This week on the Successful Nonprofits Podcast, we speak with author and fundraising consultant Ellen Bristol.
Bristol’s effective fundraising counsel is the result of 4 decades of experience and data from over 1,000 nonprofits that completed the Leaky Bucket Assessment. This innovative online assessment measures nine key practices that contribute to or detract from your fundraising efforts, which are summarized in her book “The Leaky Bucket: What’s wrong with your fundraising and how you can fix it”. Those taking the survey included very small organizations to those with multi-million dollar budgets. Shockingly, the median organizational score on the Leaky Bucket Assessment was a C-minus.
To find out how organizations be more effective at fundraising, our conversation focused on three important factors for fundraising:
- Appropriate staffing
- Involving volunteers in development
- Laws for fundraising performance
Hiring and supporting dedicated fundraising staff is one of the key indicators for fundraising success. Bristol notes that organizations with no dedicated fundraising staff only meet their fundraising objectives 39% of the time. For this reason, we discussed:
- Why your next staff member should probably be a fundraising professional
- How to hire the right person to lead your fundraising efforts (Bristol’s answer is counter-intuitive and 100% accurate)
- Why promoting from within is not the best way to fill your first development position
In addition to using paid staff, the organizations that are most successful at fundraising also utilize volunteers. In our conversation, Bristol recommended providing volunteers:
- Thorough training for volunteers
- Scripts, collateral, and other resources to explain why the organization is worth funding
- Significant staff support for volunteer fundraisers
- Clear job descriptions for volunteers, board, and staff
- Appropriate roles for volunteers
- Opportunities to be involved in thanking donors
We finished the conversation with a summary of the four laws of performance management, and you’ll have to listen to the podcast to get these golden gems!
Ellen Bristol reminded listeners that their organization can take the Leaky Bucket Assessment by visiting http://www.bristolstrategygroup.com/resources/the-leaky-bucket-for-nonprofit-fundraising. When taking the Leaky Bucket Assessment, your organization will be able to compare your fundraising to global averages and get an hour of private review with Bristol or another facilitator.
Links for Bristol Strategy Group:
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/BristolStrategyGroup
LinkedIn Page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ellenbristol
Phone number: 305-935-6676
Buy the “The Leaky Bucket: What’s wrong with your fundraising and how you can fix it” on Amazon.