Introducing the Fundraising Reality Check

Chalkboard with a lightbulb and dollar signs

Introducing the Fundraising Reality Check

When transitioning to capital campaigns for fundraising, many nonprofits feel unsure whether or not they are ready to invest in large-scale efforts. Do you need more time? Will your fundraising efforts be a success? Thankfully, with the right tools and resources on your side, capital campaign success does not need to be a guessing game. This is why Convergent Nonprofit Solutions built our Fundraising Reality Check—a short and simple quiz to help you gauge your fundraising readiness. 

Where it Started: Asking Rights™

Our quiz was developed on the basis of Asking Rights, a concept coined by Tom Ralser, Convergent Principal and best-selling author. In his years working in the world of nonprofit fundraising, he has helped organizations raise an estimated $1.6+ billion. How? Tom takes an investment approach to nonprofit fundraising. This approach synthesizes success down to three essential factors: credibility, outcomes, and fundraising skills.

Measuring Your Nonprofit’s Credibility

When donating pocket change, many individuals might not think twice about where that money is going. Large-scale investors, on the other hand, want to ensure their dollars are going far to support a cause they are passionate about. These are the kinds of contributions you will need to fuel capital campaign success. Appealing to capital campaign investors involves credibility as the foundation of trust.

 To truly determine your nonprofit’s level of credibility, you need to look at internal and external perspectives. Internal perspectives include those of your board and senior staff members. Perhaps the most critical feedback though comes from the external perspective. This group can offer an unadulterated, objective reality check on your organization’s leadership, plans for the future, and path to success.

What are Outcomes and Why Do They Matter?

Outcomes are the “impact a nonprofit has on its primary customer’s life.” Nonprofit organizations with a proven track record of valuable impact are more likely to attract large-scale capital campaign investments. Communicating your outcomes involves really unpacking the results that your efforts had on the community you serve—beyond just detailing your outputs. (You can read more about outputs vs. outcomes here.) This element is crucial in justifying the money your campaign is asking from investors.

Making Fundraising Skills A Priority

A professional fundraising support firm like Convergent can help you with success in your capital campaign. However, fundraising is also an inside job. Do you have the right people on your team, ready to put in the groundwork for a successful capital campaign? Have you adopted an effective strategy for making fundraising asks? These elements can help you translate your credibility and outcomes into monetary results for your nonprofit.

Leadership enlistment and cultivation, prospect evaluation, the ability to make the ask, and overall campaign management—these skills are critical to capital campaign success. Too often, organizations do not make them a priority. They allow their attention to be diverted by pointless details, superfluous demands, or the belief that expensive software is necessary to be effective. Instead, having an experienced consultant do the heavy lifting and make your campaign their only job can make the difference in reaching and exceeding fundraising goals.

Are You Ready For A Campaign?

So how can you gauge whether or not your organization is ready for a large-scale fundraising campaign? Many nonprofits turn to feasibility studies. Before diving into a feasibility study, you can take our Fundraising Reality Check. This quiz is designed to test whether or not you have the Asking Rights proven to promote fundraising success. 

“Having Convergent involved helped us launch [our capital campaign] with confidence. We had the expert support needed to ensure we were on the path to success. The Convergent team was able to not only share best-practice processes with us but helped us refine those processes to fit our organization and community. Being able to tap into the Convergent team’s wealth of experience was incredibly valuable.” -Dr. Terry Leas, Big Bend Community College – Moses Lake, WA

Getting Ready for a Capital Campaign

One thing is for sure: you do not want to invest the time or money into a capital campaign if your nonprofit is not ready (yet). Thankfully, there are steps you can take with Convergent’s help to prepare your Asking Rights for future campaign success:

  • Asking Rights Assessment—Go deeper than our quick quiz into a thorough development audit to help your organization improve donor/investor communications, learn best practices for engaging key investors, and capitalize on missed fundraising opportunities.
  • Credibility Launchpad—Build and expand your investor base to position your organization for a successful feasibility study and large-scale funding effort.
  • Investable Outcomes Workshop—Introduce your board and staff to an Investment-Driven Model™ of fundraising. The goal is to help you develop and communicate your outcomes so potential investors see them as fundable. 

Are you interested in learning more about these workshops and improvement opportunities for your nonprofit? Please contact the capital campaign consultants at Convergent for insight. 

“This [workshop] has been both organizationally and professionally transformational.” – Teresa Mills, Development Manager, Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center

“You have captured the convergence of market changes with great clarity! In the new philanthropic marketplace, ‘need’ is no longer the value proposition of aspiring nonprofits.” – Mark Brewer, President/CEO, Central Florida Foundation

Test Your Fundraising Readiness

You can get started on your fundraising journey with the click of a button. Our Fundraising Reality Check takes just four minutes and will help you determine whether or not your organization should be launching a capital campaign. If you’re not yet ready, our quiz will guide you towards the insight and resources you need to get on your way. You can gain this critical insight with our free online quiz today!

Take the Fundraising Reality Check Here

About the author

Mark Bergethon

Mark Bergethon brings extensive private and nonprofit sector experience to his role as Principal of Convergent Nonprofit Solutions. He is recognized as one of the leading national experts in funding nonprofit organizations and community initiatives through major fundraising campaigns.