[Strategies for Success - Smart fundraising ideas from Hartsook]
Smart fundraising ideas from Hartsook

June 15, 2016

When Your Giving Pyramid is a Rectangle

imageA need for more space at the headquarters of a 90-year-old national membership organization meant it was time to start a capital campaign. The organization had doubled its size, but had never conducted a true major gift campaign.

Everything was going smoothly until it came to constructing a giving pyramid. Since the organization didn't fit the standard pyramid model, Hartsook created a strategy to fit the organization.

Here are some tips to manage a non-traditional giving model:

Give your plan a reality check

Just because a pyramid model (where the tip is made of smaller levels of larger gifts and the base level contains many small gifts) is the standard, it doesn't mean this is right for every organization. Our nonprofit had only two prospects who could make six-figure gifts, but we had many very dedicated members with 30 years of continuous giving to the annual fund. The giving pyramid was more of giving rectangle with four levels of low to average size gifts with many gifts at every level.

Focus on relationships
We knew the importance of relationship, so a mass appeal was not going to raise a lot of money. We had to build on the relationships we had, while creating the capacity to make lots of personal asks.

Create campaign ambassadors
We created campaign ambassadors trained in the basics of making an ask - often remotely. Each ambassador was tasked with finding 10 people in their personal network with whom they could cultivate a relationship and solicit a pledge of $10,000 or more. The board and cabinet handled the top prospects, and the rest were reached through the ambassador program.

If your organization doesn't fit a standard model, be willing to get creative and adjust the model to fit your organization.

Bob London, CAE, Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, Executive Director (Independence, Mo.)

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logoJoin Us on the Growing Philanthropy Tour

Next stops on the road to achieving Hartsook's mission of growing philanthropy by 25 percent in the next 20 years:

London, U.K.
July 4, 2016

Institute of Fundraising Convention
"Relationship Fundraising: Where Do We Go From Here"
Adrian Sargeant

Kansas City
July 8, 2016

NonProfit Connect
2016 Executive Director Institute
"Resource Generation Funding"
Terry Snapp

Washington, D.C.
July 13, 2016

Bridge Conference 2016
"Building Donor Loyalty: Just What Do We Know?"
Adrian Sargeant

Charlottesville, Va.
July 28, 2016

Virginia Fund Raising Institute
"Fundraising Leadership"
Keynote: Karin Cox
John Warren

Beijing, China
July 28, 2016

2nd China Fundraising Conference
Adrian Sargeant

Kansas City
August 15, 2016

Inspired Fundraising Summit
Avila University
Adrian Sargeant
Jen Shang

Charlotte, N.C.
August 18, 2016

2016 NC AFP Statewide Conference
"Sustainable Fundraising"
Karin Cox
Janell Johnson

New Orleans
August 24-26, 2016

Boy Scouts of America Top Hands
Matt Beem
Ross Pfannenstiel
Tammy Weinman

Washington, D.C.
September 15, 2016

NonProfit Times Power and Influence Gala
Hartsook Sponsor

Kansas City
October 26, 2016

Shepherd's Centers of America
National Conference
Karin Cox

Kansas City
November 2016

AFP Mid-America Chapter
National Philanthropy Day
Hartsook Sponsor

Minneapolis
November 18, 2016

National Philanthropy Day
"Relationship Buidling: What Works and What Doesn't"
"Donor Retention and Loyalty"
Adrian Sargeant

London
November 22-23, 2016

Directory of Social Change Fundraising Fair 2016
Adrian Sargeant

Oklahoma City
August 2017

Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits
"Relationship Building: Where Do We Go From Here?"
Adrian Sargeant

Tulsa
August 2017

Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits
"Massive Fundraising"
Adrian Sargeant

Past Stops on the Tour


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Strategies for Success explores smart ideas, connecting with thousands of fundraising professionals. We welcome your best practices contributions or comments. Send to Strategies for Success editor Karin Cox, kcox@hartsookcompanies.com. If you'd like a free subscription to Strategies for Success or its monthly companion, eHartsook on Philanthropy, contact info@hartsookcompanies.com.

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