Search This Blog

Thursday, October 19, 2017

There Is More Than One Way to Approach a Feasibility Study




Ozymandias
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
I met a traveller from an antique land, 
Who said-"Two vast and trunkless legs of stone 
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand, 
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown, 
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, 
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read 
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, 
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed; 
And on the pedestal, these words appear: 
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; 
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! 
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay 
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare 
The lone and level sands stretch far away."
  There Is More Than One Way to Skin A Cat
And there is more than one way to approach a feasibility study.  

Nonprofit capital campaigns have long depended on the classic feasibility study to determine interest in and support of a capital improvement project. The study typically involves interviewing 40 to 50 individuals using a lengthy questionnaire. These individuals are community leaders, organization supporters, and major philanthropic resources. The results are tabulated, conclusions and recommendations are developed, and the report is presented to the client.

This is a reliable method that gives the nonprofit a basis for proceeding with its campaign. In some cases, it leads the organization to reorganize or adjust its plans to be successful in a slightly different configuration. Conducting the project in phases or reducing the project's size are common alternatives.

But what if there's a different approach that might work better?

There are two main reasons to reexamine the classic approach:
  1. Feasibility studies are expensive, a deal breaker for some nonprofits.
  2. Individuals do not always have the time to devote to an interview that can run 45 minutes to an hour long.
We offer an alternative approach that gives nonprofits reliable results. It might even have a higher rate of return from community participants.
Our process delivers:
  • The expertise of a reliable nonprofit consultant with the time and expertise necessary to develop and interpret the desired data
  • The answers to tough questions that can be solicited from a neutral third party
  • Credible results
  • A new approach to engage your top donors and major philanthropic resources
  • A summary report that provides a road map for going forward based on valid conclusions and recommendations
We will not reveal our "secret sauce" here, but if you want to learn moreplease contact us for details. We look forward to hearing from you.

P.S.  Our  approach can be adapted for a needs assessment, a community assessment, or a marketing survey. Please contact Bonny Anderson at (302) 530-6806 or banderso1066@earthlink.net, or visit us at www.macintyreassociates.com.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Case for Nonprofit Strategic Plans




Strategic planning is a controversial issue among nonprofit boards.
  • Some think it's a waste of resources (time and money) and point to plans on bookshelves or in filing cabinets.
  • Some think it's a good idea, but only if staff is designated to do the implementation.
  • Some think it's "pie in the sky" and gets in the way of normal operating functions.  
I think strategic planning gives an organization the opportunity to dream big and translate those visions into a workable and practical guide. A realistic and actionable plan:

1. Sets a course that advances the organization's mission. For instance, this could be the opportunity to coordinate sustainability actions, improve service delivery, and expand programs in scope or coverage.

2. Directs actions and creates efficiencies. Rather than just doing the necessary daily activities, staff and board have a chance to integrate a few greater goals into their work plans. Thoughtfully done, it can lead to better cooperation and efficiency by removing internal silos that have built up over time. 

3. Builds excitement and encourages participation. This is the chance to demonstrate what is possible beyond the routine, show steps that are realistic, and create a structure for involvement at every level.

4. Enhances credibility. More and more funders of major gifts want to see a strategic plan and implementation schedule. Take heed.

5. Ensures that key opportunities are not ignored. This brings us back to the vision. Don't let routine get ahead of newly suggested efforts that can help improve delivery, expand scope (or audiences), increase support, etc. Take the time to work on the big picture so you don't stagnate.

6. Promotes cost-effectiveness. This is the time for leadership to closely examine how objectives are realized and propose a more integrated process. Even if no change occurs, the examination is worthwhile.

A last word of caution: If you are not serious about implementation, don't waste your valuable resources on planning. It is self-defeating. Planning isn't just about dreaming; it's about taking those all-important next steps.

September Recipe - Ribolitta

The end of summer/early fall is an excellent time to start eating great soups. This Ribollita is the perfect soup to span the seasons.

It's warm and hearty and uses up the last of our summer vegetables. It's also fantastic for using leftover vegetables. I like this combination, but experiment as you wish. Mangia!

Ribolitta
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ c. olive oil
1 or 2 small zucchini, chopped- not the giant ones
3 c. greens, shredded- I like arugula or spinach
1 can (19 oz.) white beans
1 can (19oz.) or 2cups tomatoes- if canned use Cento San Marzano
3 c. chicken broth
Salt and pepper
Red pepper flakes to taste- I like 'em.
Good coarse bread, large cubes
Sauté onion, garlic, celery and carrots in olive oil until soft.

Add everything else except beans, including stock. Stir, cover, and cook over low heat for about an hour.

Add beans and cook for about 15 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper. Add bread to thicken and for taste and texture. The longer it sits, the better it is.

Serve at room temperature. Drizzle with pesto and olive oil if you like.

Always add cheese!

I drink red wine with this to get in the mood for fall.

To learn more about strategic planning, contact Bonny Anderson at (302) 530-6806 or banderso1066@earthlink.net, or visit us at www.macintyreassociates.com.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hate and Prejudice are Taught

Given the events in our country during the last few weeks, we should remember that hate and prejudice are taught--they are not instinctive. So I'd like to present this song from South Pacific, which puts the concept of hate into context.

You've Got To Be Carefully Taught
by Richard Rodgers

You've got to be taught to hate and fear
You've got to be taught from year to year
It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade
You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught before it's too late
Before you are six or seven or eight
To hate all the people your relatives hate
You've got to be carefully taught


Monday, July 24, 2017

Client Spotlight


The Jefferson School
"Education Reimagined"

This is the motto of one of our newest clients, The Jefferson School (TJS). TJS is 
a small independent school near Georgetown, Delaware. They are located on a     47-acre campus adjacent to the Redden Forest that allows a real-time education in science and the environment. They even have a small tribe of small goats! Covering pre-school through 8th grade, TJS emphasizes small classes and experienced based learning. This allows students to:
  • be more readily able to absorb new ideas and integrate them with their current knowledge 
  • develop a passion for both lifelong learning and global awareness.
TJS has been providing this educational opportunity to the children of Sussex County for 25 years. Small, creative and purposeful, TJS has launched students well prepared to thrive and succeed in competitive educational settings as they go on to high school and college.

We are so proud to be a part of their planning for the future. To learn more about The Jefferson School, visit their website: www.jeffersonschool.com.

Fundraising and the Nonprofit Board Member: Notes from a Practitioner


Development in all its elements is essentially a board function. Governance is the board's responsibility, and fundraising, which is critical to sustainability, is part of governance. Accordingly, nonprofit board members are responsible for fundraising, while staff members are responsible for management and operations.                                                               

Nonprofit board members:

  • If not you, who? The board is responsible for attracting resources to ensure the financial viability of the organization and its programs.
  • About 5.5% of charitable giving goes to arts organizations. This means that self-funding is paramount in your strategy.
  • 75% of donations to nonprofits come from individual donors.
  • Your board should be comprised of individuals who can "give or get"!
  • When you present your case for support, always explain what the community needs and how your organization fills that need.
  • Constantly build your database: Add friends, fellow club and church members, community leaders, event attendees, etc.
  • The more donors and potential donors are familiar with you, the more they are inclined to give. So make sure your organization stays top of mind with your target audience.
  • Make sure every member has an elevator pitch. Why you support makes a compelling statement to others about why they should, too.
  • THANK, RECOGNIZE, and CULTIVATE DONORS; it's an ongoing process.

If your organization does not have a resource development committee to focus efforts and motivate other board members, establish one. Every member must be actively involved. They should identify prospects, identify relationships, assist in cultivation, write thank-you notes, and write personal notes on solicitation letters. The committee can have non-board members who understand and support the mission. 

Staff can support development but should not be asked to assume major responsibility for it.

Remember, there is no magic. Why do people give? Because they are asked.

To learn more, contact Bonny Anderson at (302) 530-6806 or banderso1066@earthlink.net, or visit us at www.macintyreassociates.com.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Why do some charities get more donations than others?



Do you wonder why some charities get more donations than others? Take a look at their marketing. Here's an intriguing article by The New York Times.

At MacIntyre Associates, we can help develop a strategic marketing plan for your nonprofit.  

To learn more, contact Bonny Anderson at (302) 530-6806 or banderso1066@earthlink.net, or visit us at www.macintyreassociates.com.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Client Spotlight

                                

Central Baptist Community 
Development Corporation

Our client, Central Baptist Community Development Corporation, along with other nonprofits, is participating in United Way's Do More 24 Delaware™ campaign. Through focused online giving on June 1, 2017, Do More 24 Delaware provides the opportunity for you to make a difference in our local community.

Central Baptist CDC is part of the East Side Rising Project in Wilmington. They're committed to lifting the residents through better housing, access to urban gardens, job training, and job placement. Please check them out! You can also donate to Central Baptist CDC on June 1st--we hope you will.

Seven Steps to a Successful Fundraising Campaign

Wonderful day at FSCAA putt putt tournament. Great fun and we loved being a hole sponsor.
Don't ask about our team score! Thanks Peggy Strine, Bernice Edwards and everyone for a perfect day.


When your organization is launching a fundraising campaign, there are certain steps that can make it successful. Whether your financial goal is large or small, or you are planning an annual appeal or a capital campaign, these seven steps can serve as a template to guide your efforts. 
  1. Have clear fundraising goals. 
  2. Write direct and focused material explaining your need. 
  3. Develop a gift range chart customized to your campaign. 
  4. Make a list of potential donors at each giving level.
  5. Personally contact your best prospects early in the campaign. 
  6. Ask for major gifts in person. 
  7. Follow up regularly with your donors.
These steps are simple...but they work. 

At MacIntyre Associates, we can help you develop these steps as they apply to your fundraising needs. To learn more, contact Bonny Anderson at (302) 530-6806 or banderso1066@earthlink.net, or visit us at www.macintyreassociates.com.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Client Spotlight





Compass Regional Hospice


Recently we have been asked to manage the current capital campaign for this wonderful and necessary service organization. For those not familiar with Maryland's Eastern Shore, Compass is headquartered in Centreville, Maryland and provides care to families in Kent, Queen Anne and Caroline counties. The reason I feature them this month is because their board is totally engaged and has a deep and profound understanding of their roles and responsibilities.

Compass has an innovative Hope and Healing Center. This center provides grief support to those surviving the death of a loved one. It is open to persons coping with grief whose loved one was under hospice care as well as members of the community who have experienced the death of a family member or friend from suicide, accident or unexpected causes. It is a premiere resource for restoring hope and healthy functioning. Very impressive, creative and much needed.

Their underlying care and commitment to individuals needing a hospice presence remains their essential mission. Whether in a bed in a Compass facility or in the patient's home Compass provides high standards of care, excellent staff and continuous training and a history of excellence since 1985.

We are so pleased to be associated with Compass. Some years ago MacIntyre Associates managed a capital campaign for the Queen Anne's Hospice, the previous name that was changed when the services expanded. Our founder Richard MacIntyre was part of the team then and we aim to live up to his standards.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards



Spring comes to Warwick


Do your board members understand the critical role they play in your nonprofit organization? We have found that in the board recruitment process a reality check is sometimes needed on performance expectations. Here are a few we think are a place to begin the discussion. You may have others. The important thing is to communicate the responsibilities that will strengthen a potential member's service. Too often a new board member becomes discouraged or even resigns. Keep this in mind as you recruit. Happy board members make for a strong sense of purpose and involvement.

1.  Determine the organization's mission and purpose. It is the board's responsibility to create and review a statement of mission and purpose that articulates the organization's goals, means, and primary constituents served.

2.   Select the executive director. Boards must reach consensus on the executive director's responsibilities and undertake a careful search to find the most qualified individual for the position.

3.   Provide proper financial oversight. The board must assist in developing the annual budget and ensuring that proper financial controls are in place.

4.   Ensure adequate resources. The board must provide the resources necessary for the organization to sustain itself to fulfill its mission. 

5.   Ensure legal and ethical integrity and maintain accountability. The board is ultimately responsible for ensuring adherence to legal standards and ethical norms. Know what they are!

6.   Ensure effective organizational planning. Boards must actively participate in the overall planning process, and they must help implement and monitor the plan's goals.

7.   Recruit and orient new board members and assess board performance. All boards must articulate prerequisites for candidates, orient new members, and periodically and comprehensively evaluate its own performance. We can't say this often enough.

8.   Enhance the organization's public standing. The board should clearly articulate the organization's mission, accomplishments, and goals to the public and garner community support.

For more information on board development and support for your nonprofit organization, please call us at (302) 530-6806 or visit us at www.macintyreassociates.comWe look forward to working with you.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Steps to Successful Development, Part II



Louis D. Brandeis
Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, 1916 - 1939

 "We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."

Last month, we shared numerous fundraising strategies, from planning to mobilizing your resources. This month, let us look at additional strategies to help you make the most of your development efforts:
  1.       Publicize. Announce all your fundraising activities, events, and annual appeals. Explain the goal, the need, and how to donate or get involved. Be sure to name the leadership. Use media, personal letters, newsletters, etc. to reach as many people as possible.
  1. Raise. Assign each event and giving program a start and end date. Keep an up-to-date, accurate database.
  2. Report. Provide regular updates to plot success and challenges as they arise. Make sure donors are aware of the importance of their gifts. If a fundraiser is a community event, quickly get the results to the local media for publication no later than 10 days after the event.
  3. Evaluate. Analyze why a goal was met or why it was not. Over time, you will learn what about your mission is most important to the community and donors and what needs careful thought and revision.
  4. Celebrate. Even if an accomplishment is small, everyone involved should share in it. People like participating in success and will stay with you. From thank-you letters to parties, celebrate every success you have.
  5. Maintain. Keep in touch with donors and event participants. Use newsletters, annual reports, a speaker’s bureau, and other avenues to gain continued support and expand your volunteer and donor base.
For more information and support in implementing your development strategies, please call us at (302) 530-6806 or visit us at www.macintyreassociates.com  We look forward to working with you.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Arts in the Community



We at MacIntyre Associates are working with a wonderful local arts organization- The Oxford Arts Alliance in Oxford, PA. It has been an important part of the Oxford arts and culture scene since 2008. Their gallery is located in downtown Oxford and provides a place for monthly exhibits, music and a variety of art classes in multiple media, summer camps, movies etc. One of my favorites is their Artisan Gift Shop with all items produced for sale by local creative individuals. You get the idea.... the arts are flourishing in this area, developed and run by local leadership.

Check them out at their website www.OxfordArt.org or stop by the Gallery 38 South Third St. in Oxford.

A great example of local initiative which provides a wonderful opportunity to expand arts and cultural experiences as they build bridges with other community activities and resources in the Oxford area.

See you out and about! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Steps To Successful Development

The Mending Wall 
(excerpt)

Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
 And to whom I was like to give offence. 
Something there is that doesn't love a wall, 
That wants it down.  
by Robert Frost

As you develop your fundraising strategies and activities, this checklist should prove helpful: 

 1. Plan. Build a campaign that is integral to your strategic plan. It should bring you closer to achieving your mission and vision. Set a monetary goal for every initiative.

 2. Involve. Your leadership should own the plan, with the Board, staff, and major supporters taking part in shaping it. Their enthusiasm will build support because they are your primary ambassadors to the community.

 3. Create. Develop a key message, and repeat it in all your fundraising campaigns. The message should connect the value you deliver with your rationale for development activities.

 4. Test. Validate your message with a small group of supporters. Take their comments seriously, and adjust your message as necessary. Establish a financial goal for each activity, and understand your indicators of success.

 5. Target. Identify a spectrum of donors appropriate to each activity: individuals, companies, and foundations. Examine your database and expand where necessary. Solicit small and medium-size gifts that enable as many people as possible to support your efforts. Modest gifts can increase over time as your relationships with donors mature.

 6. Secure. Leadership gifts from your Board, previous donors, and senior staff should be pledged before any campaign goes public. The amount is not as important as the participation level.

 7. Mobilize. Find people in the community, beyond the Board, to serve as a core volunteer base for promoting your goals and contacting potential donors. Provide them with training, specific tasks, and rewards.

This is a good starting point, and remember to look for Part II of this article next month. For more information and support in implementing your development strategies, please contact us at (302) 530-6806 or visit us at www.macintyreassociates.com.  

February Recipe - Winter Salad 

This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten. Her vegetables were slightly different and she didn't add the apple/Chinese pear. I think it's yummy and tastes so fresh you have hope for spring. Enjoy!
Ingredients:
1/2 cup each of julienned red/green cabbage, arugula, Brussel sprouts.
  • Amounts can vary but should be in equal proportion
Handful dried cranberries
1/3 cup thinly sliced pear
Oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper for dressing
Shaved parmesan to taste.
With a glass of white wine and a fire this is a perfect lunch.

      Monday, January 23, 2017

      Arts in the Community

      Getting to know Ryan MacPherson, the new Development Associate at OperaDelaware. 


      A healthy arts scene in a community is often a good sign that there is a thriving economy too.

      We are in an area blessed with a plethora of musical performances, staged plays, special cinema screenings, art exhibitions and pop up concerts and activities too numerous to mention. There is always somewhere to go and something to see.

      As you can tell OperaDelaware (ODE) is my personal favorite, even if I can't read a note of music. To be transported into a world of magic lifts my heart and spirit every time. Their Spring Festival in 2016 drew critical praise.

      In fact, the Washington Post noted "it's worth the trip". This was for the staged east coast premiere of the forgotten Opera Amleto  by Franco Faccio based on Shakespeare's Hamlet. Maybe you saw the "Essere" (to be) signs all over the place? This year the spring festival features Rossini in all his glory. Check it all out on the ODE website: www.OperaDE.org.

      I urge you to find a favorite arts organization and support them with attendance and donations. The arts give us additional perspectives and we can all benefit from them.

      See you out and about! 

      Monday, January 9, 2017

      "Thank you, Donors"






      Nonprofits, your year-end appeals are over, and I sincerely hope they were successful. Now is the time to be mindful of saying "thank you" to donors so they know that you are truly appreciative. In all cases, think of yourself as the donor and follow your best instincts.

      I love lists, so here is one with tips on thanking donors.

      Remember that timeliness is a virtue.
      All thank-you letters for donations made in December should be written and mailed before the end of January. Within 30 days, is my mantra.

      Mind your spelling. Misspelling a name is a cardinal sin. I'm appalled at the times I write a check or register for an event to find my name spelled Bonnie, not Bonny, on a thank you or nametag. Check carefully; it's how donors spell their name, not how you think they spell it. While you are at it, make sure the names in your database are spelled correctly, too. P.S. - Organizations that misspell my name don't usually get another donation.

      Personalize the salutation. "Dear Friend" doesn't work. The donor took time to write the check, so recognize the effort and use the name they use. Also, do not say "Dear Ms. S. Jones;" say "Dear Susan." You can do better than lifting the name from a spreadsheet column.


      Don't be boring. Boring letters are not read, so avoid a long introduction. Get straight to the point: What will happen because of the donation? Refer back to why you asked. Keep the introduction short and service-focused. 

      Acknowledge special requests. "We will keep your gift anonymous" and "Your gift will go to the swimming program as requested" are two examples. The donor knows that you heard them. Keep notes like this in your database for future reference.

      Focus your thank you on the impact of gifts. Refer to why you asked and be specific about getting started on the program or initiative to which the appeal is targeted and the difference it will make. If part of the gift will go to the endowment, stress how important this is to effective stewardship.

      Provide contact information. Donors will want to know whom to contact if they have questions, if there's an error, or if they want to make an additional gift...you never can tell. Giving an email that says "info@myprogram.org" is totally unacceptable; give the contact information for a specific person at your organization.

      An Alibi Engagement Study found that 21% of donors say they were never thanked for their gift. This is a cautionary tale for donor cultivation if I ever heard one. For further information on this or other development strategies, please give me a call at (302) 530-6806.