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>> Program Reviews and Studies
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Development Program Reviews
Sometimes also called an “audit” or an “assessment,” a Development Program Review conducted by Michael J. Worth & Associates includes an examination of the organization’s internal readiness for successful fundraising, whether in a campaign or in an ongoing program.
A Development Program Review is often the first step in preparing for a campaign, but it may be equally beneficial to an organization that is beginning a new fundraising program, an organization that desires to move its ongoing fundraising to a new level, or an organization that has recently completed a campaign and needs to determine its best strategy for continued success.
Although each review is designed to fit the particular needs and problems facing each individual organization, in general it includes the following components:
A Development Program Review conducted by Michael J. Worth & Associates is concluded with a personal presentation of findings to the CEO, chief development officer, and/or other leaders of the organization as well as a detailed written report. The report includes specific recommendations for strengthening the organization’s development program and next steps to be taken.
- A comprehensive review and analysis of the organization’s fundraising history, sources of support, and identified prospect pool
- A comparison with benchmark organizations to identify strengths and weaknesses of the current program
- An overview of annual giving, major gift, and planned giving programs, with comparisons to known best practices in the field
- A review of existing fundraising plans, materials, and activities
- An analysis of development office organizational structure, staffing, and resources allocated to the fundraising program
- An assessment of prospect research capabilities, development information systems, gift acknowledgement and stewardship programs
- Identification of any relevant organizational issues, weaknesses, or roadblocks to fundraising success
An organization may be fully convinced of its own worthiness for philanthropic support and the urgency and validity of its needs, but that does not assure that its case for support is fully understood or appreciated by its potential donor constituency. Before committing the organization’s resources, energies – and reputation – to a campaign, it is often essential to assure that its case for support and the specific goals and objectives of the campaign are market tested through a feasibility study.
A feasibility study conducted by Michael J. Worth & Associates does not follow a boilerplate approach—it is designed to fit the particular circumstances of each organization. Such a study usually includes:
Sometimes an organization believes that its case is so compelling and its needs so great that there is no choice but to launch a campaign and that a feasibility study is thus unnecessary. But, this overlooks the fact that the feasibility study is not just about determining whether or not a campaign should be undertaken, but rather about determining the best way to do so – identifying the right leadership and the right strategy for maximizing support.
- Helping the organization identify its needs most likely to be met through philanthropic support
- Developing a statement of the case for support that best communicates the importance of the organization's mission and its need for philanthropy
- An analysis of the organization’s prospect pool and likely sources of support
- Personal and confidential interviews and/or focus group meetings with key prospects and volunteer leaders to determine their attitudes, commitment, and possible participation in the campaign
- Identification of any obstacles to campaign success that need to be addressed through communications or cultivation strategies
- Recommendations of broad strategies and a timetable for the campaign
In addition to providing the organization with invaluable insight on its position with its constituency, the feasibility study also is a way to involve potential donors and campaign leaders in the process of campaign planning, helping to develop their sense of connection with the organization and prepare them for eventual solicitation.