1. Successful Proposals Find Common Ground With Funders & 2. The CFC and Nonprofit Sustainability (Pt III)

Sections of this topic

    1. Successful Proposals Find Common Ground with Funders
    by Jayme Sokolow

    In a recent issue of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Daniel Pink, the author of To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others (2012), discussed what he found in his research about fundraising. His advice is refreshingly clear and straightforward. The following is my summary of his basic principles, and how I would apply them to making your proposals sell.

    Rethink your notion of selling. Successful sales are about how to find common ground with your customer. “Selling is helping/getting people to do what they’re already inclined to do,” says Pink.

    See things from the customer’s perspective. Learn about the funder’s interests.

    We must get “out of the anchor of our own position” and see the world from other people’s points of view. To do this, you often have to take a lower profile and listen and ask questions rather than make statements.

    Listening is really important. Most people don’t know how to listen well, but you can really understand your funder only by carefully listening and actively reacting to and complying with what they are saying.

    When you address your problems, do so through a narrative. Stories engage the reader, and funders respond when they are engaged. The bigger the grant being sought, the more important it is to begin and sustain a conversation with and appeal to people through stories that convey a sense of purpose.

    Proposals should convey a sense of resilience. Anyone doing proposals will become familiar with rejection. To survive that rejection, to get past the “No,” to make it through to the next acceptance, your proposals should demonstrate optimism, competence and forward-visioning.

    According to Pink, selling and fundraising are about finding common ground. Raising money via grant proposals is pretty much always about finding common ground with your customers, your funders. Find this often elusive common ground, and your proposals are likely to be more persuasive.

    Dr. Jayme Sokolow, founder and president of The Development Source, Inc.,
    helps nonprofit organizations develop
    successful proposals to government agencies
    Contact Jayme Sokolow.
    Look for Jayme’s ebook on
    Finding & Getting Federal Government Grants.
    It’s part of
    The Fundraising Series of ebooks
    They’re easy to read, to the point, and inexpensive ($1.99 – $4.99)

    2. The CFC and Non-Profit Sustainability – III
    by Bill Huddleston

    As I noted, last week, the fundraising pyramid is a pretty good model for what it shows … that a relatively small percentage of the non-profit’s supporters will provide a relatively larger percentage of its funds.

    With the emphasis on the 80/20 rule, or the 90/10 rule, what can be easily glossed over is the fact that in order to have the 20% percent, you also need the 80% base.

    You have to deliver excellent service to all of your supporters, including volunteers, donors and others who just call and ask a question about what you do.

    Over time, some of these first time contacts will become your major donors, but there’s no way to tell at the beginning of the relationship, which ones will develop into your biggest supporters.

    Another aspect of the CFC that is often not recognized, because all the results are reported annually, is that many CFC donors are multi-year donors, giving for five, ten and twenty years during their Federal career.

    Because of the popularity of the “anonymous donor” option, and that the results are reported only on an annual basis, this important factor is often overlooked.

    A CFC donor who donates $10 per pay period for ten years has given $2600. Those dollars are reliable, predictable and unrestricted, putting the small regular donor in a higher level of giving category than you may realize at first.

    Another reason that you don’t want be too quick to abandon your workplace giving fundraising program is that it is the only method of non-profit fundraising that is subsidized by the sponsoring organization.

    The sponsor absorbs many costs that don’t fall on either the donor or the non-profit, costs that never show up on the non-profit’s balance sheet, even though the organization benefits !!

    Examples of the subsidies are the salary costs that are paid to the CFC volunteers who plan, manage, and conduct the CFC campaigns and solicitations each year; plus the space that is made available for charities at charity fairs – they pay no “booth rental fee” the way they would at conferences.

    This was just one small example of how the matrix map can give you another, valuable perspective on your fundraising, and help you assess your CFC program in a larger context. It can also be a very valuable tool for a non-profit to use as part of its strategic and business planning efforts.

    My next series of posts will look at some ways you can, and should, increase your CFC visibility during the summer months.

    During his 25-year career in the Federal sector, Bill Huddleston, The CFC Coach,
    served in many CFC roles. If you want to participate in the Combined Federal
    Campaign, maximize your nonprofit’s CFC revenues, or just ask a few questions,
    contact Bill Huddleston
    Have you seen
    The Fundraising Series of ebooks.

    They’re easy to read, to the point, and inexpensive ($1.99 – $4.99)

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