Development: The Annual Fund Program

Kara Redoutey, MBA

Introduction

Development requires constant learning and ongoing education, and one of the first things you will learn about at Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy’s Principles and Techniques of Fundraising course is the Four Legged Stool (seen pictured below). It basically conveys the importance of building the 4 pillars of a successful development program: Annual Fund, Capital Campaign, Major Gifts, and Planned Giving Programs.  A strong development foundation is built by having all four programs, but the base of all giving starts with an Annual Fund Program, which is why we will discuss its importance first.

Four Legged Stool

What are the barriers to an Annual Fund Program?

An annual fund program requires a lot of management and oversight.  This can be challenging in small shops with limited staffing.  If the purpose of the annual fund and the case for fundraising isn’t communicated well on a regular basis, donors won’t support the fund.  Ongoing evaluation is required to ensure that modifications are made every year to improve the annual fund program.  This requires planning, a focus on results and goal setting, and board members and employees alike to be committed to the success of this leg of fundraising.  It all starts here, and if the annual fund program isn’t successful, the organization may see similar results in the other legs of the stool.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

The annual fund program helps the development team to begin building relationships with donors who are new to the institution or donors who have recently made a connection with your institution. The development staff often works to build upon those connections and these donors continue to support the organization for years to come.  They become brand advocates, and for our marketing folks out there, we know how important it is to have folks outside of the organization who consistently support your organization and share information and stories.  The annual fund program also helps to build financial support for the areas of greatest need in the organization. Undesignated funds are the backbone of an annual fund program, allowing the organization to allocate the funds when and where they will have the greatest impact, responding to challenges and new opportunities as they arise.  Another important reason for the annual fund program is the ability to deliver a consistent message to our donors, sharing information about the organization’s needs, growth, and accomplishments.

How can you help?

  1. Seek to learn more about your development foundation’s annual fund program goals.
  2. Share with coworkers and community members what you learn.
  3. Give back to the areas or programs for which you are passionate.  When you talk about fundraising and development, your credibility is strengthened when you are a donor as well.  And remember, donors should always give the amount that makes sense for them. There is no minimum amount to give and there are no expectations.

Do you have any ideas or advice for building a strong Annual Fund Program?

Development: Building a Strong Board

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What do board members do and what are the barriers to building a strong board?

There are several barriers to building a strong board, and the first is that board members need to offer time, talent, or treasure to the nonprofit.  Board members need to support the mission and be engaged in the programs, services, and success of the organization.  Board members are fiscally responsible and are actively engaged in planning for the future of the nonprofit organization. Board members also serve as advocates and extensions of the organization in the community, so they often hear positive feedback and some negative.  Board members are responsible for raising awareness and assisting in fundraising processes.  Being a board member is hard work and it takes a lot of responsibility.  The kicker is that all of this governance, responsibility, and work for the nonprofit organization is given in a volunteer capacity.  Board members are not paid to serve in their role.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

It should be clear after reading the barriers and some of the requirements of a board member why building a strong board is so important, but here are a few more reasons.  Board members can offer excellent feedback from your community and can provide perceptions from an outside perspective.  Programs and services can often be improved based on this feedback.  Strong boards can help the development staff reach their fundraising goals by playing an active role.  Without their connections and introductions, meeting goals can be difficult.  The development staff is often small, so having volunteers so willing to assist with meetings goals, event planning, tasks, and planning for the future makes a huge difference.  The development team can do and achieve so much more for the community when they have a group of people who are focused on results and making a positive difference.

How can you help?

  1. Recommend board members who you think represent your community well and have time, talent, or treasure to give to your nonprofit organization.  It is extremely valuable when board members can offer additional talent and insight to the nonprofit staff.
  2. Let board members know what is going on in your area of the organization.  The more informed board members are the better advocates they are for the organization.
  3. Thank board members for all of their time, efforts, and hard work supporting and strengthening the mission of your nonprofit organization, all in a volunteer capacity.   

Do you have any advice for building a strong nonprofit board of directors?

Development: Successful Fundraising Events

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What are the barriers to doing this?

Even though most foundations really focus on the cost effectiveness of their events and the cost to raise a dollar, it is nearly impossible to avoid expenses altogether when hosting events.  There are usually expenses associated with events, such as invitations, food, and entertainment, but there is also a large amount of time given by the people involved in planning and executing the events.  Many foundations even rely on volunteers and board members to really step up and assist with the execution of events, but these folks usually have other full time jobs too.  Events take a lot of planning meetings, time, and focus to execute them successfully.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Events create awareness for your foundation and your purpose. While events can be entertaining and lots of fun, there is usually a moment during the event where attendees can learn about the foundation.  We often share a brief overview of the development foundation and show a video highlighting the purpose for the fundraising event.  The event and the education on the foundation you provide can give attendees a glimpse of your organizational culture and show what you’re all about.  The best thing about events is that they often bring like-minded people together supporting an initiative to improve the community.

How can you help?

  1. Purchase a ticket to the next event and attend. You’ll learn more about the development foundation and have fun.
  2. Volunteer your time to the foundation or a particular event committee.  There is nothing more valuable than your time and assistance with tasks.
  3. Thank the event committee who works so hard to host a fun and successful fundraising event.  It really is hard work.

Do you have any questions about fundraising events?

Development: Identifying Priority Projects

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What are the barriers to doing this?

There are so many needs in healthcare, which can make it difficult to prioritize which projects may be funded by the development foundation. Some leaders still don’t realize that the development foundation may be able to support their next project or initiative, so they will not request assistance. The development foundation board of directors may not be able to fund some requests, but the mission of the development foundation is always guiding the decision making.  It is imperative for many nonprofit organizations to find ways to identify priority projects.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

We identify priority projects based on the Community Health Needs Assessment performed for our service area.  We also utilize feedback from our patients and community members regarding health care needs and health and wellness needs.  Our development foundation board of directors is comprised of community members who share valuable feedback with the development team regularly.  These tools give the development foundation team a framework to begin prioritizing project requests.

It is also important to note that there isn’t just one way to fund a project or need.  There are many ways to fund a project, some of which we will be discussing in more detail in later weeks.  It usually isn’t a “one size fits all” approach.  We often utilize several of the options listed below to help fund projects, and these are just a few of the tools we have at our fingertips:

  • Specific donor with a specific interest
  • Existing fund created to support a particular area
  • Grant proposals
  • Capital Campaign
  • Major Gifts
  • Planned Giving
  • And More!

How can you help?

  1. Let the development team know when there is an important need in your area.  We may be able to assist in funding that need. It isn’t a guarantee, but like I mentioned earlier, there are several different methods to seek funding for an important initiative or project.
  2. If you know someone who is interested in giving to a particular project or service line, help connect them with the development team.  Once you make an introduction, the development team can help the donor fulfill their wish to support a project.
  3. Understand that the development foundation cannot fund or support every initiative and project request. Our primary goal is to ensure that there is quality health care and health and wellness opportunities in our community for many years to come, so we must prioritize and select the projects and programs that further that goal.

Do you have any questions about identifying priority projects?

Development: Foundations & Employee Giving Campaigns

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What are the barriers to doing this?

You know you have heard some of these statements before if you have ever encountered an annual employee giving campaign at a nonprofit organization.

  • They pay me. Why should I give it back to them?
  • I can’t give enough to make a difference. Why should I even bother?
  • Why have an employee giving campaign? Why don’t I just give on my own if I want to?
  • My donation may not benefit my department or unit. What’s in it for me?

These barriers are all understandable, and the development team can relate to each of these perspectives.  We also have a response to each of them as well.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

  • If you feel compelled to give to an organization, it is usually because you support the mission and what they’re all about.  Giving to the SOMC Development Foundation helps to further the mission of SOMC – to make a difference – by finding ways to improve the health and wellness of our community.  Employees, more than anyone, know and support the mission of their organizations every day.  They are a vital part of it.  Employees know the difference that their organization is making in their communities.  It makes sense that employees are the biggest advocates for organizations.
  • Every dollar counts. We can’t say that enough. We have seen firsthand how the smallest donations add up to the largest amounts, and ultimately make the biggest difference in the community.  
  • We want to show you what you can do as a collective group. It speaks to the point made earlier.  One person may only be able to do so much, but together, we can do more than we ever dreamed. That’s why an annual employee giving campaign is so important.
  • Giving back can be an extremely fulfilling and personal act. When you are giving back to a nonprofit organization, you are supporting their mission. For SOMC specifically, you are supporting the health and wellness of the community and creating a sustainable healthcare environment for future generations. If that isn’t enough, there may be tax benefits available to you for making charitable donations.

How can you help?

  1. Be objective.  When thoughts like the barriers mentioned above enter your mind, remember and re-evaluate why you are choosing to give to the organization.
  2. Speak up.  If you hear someone else making these statements, share what you know. Share what the organization did last year with the employee giving donations. SOMC was able to provide the newborn nursery with new equipment thanks, in part, to our amazing employees who contributed to the campaign.
  3. Ask questions. If you have questions about the employee giving campaign or the mission, please ask. It is better to ask questions than to make assumptions.

Do you have any questions about employee giving?

Development: Connecting with Grateful Patients

Kara Redoutey, MBA

Introduction

Last week, we talked about making connections with our patients. No matter what industry you are in, you can apply the making connections strategy.  Making connections and providing excellent customer service goes a long way. Customer retention, positive word of mouth, and a better bottom line are just a few of the benefits of making positive connections with patients.  When we make connections with our patients, we want to make that a lasting connection by sharing information and hospital plans with them and by thanking them for choosing our healthcare system. At SOMC, our Grateful Patient Program is called Connections with Caregivers. The program gives our patients the option to recognize a member of their care team who made a difference in their patient experience, share their story with us, or give a donation in honor of the caregiver to the service line for which they are most passionate. They can also choose to do all three and many often do.

What are the barriers to doing this?

Successful grateful patient programs require buy in from every person who plays a role in patient interaction. So yes, that means everyone needs to be engaged: frontline staff members, nurses, managers, directors, providers, and volunteers. It can be difficult for folks outside of the development office to begin the conversation with patients about Connections with Caregivers. Since starting our program, we have received great feedback, such as folks saying they don’t feel comfortable asking for money, they don’t know how start the conversation, or they don’t have time. You also want to deliver a clear and consistent message to your patients without being too prescriptive. This conversation is best when it’s natural, so this can also be a barrier.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

There are so many great reasons to get involved in the grateful patient program.  Patients often ask if there is a way to recognize a member of their care team. It happens every day. The Association for Healthcare Philanthropy’s Report on Giving in 2011 states that 85 percent of donations were made by individuals, with 21 percent given by grateful patients and families. As I mentioned in my last blog entry, many patients want and choose to give for various reasons. It’s unbelievably fulfilling to know that you have made such a difference in someone’s care that they are willing to recognize you, share their story, or provide a donation. And that donation will help you to provide an excellent experience to another patient in the future.

Another important point to make is that this conversation doesn’t have to be difficult and shouldn’t take any more time than you are already spending with your patient. If you are connecting with your patient and helping to create a positive experience for them, this conversation can happen naturally. An example of a simple time for it to happen is when the patient is expressing gratitude. You can then tell the patient how they can share their story or recognize a team member for going above and beyond. It’s not about asking for money. It’s about taking a moment to ask the patient about their experience and start a brief conversation.  The stories our patients share with us are always more valuable than any monetary donation and real stories resonate with potential patients and donors really well too.

How can you help build the grateful patient program?

  1. Learn about your grateful patient program and ask questions about it. You will feel more confident in sharing the program when you are most knowledgeable. You may have cool ideas to share and it’s awesome to hear other perspectives.
  2. Begin the conversation or ask a member of your development team to help you with it. Once you start having these conversations, they will come more naturally to you.
  3. Again… Focus on customer service. We want our customers to have an excellent experience with us and we know it goes a long way when they do.

What have you done to go above and beyond for a patient or customer?

Development: Building a Culture of Philanthropy in Healthcare

Kara Redoutey, MBA

Introduction

Over the next few weeks, we will be discussing hospital philanthropy and the importance of building stakeholder engagement in the health system’s development program.  Development often gets a bad reputation as folks think development employees’ only purpose is to ask for money, but it is so much more.  Development is all about building meaningful, long lasting relationships between the healthcare system and the staff, providers, leadership teams, patients, and community members.  Development at SOMC focuses on providing the community with programs and services needed, while working with stakeholders to improve the health and wellness of the community now, and in the future.  It’s going to be a fun series focusing on development strategies, so here we go!

What are the barriers to doing this?

It can be difficult to understand the need for building a culture of philanthropy in healthcare. Why would patients or others give to hospitals? With the hospital’s focus on providing patients with perfect care, how do I have time to focus on learning anything else?  Even if I do understand the organization’s development program, how am I to possibly explain it to patients and other community members?

What is the case for doing it anyway?

The most compelling reason to give to a healthcare organization is having a positive experience there.  It can be an important part of the healing process, it can be a way to thank a member of the healthcare team for providing great care, it can be the belief in the value the organization offers, or it can be a way to make positive change happen. Devoting a little time to learning about your organization’s development program can ensure your ability to communicate effectively to others and help eliminate misconceptions.  But the most important role that you can play as a healthcare team member or leader is to provide patients with the best experience possible, while the development team can focus on explaining the health system’s development program to stakeholders.

How can you help?

  1. Seek to understand and learn more about your organization’s development program.  Ask questions.  The more you know, the more you can share with interested stakeholders and the better equipped you are to identify programs and services in need of funding.
  2. Build relationships and make connections with your patients or customers.  Be a patient experience superstar! Patients often give back when they have shared an incredible experience with a member of their healthcare team.
  3. Refer patients or other folks interested in giving back to your organization to the development office. While providing funding for programs and services today is very important, the development team is skilled in sharing how donations can impact the future of the healthcare system.

How do you help build a culture of philanthropy at your non-profit organization?

Managing Employee Relationships: Leading with Modeling

Vicki Noel

What are the barriers to doing this?

As we have discussed throughout this blog series, leadership is hard.  It is human nature to wish someone else would take responsibility when in a tough situation.  Psychologists Latane and Darley define this reality as the Bystander Effect.  In difficult situations, the more people that are present, the less responsibility we feel to risk stepping up – someone else will, right?  Most situations in leadership are ambiguous.  When faced with ambiguity we tend to look around for the reaction of others and follow their actions.

Why is this important to do anyway?

But guess what? Your workforce looks to YOU for direction.  Your model and your decisions are ALWAYS on stage.  When times are difficult, your employees are looking to you for inspiration.   If you show urgency and jump to action, there is a higher chance others will follow than if you don’t act.  If you model calm, there is a greater likelihood that your team will respond with confidence.  In leadership you must… “be the change you wish to see in the world.” (Mahatma Gandhi)  Be the lead you want others to follow.

How can you do it? 

  1. Model with courage.  Most people do not carry the emotional strength to be true to themselves.  One gift you can give your workforce is to stand up for what is right.  Your courage will model the strength for others to trust in their convictions.
  2. Model with performance.  As a leader you have to “up your game”.  You cannot expect others to demonstrate high performance if you are not willing to hold yourself to the same…and higher.  Be the benchmark of performance you want your team to strive for.
  3. Model with passion.  Your employees want to be a part of something that is worth getting excited about.  If they do not see any passion or energy in you, there’s a fat chance you are going to see your team get excited.  Get fired up about the work your department is doing.  Show interest in them and connect their work to the mission of your organization.
  4. Model the way.  Models provide a picture for us that we use as a guide.  Your moods, your reactions, your response to mistakes, your recognition of those doing the work…all of these paint the color on the picture of what kind of leader you are.  Make it a picture worth viewing and one your employees can have to pattern after.

What are some of the other ways you actively try to model for those you serve?

Log on and join the conversation at www.somc.org/blog.  We learn best from each other’s experiences.

Managing Employee Relationships: Leading with Fun

Vicki Noel

What are the barriers to doing this?

Achieving results in today’s business environment is really hard.  And as a leader you are held accountable for the results of your team.  Some leaders may think that having fun at work is goofing off and distracts from productivity.  Other leaders may cope with the stress of work by  “knuckling down” and tolerating humor even less.  Some managers fear that if they allow fun at work that their workforce won’t respect them or take them seriously.

Why is this important to do anyway?

People have the need to have to play.  All work and no play really DOES make Jack a dull boy…and a stressed out one too.  Work-related stress has been linked to increased rates of heart attack, hypertension, and other disorders, easily matching the loss in productivity from physical injuries.  As it turns out, laughter really is one of the best medicines.  Laughter releases pleasurable endorphins, lowers blood pressure and helps us tolerate more pain.  Fun also increases the number of days your employees will spend at work.  Fun and laughter have been linked to less absenteeism and fewer sick days.  An environment of fun is serious business and when present can have a direct correlation with creativity and innovation.  Fun also gives the brain a break from the monotony of routine tasks.  Laughter is one of the strongest glues that bring a team together.  And when morale is strong, the team is more resilient and can take on even the most challenging problem. So why have fun?  Well…it makes our tough jobs a little easier.

How can you do it? 

  1. It starts with YOU.  Lighten up, will ya?  As a leader, your behavior sets the boundaries.  If you allow yourself to loosen up and have a little fun, you are giving your employees permission to do the same.  Your workforce will take their cues from you. Now I’m not suggesting that you act goofy all of the time.  Rather, just lighten up enough to allow others the freedom to have a little fun.
  2. Be willing to laugh at yourself.  Certainly not everyone is a comedian…and PLEASE, don’t try to be one.  You have to be mindful of “safe” humor, so avoid telling jokes because you never can be sure what may be offensive.  But one of the safest and most powerful things all of us can do is to not take ourselves so seriously…to laugh at yourself.  This signifies humility which draws people to you.  Instead of covering up your mistakes, quirks or challenges, find the lighter side and share them.  Your staff will love you for it.
  3. Tell stories to keep the laughter and learning alive.  We have learned from stories from the time we were born.  Stories can share a lesson, a challenge and a laugh.  The best kinds of stories…have all three! Every organization and department has their unique culture and stories associated with the work that they do.  In Human Resources we have sick “HR humor” that allows us to relieve the stress of dealing with problems all day long.  When we encounter one of these “you can’t make this stuff up” situations, we try our best to share that story for us all to learn from but more importantly…to have a shared hearty laugh.

What are some other strategies you use to inject fun into your work and that of the department you lead?

Log on and join the conversation at www.somc.org/blog.  We learn best from each other’s experiences.

Managing Employee Relationships: Leading for Connection

Vicki Noel

What are the barriers to doing this?

Some managers may hear the word “connection” and think that I am suggesting a “love fest”.  Well, I am…sort of.  True connection takes investment which comes from emotional energy.  Some leaders are not comfortable with the idea that they have to “invest” some of their self into their team.  Other leaders are convinced that a high-performing team is one where their employees just do what they say without question.

Why is this important to do anyway?

One of our primary psychological and biological needs is to build emotional bonds with others.  Our brain chemistry is wired for connection.  Connection with others also helps us find meaning and purpose.  Most of us who work full time spend the majority of our waking hours at work.  Meaningful connection within a group unleashes powerful social forces that influence behavior.  Great managers realize this and give careful thought to protecting and building their team.  A healthy team will provide an inspiring work environment, while a dysfunctional one will quickly erode morale and engagement.  A leader’s job is to do their best to encourage a “sticky” team environment.  Here are a few things a leaders can do to support an environment where the team pulls together.

How can you do it? 

  1. Shine a light on the “purpose” of the team and their work.  A sticky team must center on something larger than itself.  No amount of superficial “team building” exercises will accomplish this environment.  Teams want to achieve something.  Regularly clarify the goal or target your team is shooting for and give the team feedback on their progress. When leaders create an environment of shared success, it helps team members to realize purpose and feel relied upon by others.  Hold each team member accountable for their part to make sure each is pulling their own weight.
  2. Support and environment of energizing discomfort.  When there is absence of conflict that is NOT a good sign that your team is sticky.  A team full of quiet “go-a-longers” will have mediocre performance at best.  You want to support and environment of trust, where team members can have respectful disagreements over process, share their opinions, thoughts and concerns without a fear of isolation or retaliation from you or the team.
  3. Remove team members that are “solvents” to your team’s stickiness.  Whether you have a slacker, whiner or bully on your team, please hear this…you will NEVER have a sticky, high-performing team as long as you allow them to continue. Period.  These individuals are caustic and will dissolve any bonds your team may have developed.  Great team members will leave as soon as another opportunity is available if you do not address these employees.  Work with your HR team on a plan to successful manage or extrude these members from your team.

 Think of the “stickiest” team you have been a part of…what are some of that team’s characteristics?

Log on and join the conversation at www.somc.org/blog.  We learn best from each other’s experiences.