Last month, I had the privilege of presenting our donor analysis and The Veritus Way to a new client’s leadership and board development committee.
They had recently hired us. But in a span of just three months, their Executive Director, Development Director, and Major Gift Officer all left. And they’d just hired a mid-level officer in the last month. So, I came to essentially re-pitch our work so that leadership would have confidence in what we were doing.
What did I do?
I went through our analysis in detail. It highlights their value attrition rates and reviews their donor pipeline to identify clogs (which revealed why they needed a mid-level program). Then I went over a 5-year revenue forecast that shows how they could achieve massive revenue growth over that time period if they followed The Veritus Way.
Then I said, “So, how are we going to actually achieve this revenue growth?”
I laid out The Veritus Way in its entirety for everyone around the conference room. I went into detail on each step, from qualifying donors, tiering, and creating cash-flowed revenue goals to developing individual strategic plans for every donor.
But then, the best part. I talked in depth about KPIs and that ultimately the most important KPI for your frontline fundraiser is: “Did they work their plan?” Because at the end of the day, all a fundraiser can do is work that plan. They can’t control the economy, they can’t control whether a donor’s business is in trouble, none of that. But they can control working their strategic plan.
And as I explained to this organization, because we have assigned one of our Client Experience Leaders to each frontline fundraisers to meet with them every week, we can be assured that they are working their plans.
After I was finished, the board chair of the development committee spoke up and said, “Before coming here this morning, I was really nervous on how we were going to make up for some of our lost revenue because of all the transition we’ve been going through. As we know, the economy is iffy and people are nervous about the future. But having sat through this presentation and in seeing the numbers and how our frontline fundraisers are being managed, I’m breathing a sigh of relief. I feel so much more comfort knowing that we actually have a plan and we’re executing it!”
I looked over toward the Executive Director who had a smile on his face, along with the Development Director. Having the board feel comfort knowing there is a plan and that everyone is working that plan helps relieve a lot of pressure on the leadership team. Especially when everyone is nervous about the economy and unsure how major donors are going to respond to it.
How nervous is your board about your fundraising revenue? Are they asking you to cut expenses from your development team? I’m hearing from a lot of non-profit leaders who say they’re feeling the heat to do so.
Rather than let short-sighted board members make decisions that aren’t based on facts, just on their gut feelings – show them how investing in disciplined mid-level, major gifts, and planned giving programs will produce both short-term and long-term results that will weather any financial storm. In the end, this is what will bring everyone comfort.