Last week Nonprofit Finance Fund issued a report about the successful results of NFF Capital Partners’ efforts to help nine charities around the nation raise philanthropic equity.
Philanthropic equity, according to Nonprofit Finance Fund, is money a nonprofit uses to build its capacity to deliver services, as well as the business operations that will make the organization sustainable for the long term.
This brought to mind the work we do with Hampton Roads Community Foundation. For the third consecutive year, our firm was chosen to help four HRCF grantees build their development capacity. It may surprise you to learn that a vital component in building capacity is the well-proven capital campaign model. Elements of this model include researching and cultivating donors, having trained volunteers make personal calls on people they know, asking donors to fund a specific project or program, and communicating your message through a well-articulated case. With only a few tweaks, this model can be used to create an ongoing major-gifts program.
And there’s nothing more important to your future than putting a program in place to cultivate major gifts from high-net-worth individuals. Nonprofit leaders must abandon the mindset that fundraising for sustainability and growth means more events, direct mail solicitations, and grant applications.
Events, the most labor-intensive way to raise money, will quickly burn out your staff, board, and volunteers. Direct mail may help raise awareness but few big gifts, and foundations make up only 13 percent of all charitable giving. Yet as Giving USA 2010 reported, 75 percent of all charitable giving comes from individuals, and that percentage jumps to 89 when bequests and family foundations are added in.
So, how is your board supporting you in this effort? Are they reluctant, or do they have questions? If so, post them below and I’ll do my best to answer them.