SEASON’S GREETINGS FROM GARDNER & ASSOCIATES
Paul and Walt extend their wishes for an exciting, productive and rewarding 2011. We know that the demands on NPOs continue to grow and that the challenges are many. We believe that the exceptional work that NPOs do to help enhance the quality of life and community will attract new donors. A new generation of donors is realizing that if they are not a part of the solution, they are the problem.
FIVE END-OF-THE-YEAR STANDARDS TO CONSIDER
Do a quick compliance check on these five often-overlooked Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance standards. See if your NPO is one of the 56% that meet the standards and is ready for a successful 2011. Or is it one of the 44% that needs to give some extra attention to transparency.
The BBB reports the most commonly missed standards include:
1. Make an annual report available to all in print, by email and on your website.
2. Conduct an effectiveness review at least every two years. Test the NPO’s programs and performance to recommend policy and strategy updates.
3. Take action on the effectiveness review findings.
4. Schedule a minimum of three board meetings annually.
5. Practice full disclosure on your website. Include your NPOs contact information, a copy of your most recent IRS 990 and your annual report.
DEMOGRAPHIC UPDATES ON DONOR GIVING PREFERENCES
A recent Convio study reported in Advancing Philanthropy contains food for thought:
- Half of individuals over 65 reported having a Facebook account and using it regularly.
- Social networking is the new word-of-mouth vehicle. It is a vehicle to cut across and to connect donors of all ages and demographics.
- Direct mail can be an appropriate vehicle for solicitation; however, young givers prefer email and online communications.
- Young donors accept telemarketing, but their primary phone generally is a smart phone. They respond to text messages.
- No single vehicle will be effective with givers. Future solicitation strategies will necessitate integration of traditional hard copy, combined with social networking, texting and telemarketing to penetrate the diversity of interests and demographics.
STRATEGIC PLANNING DIALOGUE SESSION
G&A has successfully been starting the strategic planning process with an open dialogue session with the NPO board and key staff. The objective of the 3-hour session is to talk about, ask questions and gain clarity on terms and concepts that may be included in the strategic planning. We find that this process enables the board to come together on shared concepts and definitions. We also find that it is a fruitful way to bring new ideas to the table that can be researched and included in the strategic planning. The end products are a glossary and a Frequently Asked Questions sheet.
FOCUSED STRATEGIC PLANNING SESSIONS
Traditionally, strategic planning has involved a day-and-a-half retreat with an overnight. G&A is finding reluctance among board members to commit that large a block of time.
G&A finds that an iterative process in four to five three- or four-hour sessions is highly productive while it builds board capacity and communications. The planning process begins with a dialogue session followed by two or three work sessions produces better communications and results.
We break the work session into two consensus building exercises: goal setting and action steps and then later adding a timeline, responsibility matrix and budget elements. The process concludes with two board discussions on the draft strategic plan to assess changes needed in policies, budget or staffing to achieve their new goals.
Scheduling the work sessions two to four weeks apart enables board members to digest and discuss the results of each session. The process builds the capacity of the board members because they all are moving along the same continuum toward the adoption of their strategic plan.