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A Fundraising Performance Improvement Solution

Hope is Not a Strategy

How to Apply Performance Improvement Principles to Fundraising

We once did a confidential study within a national organization that revealed a curious paradox.

The chief executives of its institutions believed, on average, that they were raising half or less of the money they should be able to raise. Those same CEOs expressed optimism about how much their fundraising would improve. But they provided little rationale for this confidence, other than saying the need for philanthropy was increasing and the economy was expected to improve.

Hope appeared to be their primary strategy. But hoping for better results doesn’t work.

A Powerful Way to Raise Money

There is a better and proven way. It is called Fundraising Performance Improvement – FPI for short. It adopts the quality improvement principles used in manufacturing, such as those employed in Toyota’s “Lean” and GE’s Six Sigma programs.

A Lean organization cuts waste and increases value for customers by creating an efficient flow of products and services. Six Sigma is a disciplined, data-driven approach to eliminate defects in any process. When you combine the methodologies, Lean Six Sigma emphasizes speed, reduced waste and making the best use of resources through a powerful data-driven system.

A stellar example is Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. The Virginia Mason Foundation was raising $7 million annually in 2002 when its health system adopted Lean as a key transformation strategy. By 2011 the foundation reported raising $15 to $20 million per year with a staff of 24 and an annual budget of $3 million. It also had dramatically reduced “time in process” for major gift solicitations.

We’ve seen similar results with our clients.

How to Apply Lean Six Sigma Principles

Here, without elaboration, are the highlights for how you can use Lean Six Sigma principles to greatly increase your fundraising:

  1. Focus on major gifts.

  2. Develop stage-gate criteria to ensure that development officers spend time on the most likely prospects.

  3. Define your processes for relationship development from first introduction through gift agreement and into stewardship.

  4. Shorten the solicitation process. 

  5. Use high-cost, scarce resources to do only high-value work. 

  6. Set multiple process measures, with emphasis on cycle time. 

  7. Measure early, and use metrics that correlate with success.

  8. Maintain a constant effort to eliminate out-of-bounds process variance. 

“Science” for sure. But science with heart.

Process improvement may sound intimidating. We understand. But  Fundraising Performance Improvement — or FPI for short — simply allows you to spend more time doing what you do best. It’s “science” for sure, but science with heart. We blend Toyota’s Lean and GE’s Six Sigma with proven fundraising wisdom. We use measures and metrics to provide guide rails. You provide the mission and desire to greatly enhance your fundraising.

Let Performance Advantage help you:

  • Prepare for a major campaign

  • Achieve higher campaign goals

  • Create compelling breakthrough cases

  • Make your board a major fundraising force

  • Raise substantially more money on a continuing basis

  • Attract new major gifts donors from outside your constituency

  • Boost your return on investment and lower your cost‐to‐raise‐a‐dollar

  • Build a capacity and ongoing platform for innovation within your organization

  • Empower your board and staff to collaborate through hoshin-based strategic planning

We can only give a hint on this web page of the transformative power of FPI.

We at Performance Advantage would love to have a bit of your time on the phone to flesh out the bare bones shown here.

Please see the contact information at the bottom of this page. We’d love to talk with you.

A Technology Solution

Fundraising Communications at Arm’s Length

Literally in the hands of the people you need to reach. The Engage  fundraising mobile application enables you to draw people closer.

Put your messages in the hands of staff and board members, campaign volunteers, donors and community influentials. Introducing fundraising mobile applications designed to support ongoing communications, training, major gifts, campaigns and branding.

New Tools Support Proven Ways

Engage is not a different way to execute the fundamentals of donor-centric relationships.

But it IS a way you can use digital-age technology to support your “moves management” and put timely information at donors’ fingertips.

It’s Easy to Engage

If you know how to use a mouse, you can easily operate an Engage app.

  • With a few clicks on the drop-down menu you can achieve almost infinite segmentation by selecting two or more criteria that precisely select your audience.
  • To send an article through the app, click on the post-a-new-article bar and fill out the fields for title, summary and text.
  • With other clicks add items like videos, surveys and images.
  • To communicate with all your constituents at once, click on “Send to all subscribers.”
  • To home in on one segment just click on the menu and it’s easy to add or delete individuals or segments.

Engage For Training and Motivation

Engage, inform, motivate, and seek feedback from your board, staff and volunteers. Present training materials to volunteers, use Q&A surveys to find out what they know.  Share industry news, tips, fun quizzes, inspiring videos. Use gamification to test knowledge and give fun rewards.

Engage For Major Gift Cultivation

Deploy the app after initial contact with a prospective donor. Put instantaneous, targeted case information at your prospect’s fingertips. Segment audiences by potential levels of giving, kinds of gifts (planned giving, etc.), locations of potential donors ­­– you decide.

Engage For Campaign Management

Use the app in the thick of a campaign as a frontline tool. Precisely segment communications with various campaign divisions or strata. Gather progress reports continually.

Engage For Community Branding

Distribute a constituency-building digital magazine with pass-along news and features of trends in your industry, mixed with local content from your own organization. No printing or postage – and your publication is in your readers’ hands every day.

Engage For Connecting to Donor Prospects

Engage your board in introducing prospects to your middle and major gift fundraising process. Collaborate with people uniquely positioned to introduce you to prospective donors. Keep them engaged and provide an easy way to get your attention when they are ready to act.

HFM Performance Advantage LLC, with offices in Winter Park, Fla., and St. Joseph, Mich., helps nonprofit organizations increase fundraising results through stretch‐goal campaigns and various performance improvement initiatives. Performance Advantage is a business unit of Marketing Partners, Inc., a business improvement company founded in 1983 that serves Fortune 500 companies, healthcare systems and not‐for‐profit organizations.

Visit our website at hfmperformanceadvantage.com.

Contact Steve Reed for a free consultation at 269‐208‐3577 or email him at sareed@acceleratemajorgifts.com.