Development

Master the complexities of fundraising and maximize your nonprofit’s potential.

growthcycleLet’s face it: even for experienced nonprofit leaders, development can be daunting. Fundraising demands an incredible amount of energy and expertise — especially in today’s economic environment, when funding streams are often unpredictable.

In addition, as your nonprofit organization grows and evolves, what used to work may no longer be sufficient or appropriate. Many times, nonprofits need to to cultivate new funding streams to achieve a better balance between public and private dollars or to reduce reliance on a single fundraising strategy. Development plans and tactics must be reviewed and re-engineered on a regular basis, both to respond to changes within the organization, and to changes in the funding environment.

If you are struggling with any aspect of fundraising — or simply wondering what you could be doing differently to raise more dollars to support your mission — Capacity Partners can help. Our comprehensive development services include:

Campaigns

A capital campaign is a significant undertaking. It asks all constituents to give at unprecedented levels in order to fund a new initiative that will transform the organization. Capacity Partners offers particular expertise with first-time campaigns and campaigns that require out-of-the box thinking.

Our fundraising experts can guide you to fine tune your vision for the campaign, set an ambitious yet realistic goal, recruit campaign leadership, solicit leadership gifts, execute an advance gifts / quiet phase that will give you solid information to ensure the campaign’s success, and design and implement a phase that will involve the entire community and encourage supporters to stretch in order to make your vision a reality.

Feasibility Studies

Successful campaigns almost always begin with a feasibility study to assess the depth of potential support and the likelihood of achieving a specific campaign goal. Capacity Partners is known for our high degree of accuracy in recommending realistic yet achievable campaign goals.

Our methodology merges one-on-one interviews with extensive data analysis. Through the interviews, we examine the appeal of your vision and plan, perceptions of potential donors regarding your leadership, key messages that will motivate donors, internal readiness, and more. Data analysis provides a framework for measuring campaign potential against industry norms. This means your campaign goal will be set in light of both the project’s needs financial needs and the community’s ability and willingness to fund the project.

Our studies are accompanied by in-depth reports that focus on the key levers of success and, if desired, highly detailed campaign plans. The Capacity Partners® Feasibility Study examines the following elements of a successful campaign:

  • A strong institutional image
  • Compelling vision and strategic plan for the future
  • Campaign objectives that potential donors consider important
  • Effective board and staff leadership
  • Motivated campaign volunteers that potential donors know and respect
  • Immediate potential for current donors to give lead gifts
  • Long-term capacity for additional donors to be cultivated and solicited
  • Readiness of staff, structure and systems to conduct and complete the campaign

Comprehensive Fundraising Planning

Every organization should have a comprehensive annual development plan that includes all the elements of individual giving (annual campaign, major gifts, planned giving); corporate and foundation support; special events; and online fundraising and social media. To develop such a plan, we start by assessing the potential of your constituency, the design of your program, and your track record of success. We then work collaboratively with your team to craft a highly customized fundraising plan that will leverage your unique assets in order to attract and engage a constituency that will support your vision. With Capacity Partners, you will receive a comprehensive plan that helps you soar.

Major Gifts

Whether you are creating your first major gifts program or have major gifts experience but need expert help with campaign planning, Capacity Partners can help you develop a thoroughly analyzed plan that maximizes your ability to attract major gifts. The plan will include major gift identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship activities. In-depth involvement by your organization’s board members, volunteers and senior staff in all phases of a major gits campaign — including face-to-face solicitations — is fundamental, and our half-day training session “10 Steps to Solicitation Success” for board members and volunteers is widely praised by our clients.

Planned Giving

We believe that planned giving should be an element of every nonprofit’s fundraising plan, regardless of the size of the organization. Planned giving donors provide a way for an organization to ensure its long-term success. Successful planned giving programs also help donors with financial planning and provide a powerful way to make larger gifts to the nonprofits they care about. Capacity Partners works with clients to integrate planned giving into  annual fund programs, and we collaborate with partner consultants who have specialized expertise in planned giving vehicles.

Grants

Grant support is a fundamental element of a comprehensive fundraising plan and is often a significant part of an organization’s revenue. Capacity Partners has exceptional experience helping organizations identify  corporate and foundation grants prospects. We know how to match guidelines and criteria of prospective funders to your program details, and how to best position your organization to demonstrate your ability to achieve a funder’s desired outcomes. Our team and partner consultants also assist with grantwriting, and we have experience writing grant proposals for local, national, and international nonprofits.

Special Events

Special events are the first place that many nonprofits turn to raise dollars while raising awareness. Events provide a good opportunity to get many people more involved in your cause, and they can be structured as a major gifts strategy for top sponsors. Events should definitely be a part of your donor acquisition and retention plans. However, because events are labor intensive and have a lower net income than other fundraising strategies, they require careful planning and excellent execution to prove successful. Capacity Partners can work with you to determine the best type of events to achieve your organization’s goals, and our partner consultants can assist you with event planning and execution.

Donor Communications

Essentially every program area in which we consult, every part of development (major gifts, special events etc etc) needs donor communications. It starts with the right message which is then translated into the right design. Messaging for development is a subset of organizational messaging and needs to be carefully crafted, whether for the annual fund or for a special campaign. The Capacity Partners’ team of consultants and partner companies can help you define those messages and transform them into compelling design.

Database Selection

Donor management systems are a key tool in managing information about donors and their gifts. Every nonprofit organization needs a carefully selected database system, and today you have many options to choose from. With decades of experience developing software for nonprofits, our team helps clients select the system that best matches their current needs and priorities. We have relationships with many software vendors and can help you sort through the myriad of features to pinpoint those most essential for you.  For large complex organizations, we refer the requirements analysis to a partner consultant.

Wealth Screening and Constituency Analysis

In today’s world of “big data,” analyzing the wealth capacity of your donors and assessing the potential of your prospect pool is a must. Capacity Partners brings experience designing and implementing wealth identification for nonprofits of all sizes and types.  We are proud to partner with WealthEngine, the leading supplier of data and analytics for the nonprofit industry. We build upon the strong foundation of data and knowledge that a WealthEngine screening offer, analyzing data and merging it with our intimate knowledge of your organization.

Our constituency analysis helps you address key questions such as “What is the total giving capacity of our organization?” and “If we add staff, how much can we expect to raise in the next three years?” This type of analysis is also essential for understanding individual giving ability and the likelihood of giving on a case-by-case basis.

Looking for expert help with any aspect of development? Contact us today.

We also offer a full range of strategy services. Learn more.

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Capacity Partners, Inc.
4701 Sangamore Road
Suite S-150
Bethesda, MD 20816

240.462.5151
301.320.0944 FAX