Fundraising – Improving Performance and Increasing Impact

Development Assessments

A development department is a complex operation with staff, volunteers, data, systems, and analysis needing to be synchronized. When any of these or other elements are lagging, the department underperforms, and goals are unlikely to be met. Smaller operations lack the staff resources and time available to conduct a program review.

We will perform a full audit of your development operation including past results, staffing patterns and responsibilities, volunteer engagement, leadership assessment, policies, and practices. An objective analysis will provide quantitative and qualitative data allowing for more effective strategic and tactical planning. Learn how to better deploy limited resources toward meeting your goals.

Development Planning

Planning suffers when staff have to multi-task or must too often take a “firefighting” approach to their work. Effective planning takes time. A good plan provides a roadmap for success, identifying areas of focus and milestones to evaluate your progress. Volunteers and board members are more effective when they know and understand the plan. And, it helps to ensure that you allocate resources to where you achieve the greatest impact.

We can help you write a short- or long-range plan for your fundraising department. Focus can be on annual giving, major gifts, planned gifts, or all three. Informed by an understanding of past results and challenges, your plan will reflect institutional priorities and goals, how to realistically allocate resources, and initiatives to build on past success while building new sources of gift support. Finally, you will have timetables, forecasted deliverables, and ways to measure progress and improve results.

Board and Executive Leadership Development

Working to help your board

Nonprofit boards of small- to mid-sized organizations are often an assembly of dedicated, well-intentioned, volunteers with deep interest in the agency’s mission. While they often bring talents and skills of significant value, they may well not have the understanding or experience needed to be a successful board member. In some cases, the current board composition and the sum of its members will either delay or make it impossible for the organization to move ahead to the “next level”

Working with you, we can help your board develop the skills, confidence, and insight to take on that challenge. This work may take any or all of the following:

  • Analyzing the functions and effectiveness of overall governance structure, including board committees. Creating recommendation for new models to better meet the agency’s needs;
  • Assessing the current board’s strengths and gaps in knowledge and experience, and developing plans to recruit new members with the desired mix of skills, knowledge, and connections;
  • Evaluating meeting design and function with recommendations on improved committee structure, meeting agendas, and frequency.
  • Designing and facilitating leadership development training workshops that would include board roles and responsibilities;
  • Coaching and leadership development for your board chair to increase effectiveness and comfort in the role;
  • Retreat facilitation to dive more deeply into the strategic and tactical issues and opportunities to advance your board work.

Your board will be more effective and revitalized. A new energy and increased confidence and commitment can emerge.

Working to help you

Executive directors and directors of development are tasked with managing organizations of increasing complexity. Competition for philanthropic support is intense. Small- and mid-sized operations often lack the experience and resources available to larger nonprofits. Perhaps you want to move your fundraising knowledge from relying on instinct and past experiences to a level of strategy and execution known to larger and more experienced organizations.

We work with you to build your skills, increase your impact, and reach your potential. A confidential consulting and coaching relationship can help you skillfully address the dynamics of staff management and board relationships.

Interim Director of Development Services

Your director of development has moved on. Or, perhaps, you have never had a full-time staffer working on fundraising. In either case, you can’t cut back on your fundraising efforts while you figure this out and put together a plan.

We can serve as your interim development director, giving you the time needed for an effective transition. Relationships, contacts, programs, events, data systems, reports, and proposals all continue to advance while a search is organized, conducted and successfully completed. Volunteers and board members continue to receive support. And we can help you refine your Development Director job description, develop and execute a recruitment strategy, screen and interview applicants, and help you develop the right offer. Moreover, we can stay with your new hire to ensure a smooth onboard and transition experience.

Contact Us

25 Storey Avenue – PMB 229
Newburyport, MA 01950