This series of exercises below can be used by a board to clarify its fundraising priorities.
The illustrations below show how the exercised were used by a major cultural institution considering a campaign, but it can be adapted to suit many types of organisations.
Exercise 1: Types of fundraising
The first exercise makes the point that not all money is equal – that different types of fundraising have different value to the organisation, and that the board should make informed choices about fundraising strategy.
Question 1: What kind of fundraising do you do? (the answer populates Column 1 – in the example below, major gifts, bequests etc)
Question 2: What attributes to you want money you raise to have? (the answers populates Row 1 – in the example below, high value, general purposes etc)
After you label the rows and columns with their answers, ask each person to “traffic-light” part or all of the table (depending on time). “Traffic-light” means to assign colour: Green is Yes; Amber is Somewhat; Red is No.
You will end up with a Table like this:
As participants share their answers you have a great opportunity to discuss the kinds of fundraising they do and the different kinds of return achieved by the different fundraising activities.
Exercise 2: Time Use
You can do a similar exercise with time. There is not time to all kinds of fundraising, or to do them all well. It would be helpful if time was allocated in a strategic way, rather than at the pull of people who want to use up your time.
Using the same set of fundraising activities (Column 1), populate Row 1 with the different people involved.
The participants can spend a little time on this traffic light approach — working on their own group’s use of time (e.g. Director filled in the “Director’s Time” section) – but with a different method of reporting back. Ask each person to draw a pie chart and allocate percentages of time use for people in their category (note, this is not about how much time is spent on fundraising, but on how a person/group allocates the limited time available for fundraising).
Exercise 3: Budget
Building on what the participants have learnt about fundraising through the exercise above, participants are asked again to draw a pie chart with percentages but, this time, to allocate the fundraising budget according to the different types of fundraising.
Exercise 4: Projects
In this particular workshop, of the desired outcomes was prioritisation of major projects that might be considered in a fundraising campaign.
Provide a list of the major projects for which the organisation is considering fundraising using a simple table:
The first task was for each person to rank the projects according to the following: Knowing what you know about the current work of the organisation, rank the projects in order of importance based on their ability to help the organisation fulfil its mission. These results were then gathered and the number of times a project was scored first or second priority was listed on the table.
The second task was for each participant to write down for each project the names of people who might give a substantial amount (in our example we used a figure of $500,000) or more to the project. Names are not shared, but people indicate the number of identified prospects for each project.
What you are hoping to see are the projects that rate highly for both strategic importance and major donor interest.
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