JGA Blog listing page

Strategic Planning During Uncertain Times

September 15, 2021

At its core, thoughtful, regular strategic planning is essential to nonprofit organizations. Successful mission delivery and fulfillment, organizational growth and expansion, and a solid financial footing all depend on your organization’s commitment to establishing a shared vision for the future and identifying the specific strategies and action steps needed to realize that vision.

Together, our global family, experienced something we never could have imagined during the COVID-19 pandemic. And, with the Delta variant of the virus raging across our country and world, it’s hard to predict when the pandemic will be behind us. 

We know most nonprofit organizations experienced some disruption caused by the pandemic, and in these times, the work of the social sector is even more critically important. Organizations serving the greater good must continue to clarify the purpose and aim of their work as well as planning for their futures.

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Donor Engagement and Retention Techniques to Solidify Relationships

August 11, 2021

While we need to work to engage all of our donors, many nonprofits have experienced the benefit of an influx of new donors in response to the pandemic’s challenges. What can you do to engage and retain these new donors as well as deepen your relationships with your existing donor pool?

Donor Engagement

While we are operating in unusual times, you do not want to throw out your tried-and-true ways of engaging and stewarding your donors. But, you might consider adding the following strategies as well.

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Planning for Hybrid Events and Gatherings in 2021 and Beyond

July 07, 2021

In June 2021, I attended my first in-person board strategy session since the pandemic began 15 months ago. I was delighted to grab a marker and write on a white board to capture the brainstorming ideas of a group of committed volunteers who were excited to be together. At the same time, I was facilitating a group of volunteers on Zoom who joined the meeting virtually and diligently followed the conversation and contributed their ideas. By the end of the 4-hour session, I was admittedly relieved that the blend of in-person and virtual had gone so well – buoyed by excellent technology, the ability to host small group breakouts both in-person and virtually, and attentiveness to the needs of all attendees regardless of their method of participation.

This is our new reality in both meeting and event planning. For the remainder of 2021, and likely beyond, we will be challenged to welcome all to our meetings and events regardless of geography, health, and busy schedules.

What are the key considerations we need to address as we step into this new reality?

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Despite Headwinds, Giving USA Reports Giving Grew in 2020

June 15, 2021

2020 was a year like no other. Despite the challenges and unpredictability that occurred, giving maintained the normal overall pattern of year-to-year growth and reached the highest total in history. 

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Planning for a Successful Campaign in Today’s Environment

April 29, 2021

Whether you are in a campaign now or considering the next one, it’s essential to reflect on what has changed during the past year and what the best path forward is in the current climate. Here are some tips to help you plan for a campaign in today's environment taken from a recent webinar I conducted with my colleague John Keith.

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Build Resiliency into Your Nonprofit Strategic Planning

April 12, 2021

Life is full of opportunities and challenges, and we certainly faced our share in 2020. However, not everything we’ve gone through in the last year is negative. There are some lessons learned we may want to keep – opportunities to capitalize on in the future. It is important to learn from each challenge so you can prepare, mitigate, and more easily turn the next challenge into an opportunity. That’s called resiliency. It sounds easy—but let’s be honest: it isn’t.

Resiliency is the ability to recover from a setback, adapt to new challenges, and keep going in the face of adversity. In a nonprofit, as a staff or volunteer leader, one of the best tools to foster resiliency no matter what is thrown at your organization—internally or externally—is a strategic plan, which:

  • provides a road map to lead your organization from where you are now to where you would like to be in the future;
  • sets priorities and focuses your organization’s resources; and
  • establishes measurable goals and a template to evaluate progress and adapt to a changing environment.

On a recent JGA webinar, I shared six tips to help you create a resilient organization by building resiliency into your strategic planning.

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Lessons Learned from Fundraising in a Pandemic

March 24, 2021

As we begin to feel the warmer breezes of Spring and the sense of renewal it brings with it, it seems a great time to reflect on what we learned—and not just say “Good riddance!” to a most unusual year. We may just find that there are some lessons we learned as we pivoted during the pandemic which we can carry forward to help boost relationships, efficiency, and even fundraising results.

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Words of Wisdom to Guide Your Development Career

February 16, 2021

“Anyone who has been involved in philanthropy, either as a donor, volunteer, or development professional, knows the joy that comes from giving generously or serving as an intermediary to a generous gift.” – Daniel A. Schipp, Senior Consultant, JGA

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Tools to Fast Track Philanthropy in 2021: Set the stage for fundraising success

February 02, 2021

Since March 2020, our motto at JGA has been “generosity is not cancelled.” So many things in our lives have been cancelled due to the pandemic, but generosity is not one of them. Donors have not stopped sharing their gifts of time, talent, and treasure. We have seen this generosity in support of campaigns, days of giving, and ongoing operations, as well as a continued commitment to volunteerism – although the format has changed in a virtual world.

What does this mean for 2021? As you look toward continuing to raise philanthropic support for your mission in 2021, what will you do to set the stage for generosity to continue?

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A Crisis of Faith: The Ripple Effect of Declines in Giving to Religion

January 13, 2021

There is a multi-dimensional challenge facing churches in America that has me concerned, and I think you should be as well. Given my background, it should not surprise you that I am concerned about this matter. (Prior to joining JGA as a senior consultant, I spent twenty-five years working in development for a religious institution, and during my twelve years with JGA, I have worked with more than fifty faith-based organizations.) The challenge is related to several troubling trends in the current U.S. religious landscape. As I will explain later, I think you also should be concerned . . . whether or not your fundraising is for a religious-affiliated organization.

My concern is threefold: 1) Giving to religious organizations as a percentage of total philanthropy is declining substantially; 2) participation in congregations is at a historic low; and 3) the changed religious practices brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic could have a continuing, long-term impact on congregations.

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