Here are some signs that things might be headed in the wrong direction:
- You’ve had three or more development directors in the last three years.
- The amount you’re raising each year is staying the same – or beginning to decline.
- The number of your donors is declining. (In some cases your total amount raised might be increasing, but because it’s coming from fewer donors, this is a warning sign)
- Your results feel unpredictable. (Fundraising is as much science as art. You should have some level of predictability.)
The Fundraising Sustainability Assessment takes a look at the overall organization to assess how things are currently functioning and makes recommendations for areas that could be further developed. It also includes analyzing the organizational stage you are in and likely obstacles you’ll be facing soon (if not already). Areas that are reviewed include: leadership, mission, awareness, fund development procedures, engagement, and outline of an implementation plan.
The full sustainability assessment includes:
- reviewing documentation from the organization (including the strategic plan, current fundraising plan, 990, etc)
- interviews with key stakeholders (board members, staff, donors)
- a customized survey of constituents
- a review of comparable organizations
Interviews and surveys are held in confidence; therefore comments will be aggregated rather than presented individually.
Based on the review, interviews and survey, the Fundraising Sustainability Assessment will:
1) Provide a comprehensive analysis of the current fundraising programs and of the readiness of the organization to pursue raising funds in new ways.
2) Make recommendations of adjustments that can be made internally, such as specific programs to build appeals around, commitment of time to fund raising activities for specific staff, software / hardware needs to support a fund raising program, potential partnerships, awareness plans, and engaging the board and staff in fundraising.
3) Identify 2 to 3 missed opportunities related to possible fundraising strategies.
While the Full Fundraising Sustainability Assessment is ideal, in some cases, due to budget or other constraints, it just isn’t possible. An abbreviated assessment still looks at all of the areas listed above: leadership, mission, awareness, procedures and engagement, but bases recommendations on a smaller pool of interviews.
This abbreviated assessment includes four interviews (typically with the Executive Director, Development Director, Board Chair and chairperson of the fund development committee). It also includes two surveys: one for staff, and the other for volunteers and the remainder of the board.
This information will be gathered, reviewed and compiled. Recommendations will be made regarding areas that have the potential to stunt the growth of a full-fledged individual-giving program.