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How to Create a Fund Development Plan

At Transform Consulting Group, we know how stressful and time consuming it can be to find funding sources that match an organization’s mission and vision that are also sustainable for future growth. We have found that taking the time to create a fund development plan and have some additional resources on-hand can greatly reduce the stress and confusion related to finding (and landing!) funding. In this blog, we will share some of the tips and strategies we use with clients to formalize their fund development plans. Start with the END in Mind Before you choose which fundraising strategy to pursue, you need a clear vision of where you (and your Board) want your organization to be as a result of

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Three Steps to Facilitate a Strategic Planning Retreat

Amanda Lopez leads the Wabash County Early Childhood Education Committee during their planning retreat. What comes to mind when someone says the word “retreat”? In the dictionary, “retreat” has a few different meanings: an act of moving back or withdrawing; a quiet or secluded place in which one can rest and relax; an act of changing one’s decisions, plans, or attitude, especially as a result of criticism from others. If we apply these definitions to a “planning retreat”, we can conclude that it is a meeting where a group can step back from regular daily activities to discuss decisions, plans and goals to help inform a strategic plan and future decisions. This means you don’t need to leave town to

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10 Tips for Your Year-End Giving Campaign

2017 is quickly coming to an end! Before you know it, we’ll be saying “Happy New Year” and plans for 2018 will be underway. We’re heading into the season of giving. It is that time of year where donor dollars increase significantly. Year-end giving trends suggest that nearly one third of annual giving happens in December. At Transform Consulting Group, we highlighted tips for ending your fiscal year strong in this blog. One way to finish the year on a high note, is to kick off a year-end campaign with these simple tips: Start Planning Now: You can’t wait until the last few weeks of December to reach out to donors or to make the first “ask.” Get a plan

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Shared Services: How Can Your Organization Maximize Impact While Minimizing Costs?

Many organizations struggle to secure enough funding to have the maximum impact on the goals aligned to their mission. In addition to seeking new funding to support your organization’s goals, you can examine your current expenses to find ways of reducing costs in order to put more money into programs that help accomplish your mission. There is a national trend of small and medium-size organizations coming together to “share services,” specifically noncore business services. If your business or organization is small, you may not have the budget to enable you to hire specialists on your staff for all operations, such as payroll, human resources, marketing, and accounting. By participating in shared services, your organization might be increasing your funding by

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Does Your Organization Have a Continuous Quality Improvement Process?

During a time where communities and policies are changing, it is important to ensure the programs and services within those communities are constantly evolving to meet the needs of families. The Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) model is an on-going process for organizations to be able to determine whether or not a change made led to an improvement in quality. In order to move towards making the necessary improvements, a review of what occurred is conducted through a CQI process like the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle. Steps to Complete a PDSA Cycle At Transform Consulting Group, we utilize this consistent approach when working with organizations to help them find solutions. Plan: Before beginning your PDSA cycle, you will need to have identified

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Is it time to redesign your program?

Organizations – public and private – go through different stages of development.  During this life cycle, it is not uncommon for an organization to update or modify their programs and services.  At the same time, however, some organizations can be stagnant and need to update their programs. How do you know when it is time for your organization to refresh your program? Below are three questions you should ask yourself to determine if it is time to update your program. Are we making the impact that we hoped to make? Is our program aligned with the latest research? Is our program meeting the needs of the target population? If you answer no to any of these questions, then it might

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Plan a “Giving Day” to Raise Funds and Build Awareness

Are you tired of putting so much time and energy into another fundraising event? Maybe you’re going to the same donors repeatedly asking for money, and you want to start broadening your reach. Many organizations across the country are jumping on the concept of a “Giving Day.” A Giving Day is a day-long online fundraising effort that unites a community around local causes. It’s an initiative that many non-profit organizations and educational institutions are utilizing to diversify their funding streams. Unlike your typical fundraising in-person event, Giving Days are focused primarily online. There is usually a landing page for giving and then social media outlets are utilized to build hype and engage an audience. Benefits of a Giving Day It’s more

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How to Avoid Program Complacency

It can be rewarding providing a program or service that is meeting an important need in the community! Part of providing your program or service is meeting the contractual and grant obligations laid out, but how do you go beyond that and ensure you keep things fresh? This is essential as you manage the program overtime. 4 Steps Using a program we manage, we outline how we have refreshed our approach and avoided being complacent to achieve greater impact: Focus on Mission It is vital to understand the purpose and mission of the program being implemented, especially as you look to make updates. The Indiana Heart Gallery (aka Heart Gallery) is a program created by the Indiana Department of Child

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How to Engage Diverse Stakeholders in your Planning

When creating a strategic plan or going through any organizational planning process, who do you engage in that process for feedback? In May, we discussed the 4 Steps of Strategic Planning. Step one is collaboration – Collaborate with key stakeholders to inform the strategic planning process and create buy-in and ownership in the plan. Who to Engage There are several different types of stakeholders to consider gathering feedback from during the strategic planning process. While it will vary depending on your organization and industry, there are some common stakeholders that we recommend including. They include the following key stakeholders: Funders – current and past funders who know your organization as well as the industry to provide insight on what’s working

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4 Tips for Writing an Effective RFP

We are fortunate to work on both sides of the grant making process. We work with funders administering grants to organizations to help carry out their mission and purpose.  We also work with organizations pursuing grants from funders and have written several blogs about grant writing here and here. In this blog, we are going to focus on the funder side of the grant making process and strategies that funders can employ to improve the outcomes of their grant awards.  Yes, the structure of a Request for Proposal (RFP) can have a positive or negative impact on the outcomes of grantees and funders accomplishing their goals. Whether a funder is establishing a new grant program or looking to update their

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