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Inspired Development by Randy Bronkema

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Unlock Success with Donor Research

Many Christian non-profits find it challenging to convert names in their database into major donors for their ministry. So, how do we find and cultivate larger donors from our existing donor database? The answer is prospect research. Please understand that in order to meet the needs of the organization, research is the key. However, many ministries cannot afford a full time database researcher. They respond to this issue by ignoring database research completely. This is not the answer. There are things you can do in your current database to start the process today! STEP 1: UNITE AROUND A VISION Research proves that over 78% of people give to a compelling vision. Vision unites an organization. Once board and staff unite around a vision, you begin researching possible donors that can help you reach that vision. STEP 2: COLLECT INFORMATION Information about your donors plays a major role in success with your donor database. It needs to be part of the expected climate in your office to collect informati ...

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Building Results without a Capital Campaign

Do you have projects to accomplish, but are not quite ready to launch a capital campaign? Capital campaigns can be both overwhelming and sometimes unnecessary. Thinking outside of the box can give you a boost and bring some real fun and excitement back to your team and your donors. “Advocace is helping us move forward with a major gift program, along with keeping our annual fund growing,” says Bill Sammons General Manager at WKNZ-88.7 The Bridge. Where do you start? Make a project list, or better yet, a “wish list.” Don’t be shy—put everything on it, items that are $10 or $10 million dollars. Think little and big. What things would be beneficial to your project? Maybe you need maintenance items, new transmitters, or capital improvement. This list becomes your tool to begin exploring funding interest. So, don’t leave anything off the list, no matter how unrealistic you it seems to you. Still need help? Try asking yourself and your team what projects or items are in your strategic plan. Consider things like ...

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You Can Change Your Work Culture

1980: Managers needed to keep things consistent or the same 1990: Individual leaders needed because everything is changing 2000: Team leaders needed because leadership is multi-faceted The saying goes, “the only thing that stays that same is that everything changes.” And it is so true! Our role as leaders has consistently morphed to meet our changing culture. No one can deny that in order to succeed, you must be willing to change. And, as you change, you will find that you have the power to impact the culture around you. One of our clients, Brian Yeager, President of Barefoot Media Ministries, 89.5 KTSY and 88.1 The Bridge, said, “One of the hardest things you can do is lead your organization through change. But to not change is to ensure that you and your organization will fade away into irrelevance. To lead chang ...

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5 Summer Rules for Finding Major Gifts

Summer is a great time to remind each other that what you are doing matters. You are a part of a vision that was established to change the world that we live in. You are impacting lives and making a difference. You have been given the responsibility of continuing the good work of your mission. Don’t let summer slow you down, continue to educate yourself with tools that will make you better at what you do. Continue to deliver the message of positive hope and direction to your team. Use this summer to continue reaching out to donors, building relationships and dreaming! These 5 summer rules for finding more major gifts will help you continue on a successful path: Expand the base of generous, annual fund donors. Focus on generating more annual fund donors that are able to give $1,000 or more. As you spend time cultivating a relationship with these donors you will find they are capable and willing to give in addition to their annual donation for special purposes. Involve more volunteers. Identify meanin ...

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Begin This Summer With a New Habit – Listen!

"The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people.” --Woodrow Wilson Major gift fundraising is more about listening than talking. You’ve seen it and know that it is true—the fundraiser who talks too much tends to fail. At times it is hard to draw a line between expressing our passion and including people into our vision. We lean toward talking where we are in control and more comfortable. Soon we find that we’ve left everyone, including the major donor, who we need to realize the vision of the ministry, out of the conversation. We believe in our cause so much it is possible to actually talk people out of giving. We become so excited about what we are doing that we forget fundraising is about relationships and relationships are about listening. Listen to a Monologue or Join a Dialogue? How do you feel when your friend talks too much and doesn’t listen to you? We have to imagine our donors feel the same way. Remember the art of fundraising is about building relationships not about asking ...

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Fundraising is Spiritual Business

I wish we didn’t have to do “fundraising!” I hear this statement almost every day from the managers and directors of the nonprofit organizations that I work alongside. These people have a passion for what they do, but need to “fundraise” in order to do the work they believe in; work that is changing the world. Can you relate? You are sitting in a meeting, looking for new and fresh ways to present this year’s share-a-thon and prepare your direct mail. Year after year, you begin your planning season by asking, “What types of fundraising should we organize?” Planning fundraising events proves crucial for success, but it is equally important that you stop and consider why you fundraise. Maybe the question we should be asking is, “As a Christian, what does fundraising mean to me, my team and my ministry?” You must decide if fundraising simply falls in the category of a “necessary evil” or if it something much more important. As the leader of a non-profit organization, the first thing you must realize is this– ...

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Make the Impossible Possible!

Ask yourself this question: Why did the people that chose to give their money, donate it to your cause? As leaders and fundraisers for our organizations, we need to not only be asking this question but we also need to learn how to answer it. We know that the Holy Spirit leads his people to be givers based on three factors: Need, Relationship, and Vision; so let’s start there. Did you know that the lowest percentage of giving is based upon need? Only 8% of the Evangelical Christians, who give, give in order to be the answer to a particular need. However, in my work with fundraising people, I see that most of our organizations function in a “high needs world”. Our needs are real and tangible, and so we talk more about them than we do anything else. This approach worked 20 years ago with the World War II generation, but that generation, and that mindset, has passed. Sometimes people, about 20%, will be compelled to give because they know an individual or respect the person that is in char ...

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Giving and Getting in the Kingdom

I have the great honor of a having a Godly mentor. His name is Dr. Mark Dillon and he is the Vice President for Advancement at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. Recently Mark published a book called, Giving and Getting in the Kingdom, an amazing book on the fundamentals of fund raising in the Kingdom of God. I hope you will read Mark’s book as I believe the principles outlined there will help your ministry look at development through brand new eyes. I want to give you just a small taste of what the powerful concepts in this book can do to breathe life and focus into your fundraising efforts. How do you motivate those who are uninspired to give? You teach them. You remind them. 1. When we commit to generosity we demonstrate that God, not money, comes first in our lives. 2. Giving can be offered from gratefulness for God’s abundant grace given to us. 3. Giving allows us to be obedient to God’s Word. 4. We can trust God alone for His provision and use of our resources for His ...

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Is Your Organization Ready for a Capital Campaign?

Answering this question honestly is the first step to pre-campaign preparation. I have worked with many organizations that have identified the need and then have jumped straight into the campaign. While I am encouraged by their eagerness and hard work, I would much rather see them get a strong rate of return on their efforts, even if it takes them a bit longer to get started. So, before we start any campaign, I always make sure we are able to answer seven questions. If we are not able to, we are simply not ready to run the campaign. Use this list of questions to make sure that you are equipped and prepared for your next capital campaign: 1. Is there enthusiastic agreement among the board of directors and the staff concerning the worthiness of the cause? 2. Are the board and staff willing to make personal sacrifices for the campaign, including both time and money? 3. Is your ministry well regarded and highly respected in the community and your “mission” seen as important and relevant? 4. Do you have ...

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Build Your Donor Pond into a Lake

I recently heard this comment, “We just have a small pond of donors.” And, I have to be honest, it really bothered me. What that person, a development officer even, was saying was “The reason we can only do so much is we have limited resources.” I would like to offer, “The reason we do so little is we have limited vision, not limited resources.” Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” It is dangerous to think limiting thoughts and not just because it limits our potential, but more to the core, it limits our God, who wants to move in your world and demonstrate His glory; a glory that will call people to Him. Believe that our God is a God of unlimited resources and unfathomable generosity. We must change this attitude of complacency if we are going to fulfill the mission He has given to us. Do we want to be a people full of fear or a people full of faith? I believe our passivity exposes our fear; fear to believe for more, fear to ask for more, and fear to do the hard work of dreamin ...

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Comments
  1. Re: What is Your Purpose?

    Putting the passion back into in our ministries! Great message, Randy! Paul summed up our participation...

    -- Will Stevens

Inspired Development
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About Randy

I've spent most of my life helping non-profit organizations pursue their vision. My passion is to help non-profits reach their communities and grow discipleship through development.

My work with Christian universities, Christian academies, missions groups, radio stations and local churches really gets me going. Underneath all the work is a real desire to see leaders grab hold of the opportunity God has given them.

Whether major gift development, annual fund plans or donor strategy, I rely on many of the business disciplines from the corporate workplace at JC Penney and Amway Corporation.

I enjoy working with young men to become strong leaders in their families, workplaces and churches. I started The Timothy Project a few years ago to work with men in my local community.

You can find out more about how I help non-profit organizations and how to contact me here.

Thanks for commenting on my blog,

Randy