by Willie Matis
Fundraisers! It is the new year, and we are pumping up the efforts to bring YOU front and center with our speakers before they speak to the group. Get to know them, get some background on what they will talk about, and bring some notes because then you can get questions answered that you want answered.
I had a chance to touch base with Kris Kindelsperger who is speaking next Wednesday, you can register for his talk today.
WM: Kris, thank you so much for agreeing to chat with me about your upcoming luncheon topic – Fundraising for the Long Run – Major Gifts as the Bridge to Sustainability. It looks to be a fantastic topic that many nonprofits in Indiana can benefit from.
Can you first, simply elaborate on the difference in mindset when between ‘fundraising to stay alive’ and ‘fundraising for sustainability’?
KK: Most non-profits have three base sources of annual revenue: (over simplified for example purposes)
1. Earned income – Tuition for colleges and independent schools, admission fees or memberships for arts and cultural groups, service fees or provider grants for social service agencies, etc.
2. Endowment income – interest or earnings off of endowed funds.
3. Fundraising – annual, major gifts, or planned gifts.
For many organizations, raising tuition, increasing ticket prices, or expecting higher reimbursement fees for services are not practical in this economy, nor do they necessarily generate more revenue. Many organizations do not have large endowments or have any endowment at all. The decline in the market hurt organizations that did have large endowments, and many endowments are not seeing the kinds of returns that they saw pre-recession.
So, for some organizations the only perceived way to grow revenue is to raise more money. The “fundraising to stay alive” mindset is based on the cold reality that if certain revenue goals are not met, the organization will not meet its budget that year. As a consequence, there is often extraordinary pressure to raise as much money in the current year as possible. Longer term cultivation of major gifts and planned gifts is seen as a luxury, when in reality it is the key to sustainability.
WM: You’ve been in development for a while and have now spent many successful years at JGA. Can you tell us what you have experienced in working with organizations that were SUCCESSFUL at creating a sustainable annual fund program?
KK: The most successful programs we have experienced are integrated programs that have a 12 month cycle for the annual fund that is characterized by high retention of current donors, methods for identifying and acquiring new donors, and ways to upgrade existing donors to higher levels. In addition to a strong annual fund program, they also invest in a major gifts program and in planned giving.
The integration of the three is the key to greater success over the long run.
WM: What are 2 obstacles that many organizations have trouble getting past when thinking about annual fund programs?
KK: 1. We can’t afford to invest any more in fundraising since we have had to cut back on program staff – it wouldn’t be fair or equal.
2. We can’t wait for major or planned gifts to materialize.
WM: For the fans, Kris, how do you like to spend your time OUTSIDE of fundraising and consulting with clients? How do you stay fresh, ready, and motivated to help organizations tackle difficulties in their own advancement?
KK: At JGA we intentionally invest in internal team meetings inviting experts to come and speak to our staff on the latest trends in philanthropy, financial planning, and human capital development. This keeps us fresh and in tune with what’s new in the field.
Personally, 18 holes of golf will do wonders to re-center and rejuvenate me. I also love helping our clients be successful in meeting their goals, so consulting is never boring. Every client is a new situation and a new opportunity.
WM: Kris, thank you so much for taking time to allow AFP Indiana to get to know you a little better! We look forward to hearing from you on January 22nd.
NEW LOCATION! NEW LOCATION!
We are changing locations for our AFP Luncheons this year. Please note that next week’s luncheon will be located at
Ivy Tech Community College, Corporate College and Culinary Center
2820 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46208
Are you unable to attend? Shoot me any questions you may have for Kris, and I will be sure to ask him during his talk! Leave them in the comment section.