When some charities and churches are embroiled in conflict, they think a Vision or Strategic Plan will fix their operational issues. During a crisis or when there’s high anxiety over the instability of the organization, it’s not the time to initiate a Vision Plan. What is needed is an Operational Plan.
When the Annual Giving Program is non-productive for several years, some leaders propose a Capital Campaign to raise a significant amount of money to fix the annual deficit. A more effective plan is to strengthen the Annual Giving Program to solve operational funding needs and thus build toward a capital campaign.
All too often as an organization seeks to initiate a Vision Plan or Capital Campaign, it is discovered that the leadership (staff and/or volunteer) is dysfunctional. When this is the case, there’s no way a Vision Plan or Capital Campaign can be successful. First things first, a Board Development Consultation is needed to focus the leadership and insure success of any Plan or Campaign.
Not all conflict is bad; healthy organizations have conflict, but they have learned how to manage, resolve, and improve from it.
The GSB consultant can help identify where to enter the system and begin to work on effective leadership and clear visioning. . If there is conflict or no Vision, giving will be flat or decrease. However, when the leadership can articulate the Vision, when conflict has been resolved, people will respond and will support with increased volunteerism and giving. It is systemic and organic; all are connected and when open and flowing, generosity grows.
I’ve been part of a number of fundraising campaigns. From daycares to colleges, church buildings to community initiatives, each effort included strategic plans and blueprints for what we would accomplish.
Often, we expect that the shiny new facilities are enticement enough to compel donors to join our cause. We tell them what the finished project will look like and how it will be used. What we often forget to describe for prospective donors is the existing need that we aim to meet—the why to our fundraising efforts.
Why gives credence to the plans and blueprints.
Why reveals gaps in the way things have always been done.
Why demonstrates responsive leadership casting a vision for effective programs.
Why creates personal investment and compels donors to get involved.
Every 501(c)3 organization is looking to escalate their fundraising efforts. New facilities are needed, initiatives for new programs are being launched. Increasingly, prospective donors are asking, “Why?” How will you answer?
So, you want to lead your congregation to generosity. You need to bring in a consulting firm to help, but you don't know where to start. You ask your colleagues and have a list of 3 or 4 firms you want to talk to. Now what?
You bring them in for the interview. What will you ask them?
The finance person on the interview team will want to ask them:
- “How much do you think you can raise?”
- “How many similar congregations have you worked with?”
- “How much is your fee?”
Here are my 5 favorite questions to ask a potential consultant for your stewardship appeal or congregational capital appeal?
- What is the largest gift you have ever given, to whom did you give it, and why?
- How does your firm’s plan value every member of the congregation and how does that live out in appeals you conduct?
- How do you blend quality fundraising with spiritual growth?
- Why do you feel called to work with our congregation?
- What is your number one goal for our congregation throughout this appeal?
These questions will get at the heart of your consultant and not just his or her head. When I interview a consultant, I want to know that they share my values, and I want to work with someone who I would be comfortable sending to talk to my family members about making a gift.