4 fundraising lessons we learned in January

Here are four lessons we learned in January:

Advancement officers often need to do their homework to find key academic partners.

It starts with taking notice of which faculty members are likely to be interested in working with advancement.

“Notice who gives talks in the community to non-academic audiences, who’s tapped by local media, who collaborates with others outside their disciplines, who receives recognition for teaching, who shows up at events, who is featured in a university newsletter or magazine, and who is particularly good at explaining their complex research to lay people.”

It also pays to invest time reading about notable faculty members’ work, visiting them in their labs, attending their presentations, and talking with them about they could do with additional resources.

Learn more about how to engage academic partners by clicking here.

Successful independent school fundraising requires courage.

“Successful programs have had courage—they’ve continued asking [for major gifts throughout the pandemic],” said Elizabeth Farr, GG+A Senior Vice President, during a recent GG+A webinar. They’ve haven’t made assumptions about whether someone is interested in, or willing to, make a major gift in the midst of the pandemic, she added.

By continuing to engage donors and keep them updated on the institution’s response, a number of schools have had an uptick in major gift fundraising over the past year. Many of those schools have reached out to prospects to address a specific need, such as equipment, additional need and financial aid. Major donors respond positively when they know how their gift will be used and how their gift will make an impact.

Watch the entire webinar, which explores independent school fundraising in the midst of challenging times, by clicking here.

An advancement-produced white paper can help align advancement’s priorities with the institution’s strategic priorities.

“The process of creating white papers is straightforward and intentionally uncomplicated.” It starts with the vice president for advancement, the assigned development officer, and a development writer sit down with each key decisionmaker and ask a few key questions aimed at distilling their vision.

That conversation can enable the writer to draft a document that can help tease out key donor opportunities and help determine sources and amounts of dollars needed.

Development can then use the white papers to determine the best strategies and tactics to secure philanthropic support for the initiative/college/program and to inform its work plans from prospect identification to principal gifts and all programs in between.

Learn more about aligning development activities with institutional strategic plans, by clicking here.

Many philanthropists see their donations as investments in a greater good.

Long gone are the days when donors gave out of loyalty, with no expectation of continued communication and engagement.”

Instead, many philanthropists want to know that their investments will have a clearly defined impact. That requires organizations to demonstrate strong leadership and a track record of results.

Learn more about what nonprofit organizations can learn from Mackenzie Scott’s approach to philanthropy, by clicking here.

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