your car is making strange noises and not running optimally, you take
it to a mechanic for a tune-up, right? Your institution's annual fund
may need a tune-up as well to reach full effectiveness.
available to nonprofit organizations in analyzing and improving their
annual giving programs have grown exponentially in the last several
years through technology and analytics,” says Kathy Cole, president of
West Wind Consulting (Ithaca, NY). “The options related to annual gift
solicitations have increased dramatically, and nonprofit leaders need to
take the blinders off and clearly examine the strengths and weaknesses
of their annual giving efforts.”
Cole says the annual giving tools
available to nonprofits now include segmented and personalized direct
mail; online giving; automated phoning programs; e-mail; social network
communications through Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In; and visual
options that include newsletters and video productions.
requires a great deal of careful planning, staff time and attention to
detail to ensure all of the programs and options are integrated, relate
to the communications of the nonprofit and its solicitation efforts, and
fit well with the mission and vision of the organization,” says Cole.
According to Cole, an annual fund examination should include:
- Assessment of the previous fund results through a comprehensive evaluation.
- Review of solicitation reports and materials for efficiency and effectiveness.
- Comparison of timelines and other important annual giving steps to previous year's efforts.
Cole says an annual fund assessment involves the following phases:
- Phase 1: Gathering Information.
A materials checklist is provided to gather historical background on
fund results and samples of communications, leading to helpful insights
into the kinds of reports that will be useful for annual fund staff.
- Phase 2: Site Visit.
The second phase involves a site visit where all members of the annual
fund staff and other leadership staff are engaged and new ideas,
initiatives and prospective changes to the program are explored.
- Phase 3: Report of Findings.
All information and input is reviewed and a comprehensive report is
designed that offers recommendations that are actionable, realistic and
grounded in best practices.
- Phase 4: Support. The fourth
phase includes the required consulting time necessary to successfully
implement the written plan of action and provide the assistance to
create results and success.
Source: Kathy Cole, President, West Wind Consulting, Ithaca, NY. Phone (607) 272-4488. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.westwindconsulting.com