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Jul 6, 2024

Are you ready to RUMBLE!?!?! (1 of 2)

⚒️Julie and I welcome your prayers as we continue to try and sell our home of 21 years!  Operation "Land the Airplane" has now become Operation "Holding Pattern" while we wait out the market...  Thanks for all of your well wishes and encouragement during this summer of disruption and excitement.  I'll continue to be on pause for audio recordings for the forseeable future.👷

In the meantime, you can listen to previous recordings by visiting The Breakthru Podcast

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16 months.

That’s the amount of time needed to complete a mid-size construction project, or perhaps bring any new product to market.  Some associate degrees or professional certifications can also be completed in this amount of time.  Growing certain types of crops, like fruit trees, from planting to harvest, takes about 16 months.

Unfortunately, it’s also the average tenure for many fundraisers.  The link at the bottom of this post offers some helpful articles explaining why this is often the case.

The focus of this post is to invite leaders to assess your organizations’ internal readiness for absorbing a major gift fundraiser BEFORE hiring them.  This is similar to a feasibility study you would conduct prior to launching a large capital campaign.  The goal is to position you and your potential new fundraiser to build a productive and enjoyable relationship from day one.

Internal readiness.  Begin by looking inward to assess your readiness as a staff to operationally support the new fundraiser.  Here are three essentials to evaluate:

👍Healthy Leadership🕺
Strong and healthy leadership is the bedrock of a sustainable major gift fundraising program. What does this mean?  

  1. Allow time for cultivation of potential high wealth donors; there is rarely a quick return on investment.
  2. Commit to discovering how the most effective major gift efforts are marked by the fundamentals, sacredness, and playfulness of the task.
  3. Determine best contribution(s) that organization leadership can contribute to the overall effort.
There are important details to sort through in assessing the health of your leadership before hiring a major gift fundraiser.  Email me if you want to talk more about ideas or schedule a free call.

🏫Professional Development🎖️

A commitment to investing in fundraising expertise is essential - both for leaders and new hires. Be prepared with a sufficient budget to provide access to training programs and conferences focused on major gift fundraising. This will ensure development of knowledge and skills to build relationships and best practices in asking for significant gifts.

Major gift fundraising is hard work, yet not super complicated.  As James Clear cautions, “You don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.”

🔮Coaching and Mentorship🫴
Give your new hire vital support systems! Prepare to engage a fundraising coach or mentor who specializes in major gift fundraising and provides high levels of expertise in:
➡️ Personalized guidance
➡️ Strategic advice
➡️ Role playing
➡️ Coaching to navigate challenges
➡️ Accountability for the goals you aim to achieve

This is my specialty.  Email or schedule a call to talk more about how I can help.  Go to my #SaturdayStandouts on LinkedIn and check out the posts where I highlight content from some of my favorite experts who coach major gift fundraisers.

Next week we’ll unpack part two of this post…External Readiness.  I look forward to sharing more ideas that will lead to optimal results.

Additional resources to explore:
* Shutting the revolving door of development turnover
* Why Good Development Staff Leave So Often
* Five Ways to Fix the Turnover Problem in Your Fundraising Department

* * * * * * * * * *

If you haven't taken advantage of some of the resources I've created to help major gift fundraisers, take a look now!  Initial calls with me are free and "no strings attached".  Sometimes folks feel like they need to wait and not 'bother' me until they have a pressing issue.  No need for that...just make the call. 🕺

Here's where you can access a lot of content for free:

* Follow me on LinkedIn - You'll get short pro-tips and reflections on major gift fundraising every day between 5-7am pacific.

* Breakthru Newsletter - As you've seen here, these are longer weekly posts (audio and written) sent directly to your email.

* Breakthru Blog - the newsletter from the previous week gets posted here each week for everyone (so email subscribers get it a week early).

* Breakthru Podcast - Interviews with high net worth givers about how we as fundraisers can get better at inviting them to the party.  And audio readings of Breakthru Blog posts.

Before getting to the PAID stuff:

My opinion is that no small ministry with a tight budget should be spending more than $3-5k (total) for major gift coaching/consulting.  Most of you will be good-to-go spending far less than that.  This was a major issue for me when I was a frontline fundraiser - major gift consultants were an expensive 'black-box-of-confusion' for me.  That stops now.

Here's the PAID stuff:

* Online Catalyst Course - This is a full brain dump of my 28+ years of experience - good, bad, ugly.  It's built around the fundamentals, the sacredness, and the fun, of major gift fundraising.  It's infused with Henri Nouwen reflections.  Many people can take this course and they will be 'cooking-with-gas' and not need any additional coaching from me on the core systems.  I'm grateful that this course has gotten *great* reviews.

* Live coaching with me - I refer to this as "brain rental".  The ROI on live coaching, as you might imagine, is extraordinary.

Finally, be sure to connect with my colleague Ivana Salloum.  She's super awesome and can help with scheduling and access to resources, etc.

I look forward to hearing about your good work!


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