20 Plus 7 Things Community Foundations Do That Drive Me Nuts!!!
Four Goals • Have Fun Ranting on my Soap-Box • Make Sure Everyone is Disturbed/Uncomfortable At Least Once • Make Sure You Never Hire Me for Anything… Ever • Give You at Least Three Practical Ideas
#1 Thing That Drives Me Nuts Constantly Hearing: “We Are the Best Kept Secret in Town!”
CF Response: 1. Initiative Overkill: Don’t Understand Actions Create Brands 2. Marketing Overkill: Deserves/Receives a Separate Slide Recommendation: 1. Focus on Top 1/2 of 1% of Market… Period 3
#2 Thing That Drives Me Nuts Constantly Hearing: “We Want More Discretionary Money”
CF Response: 1. Clever Ways of “Coaxing” Living Donors to Give Unrestricted 2. Of 500 Board Members: How Many Have Living Discretionary Funds Over $25,000? Recommendation: 1. Most Discretionary Funds Come From Actuarily Attractive, Wealthy, Childless Widows 2. Some Come From Converting Scholarship Interest Into “Teachable Moments” – Be Opportunistic! 4
#3 Thing That Drives Me Nuts Marketing Overkill CF Response: 1. “Fishing with a Net” 2. Busy is Not Productive Recommendations: 1. Stories, Stories and More Stories 2. Use National Marketing Action Team Materials – Stop Customizing Everything!!! 5
#4 Thing That Drives Me Nuts Sales Underkill CF Response: 1. Sell is Not a Four-Letter Word 2. CF Osmosis Does Not Work Recommendations: 1. Tell Them What You Want! 2. Focus on Ideal Donor: Strategically Align Sales/Marketing
3. Shift from Service Culture to Sales Culture 6
#5 Thing That Drives Me Nuts Disengaged and Complacent Board “Deadwood” Recommendations: 1. Set Expectations and Hold Them Accountable 2. Create Actions Any Board Member Can Select – Hosting One “Widening the Circle” Prospect Event – 5 hours Inviting an ideal prospect to lunch or to a prospect event – 1 hour Setting up a targeted civic club or association speech – 1 hour Co-presenting a talk about the Foundation – 1 hour Introducing staff to each one of his/her professional advisors – 1 hour Personal call to welcome new donors to CF – 3 calls for 1 hour Ask for 3-5 Hours/Year for Development and Donor Services Commit to 100% personal giving and/or planned gift for a fund or any CF initiative.
#6 Thing That Drives Me Nuts “Being All Things to All People” CF Response: 1. CF Staff/Board Genetically Can’t Say No! Recommendations: 1. Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should 2. Refer Out “Poor Fit” Cases: Agency Endowments, Scholarships, Small Funds, Short-Term PassThrough Funds, Memorial Funds, Etc. - Choke Them Off by Policy or Fee 3. Know Your Ideal Customer – If You Had to “Fire” 90% of Your Funds, Which 10% Would You Keep?”
#7 Thing That Drives Me Nuts Having No Strategic or Even Unstrategic Plan CF Response: 1. Completely Reactive vs. Intentional 2. All Challenging Funds will Find You 3. If You Are On Your Heels, You Aren’t In Control
Recommendation: 1. Have a Plan and Have the Discipline/Focus to Unwaveringly Execute 9
#8 Thing That Drives Me Nuts Hiring Too Many Consultants and Going to Too Many Conferences CF Response: 1. Copy Everything That Sounds Hot 2. Overly Compulsive Focus on Big Foundations Recommendation: 1. If You Copy an Approach, Customize for Your CF 2. Use Consultants Sparingly with a Targeted Agenda Don’t Let Every Project Become Bigger Than it Needs to Be
#9 Thing That Drives Me Nuts Making a Complicated Community Foundation Structure Too Complicated Recommendations: 1. Think Baseball: Throw the Ball, Catch the Ball, Hit the Ball – For CFs: Get the Money, Grow the Money, Give the Money 2. Again, Tell Stories!
#10 Thing That Drives Me Nuts Community Foundations Don’t Play Well with Others CF Response: 1. I am the King/Queen of My Sandbox 2. It is only a Best Practice if We Invent It Recommendations: 1. Know Other Funders and Their Priorities! 2. Know Other Service Providers and Their
Sweet-Spots! 3. You Don’t Have to Steal Best Practices from the Field – You Can Just Ask and Say Thanks
#11 Thing That Drives Me Nuts Obsession with Acorns – Aversion to Oaks CF Response: 1. Create Acorn Funds, Youth Advisory Councils, Giving Circles, Successor Advisor Training, Etc. Recommendations:
1. In Point of Fact, Most Acorns Die 2. Focus on Oaks! Top 100 Families List
3. Coin Analogy: Quarters, Dimes, Nickels and Pennies
4. Incent Bigger Initial Funds and Fund Growth – Language, Fees and Services 13
#12 Thing That Drives Me Nuts
Obsession over Not Competing with Local Non-Profits: You Are So Get Over It! CF Response: 1. PR Campaign to Convince Others You Aren’t Competing 2. Annual Operating, Membership, Sponsor Drives Compete - Operational Sustainability is When You Don’t
Recommendation: 1. Relax! Tell Stories about How CFs Benefit Donors and the Community
#13 Thing That Drives Me Nuts Most CFs Can’t Spell Sustainability CF Response: 1. I Finally Get It: “All We Sell Are Loss Leaders!” Recommendations: 1. There is No Magic Asset Size… Period! 2. Minimum Fund Size and/or Fees Going Up 3. Alternative Revenue Sources Should Be Equitable and Balanced 15
#14 Thing That Drives Me Nuts Fundraising Funds, Affiliate Funds, Field-of-Interest Campaigns and Special Events Recommendations: 1. From a Development and Sustainability Perspective – These Don’t Work 2. From a Progammatic Perspective – These May Work 3. All Generate Lots of Small Gifts – and SUPERSUCK Staff Time (again “Busy is Not Productive”)
#15 Thing That Drives Me Nuts Not Returning Phone Calls/E-Mails in One Business Day and Other Customer Service Flubs Recommendations: 1. All You Are Selling is Trust and Confidence! 2. Follow Through! 3. Embed Customer Service Performance Standards In Every Employee Evaluation 4. Revisit Sales Slide!
#16 Thing That Drives Me Nuts Inconsistent Internal and External Messaging
Recommendations: 1. One to Two Sentence Elevator Speech 2. Exercise: Step 1: Ask Every Volunteer and Staff Member to Describe Your CF in One Sentence to a Prospective Donor. Step 2: Laugh or Cry. 18
#17 Thing That Drives Me Nuts Product-Based Approach Rather Than a Needs-Based Customer Service Approach
Recommendations: 1. They Don’t Need to See the Whole Menu 2. Let Prospects Talk – You Don’t 3. Then Create the Value Meal That is Right for Them 4. Again, Stories!
#18 Thing That Drives Me Nuts Keeping Donors Happy is NOT Enough CF Response: Survey, Survey, Survey Recommendation: Focus on Perfect/Ideal Donor Characteristics and Intentionally Move Them There • • • • • • • • • •
Actively grants out of fund each year Attends at least one CF function annually Makes annual contributions to the fund Does 100% of giving through the fund Makes responsive grants to a CF mailing Requests grant assistance Refers ideal donor Serves on CF committee or is a volunteer Creates a planned gift Actively co-invests with CF priorities
#19 Thing That Drives Me Nuts Actively grants out of fund each year
Measure Key Foundation Outcomes, Not Everything! Attends at least one GCF function annually Makes annual contributions to the fund Does 100% of giving through the fund Recommendations: Makes responsive grants to a GCF mailing 1. 1-2 Page Dashboard Reports on 8-10 Key Success Requests grant assistance Measures to Key Internal Staff/Volunteers is Refers ideal donor Usually Sufficient on GCF committee is a volunteer the Thing You 2. Don’tServes Spend More Time or Measuring Creates a planned gift Are Supposed to Be Doing! Actively co-invests withProductive! GCF priorities 3. Yet Again, Busy is not
#20 Thing That Drives Me Nuts Poor Care and Feeding of Professional Advisors
Recommendations: 1. Thank Them Profusely! Board/President and Publicly and Privately 2. Newsletter, Annual Meeting, Web, etc. 3. They are Your Unpaid Sales Force!
Five More Things That Should Have Made the List! 1. Non-Standardization – “Exceptions to Exceptions to Exceptions” are Kryptonite 2. Meaningless Mission Statements – “We want to improve the lives of people in our region.” 3. Recognize Your Value, Grow a Spine and Price Confidently/Accordingly – “Remember, Basic Cable is $50/month” 4. Grandfathering is Taking the Grandchildren to Disney – It is Not a Prudent Policy 5. Failure to Set Expectations of Staff, Board and Donors – “Don’t Complain when They Don’t Know What You Want Them to Do!” 23
And Two More Bonus Irritations! 1. “Our” is a Very, Very Dangerous Word! Think about what “We made a grant from our unrestricted pool” conveys, and most importantly, doesn’t convey - #123rd lost teachable moment! And please change the word “unrestricted” to something less milktoast! 2. “Bryan You Don’t Get It – We Don’t Have the Wealth of (Insert Larger City within a 3 Hour Drive)” Remember the “Two Kinds of Beer Story”?
Were The Goals Accomplished? • Have Fun Ranting on my Soap-Box • Make Sure Everyone is Disturbed/Uncomfortable At Least Once • Make Sure You Never Hire Me for Anything… Ever • Give You at Least Three Practical Ideas