Assessing and Improving Your Nonprofit’s Fundraising Skills

Fundraising Skills ScoreIf you were to rate your organization’s fundraising skills capabilities on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the highest), how would you rate your institution? Consider this guide as an overview to improve your organization at any level.

If you rated your nonprofit’s fundraising skills and capabilities between 1-4:
My guess is that you are either a new organization just getting started or most of the volunteer leaders and staff are new to fundraising. It is time to learn the basics. There is plenty to read on the topic ( lists 3,459 results as of today), lists more than 400 articles and a quick Google search will provide you with 1000’s more. Basic topics include:

• Raising money from individuals, corporations, & foundations;
• Annual campaigns vs. capital campaigns;
• Stewardship basics;
• The role of a board in a nonprofit;
• Volunteers vs. staff responsibilities; and
• Communications and marketing.

If you rated your nonprofit’s fundraising skills and capabilities between 5-7:
You are probably a well-established organization with a junior to mid-level staff , you have mixed levels of knowledge, and/or you understand that your board needs to strengthen their fundraising skills and involvement. It’s time to bring everyone to a higher level of understanding and learn some of the nuances that make good nonprofits great. Whether you find information online or hire a trainer (Mersky, Jaffe & Associates offers a range of services), consider mid-level topics like:

• Retaining donors – A long term approach to each individual;
• Establishing stewardship policies and benchmarks;
• Why consistent board development is essential to your future;
• How to get board members to want to give and ask;
• Social media, online giving and alternate channels of communications;
• General fundraising best practices – are there areas that you are falling short?
• Planned Giving 101

If you rated your nonprofit’s fundraising skills and capabilities between 8-10:
Congratulations, you see your organization as a leader in fundraising and development knowledge. Of course, we believe that life should always include continued learning. Your path forward might not be as obvious, but consider these areas of learning (through books, training sessions, conferences or online resources):

• The current state of philanthropy and how that will affect your nonprofit;
• Donor loyalty and what you can do to improve your connections;
• Donor to Board Member to Donor Again: On-boarding, off-Boarding, and ensuring continuing involvement into the future;
• Retaining staff and reducing turnover;
• Learning from your peers – networking as an educational resource; and
• Hiring consultants to improve your results.

All of these lists are just samples of the possibilities. If you would like to learn more about any of these topics or ideas that are specific to your potential continuing education and personal, professional development, email Abigail Harmon by clicking here.

Take the corresponding MJA Challenge by clicking here.