January 2013: 5 Steps to Jump Start Your Fundraising

In this Issue

Opening Remarks

We kick off the new year with some thoughts on how organizations can jump start their fundraising efforts in 2013. Senior Consultant Tom Reid offers five suggestions for those of you who want to build on the success of 2012.

At The Reid Group, we have a passion for helping leaders and organizations transform their challenges into opportunities to create a better world. One of the ways we do that is through this e-letter, Transforming Challenges. Is there someone you know who could benefit from receiving it? Forward this edition to them and encourage them to subscribe for themselves. They’ll thank you—and so do we!

The Reid Group News

  • Happy New Year one and all! We all had a happy Christmas celebration and are refreshed to help leaders and organizations transform their challenges into opportunities in 2013.
  • We are working with a search firm in Australia to provide names of potential candidates for the position of Group Mission Leader, St. Vincent’s Health, Australia.
  • Maureen Gallagher and John Reid are beginning work with the Sinsinawa Dominicans in Wisconsin as they seek to plan for a hope-filled future.
  • Lucien Roy and John Reid will attend the 2013 Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities conference in Washington D. C. in January. If you are going to be there, please stop by our The Reid Group table.
  • In collaboration with ACCU, The Reid Group has published five pamphlets in an 11-part series on Strengthening Catholic Identity. These pamphlets–the Mission Officer, Visibly Catholic, Boards of Trustees, Faith and Reason, and Chief Academic Officer–are available in pdf form on our web site  or for purchase for $10 for 5. The entire 11-part series will be completed by September 2013.

So as you look at your individual or organizational future, what are your challenges? Could you benefit from skilled support? Give us a call at 206-432-3565 or send us ane-mail to start transforming those challenges into opportunities.

Quotes for Inspiration and Action

The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say ‘I’. And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say ‘I’. They don’t think ‘I’. They think ‘we’; they think ‘team’. They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but ‘we’ gets the credit…. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.
Peter Drucker

Peace is the work of justice indirectly, in so far as justice removes the obstacles to peace; but it is the work of charity (love) directly, since charity, according to its very notion, causes peace.
St. Thomas Aquinas

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
Mother Teresa

Feature Focus

5 Steps to Jump Start Your Fundraising

ImageTom Reid, Senior Consultant,
The Reid Group

Many organizations want to start off the new year with a re-vitalized fund development program. Maybe your fundraising efforts weren’t as successful as you would have liked in 2012. Or maybe there are new needs your organization wants to meet. And the fact is, even for those organizations whose fund development is running smoothly, it’s a good idea to review the elements of your fundraising program with an eye towards opportunities for growth.

1. List management

What shape is your database in? What systems do you have in place to maintain and update the names of existing or new potential donors?

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good—don’t wait for your database to be perfect for you to begin to use it actively. A Reid Group motto is implement and improve. Even as you are adding new names and updating contact information, begin to segment your database according to donor history, donor interests, source of referral and other distinguishing characteristics. You will find that targeting your fund development messages to different types of donors will elicit more response than sending out generic communications.

2. Review the components of your fundraising effort

What are the different components of your fundraising—annual fund, major gifts, planned giving,  special events, volunteer opportunities? Which ones have been most effective? Which need more attention, or less? Create some kind of visual of all these opportunities for donors to get involved and use it in your promotional material. Show your donors graphically how they can plug in to your organization’s mission and what the next steps of involvement might be.

3. Contact, contact, contact

I have said before that just as the mantra for real estate is “location, location, location,” the mantra for fundraising is “relationship, relationship, relationship.” Developing and enhancing relationships is the foundation of successful fund development efforts and the key to building relationships is regular, systematic and thoughtful contact. What is your schedule of contact for your different segments of donors? How diversified is that contact—do you include postcards, e-mails, invitations for breakfast or lunch or focus group meetings in your mix along with written communications?

4. Donor-centric communication

In addition to a regular schedule of communication, it’s important to review the content of your communication. Does it focus on your organization and its accomplishments? Or do you focus on the interests of your donors?

“What’s in it for me” is a question your communications need to answer for donors. What is the impact of their contribution? How does their involvement increase the impact of your whole organization?

5. Plan of action

In your process of reviewing these steps to a revitalized fund development program, don’t forget the most important step—take action. The best fund development program in the world won’t see any results without action. Get in front of your donors. Ask for the visit. Ask for the gift.

Don’t second-guess yourself out of taking action, thinking that it’s too soon or this donor won’t be able to give at this time. You need to hold both an immediate and a long-term perspective with your fundraising activities and have patience, because you will find that some of those that you think will give won’t and some of those that you think will never respond will—in unexpected and generous ways.

Best wishes in 2013 for all your fundraising endeavors!


thepathwebDonor-Centered Fundraising
Penelope Burk

In this thought-provoking book, author, researcher, and consultant Penelope Burk describes a groundbreaking methodology that challenges accepted fundraising practice and raises much more money.

Working from research conducted over six years with hundreds of charities and donors, Donor-Centered Fundraising paints a candid picture of why donors stop giving to charities they once supported, and what it will take to preserve their loyalty in the future. In clear language and backed by statistical evidence, Penelope Burk explores the pitfalls of our traditional approaches to donor communication and recognition and articulates what donors want but seldom get from the charities they support.

The book features straightforward and accessible calculations that show how much money charities are failing to raise, and offers a step-by-step procedure for testing a donor-centered alternative and gaining its acceptance in any organization. Filled with eye-opening, humorous, and often poignant anecdotes from both donors and charities, Donor-Centered Fundraising is both a revealing expose and an entertaining read.

For Impact/The Suddes Group

This web site offers resources, e-letters and daily “nuggets” on how organizations can maximize the impact of what they do–and incidently, raise the money they need to further that impact.

Feature 2

Leadership Development in Challenging Times

In challenging economic times like these, many organizations are tempted to put off an investment in the development of their top leaders. And yet it is precisely in times like these that leadership development, especially of top leaders, is most important if the organization is to survive the challenges of the times.

Successful organizations tend to engage in a three-phase process for leadership development over the leadership life cycle:

Phase 1: Discovering the Talent

Talent development and management stretches the concept of leadership development to include strategies for assessing and nurturing the potential of leaders at all levels of the organization, including the executive level. Organizations that engage in this phase of leadership development recognize that their leaders—present and future—don’t just magically emerge fully formed. As the Harvard Business Review (July/August 2008) acknowledged, talent development is a “make or break” competency and is emerging as a crucial function for sustainable organizations.

Phase 2: Investing in the Talent

Just as leaders don’t emerge out of the ether fully formed, neither does their emergence guarantee success in their position. A Manchester Group/LeaderSource study found recently that 39% of CEOs are out within 18 months and 75% fail from a lack of interpersonal capacity or understanding of culture.

In other words, the most meticulous search process, whether of internal or external candidates, does not in and of itself mean the organization’s leadership development job is done. Investment in continuing leadership support strategies such as executive coaching is critical for ensuring the success of the executive and, by extension, the success and sustainability of the organization.

Phase 3: Retaining the Talent

Once an executive is developed, qualified, selected and transitioned into a role, it is critical that investment be made to continue his/her growth. Nothing has the potential to derail an executive more than the lack of regular, formal feedback in which performance is tied to strategic initiatives or the organization’s priorities. Performance evaluation, when given the appropriate attention and emphasis, is an integral part of ongoing leadership development.

To summarize: leaders don’t grow on trees, but they do grow. And organizations that don’t invest in nurturing, developing and sustaining that growth will find these challenging times even more daunting.


The Art of Change: Faith, Vision and Prophetic Planning

Think about what your organization could do if the process of planning met the inevitability of change head-on—and it resulted in significant success.

Organizations large and small, religious and secular, for-profit and not-for-profit, successful and unsuccessful, go through change. John Reid and Maureen Gallagher of the Reid Group have been instrumental in helping many groups discover the power of Prophetic Planning. This book presents a complete overview with detailed information that any organization will find useful in understanding how to plan for change.

The Art of Change: Faith, Vision and Prophetic Planning, and its companion CD are now available from Liguori Publications as well as from Amazon.com.


And that’s it for this month. Look for Transforming Challenges next month–and until then, have a good day and a great week.
Kathy Johnson, Editor
Transforming Challenges
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