I remember too clearly my early days in development.
Expectations were high and I was being reminded frequently of the need to raise more money. Everyone had advice to give. Well-intentioned staffers would anonymously leave copies of the Chronicle of Philanthropy on my desk with news of recent multi-million dollar grants given to major universities circled for me to see. Others shared letters they had received soliciting funds suggesting I should follow suit. All the while department chairs would regularly schedule meetings to keep me “alert” to the pressing financial needs that were keeping them from experiencing success.
I felt pulled and pushed from every direction! I had been placed in a critical role to “raise money” and it seemed that a good part of the ultimate success of the institution rested on whether or not I could achieve the expectations for which I had been hired. Have you experienced pressure like that? I didn’t even know where to start.
Over the years and after many I have learned that fundraising success is a consequence of doing not one thing but a whole pile of things well. I learned that all the ideas, strategies, and “proven” approaches were somewhat meaningless if not backed up by an organization that was fulfilling its mission and delivering outcomes consistent with it. I also came to an understanding of the fact that everyone on our database was not the same; some were more committed than others and the sooner I understood that and acted upon it, the greater the likelihood that we would achieve the success so important to maintaining long term viability
Taking those many lessons learned, I started building a foundation sufficient in size to meet our pressing needs. I was able to engage a team who worked with me in ruthlessly examining eight areas critical to successful development. We put in place acquisition strategies and made growing relationships among our constituency our highest priority.
It worked. Over 4 short years giving increased from $475,000 to nearly $2 million and that was in 1983 when $2 million was a lot of money!
Today those same battles play out in organizations all over the country. The good news is that you don’t have to stand alone and figure so much out on your own now. The BGW Development Group team can come alongside and help organizations accelerate the process of building a solid development infrastructure. With our very affordable Comprehensive Development Audit service, you will know what you need to do and how to do it. Our team can provide the development personnel in your organization all they need to be successful. So contact us and together we will go farther on the journey toward development success!
This is where it begins!