This article was written and produced by Nancy Synder, Partner at The Bonadio Group, and Marc Misiurewicz, President and Founder, Empreinte Consulting, LLC.
Earlier this year, pre-pandemic if you can even remember back that far, our firm hired a consultant to look at the impact of our philanthropic activities. The consultant we hired was Rochester-based, Empreinte Consulting LLC, led by Marc Misiurewicz and Carrie Donnelly. Never heard of them and what is Empreinte you ask, let me briefly introduce them to you before we jump into our 5 areas to consider. The company name draws from Marc’s French, New Orleans, Creole heritage. Empreinte is the French word for footprint, imprint, or impression, and isn’t that what you want for your philanthropic endeavors, to have a lasting imprint? Empreinte is a team of consultants who provide outsourced development strategies to tax-exempt organizations and consultants to philanthropists on how to maximize the impact of their charitable donations. They provide a variety of services to tax-exempts including, but not limited to, functioning as the outsourced development team, teaching how to ask for money, prospect strategies, training development staff, and volunteer boards, and grant writing. I interviewed Marc so he could share some of what he has learned over the years and what follows will hopefully help your tax-exempt organization think differently about fundraising.
- Outsourcing Grant Writing– Has your organization considered the benefits of hiring a grant writer but thought you couldn’t afford it? It may not be cost-effective for your organization to have a full-time grant writer on staff but have you considered the funding you may be missing out on by not having an experienced grant writer? Without a grant writer, most tax-exempts look to another member of their staff to write grants without considering the full return on the investment (ROI). Is the staff member qualified to write the grants? Is that staff member’s time better spent someplace else i.e. if it is the Executive Director should he/she be running the organization rather than writing that grant? Partnering with Empreinte allows you to minimize your expenses and maximize your ROI from grant funding.
- Interim Leadership During Times of Transition– When your development team has turnover, it can be easy to say that you can get along without that leader in position. Consider that a good search for an experienced, well-qualified candidate can take 3-4 months or more. How much is your organization missing out on during that time and how will that vacancy impact, not only current but, future fundraising capabilities of your organization, and for how long? Interim leadership can work with current staff, advise management and the board, develop efficiencies, and train volunteers. Best of all, interim leadership can keep your fundraising endeavors on track without skipping a beat.
- Strategic Partner to Board and Management– Utilizing the expertise of a consultant can assist with strategic decisions related to a variety of fundraising activities. How do you have an impact on the donors and how does your message become compelling? How do you reach out to donors and how often? Is now the right time for a capital campaign; what should your goal be for dollars/donors; how do you begin? Do you have the right complement of staff on your team? Do you need a team of fundraisers? All these questions can be addressed, and you can utilize the expertise of someone who has years of experience in this space and learn from other organizations missteps and successes.
- Shift from Events Being Your Sole Source of Fundraising– The last 6 months have pointed out some reasons not to solely rely on events, but there are other reasons to consider alternatives to planning events to raise much-needed funds for your organization. Consider a holistic development strategic plan and how you get started down that path. A consultant can help direct the organization’s fundraising success in the future. Focus on a three-part giving philosophy of annual giving, aspirational gifts, and planned gifts. Having a plan on how to approach different donor audiences and knowing what will cause them to give is intentional not a chance event. What will motivate people to give of their time, talents, and treasures because your organization needs all three to survive.
- Leveraging the Strengths and Passion of Your Volunteers– Boards and committees can be an incredibly valuable tool in your fundraising efforts if trained and directed properly. Many volunteers are intimidated by the thought of fundraising and do not want to participate in a meaningful way. Imagine if your volunteers were trained properly and supported to help in donor outreach and solicitation. Selecting and involving passionate, mission-driven volunteers can make all the difference. They can function as an extension of your professional staff and open doors to funding sources that previously did not exist.
All these services and more are available to you by partnering with a consultant like the exceptional team at Empreinte Consulting. We have seen the benefit in relation to our own philanthropic activity. Hopefully, this article has sparked interest in how these services may help your organization.