Taking-Action-Option2This month, the Donor By Design Group is challenging you to take action, moving from resolutions to results. Today’s topic? Stop thinking about endowment and just do it!  

     In a recent conversation about both proposed capital and endowment programs, a longtime church member noted that many factors go into determining whether or not to proceed with a capital campaign. But then she said something that really caught my attention. She stated that an endowment development program is a “just do it.”

    She went on to explain that there are some things in life that just have to happen, such a providing great educational opportunities for your kids, or saving for retirement. In their church, an endowment development program is one of those things that just has to happen!

    Her comments are good reminder to all of us committed to the long-term financial strength and mission viability of our organizations.  Endowment development should be a “just do it” for all of us in 2017.

    The good news is that organizations can get started with modest investments of time and resources. Even small steps can produce significant results. With just a few hours of time this month, you can take important action towards strengthening your endowment fund:

    1. Make your personal commitment. And, if you’ve made it in the past, revisit your commitment. Does it reflect your current life situation and your intentions toward this organization?
    2. Send a search letter. There’s no reason to overcomplicate it. Sending a simple letter to your most likely donors is an easy first step – and one to do every couple of years.
    3. Engage local attorneys. Most conversations around planned giving take place in an attorney’s office. Why not take a local attorney or financial planner out for coffee or invite them to visit your nonprofit this month? The better they understand your mission, the more likely they will be to connect a donor who cares about similar things to your organization.
    4. Make a visit. Give one of your long-term supporters a call. With a simple visit over coffee, you can reconnect and share the impacts your organization made in the previous year.

    Endowment development is less about big pushes and more about steady, small efforts. Consistent conversations will result in dozens –or even hundreds – of endowment commitments in years to come.

    Whether you’re just starting an endowment development program, resurrecting a dormant program or fine tuning an on-going program, let 2017 be the year when endowment development becomes a “just do it’ for your organization.

    If you need assistance in getting started, Donor By Design would love to be part of the conversation!

    Posted by Mike Bussey on Jan. 9, 2017
    Mike Bussey

    Written by Mike Bussey

    Mike Bussey provides a comprehensive portfolio in fundraising and strategic management for YMCAs, churches and other faith-based organizations. Prior to joining the Donor By Design team, Mike served for eight years as YMCA of the USAs Financial Development consultant to 350 YMCAs in 14 Midwest states, as well as to the Jerusalem International YMCA.

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