Tag Archives: development plan

Do You Need to Increase Resources for Your Nonprofit but Can’t/Won’t/Are Afraid to Hire?

Organizations are trying their best to make do with less resources. Maybe you noticed your own reductions in:  

Need to Increase Resources
  • Funding 
  • Staff 
  • Volunteers 
  • Time without their families around 
  • Clothing that fits 

Even if you are making do with less, the need for your services has not decreased. We all want to help as many people as possible through the pandemic whether it’s providing food, arts/entertainment, or spiritual comfort.  You may even know that you need to increase resources for your nonprofit, but you can’t/won’t/are afraid to hire.  

Fundraising is essential 

Fundraising cannot hold off until herd immunity is a reality. Bottom line is that to raise more money, your need to increase resources for your nonprofit. Particularly staff to do the work. Whether you are holding off on hiring based on budgetary cuts, furloughs, or unfilled positions, nonprofits are more under-staffed than usual. But organizations have options. 

Staffing options to help you increase resources for your nonprofit 

We can, of course, help with an executive search. But, if hiring in this current environment is too overwhelming financially, mentally, or time-wise, consider interim placement from Mersky, Jaffe & Associates. 

We can bridge the gap to help you: 

  • Keep your fundraising on track until you decide your next hire (or until that person is hired) 
  • Create a development or stewardship plan for 2021  
  • Execute your existing fundraising and stewardship plan 
  • Help oversee and deploy volunteers to keep them engaged and motivated to strengthen your nonprofit  
  • Analyze your current fundraising strengths and weaknesses and help you develop a model to move forward 
  • Be the leader, support, and/or hands your nonprofit needs to raise the necessary funds during the pandemic 

We understand that it’s hard to determine your staffing needs when you don’t know what the world will look like in six months. That is why interim staff helps fulfill your needs on a contract basis without added costs of employing someone and increasing your long-term expense. Let’s set up a time to talk about how we can help you raise more money in 2021.  

Read more on Interim Placement

Interim Placement (also known as Fractional Employment)

10 Ways for Nonprofits to Survive CoronaVirus Shutdowns

Whether you are concerned about your upcoming event, major donor appointments, or board meetings, the future is unknown. Here are some suggestions on what you can do if you and your nonprofit staff are working from home due to CoronaVirus Shutdowns. (And if you read this list and are still unsure what to do, we are offering free 30 minute consultations)

Stewardship during CoronaVirus Shutdowns

  • If we are all quarantined, donors may be easier to reach by phone. Use this time to call donors, check in on them. If they are in a good headspace, update or thank them. If they are worrying about a loved one or are sick themselves, consider if there is anything you could do to help like send some soup or a small package of easy to make groceries.
  • Encourage board members to make thank you or check-in calls. If everyone is home and looking for a little contact with the outside world, a thank you call will feel extra special.
  • Updates don’t have to stop. In fact, you might have more time to write up a story or work on a video when no one is stopping in your office. Share your latest and greatest accomplishments with pride.


  • This is probably obvious but make a plan B for all events. Most nonprofits cannot cancel do to CoronaVirus shutdowns without impacting their annual income. Will you have an un-gala or un-fundraiser? Will you invite people to dress up and meet virtually? Create a social media event? Move your paddle raise online? Consider sites like Greater Giving, Classy, OneCause, or Bidding For Good.
  • Check your contracts and insurance policies. If you do have to cancel a gala or conference, you may be able to reduce some of your losses. Are there any pieces that can be cancelled? If not, can you find a sponsor to underwrite the catering with promotion to your lists, your social media and your site?

Planning or re-evaluating your plan

  • Re-evaluate your Fundraising Plan and your budget. We don’t know how long it will be before we get back to any kind of normal. What fundraising can continue virtually and what needs to be postponed? What will your plan look like, assuming in-person fundraising doesn’t start up again until the fall or 2021? What are you doing to remind your donors, volunteers, and members that you are still worthy of their time, energy and financial support?

Help your employees work from home during CoronaVirus shutdowns:

  • Consider noise cancelling headphones, purchasing productivity planners, and/or a workout app for staff. As someone who has worked from home for more than 10 years, I know there are times that I am less productive than others. When I realize it, I go back to tried and true practices like re-reading a favorite productivity book.  Recently, I purchased a new Productivity Planner. If it is someone’s first time at home, it will not be easy to ignore the laundry, the phone, or kids looking for that set of markers they haven’t seen in months. Help them overcome the hurdles and feel positive about the experience.
  • Create strategies to connect staff to each other and the outside world. Creativity and collaboration are the backbones of many organizations. And most people don’t want to work on their own which is why they got a job in an office. Help them through this potentially isolating time. Choose a site like GoToWebinar, Zoom Meeting, or Google Hangouts to meet more often.
  • Hold meetings that have people on screen. Not that I have ever worked on one project while attending a webinar or on a large, group call, but focus may drift if people are not held accountable. It’s true, everyone will have to shower and get dressed (at least their top halves) but it will help you get more done.
  • Set hours and expectations but expect interruptions. Some people may need to shift hours if that is convenient – people will have to deal with kids at home when they are supposed to be at work – but just try to have everyone on the same page as much as possible.

This will be a tough time for all of us. Don’t let fear take over. And, stay healthy.

Are Your Fundraising Goals Somewhat Too Low, Just About Right, Or Somewhat Too High?

Do you think your annual fundraising goals are:

In last week’s blog, I explained what it means if your fundraising goals are “Way too high,” “Way too low,” or “N/A.” This week, I focus on the more moderate answers to one of my favorite questions from our Organizational and Development Assessment.

Fundraising Goals Somewhat Too Low, Just About Right, Or Somewhat Too High
  • Way too low,
  • Somewhat too low
  • Just about right
  • Somewhat too high
  • Way too high
  • N/A

If your answer is:

“Just About Right” fundraising goals – your organization probably falls into one of the following:

  1. Created realistic fundraising goals with a plan on how to get there. Love to see this!
  2. Spent time to understand your donors. Congratulations! You were able to predict what you would do for the year and how your donors would respond.
  3. Set the goals to be exactly the same as last year and planned on replicating last year’s plan to achieve the same amount. Much less impressive. While you may have achieved the same results, relying on the same strategy year in and year out is dangerous. Donors are not automatically giving to the same organizations again and again. We are all approached by more organizations in a more personalized way. We are asked by friends for more and more donations. And, we see more nonprofits who could use our donation for amazing work.  You have to continue to tell them why you are the best organization for their philanthropic investment.

“Somewhat too high” fundraising goals – your organization probably falls into one of the following:

  1. Set fundraising goals without a plan on how to get there. Often there is pressure from the executive director or the board to increase the amount you plan to raise. But just because it is in the budget, doesn’t make it a reality.  You need a plan on how to achieve those goals. If they are encouraging you to increase your goals, explain what you need to be successful (e.g. better software to track your donors, more volunteers, more support staff time.)
  2. You had a major change that you were able to recover from but set you back. Maybe someone was out on sick leave or left your nonprofit. Or maybe you had a planned turnover of a valued volunteer leader that you hoped would not affect your annual fund as much as it did. No matter the reason, let’s hope it was a one-time occurrence.
  3. Set the fundraising goals to be exactly the same and planned on replicating last year’s plan to achieve the same. This strategy can result in the same results, but it can also result in a slow decline that will eventually turn into a major shortfall. The time to reassess your strategy is now!

“Somewhat too low” fundraising goals – your organization probably falls into one of the following:

  1. Underestimated the results of your development plan changes. Some people like to under-promise and over-deliver. It’s understandable but have confidence in your plans. It will allow your programming team to benefit from your strong development skills.
  2. Made changes without using analytics to consider the impact. It’s hard to be precise, but there are a lot of tools that can help you predict growth (or loss) based on your previous donor retention rates. Once you understand where you are and where you have been for the past few years you can decide which area you will focus on this year. Contact Mersky, Jaffe & Associates to help you develop specific benchmarking for your development program. It can help you get closer to your budget reality.
  3. Didn’t realize you would be working with Mersky, Jaffe & Associates so you didn’t account for the increase in annual funds raised. We help organizations raise more money – when we are focusing on a capital campaign, we work to secure your annual funds before we turn to anything else.

If you would like help creating your fundraising goals, understanding your organization through MJA’s Organizational and Development Assessment or simply want to say hi, email me today to set up a time to speak.