Things you’ll need to apply for a Paycheck Protection Loan

You'll need to gather the following documents before you apply for your coronavirus stimulus Paycheck Protection Loan which is an SBA loan that helps businesses and nonprofits keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

  • Payroll reports from April '19 through March '20 – both the total payroll numbers for those months and each month separately, as you have to load them individually
  • A picture of the principle owner's government ID
  • Date organization founded
  • Proof of EIN
  • NAICS number
  • CEO’s date of birth, Social Security Number, home address, and cell phone number
  • Documentation of health insurance paid and life insurance policies paid into
  • The last 4 quarters of 941 tax documentation


Emergency Grants for Operations Available

March 26, 2020

To our Friends and Partners,

I know that we all have received a huge amount of information in the last days about government support of the small business and non-profit community.

For Maryland non-profits with budgets of less than $5 million and less than 50 employees, we suggest that you take a look at the Maryland Small Business Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund.  The State has allocated $75 million for direct payments of up to $10,000 to help organizations respond to Covid-19's impact.

https://onestop.md.gov/licenses?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=emergency+small+business+grant

You will need to set up a registration before starting the application.  If we at Capacity Partners can be helpful to you in the process, please let me know.

Best wishes,

Barbara Wille, Partner Consultant


The M&Ms of Corporate Fundraising

Your house may be like mine. Every holiday, we have baskets of M&Ms all over the house. At Thanksgiving, we have orange and brown M&Ms; at Christmas, green and red. And this past Valentine’s Day…you guessed it, red and pink M&Ms. Even though they all taste the same, except when you venture into peanut, peanut-butter, mint, caramel and hazelnut, I credit Mars with making the ubiquitous little chocolates our go-to candy throughout the year.

There is a lesson here for nonprofit corporate support. Hint:  it is NOT to deluge your corporate sponsors with M&Ms. Although that may be a strategy for retention, you must first master the M&Ms of nonprofit corporate partnerships.

Although the marketing of your mission and message through various media merits mentioning as does your mindset, mentors, and the mind-numbing miscellaneous minutiae of macros and modifiers, more and more there are only two M’s that matter the most.

Metrics. Corporations love to show positive numbers. Everything is measured. If you have not yet embraced the power of metrics, this is a good time to do it. How many people do you reach, this year’s program completion rate compared to last year, how many different ethnicities, what are the results of your intervention, etc. These and other measures can determine not just how well your program is doing but also how well you will be funded. Outcomes based philanthropy means that everything – every program, event, volunteer training, publication – must reflect the measured accomplishment of your work.

Mirrors. Corporate branding increasingly means helping the company look good to its broadest constituency base. When corporate philanthropists place  your organization in the mirror, they insist that it must enhance their brand and reinforce their values. They report to their own board, investors, suppliers, employees, and above all, customers. They will carefully evaluate whether your organization can accommodate their branding needs. To the extent that you can help them look into that mirror with confidence, you have ensured that your organization stands a greater chance to retain their all-important support.

Metrics and mirrors. These concepts matter to the companies you are hoping to reach, and they will likely matter for many years in the future. When you remain close to your corporate partners, you will find more creative and relevant ways to market your mission and learn how to adapt your fundraising strategies to meet their seasonal needs, just as the flavors and colors of M&Ms adapt to each season. But if you prioritize your metrics and mirror M&Ms, you will fund your corporate stakeholders to be among your most loyal donors.


Encouraging your Board to Fundraise

We all want board members to help our organizations grow and thrive, and raising funds is central to every nonprofit's success. However, while our board members typically embrace their governing role, they are less frequently comfortable with fundraising responsibilities. It is not unusual to hear board members say they don't like asking for money, especially from their friends. Below are some ideas for helping your board understand that fundraising is more than just "asking" and everyone can play a role in successful revenue generation. These ideas are intended to help shift your board's perspective on fundraising and help them understand it’s something they can – and must – do.

1) Outline Expectations: Set clear expectations from the outset, beginning with recruitment of board members. Your Board Roles and Responsibilities document should clearly state that in addition to governance there is a financial responsibility of serving on the board. Include a goal dollar amount, either for each individual or for the board as a whole. You will need to work with your development committee to identify this amount and recommend it to the board.

2) Recruit Champions: Recruit people who are truly champions of your organization and who are respected in the community. These are the people whom others look to for leadership, have wide networks, and can provide validation for your cause. Find lots of opportunities to engage and showcase your enthusiastic board members. Enthusiasm is contagious.

3) Inform and Excite: Your board members said "yes" to serving on your board, so they have already demonstrated their enthusiasm for your mission. Board meetings can get weighed down with the business but be sure to dedicate a part of your meetings to something mission-related. Tell a story, show a video (taken on a smart phone), or bring a special guest to speak about the work. Be sure to keep your board engaged and up-to-date between meetings. Send a monthly update with highlights, stories or links to relevant work in the news. Board members are busy and having your organization top of mind helps them be better prepared to be a champion.

4) Make it Tangible: It’s easy to ignore fundraising when it appears all funds are for a general purpose. Yes, unrestricted dollars are critical. However, often board members and prospective donors need to have a better grasp on what can happen with dollars given. For instance, provide a tangible example: “If we can raise $50,000 then we can pilot the new program x that we’ve all been talking about.”

5) Make it Personal and Be Specific: Meet with each board member individually to set personal goals and outline specific projects they will work on. Everyone should have a fundraising responsibility, no matter what committee they serve. If everyone on the board is engaged in fundraising activities, and those activities entail roles they are comfortable with, it will become clear that fundraising is more than just asking… and fundraising becomes progressively less intimidating. You can work with each board member on the specifics, but roles can include:

  • A personal financial commitment
  • Hosting a "friendraising" event – work with the board member to set objectives and goals including the of number of attendees, specific follow up tactics and provide them the support they need to make the event and the outcomes successful
  • Accompanying staff to fundraising meetings
  • Making strategic introductions – staff can help brainstorm ideas and keep a running prospect list for each board member
  • Pro-bono support, if it relieves a budget item for your organization
  • Making thank you calls and writing thank you notes

6) Be Supportive: Be available to help your board members achieve their personal goals. Fundraising is hard. Don't let them get discouraged; give them the tools they need to be successful and don't expect them to be successful if they aren't supported.

7) Give them Ideas: Provide a funding prospect list to your board to scan through (ensure it is kept confidential) and see if they know anyone. If they do, ask if they will join you for a coffee with that person.

8) Share Gratitude: Say thank you. A lot. When a board member helps with an introduction, a solicitation, an event, or a project, say a very personal thank you to that individual and a public one at your board meeting too.

Remember, your board is there because they believe in your mission. Together, you can generate enthusiasm and revenue to achieve that mission. There really is no other way.


Three Steps to Cultivate a Major Gifts Prospect

If you are like most of us, the major gifts prospect list that sits on your desk stares at you and foils your boldest strategies. Those one hundred names have enough wealth to build an entire university campus several times over. Of course, you don’t know any of them, and your Development Committee hasn’t responded to your requests for introduction, despite your pleas.

Whatever the minimum major gift threshold for your organization, ten annual contributions from your top donors for the next several years with a solid annual retention rate means significant support for your organization.  So what’s a development director to do?

Here are three steps to a successful major gifts program.

  1.  Learn/Rank. Read the bios, the giving history, the speeches, and other information of the people on your prospect list. Explore the networks of these accomplished and generous individuals. As you identify their related giving and their relationships, however tenuous and distant, with your own board members, the ranking of your prospects will take shape. You will soon have drawn a web of connections between your people and those top prospects.
  2. Push/Pull. A major gifts team usually consists of board members and development committee members. Among those leaders, there is likely a small percentage who have agreed to enthusiastically reach out to their networks. Those are your favorite people, right? They are also the most time-challenged, and they often find it hard to fulfill their promises to talk with their contacts. Try push/pull. First, push them to do their work, to fit those calls and referrals into their jam-packed schedules. Of course, be creative and nice in your approach. Second, pull plenty of data and research in order to equip them with the information they need to successfully reach their goals. Pulling the appropriate data will make your board and committee members feel more comfortable when you do your push. Don’t forget to track not only the progress of your prospect but also the progress of your board advocate.
  3. First/Second. With your first layer of top donor prospects safely in the hands of your most committed volunteer leaders, it’s smart strategy for you to cultivate the second layer - the network that surrounds those prospects. Identify and cultivate those people; if even a small percentage respond, you are on your way to meeting your fundraising goals.

A strong major gifts program lifts an organization and unleashes the potential of your organization’s vision. And a successful major gifts program is only three steps away.


Preparing for a Capital Campaign: Why You Need a Feasibility Study

A feasibility study, or assessment, is the optimal way to measure the amount of money an organization can raise, at a specific point in time, for a specific project.  It is also an excellent opportunity to explore different issues that affect the ultimate outcome of your capital campaign.  With a campaign assessment in hand, you can proceed with a campaign in confidence, knowing the goal will be both ambitious and achievable.

The Capacity Partners® Feasibility Study is designed to answer these fundamental questions:

  • Likelihood of achieving a specific campaign goal and/or identification of a realistic yet ambitious goal;
  • Capacity and inclination of potential or current major donors;
  • Appeal of the case for support;
  • Identification of campaign leaders;
  • Strength and commitment of campaign leaders and volunteers;
  • Manageability of important issues or concerns.

It is essential to measure the following set of criteria before you launch your campaign so you can achieve success by becoming aware of the potential challenges and areas of strength of your capital campaign.

STRONG INSTITUTION

  • INSTITUTIONAL IMAGE:  Does the organization command the respect and support of potential donors?  How well is it perceived to be serving the needs of primary and secondary stakeholders?  Are there perceptions that might stand in the way of successful fundraising, and can the Executive Leadership and Board overcome any such negative perceptions?
  • SOUND PLAN FOR FUTURE:  Is there a compelling vision and strategic plan guiding the organization and accepted by the community? Is the plan supported by solid financial analysis?
  • PROJECT VALIDATION:  Do potential donors consider the campaign’s objectives to be important?   Would the community be receptive to a capital campaign for these purposes?
  • EFFECTIVE INSTITUTIONAL LEADERSHIP:  Is the Board prepared to offer philanthropic leadership?  Can the Executive Leadership devote sufficient time to her/his leadership role in the campaign?

PREPARED CONSTITUENCY

  • INFORMED STAKEHOLDERS:  Are the key stakeholders and other constituents communicated with regularly and informed about the organization’s plans? Do they feel connected to the organization?
  • MOTIVATED VOLUNTEERS:  Is there a sufficient pool of willing volunteers, within or outside the Board, to build a campaign organization of highly motivated and influential volunteer leaders? Has an individual of sufficient stature and visibility been identified to provide volunteer leadership for the campaign?
  • CULTIVATED PROSPECTS:  Have those individuals most capable of support been cultivated?

   QUANTIFIABLE FINANCIAL SUPPORT

  • IMMEDIATE POTENTIAL:  Are sufficient funds available through donors capable and ready to make pledges of capital gifts totaling the campaign goal over three to five years?  Is there a history of giving, or committed donors, to support such a goal?
  • LEAD GIFTS:  Is there a lead gift of 10% of the campaign goal?  Do the top 10 gifts equal 30-50% of the goal?  Are there likely to be sufficient numbers of major gifts?  Is the current proportion of at least 3 qualified prospects for every gift observed in planning?
  • LONG-TERM CAPACITY:  Does the organization have the potential giving capacity to meet the campaign goals over time, if that potential is cultivated appropriately?

CAMPAIGN INFRASTRUCTURE

  • STAFF:  Does development staff have the range of skills and breadth of experience to lead and support a campaign, with or without the guidance of a consultant?  Have plans been made to add staff based upon the new demands of the campaign?
  • STRUCTURE:  Have preliminary plans for prospect development and research been put in place?
  • SYSTEMS:  Are the appropriate record-keeping systems in place?  Does the software include a prospect management system?  Are databases thorough and up to date?

With a carefully designed and implemented feasibility study, you can prepare your nonprofit organization for a successful, transformative capital campaign. If you'd like to talk to Capacity Partners about a feasibility study or your capital campaign, please don't hesitate to email Mary Robinson mary@capacitypartners.com.


The First Steps to Getting Your Fundraising Strategy Right

Here is how too many organizations develop their fundraising strategy. Someone declares we need some strategy around here so off you go with your team to a retreat from which you emerge with slick charts, creative revenue streams, optimistic projections and long to-do lists. Everyone smiles and cheers.

By the following Thursday, the fundraising strategy is forgotten. What went wrong?

Sometimes staff and board members need to be re-energized to implement a fundraising strategy. As a first step getting your fundraising strategy right, put the spreadsheets, donor lists, beautiful charts, and blogposts on hold. (They will be there when you return.) Meet with the kids your nonprofit educates. Serve dinner to the families who come to the shelter night after night. Hang out in the cancer wards your major donors have built. Feel the small everyday victories your fundraising makes possible.

Then, for a fundraising strategy to truly becoming a road map to fundraising success, first you must answer this critical question. What are your organization’s strongest fundraising assets?  A beloved, charismatic founder? A large dedicated base of small donors? A wealthy private foundation that has pledged its support for the next twenty-five years? A unique special event that has delivered results for a decade?

While best practices tout the need to have a balanced portfolio of development – foundations, direct mail, major gifts, special events, planned giving, government funding, corporate donations, online, etc. – most organizations actually have only two or three really strong assets.  A pragmatic fundraising strategy ought to concentrate on what your organization does best and perhaps adds one or two additional revenue streams.

For example, if your nonprofit attracts more than its fair share of foundation funding and has hundreds of donors giving annual $25 gifts, make sure your strategy includes maximizing foundation giving and annual giving. Your strategy may want to include building a major gifts component and introducing planned giving to your donors.

Reminding your team of their mission and creating a development strategy that maximizes your organization’s assets is a winning combination for successful fundraising.


Capital Campaign Insights: Mary Robinson Facilitates a Nonprofit Roundtable for Ten

Mary Robinson is excited to be partnering with Nonprofit Montgomery, an affiliate of the Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington, to facilitate a Table for Ten for development directors on capital campaigns.

Tables for Ten are only open to Roundtable members, and they are one of the terrific benefits of Roundtable membership. They allow groups of nonprofit leaders – especially executive directors and development directors – to join their peers for candid, confidential discussions.

This two-part Table for Ten will give development directors the opportunity to discuss every aspect of running a capital campaign, from feasibility studies to major gifts. She’ll be sharing best practices and proven strategies based on our firm’s extensive experience helping nonprofits design and execute successful campaigns.

Whether they are preparing for their first capital campaign or their tenth, Mary hopes to help the nonprofit leaders around the table feel better equipped to run a great campaign and achieve their fundraising goals. She is looking forward to sharing what she knows and to learning from the conversation.


Making the Ask: Keeping the Door Open - Part Three

In my two previous blog posts about Making the Ask, I’ve discussed the importance of asking the right person at the right time and finding the sweet spot. In this final post based on a presentation made by Michelle Keegan, Chief Development Officer, CSIS, and I at the Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference, I want to give you some tips on how to keep the door open.

1) Plant a seed and give it time to grow in your prospect’s thinking. Your pitch should include some unforgettable nuggets that your prospect can ponder after your conversation ends.

2) Remember that if your potential donor cares enough to talk to you, he or she will want to find a way to help you. It just may be that your prospect will choose to help you later rather than now.

3) Turn a “no” or less than optimal gift into a promise of a future conversation. There will be opportunities to talk to your prospect another time, and this current ask is the right time to encourage your potential donor to commit to that future conversation.

4) Thank your prospect in a way that is meaningful to him or her. For some, a heartfelt email is perfect. For others, you ought to handwrite a lovely thank you note. Still others would prefer a small token of appreciation, perhaps some swag with your logo. If you don’t know how your prospect would like to be thanked, you may not know your prospect well enough to make the ask.

I hope this short series of tips for making your next ask a success will make your next ask a home run. If you or your organization wants more assistance with strategic development, please don’t hesitate to contact Capacity Partners at mary@capacitypartners.com.


Find the Sweet Spot - Part Two

Every fundraiser – volunteer or staff – must eventually ask for the gift. This short series of posts based on a presentation given by Michelle Keegan and me at the 9th Annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference will help you find the sweet spot for your ask.

Last week we discussed the importance of asking the right person at the right time in the right place for the right amount. Today’s blog focuses on some of the essential intangibles of making the ask.

1) Remember to listen! Listening is the central tool in your tool box, even more important that the stellar pitch you’ve practiced a dozen times. Figure out what your prospect is really saying and shift your approach based on what you learn. Ask questions that will lead your prospect to articulate their commitment to your organization.

2) Explore both the feelings and thoughts behind their giving. Why do they make charitable donations? What compels them to consider contributing to your organization? Bear in mind that emotions are often more influential than logic.

3) Learn what giving will do for them – not just what it will do for your organization. As much as your potential donor may care about your nonprofit’s mission, your prospect, like most every human, in just as interested in what contributing will do for him or her. Will giving make your prospect feel like a hero or impress his peers? What tax benefits will accrue to the donor when she contributes?

4) Link your prospect’s passion to your vision and impact. For example, if your donor wants to help children break the cycle of poverty, be sure to talk about how your organization does exactly that.

Keep an eye out for Part Three in which I’ll discuss how to keep the door open.