2022 was a banner year for us here at Spark Point Fundraising! In addition to serving our clients, Spark Point doubled down on our commitment to our company values last year.
Serving our NONPROFIT SECTOR Clients with INGENUITY
We understand and value the nonprofit sector for its ability to change the world in meaningful and important ways. Our passion for progress and connection with our clients is daily motivation to deliver high-impact services. Backed by decades of nonprofit fundraising expertise, a team of skilled writers, and the ability to adapt quickly, Spark Point is committed to making every meeting and every deliverable of unparalleled quality.
Over the course of 2022, the Spark Point Fundraising team submitted more than 600 LOIs, Proposals, and Reports. We secured $9,452,633 in funding from 75 unique funders and had a per award average of $99,501! Of the gifts secured, 22 were six-figure gifts or more! Overall, the amount of funding we secured for our clients was 55% higher than the amount of funding initially requested. Of those funders, 15% were new funders for the organizations we serve. Additionally, 5% of the funding we won was from lapsed funders.
In addition to the results we delivered for our clients, we diversified our client base, expanding from a largely DC-based clientele to clients located in the midwest (Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, New York, and Virginia). With this expansion came the challenge of executing detailed, collaborative work in a remote team environment. To tackle this challenge, Spark Point’s Operations Team built new protocols and processes — including 14 project management templates, a 60+ page Operations Manual, and an 85-point client onboarding process — to ensure that all work was streamlined and uniform. These tools empower our team to deliver the highest quality work across all of our client projects.
Supporting Staff with KINDNESS and Hiring Team Members with INTEGRITY
Spark Point’s most valuable asset is its people. Knowing that, our leadership uses kindness as their north star in ensuring that we support a healthy work-life balance.
Accommodating for the challenges of deadline-heavy months and the realities of work-from-home life with pets, children, spouses, and roommates in the mix, Spark Point team members were given an additional 5 days of previously unscheduled PTO in 2022 (on top of 15 days of PTO and 10 paid holidays). Additionally, to alleviate the digital – and sometimes isolating – strain of the team spending 300,090 minutes (more than 5,000 hours) on Zoom and sending 52,891 Slack messages, Spark Point launched a pilot program in Q4 of 2022 that provided staff with the option to work from local coffee shops, getting reimbursed for food and beverage purchases.
Being a fully remote office means that team members need to be able to be honest with and to trust their colleagues. This year, Spark Point worked hard to ensure team members’ interpersonal connections were strong, hosting 2 in-person staff retreats and exploring conference opportunities! These investments, in addition to staff support measures such as management training and personalized professional development plans, totaled more than $52,000. These investments are part of what makes Spark Point a great place to work. In 2022, our employee happiness rating was 100% every single month.
2022 was an exemplary year in expanding the Spark Point team: together, the Grants Team and the Operations Team added 5 new staff members in 4 new states (Ohio, Colorado, North Carolina, and California), resulting in an overall staff growth of 50%. Our staff’s families grew, too! In 2022, 1 bundle of joy and 3 pets were added to our staff’s homes.
A COMMITMENT TO ENDING RACISM and Promoting EQUITY Through Spark Point Initiatives
Spark Point, like many organizations, is on a journey to eliminate racism and White supremacy from both its operations and the philanthropic sector. In 2022, our anti-racism efforts included internal work (like a Color Me Community workshop, facilitated by Spark Point client Life Pieces to Masterpieces), and external efforts. Specifically, Spark Point launched the Ignite Program, which provides pro bono services to smaller nonprofit organizations led by BIPOC or other identities that experience oppression. Of 22 applicants, 5 organizations have been chosen to receive pro bono services from Spark Point over the next year. To ensure that the decision-making power was in the hands of those who know the issues best, Spark Point provided stipends to several BIPOC nonprofit leaders to serve as application reviewers.
Just as important as anti-racist work is advancing equity; Spark Point has a deep commitment to creating opportunities, both within and beyond our company. In 2022, we were able to launch another long-term initiative: ACCELERATE!, an affordable and effective solution that prepares small nonprofit teams to begin building their grants portfolio. This program is specifically designed to help smaller nonprofits (those with budgets of less than $1 million) access support in building an institutional fundraising program. After promoting the program for 4 months, Spark Point is excited to begin this work 2023! Spark Point is incredibly proud of this program. We have intentionally designed it so that not only is the price accessible for smaller organizations that are starting out, but also so that the organizations can gain industry know-how and build relationships with nonprofit peers, setting them up for sustainability after our work together is complete.
Finally, Spark Point Fundraising continues to share the stories of Black women in the nonprofit sector through the #BlackWomenSparkChange campaign, featuring 31 women sparking change in the nonprofit sector.
LEARN: Adapting to the Fundraising Landscape
We are so grateful to the partners and organizations that entrusted us with their missions in 2022, and we hope to continue to serve them in 2023! From writing many successful proposals to our company-wide initiatives, our goal is always to learn and adapt so we can best serve our clients. See here for what we learned about 2022 fundraising trends and how they’ll affect the landscape in the new year!