by Terry Fairholm on 2011-09-08
This year’s Advancement Partners Summer Seminar at Notre Dame was attended by 40 people representing 25 Catholic high schools from around the country. It was our best seminar ever. One theme that kept surfacing related to the Board. Many schools commented on how their Board members do not really understand development. As we begin a new year, make a commitment to educate your Board about development and their role in the process.
by Terry Fairholm on 2011-06-13
As we enter the summer months, make sure to take some time off to enjoy the good weather with friends and family, relax and ‘sharpen the saw’, then get back to business! Summer is the time when you should be creating your development plan for next year. At the top of your list at this particular time should be your annual fund. All plans and preparations should be completed by mid August with a first mailing date in September. Remember, one of the best ways to increase your annual fund is to solicit the top prospects in person. Make a list of your top prospects and seek personal appointments with them to ask for their annual fund commitment. Move them up the giving pyramid – if they gave $500 last year, ask for $1,000 for this year, etc. Once your annual fund plan is complete and in progress, work on your major gift plan for the year. This element of your plan must compliment your annual fund plan – make certain to ask your major gift prospects for their annual fund commitment but think strategically! Ask for an amount that makes sense (do research and strategic thinking) but present the ask comprehensively. For example, if the right ask is $50,000 and we are proposing a 5 year pledge period, suggest that a portion of it be dedicated to the annual fund (say $3,000/year) and the balance to the project the strategic plan/case for support has identified as a top priority and coincides with your prospects interests.
by Terry Fairholm on 2010-09-15
When I am making campaign major gift solicitation calls, one important piece of information I share with prospects is the campaign pyramid (or gift chart). In my experience, one of the least understood elements of fundraising is how the dollar goal is actually achieved and what is really required to be successful. So to educate the prospect, create confidence and ensure them that, in the proper sequence, everyone in the constituency will be asked for their support, I review and explain the campaign pyramid.
by Terry Fairholm on 2010-07-15
I'm often asked by the schools that we work with "How would you organize our development office so that we can make more money?" The reality in most of these situations is that these development offices are usually significantly underfunded and under-resourced. Even though the demand from the board room and business office is that more non-tuition money is needed - and fast, the budgets and resources allocated to the challenge often remain woefully inadequate. So how should you organize if the budgets don't get increased and the resources remain less than you would like? Optimal organization requires an alignment of the (limited) resources that are available, with the most strategically important activities - those that will maximize development revenues in the short term and the long term. If the activities are not the right activities, then it won't be possible to maximize development revenues. In many situations, schools are simply not focused on the right activities.
by Terry Fairholm on 2010-05-10
This Advancement Minute focuses on the difference between 'fundraising' and 'advancement'. Catholic schools need both but you will raise more money if you create a more comprehensive, advancement-based approach.
Fundamentally, they differ at the grassroots level. Fundraising is mass market oriented while advancement is individual oriented. This is a critical difference because it contrasts the eventual results. By creating a program to secure philanthropic investments from individuals you are entering the world of what is commonly known in the development business as ‘major gifts’. I refer to these types of gifts as investments but let’s go with the more commonly accepted term of major gifts.
by Terry Fairholm on 2010-03-04We specialize in institutional advancement for Catholic secondary schools and have been working in this important market segment for over twenty years. Over that period of time, we have gained invaluable experience and have compiled some statistics.
We also make certain to stay current with market data. In that regard, I highly recommend that you read and become familiar with the findings in Dollars and Sense – Catholic High Schools and their Finances. It is an excellent compilation of market data and statistics relating to Catholic high schools. It was done by the Secondary Schools Dept. of the NCEA.
by Terry Fairholm on 2010-02-11
Last year’s theme, 'Philanthropy in Challenging Economic Times', was appropriate since we were witnessing the most severe recession in most of our lifetimes. Raising money for our schools was challenging, to say the least!
This year we have chosen the theme, 'Responding to the Challenge', because it is important that we react directly and assertively to the challenges we are encountering in our advancement efforts. There is a new reality settling in and we must, therefore, be aware of what will be required of us in order to secure the critically important philanthropic funding our schools need to fulfill their missions.
by Terry Fairholm on 2009-09-15
The advancement clock began ticking on July 1- is your plan complete? Do you know what your objectives are for this year? Is you first annual fund piece ready to go? Have you made your first major gift solicitation call? Have you made your first cultivation visit? If you answered ‘no’ to any of those questions, you’re behind schedule – and there are no timeouts! You can’t stop the clock in this game. Step one is to get your plan together: annual fund, major gifts, special events, cultivation visits. The annual fund should have four personalized mailings – two in the fall, two in the spring; specific asks (“you did $100 last year, would you consider $150 this year?”); segmented (alumni are different than parents); and you must do personal solicitation of the top annual fund prospects ($500+).
by Terry Fairholm on 2009-06-24
Now that the school year has ended and the hot days of summer have arrived, don’t make the mistake of taking a two-month summer vacation! I strongly recommend that you take time off this summer to relax, be with your family and friends and to ‘sharpen the saw’. However, regarding your position in development, the summer is the most important planning time you have – don’t waste it!
by Terry Fairholm on 2009-03-09
In this current economic environment, all schools are feeling mounting pressure to “do more in development”. Is it realistic to believe that your school might actually be able to grow the amount of philanthropic support it receives in unrestricted or temporarily restricted money to support the operating budget?
by Terry Fairholm on 2009-03-02
If you’ve created your advancement plan for the balance of the school year, now is the time to figure out how to make it all happen. The first move is to determine how you will allocate your limited resources. Based on your top strategic priorities, you must allocate your resources accordingly. If you’re a one person shop, it’ll be fairly simple – you have to do it all! If you’re a one person shop with administrative support, you’ll need to determine what tasks will be assigned to your teammate. Getting organized is a key step toward being successful.
by Terry Fairholm on 2009-02-11
To say that these are unusual times would be an understatement. The struggling economy is affecting every element of our society. For those of us in the business of philanthropy, it has been anything but “business as usual.” Project timing has been affected, endowments reduced and financial support more difficult to secure. Our minds have also been victims of this circumstance and that is what I want to address here.