Capital Campaigns: The 4 Things You Need to Have in Place Before You Launch

Free Webinar | Thursday, December 8, 2022 | 1:00p.m. Central Time

Planning a capital campaign? There are four components you need to have in place before you launch a special campaign for a significant capital project and/or major endowment effort.  View this webinar to find out what they are and how to execute on each one. Set your organization up for success with this information. Karen Rotko-Wynn, CFRE, Alford Group shares the essential components and Rachel Krinsky, Former Executive Director of LifeWire, and now with Alford Group, shares how she and her team put them into action, resulting in a successful capital campaign.

Slide deck: Capital Campaigns Webinar Presentation

Fundraising Operations: Take Your Organization to the Next Level

By Mary Hackett, Vice President

It’s that time of the year again. The leaves are changing colors, the aroma of pumpkin spice is in the air and year-end giving is once again upon us.

For those development professionals in the middle of a campaign, you might be wondering what best practices you should adopt as you close out the year. For others, you might be concerned about how to maintain the year-end giving momentum into the new year. And for others still, there’s an age-old question that always comes to mind during this time each year: how do I make sure that next year I’m more prepared to tackle year-end giving and all of the work that it entails?

Well, this is exactly where fundraising operations comes into play. By focusing on enhancing and improving your fundraising operations, you will strengthen every area of your development department and make sure that you and your development team feel better prepared to handle the flurry of year-end tasks and responsibilities.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can take your fundraising game to the next level! Continue reading “Fundraising Operations: Take Your Organization to the Next Level”

Effective Storytelling: 4 Tips to Best Engage Your Audience

By Mariah Fosnight, CFRE, Consultant and Doug Wallack, Client Service Associate

For over 40 years, Alford Group has tested the effectiveness of written material with a variety of stakeholders (donors, volunteers, partners, community leaders, foundation and corporate funders, etc.) for nonprofit organizations ranging in size, sector, lifecycle stage and geography.

Over that time, we have identified aspects of effective storytelling that remain universally true. Below are four tips to keep in mind while crafting your prose.

Continue reading “Effective Storytelling: 4 Tips to Best Engage Your Audience”

5 trends to inform your 2022 fundraising campaign strategy

By Mariah Fosnight, CFRE, Consultant

Last year as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe and racial and social inequities were exacerbated and brought into the national spotlight, we nonprofit warriors “pivoted” and navigated “uncharted waters” during “unprecedented” times, while kindly asking our colleagues to “please unmute yourself.”

Although I always jump at the chance to reference Friends – “PIVOT! PIVOT!” – I’m happy to say these overused words and phrases are mostly behind us, mostly. (Plus, there are less cringe-worthy and more productive ways to reference Friends. Read on and you’ll see.)

Continue reading “5 trends to inform your 2022 fundraising campaign strategy”

Getting the Most From Your Upcoming Anniversary

By Mary Kaufman-Cranney, CFRE, Vice President

During my tenure as the head of development with the YMCA of Greater Seattle, I was lucky enough to be there for the organization’s 125th anniversary.

As the 120th year of the YMCA of Greater Seattle loomed ahead, I asked our public relations volunteers if we should start getting ready to celebrate. Their reply? A resounding, “No! Save it for the big one at 125 – but start planning now.”

“Five years out?” I thought to myself. “That  seems crazy!” But as we started to explore the significance of the 125th and realize that no update had been done on our history timeline since the 100th – not to mention electronically capturing our history and thousands of photos dating back to the late 1800s – we had lots to do. Continue reading “Getting the Most From Your Upcoming Anniversary”

Getting the Most From Your Upcoming Anniversary

By Mary Kaufman-Cranney, CFRE, Vice President

During my tenure as the head of development with the YMCA of Greater Seattle, I was lucky enough to be there for the organization’s 125th anniversary.

As the 120th year of the YMCA of Greater Seattle loomed ahead, I asked our public relations volunteers if we should start getting ready to celebrate. Their reply? A resounding, “No! Save it for the big one at 125 – but start planning now.”

“Five years out?” I thought to myself. “That  seems crazy!” But as we started to explore the significance of the 125th and realize that no update had been done on our history timeline since the 100th – not to mention electronically capturing our history and thousands of photos dating back to the late 1800s – we had lots to do. Continue reading “Getting the Most From Your Upcoming Anniversary”

Keeping in Touch

Thank you to my colleague, Debbie Marchione, for her post last week on communications.  A simple concept – yet often over looked.  She illustrated that we have many ways to communicate these days and we need to do our best to take advantage of those communication lines.

Communications is an active process, a thoughtful process and even a deliberate process.  It does not come easy and requires work on the part of the communicator and the receiver.  For the most part we are the communicators seeking to give information to the receiver.  The receiver is mostly passive and we may not be sure (unless we take Debbie’s advice) that our message is getting across to them.

Last summer I was at a meeting with other consultants listening to a panel presentation comprised of significant foundation executives.  One of the representatives told a story that the only time he heard from any charity is when it wanted more money.  No one ever talked with him to ask for advice or counsel, to give him updates on the last grant or to provide data or information in a general way on the issues an organization may be addressing by fulfilling its mission.  In other words, communication was very “thin” and did not allow for relationships to be formed in a meaningful way.

About 25 years ago (before the computer age) I was attending a workshop at an AFP Conference and the late John Miltner, who at the time was the Vice Chancellor for University Relations at UC Irvine, was speaking about donor communications and relationship building.  During the course of his talk he opened his briefcase and took out 50 four by six index cards and indicated that these cards represented the 50 most important donors to UC Irvine.  At the time I thought to myself, “Do I know who my 50 most important donors are?”

On each card he had birth dates, anniversary dates, children’s names, addresses, phone numbers, the last contact date with the donor, the next contact date planned and who would be the contact leader from the University.  UC Irvine probably had over 10,000 donors, yet these were the Top 50 and John kept them with him all the time, working the list and utilizing the Chancellor or a Dean to keep the lines of communication open on a one to one basis.  John knew how to “keep in touch” with those who had made or could make significant contributions to his University.

Who are your Top 50 current or potential donors?  How are you “keeping in touch” with them?  Share your ideas and strategies so that others might learn from you.  I look forward to your thoughts.

All the best,

Tom