I refer you to Tycely?" You're kind of firing on all cylinders. And then you can also, it seems like, bring that plan with the goals and aims to the community, to your donors, or to your prospects.
Tycely: Yeah, absolutely.
Marc: I would go with donors first. People that have already made a gift. But you can go to them and say, "This is our aim. I'm really interested in this community part. How do you think we could get that aim? Meet that aim?"
Tycely: Yeah, that's exactly right, Marc.
Marc: Tycely, thank you so much for your time. I want to thank everyone for being here. I know a lot of people are going to be listening to this again.
Please, if you want to digest this, please listen to this again and again because these are the thoughts and the systems that are going to start creating the sustainable nonprofit and keep us as fundraisers from churning and burning and going to another nonprofit because our goals are so high and our rewards aren't there. And everybody else thinks we're weirdoes.
Tycely: That's right.
Marc: Because we actually like talking about money. So please, definitely process this. Use the handout. I've already put the link to the UnderDeveloped study in the Vault. Just, keep in touch with Tycely. She's one to watch.
Tycely: Oh, thanks, Marc.
Marc: She's regional CEO for the American Red Cross. I almost said Cancer Society.
Tycely:Well Marc . . .
Marc: Maybe that's prophetic. She's on Twitter, @Tycely. You could see in her slides Tycely Live hashtag. She's a great asset to our community and is helping us push some of our common preconceptions about how a nonprofit should be created. She'd be a good one to have your founders and in-house resident experts talk to too.
Tycely: Thank you, Marc. I can't thank you enough for the invitation. I hope to have an opportunity to come back next year. And continue to dive deeper in this strategy. But great, great work that all of you are doing out there. We are here for you, supporting you, believing in you, so stay encouraged and happy fundraising.
Marc: Thanks everyone. And for all of you that are members, I look forward to seeing you in the Members Only forum and on Facebook. Remember, we have a coaching call coming up later this month too.