Asking Rights, Endowment, & Transfer Of Wealth, Part 1: Demonstrating The Value Of Outcomes

By Mark Bergethon

How do Asking Rights, endowment, and transfer of wealth impact each other? As part of the Central Florida Foundation‘s 20th anniversary celebration, Mark Brewer, President/CEO of the Central Florida Foundation (CFF), and Tom Ralser, Principal of Convergent Nonprofit {and author of Asking Rights: Why Some Nonprofits Get Funded (and some don’t)} provided a lot of valuable insights and useful information on these topics. 

Let’s take that conversation a step further though. How do Asking Rights, endowment, and transfer of wealth relate to fundraising campaigns? In order to better examine the concepts presented by Mark and Tom within the context of fundraising campaigns, I’ve broken the discussion into three parts: Demonstrating the Value of Outcomes; Raising Money for Endowment vs. Facilities or Programs; and The Time is Right to Launch a Capital Campaign.

Part I – Demonstrating the Value of Outcomes

During his portion of the presentation, Tom Ralser hammered home the point that in today’s fundraising environment the most effective approach to securing major investment for a nonprofit’s projects, programs, or endowments is to demonstrate the value of the outcomes those plans deliver to potential funders. That’s the essence of Asking Rights™. But in my experience, a lot of nonprofits have initial trouble identifying the outcomes they deliver and understanding what it means to translate those outcomes into value.

Let’s take a look at how it’s done. A classic example from Tom’s first book, ROI for Nonprofits, is as follows:

Outcome-Example-1

In this case, the nonprofit was providing classes to single mothers to help them earn a GED.  The number of people who signed up is the input and the number of people who passed the test is the output. The actual outcome is how many went on to become employed as a result.  In a fundraising context, we then take it one step further to show the value of that outcome in terms of economic impact to the community. The final step in meeting with an individual investor—say a banker, in this example—is to customize that value to them.  In this case, we showed how the additional economic impact to the community translated into additional bank deposits and demonstrated what the individual bank’s financial gain could be over time based on their market share.

The idea is to get beyond the pure emotional appeal (which can certainly still be very useful in a fundraising context) and supplement that approach with a rational appeal in order to increase the funding potential of a particular prospect or to expand interest to a broader array of prospects. Examples of valuable areas of impact could be:

  • Direct/indirect economic impacts
  • Value lost if actions are not taken
  • Strategic advantage achieved
  • Societal benefits enhanced
  • Societal costs avoided
  • Quality of life impacts
  • Quality of life value
  • Educational impacts
  • Cultural impacts
  • Environmental impacts
  • Health impacts
  • Efficiency/efficacy/sustainability results

There are plenty of ways to document and demonstrate value in a fundraising context, but they vary tremendously based on the type of nonprofit, the nature of the project/programs/endowment being proposed, and the interests of the funding target.

Next, we will take the information discussed here and apply it to Raising Money for Endowment vs. Facilities or Programs.