Development Consulting Solutions is announcing NEW interim and project-based service offerings:
Who is “DCS”? There are limited Certified Fund-Raising Executives (CFRE) providing outsourced fund development services and serving as interim fund development staffing. What most organizations need is someone who can do the work for them!
“DCS” recognizes this need and has provided this service to a variety of small to mid-sized nonprofits throughout the New England region. Some of these nonprofits have included Malta House of Norwalk, CT, Friends of Buttonwood Park of New Bedford, MA, and United Methodist Elder Care of East Providence, RI.
“DCS’s mission” “DCS” does not engage with everyone! We have a rigorous eligibility requirement and screening process and only work with four select clients at a time.
What are our requirements? We only work with small to mid-sized organizations that are ready, receptive, and willing to take their development program to the next level through outsourced assistance. These organizations have an engaged Board of Directors, an open-minded and willing staff, and leadership ready to support the organization.
We only work with organizations that are willing to invest in their development function, value established service costs, heed professional advice, and strategy, and act respectfully in the client and consultant relationship.
By selecting those clients most ready to embark on taking their organization to the next level, “DCS” provides you with the tools and staffing to raise more money in support of mission!
To provide outsourced development expertise to organizations that do not want to hire someone in-house.
To assist busy executive directors with taking a few things off their plates.
To reassure donors during a transition or vacancy in your development office that your fundraising efforts will continue
If time is needed to do a search for a permanent development director, and you do not want to be rushed to make a selection
When you are seeking a new executive director and you want to be sure that this leader has an opportunity to select the permanent development director
Because as interim development director, I can have more candid conversations with the executive director, board, and other leaders about why there are problems with keeping development staff or staff is underperforming
When your organization has never had a development director and needs an experienced professional with a proven track record to start up the development office and pave the way for a more junior development officer to be successful.
Here is what “DCS” can do for you:
Assess current fundraising activities and make recommendations to improve strategy
Improve your fundraising efforts
Model what a good development officer does
Enhance systems and processes within the development office
Troubleshoot development problems
Coach the Executive Director and Board in fundraising to boost confidence and skill
Help with the hire of a permanent development director
“DCS” helps with:
Direct Mail Appeals
Development print publications – your newsletter, annual report, brochures, etc.
Meetings, meetings, meetings. We all know them, and we all attend them.here are three types of meetings and the way that you position yourself physically within the meeting could make a world of difference. Including meeting with our donors.
But, did you know there are three types of meetings, and the way that you position yourself physically within the meeting could make a world of difference to the meetings outcome? Yes!
Meetings, meetings, meetings! Are they positioned correctly?
So, what are these three essential meeting types and how can you best position yourself?
The three types of meetings are collaborative, presentation, and decision.
What is the difference between them?
A collaborative meeting is when you are engaging in an interactive meeting working as equals towards a common goal. These might be meetings held between department managers, Board members, or any other type of peer working group.
A presentation meeting is when you or someone else is presenting to or facilitating a group. You may be demonstrating a strategy, conducting a PowerPoint, or making a case. In this mode, you are in front of the audience.
A decision meeting is when there is a decision to be made, and the meeting needs cooperation to make that decision.
Can you see any one of these meetings between yourself and a donor? I sure can. In one instance, you may work together to volunteer on a project (collaborative), or you may be presenting your case for support (presentation), or asking for a gift (decision).
So, how do you position yourself at each of these meetings to affect the result?
Well, in a collaborative meeting, you surely want to create a high level of interaction, so you must create an “equal” seating pattern. In this case, round seating arrangements would work well. They foster a sense of contribution, collaboration, and community. Avoid at all cost, any seating position that places people at the “head” or in prominent positions of power.
In a presentation, the goals are to create connection and interaction. Presenters need to move freely within the group while working one-on-one with others and connect folks through hand gestures. The facilitator or presenter is in a spotlight, and they regularly bring others to the stage making them look good.
In a decision meeting, the power must always seem to be in the decision makers hand, even if it is not. Folks sitting at the head and foot o the table are in power positions, and those facing inside seats are more peer oriented. One must always work in this case to keep the power dynamic at the forefront through seat positioning.
So the next time that you have a donor meeting scheduled, think about what the aim of the meeting is and how you are going to position yourself at the table. Sometimes meetings can be much more than meets the eyes and you want to be sure to use all the tools in your potential toolbox as you can to have a successful outcome.
Research has shown that people like to talk about themselves. And, there is a reason why. It stimulates areas of the brain. It makes them physically feel good to talk about themselves – stimulating the same areas in the brain that sex, cocaine, and good food does. And, we all know what good food does for us!
What scientists found is that “Activation of this part of the brain when discussing the self-suggests that self-disclosure, like other more traditionally recognized stimuli, may be inherently pleasurable—and that people may be motivated to talk about themselves more than other topics (no matter how interesting or important these non-self topics may be).”
Talking about oneself makes you likeable, builds trust and social bonds, and creates overall happiness. Talking about oneself also leads to the feeling of teamwork. So when we get folks talking about themselves, areas of their brains start to fire and create a pleasurable experience.
This fact all indicates to the types of conversations that we should be having with our donors. Discussions not about our organizations or what we are doing or are interested in, they should be aimed at getting the donor to talk about themselves. It makes them feel good, and it starts that cycle of self-sharing where they feel as if they want to share more.
While we all have been told to find out more about what makes our donors tick, in this case, I urge you to do that and more. Find out what makes them “tick” and help them feel good about meeting with you, the relationship that is developing, and ultimately your organization! People like to talk about themselves because it feels good. So, get people feeling good and happy, and you will build trust and likeability. Go ahead, do it.
So, how can we engage donors in self-talk? Start by asking them what their interests are:
What personally excites them?
What legacy are they hoping to leave in the world?
Why does this cause matter to them?
What do they enjoying doing in their free time?
What enrages them most about what is happening in the world today?
What is one thing on their bucket list?
What keeps them up at night?
How would they like to make a difference?
What has been their greatest life achievement?
What book have they read that has been most thought provoking?
Etc., etc., etc.
Ask them to share about their:
Etc., etc., etc.
Use these conversation starters to get your donor to begin talking about themselves and sharing more about what interests them. It is your job to listen. So rather than think about what you’re going to say before going into a donor meeting. Think about what questions you can ask that will stimulate this self-sharing and ultimately lead the donor to share more while feeling good. And, we all know what happens when you make a donor feel good!
Recently, I had some conversations with a former co-worker. Her outlook and atmosphere had changed so dramatically that I had pause and ask, what is different. Well, she set me on the course of all of her “research” on the importance of human body language. And, I realized that there was profound applicability for me personally, but also for me professionally as a fund development professional, particularly as it applied to major gifts work.
So, I set out to view some of these suggested videos on research from my friend. And, I wanted to put some ideas in practice.
The first important concept I learned about is “setting your intention.” When I Googled setting an intention, I came up with many entries. The practice of doing so has deep historical and religious roots. However, it is about stating what you want the outcome to be for a given encounter. The second concepts that I am learning about are the importance of non-verbal body language and how to “command”
your territory. Use facial gestures that indicate happiness, open up your chest area, use hands to illustrate your words, etc.
With an upcoming major gift visit, I decided to put some of these concepts into practice.
For this particular major gift solicitation, I knew that there was an ideal gift in mind. So, before I arrived at the meeting, I had decided that I was going to set the intention. The intention of this particular meeting was to obtain a gift of a pre-determined amount. I also made a conscious effort to use some of these body language techniques. Sitting with shoulders back, feet planted, a smile on my face, conversations “easers,” and the most important topic, using hand gestures.
What was the result? Well, evidently I felt more confident and at ease. I held the attention of those I were meeting. They and I were both at ease with each other. And, most important when negotiation started regarding the gift amount, that intention was there, and it propelled me forward. So when an objection popped up, I found myself more purposeful regarding setting the donor’s heights higher than what they were even thinking.
The question remains will the gift come in at that amount? Truly, it is up to the donor to decide, and they are going to take that time to do so. However, what was most important is that these “new” techniques gave me greater confidence to be able to ask for my intention with much greater ease. Subconsciously set, the intention moved me forward in a way that I had not been before.
So, I see where my former co-worker is getting her energy. There is something to this science of body language. Others have spent work studying the importance of what we say and the emotions in which we say it in fund development, but I have seen little on the non-verbal study of people and their behaviors and how we interact. I suppose if we are involved in major or individual gift work that it would behoove us to learn more about these techniques for ourselves and to study what they mean in others.
Off I go to watch more TED Talks. And, you need to keep track of this gent…Mark Bowden, the leading expert on body language!