Fueling Dynamic Fundraising: Driving Organizational Excellence

Fueling Dynamic Fundraising: Driving Organizational Excellence

Posted on October 06, 2021 by John Ferguson, TPF Fellow 2020/21
The Patterson Foundation (TPF) is thrilled to partner with The Fund Raising School (TFRS) at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy to create and offer an innovative approach to strengthen people, organizations, and communities through a long-term pilot engagement: Fueling Dynamic Fundraising (FDF). FDF will explore and discover the power of the Board/Staff/CEO partnership, especially in the context of creating a successful and sustainable fundraising program.

Before we dive deeper into the details, it is important to understand how this endeavor came to be. It began with the knowledge that effective fundraising is critical to the mission impact and thrivability of almost any nonprofit organization. Through TPF’s Nonprofit Thrivability initiative, both Margin & Mission Ignition (MMI) and Advancing Mission Thrivability (AMT) address nonprofit thrivability in distinctly different ways; through helping nonprofits develop and execute earned-income strategies and teaching participants how to apply a mission-centric, economically-informed decision-making process when evaluating their programs, products, and services respectively. But there has not been an offering designed specifically for fundraising--an organizational hurdle that is much more challenging to jump over for some than others for a myriad of reasons.

TPF knew it wanted to create something to help fill that gap. And that pursuit began the same way everything TPF creates does--by listening to those in the trenches. TPF Fellow Abby Rolland (recently launched into her next chapter as of this writing) and long-time TPF fundraising consultant Sara Leonard hosted multiple listening sessions designed to discover what challenges local nonprofits were facing and what types of training they felt would be the most advantageous in their pursuit of organizational thrivability. The answer was crystal clear. Fundraising. That topic rose to the top of the list for every single group though expressed in various ways.

After the listening sessions were complete and the feedback was analyzed, TPF set out to create something meaningful for local nonprofits to address their request for more fundraising knowledge and development. What has emerged is FDF. This pilot consists of an orientation webinar featuring content on the current fundraising trends and landscape delivered by TFRS Director Dr. Bill Stanczykiewicz. Following the webinar, a custom-designed version of the Purposeful Boards, Powerful Fundraising course will be taught virtually over six consecutive weeks.

So why partner with The Fund Raising School?

TFRS is the gold standard when it comes to fundraising professional development. Combining research and practice, TFRS’s unique curriculum helps individuals and organizations become well-versed and dynamic fundraisers. Additionally, partnering with TFRS expands TPF’s relationship with IU, which continues to evolve while leveraging the many different facets of the school’s diverse pool of talent, programs, and resources.

For the course, organizations must have the CEO/Executive Director, key staff, and board members participate fully throughout the entire experience. Having that power trio learn and engage together each week is where the magic happens and a hallmark of the design of Fueling Dynamic Fundraising. To facilitate ongoing learning and implementation of new ideas, TPF is also providing consulting services for each organization between each session and a full year after the conclusion of the course. This consulting phase, led by Sara Leonard and supported by TPF Fellows, will help entrench the new ideas and practices into their organizational culture and ensure their ideas get implemented in meaningful and impactful ways.

TPF intends for Fueling Dynamic Fundraising to become a long-term offering underneath the Nonprofit Thrivability umbrella, strengthening people, organizations, and communities for years to come. For now, three organizations have stepped forward to be the pioneers that experience FDF for the first time and help us shape it to be even stronger for those who follow in their footsteps. Each was selected based on their successful completion of either MMI or AMT, varies widely in size and scope, and represents different areas within our 4-county region.

They are: (drumroll please)
TPF looks forward to working with these exceptional organizations over the next 14 months and beyond to support them in becoming more and more thrivable as they continue to grow and evolve.

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