1. Insufficient or Poorly-Defined Strategic Direction
You can’t work toward a goal that doesn’t exist. While an organization might have a powerful mission, if they don’t have a clear path to impact, they will lack a compelling case for support. Without a compelling case for support, they won’t know what to ask for, whom to ask, or how to ask.
Spark Point Solution: We work with leadership to clearly identify goals and strategic direction and then create a compelling case for support that outlines these goals for investor audiences.
2. Following the Money
Without a clear strategic direction and WITH a need for funds to run the organization, it is easy to fall into the trap of chasing money.
Chasing money means going after funding opportunities that may be related to the organization’s work but don’t fully align with its mission or goals. Chasing money leads to scope creep and is inefficient and expensive. In the worst circumstances, following the money can create the nonprofit equivalent of being “house poor” because organizations receive funds for projects that don’t support their mission and are then required to carry out work that doesn’t support their goals
Spark Point Solution: Using the strategic goals and case for support as guides, along with other organizational information, we conduct comprehensive prospect research to identify potential sources of support that align with the organization’s goals and strategy.
3. Not Investing in Donor Stewardship
The most expensive and time consuming aspect of fundraising is acquiring new donors. However, many organizations do not invest much time or energy into donor stewardship.
Stewardship is the process of keeping donors – including foundation, corporate, and government funders – engaged in your work when you are not asking for money. Stewardship strategies vary depending on the type of donor and the type of gift. But, broadly, they are all about being transparent, showing appreciation, demonstrating the impact of a donor’s investment, and building donor confidence in the organization.
Spark Point Solution: We work with organizations to create an annual stewardship plan that is stratified by donor and gift type and is supported by internal infrastructure.
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