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Fundraising Bright Spots: Strategies and Inspiration from Social Change Organizations Raising Money from Individual Donors

April 6, 2016

"Let's find an outside expert who can help." It's a natural impulse in the search for answers to the chronic fundraising challenges facing so many nonprofit organizations. But what if the real answers were already all around us? And what can we learn from those nonprofits that are uniquely successful in their fundraising? These are the questions behind a new report by Klein & Roth Consulting and CompassPoint. Commissioned by the Haas, Jr. Fund, the report explores common strategies, practices and mindsets across a group of social change organizations that are beating the odds to achieve breakthrough success in individual giving. Among the key insights from the report: Fundraising is core to the identity of these organizations. It's an integral and connected part of their overall work, and it's something everyone has a role in -- including all staff, board and volunteers. When we first started this research, we suspected we would begin to identify some common skills and innovative techniques that lead to success in fundraising. But what the research shows instead is that there are deeper issues involved. It's less about tools and techniques and the skills of an organization's leaders, and more about developing the culture and the systems that are the foundation of long-term fundraising success.

Beyond Fundraising: What Does It Mean to Build a Culture of Philanthropy?

March 13, 2016

This paper is one of three reports commissioned by the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund to address chronic fundraising challenges highlighted in the 2013 UnderDeveloped report. That report, produced in partnership with CompassPoint, gave voice to widespread frustration and raised the question, what now? In response, the Haas, Jr. Fund engaged a group of creative and respected experts to help us explore potential solutions. The Resetting Development work group looked at the issues from different angles:What can we learn about the "culture of philanthropy" as a way of breaking the vicious cycle of underdevelopment?What can we learn from organizations that are beating the odds?What are the contours of the national landscape of training for development staff?

UnderDeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising

January 14, 2013

For years now, there has been widespread concern in the nonprofit sector about premature turnover of development directors, lengthy vacancies in the role, and the seemingly thin pool of qualified candidates from which organizations can choose. The development director is commonly labeled a "revolving door" position, and "the hardest to fill and retain" by executives, board members, funders, and capacity builders alike. Moreover, the challenge of assessing development director performance when so many factors influence an organization's fundraising success can leave executives and board members suspecting -- but uncertain -- that they could raise more money with someone else in the role. At the same time, development directors frequently lament the lack of consistent attention to fund development from executives, staff, and board members, rendering their job a frustrating set-up.To better understand these dynamics and to uncover potential solutions to the fundraising challenges nonprofits face, CompassPoint surveyed more than 2,700 executive directors and development directors across the country. Our sample includes a great diversity of organizations -- a wide range of budget and staff sizes, a multitude of mission types, and diverse geographic representation -- but the organizations have a critical commonality: a senior-level development staff person on their organizational chart, whether in place or currently vacant. We included both development directors and executive directors in this research because of their potentially distinct perceptions of the "revolving door" and its causes.Our bottom-line finding: Yes, there are considerable problems in the development director role across the sector, but there are also deeper challenges that undermine the ability of nonprofits to raise the money they need to succeed.In the following pages, this report illuminates what we learned about the specific dimensions of the staffing and organizational challenges, concluding with a set of recommendations to jumpstart a national conversation about what we all can do to help nonprofit organizations take their fund development to the next level.

5-year Evaluation of the Flexible Leadership Awards

January 1, 2013

This report presents findings and analysis from an evaluation of the Flexible Leadership Awards ("FLA") program ("the Program"). As the Program's sponsor, the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund ("the Fund") commissioned the evaluation both to inform its own work and to contribute to the ongoing dialogue about how foundations can best support their grantees' leadership development.The report has three sections:An overview of the Fund's approach to learning and evaluation, which provides context for this report.A review of grantees' progress, which assesses how the organizations fared in meeting the leadership development and mission advancing goals they had set at the outsetof the Program; and explores how FLA contributed to grantees' gains.An account of how the Program worked, which presents a detailed description of key elements of the Program's design, as well as lessons learned during implementation that may benefit other funders considering investing in leadership development.

Coaching Practices and Prospects: The Flexible Leadership Awards Program in Context

May 12, 2009

Reviews trends in coaching in leadership development and examines how Flexible Leadership Awards program participants are using coaching and to what effect. Outlines elements of success, including clear, measurable goals linking leaders and organizations.

California's Proposition 8: What Happened, and What Does the Future Hold?

January 6, 2009

Analyzes the characteristics of voters most likely to have supported or opposed Proposition 8 in 2008, including party affiliation, religiosity, and age. Reviews exit poll data suggesting strong African-American support for the measure.

Interim Executive Directors: The Power in the Middle

July 1, 2005

Explores the benefits and basics of using an interim executive director in a nonprofit leadership transition. Provides case studies that emphasize the growth opportunities that exist between the tenures of permanent leaders.