Northwest Arkansas Community Foundation Sets Standard
Gardner & Associates welcomed the announcement that the Northwest Arkansas Community Foundation (NWACF) started a new decade of thoughtful NPO leadership by its press release announcing the consolidation of its two boards into a more effective single board structure. NWACF has been a leader in capacity building among area NPOs. NWACF has advocated collaboration, cooperation and consolidation as a means to enhance NPO performance. It is no surprise that NWACF practices what they envision for other NPOs. Their announcement tells the past and future story:
“The Boards of Directors of Care Foundation and Northwest Arkansas Community Foundation announced today that they have restructured their separate boards into one common board. The two Foundations have shared staff for the past ten years, but have had two separate boards. Both nationally and locally, we see nonprofits merging and collaborating to better meet the needs of their community. As we look to become more strategic in our efforts to improve the quality of life in Northwest Arkansas, it became apparent that a common board of both foundations was advantageous.
We are confident that this new structure will allow us to be more effective as we seek to make a lasting difference in Northwest Arkansas. The foundations will continue to provide strategic grants to support our community, and provide a flexible, cost-effective and tax-efficient way for donors to fulfill their charitable goals. We will be going through a strategic planning process to continue to improve our ability to best meet the community’s needs.”
Thanks NWCF for setting the standard and being a shining example!
NSU Strategy Change Leads to First $ Million Gift
G&A client, Northeastern State University (NSU), altered its fundraising strategy by launching a pilot constituent development program in its College of Education and by engaging prospects by scheduling campus visits and listening to the prospects outline their areas of philanthropic interest. This new strategy bore fruit in December when NSU announced its first ever $1 million gift to construct and endow staff for a Reading and Technology Center in the COE building on the Tahlequah campus. The donor made the gift to honor his mother who was a teacher and literacy advocate.
NSU recognizes that in a challenging economy that they must personalize their prospect cultivation. NSU Development Staff is working to build awareness and trust levels among its current supporters and prospects through ongoing cultivation calls and tiered communications customized to the prospects’ preferences.
Congratulations to John Gyllin and Anita Thompson for implementing a solid plan!
Match Your Communications Skills to Your Prospects’ Interests
Kate Shaffer of eTapestry provided valuable technology insight to the AFP members at their January meeting. She encouraged NPO leaders to make their communications two-dimensional – sharing information while seeking readers’ responses. She noted that discerning donors want to feel that their opinion counts and that they can get involved with organizations that seek their ideas.
Kate recommended using Google Analytics regularly to track visits and patterns to determine the efficiency and attractiveness of your NPO website. Tracking visits can help refine your web site structure and content to make it more user-friendly. She noted that keeping your message current and fresh is important to build repeat traffic. Her most significant message was to segment your communications to meet the preferences of your audiences. Kate reminded us that communications is no longer a one-size-fits-all application.
CCS Study Clarifies Keys to Philanthropy in the New Economy
The January/February Advancing Philanthropy research article highlights a study by CCS, a Baltimore NPO consulting firm, entitled Philanthropy in the New Economy. NPO professionals representing 17 institutions shared with CCS the three key elements for successful fundraising in the New Economy:
1. Your case is a terrific cultivation and fundraising tool. Keep your case statement current. Communicate with your donors regarding what your organization is doing, its future plans and its impact on the community. Increase awareness of your organization, especially if you are not in a position to ask for a gift.
2. Make more personal contacts. Keep sending notes, making telephone calls and setting up meetings to let donors know what you are doing and how they can be involved. When in a challenging financial climate, organizations must increase the frequency and regularity of contact with donors and prospects.
3. Donors want to see ROI. A gift’s direct, measurable impact is becoming more important to donors. Organizations must be able to articulate results and return on investment (Here is what your gift has done…).
Gardner & Associates Gets Engaged in the NWA Community
In 2009 Gardner & Associates spent its time, talent and resources to become more engaged in the NWA community. As part of this engagement G&A maintained a 1 mile section of Scull Creek Trail, helped organize and sponsored the National Philanthropy Day event, moderated a strategic planning process for the Yvonne Richardson Community Center board, sponsored the Fayetteville in Bloom competition and offered NPO series at the JTL Shop and NPO Center at St. Mary’s.
In 2010 we will continue and enhance this engagement. Walt Eilers was recently selected as the President of the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks board. G&A will also offer workshops and seek two NPOs who will benefit from our pro bono services.