FAQs About BreakThru Fundraising

Below are some of the questions we're most frequently asked by non-profits, foundations, and donors.

Non-Profit and Ministry Questions

What's the most effective fundraising strategy for most non-profits?

A "one-size fits all" strategy in fundraising and development simply doesn't work. What would work best for your non-profit will depend on many factors, including your work, the purpose and goals for the funds, what types of fundraising you've done in the past, the demographics of your donor base, your track record in reaching pre-set metrics, and more. We can help you develop a customized development plan that focuses on three or four effective fundraising strategies that can be implemented in the next ninety days.

During this recession, I'm reading that people aren't giving like they used to. What can we do to fund our work?

There are several things to consider as you look to secure funding for your non-profit. First, don't believe the headlines. The most recent data show that giving in 2008 was down by 5.7%. That still leaves over $307 billion that was given to non-profits! Another way to look at this is that's 94.4% of 2007's record giving amount. Second, realize that many donors who are less affected by the economy are aware that ministries need additional funds, and they'll be stepping up their giving. Third, one-third of non-profits are currently near or fully funded, which is an encouraging sign. Fourth, if 20% fewer non-profits are asking for funds (because they've read the headlines), then that's 20% less competition for funding dollars. We can help you work through your specific needs and help you determine how to best raise your full budget, in any economy.

Our board of directors, staff, and volunteers aren't all on the same page - do you have any suggestions?

This is one of the most common concerns we hear from clients. Typically, the burden for funding an organization falls heavily on the shoulders of the executive director and development officer(s). While they're the key people, there are many others who can provide time, talent, and relational equity to help increase your capacity to raise funds. We can help equip and empower your entire staff, board, and volunteers to raise funds and work together effectively. We've been particularly successful in helping train newbie's (whether they're staff, board, or volunteers) and helping them become comfortable. At its essence, fundraising should be "funraising" - the process of telling people about your non-profit and inviting them to join the journey in making a difference in the lives of those you're both called to serve.

Foundation Questions

We help fund organizations, but sometimes, we also see that they need more support than just financial to accomplish their mission - what do you suggest?

This situation occurs more often than not, in part, because foundation leaders are in a position to witness an organization's internal struggles. In some cases, the best gift you can give a non-profit organization is to help it function better, to measure outcomes and results, and to help them develop the infrastructure needed to attain long-term sustainability. We can work with you directly to assess and identify organizational gaps and provide a working plan to address, develop, and implement solutions.

Can we hire you to coach a leadership team at one of the non-profits we fund?

Absolutely! As the leader goes, so too, does the organization. We offer leadership development coaching on all management levels. With your input and insight, we focus on the issues that will make the most impact. We offer executive coaching around sixty-two different strengths, including self-management, relationship building, organizational development, and analytics. Click here for a complete list of our Executive Coaching Opportunities for Impact.

The non-profits we give to require significantly more funding than we can provide. How can you help us ensure that the organization's work continues and expands?

All non-profit organizations need diversified fundraising and development plans, as well as a broad range of funding sources. None should be reliant on a single stream of funding. We can specifically discuss the non-profits you care about to assess where the greatest opportunities would be, if the organization simply had access to outside help. Often, the organizational needs are more pronounced in the area of leadership development than funding, and we can coach leaders in individual or group coaching sessions.

Donor Questions

How can I stop giving funds to a non-profit organization I care about and be sure that it will still survive?

If you're like most donors, you probably don't intend to give to one non-profit for a lifetime, which means that it's important to develop an exit strategy. That strategy is based on creating healthy non-profits, organizations that can tap into a diversified and extensive base of donors and funding. We can work with the leadership team to develop a long-term, comprehensive funding plan that will ensure steady funding, regardless of circumstances. With this plan in place, you'll feel peace of mind knowing that you can withdraw your support - perhaps even transfer it to another organization - and that you will have left behind a strong foundation, with a lasting legacy.

I want to be a good steward of giving - how can I know that the dollars I'm donating are being put to the best use?

Ideally, the leadership team of the non-profit you're supporting will be able to provide you with Outcomes Based Evaluations (OBE). These are reports that demonstrate clear metrics on outcomes and results of programs. If the organization you're supporting isn't effectively capturing results and applying OBE methodology, give us a call. One of our specialties is designing and implementing processes and reporting systems that provide a clear picture of cost-versus-benefit.

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