Micro-consulting ‘experiment’ yields strong short-term results
In early 2014, viagra 40mg Dr. Jan Young, executive director of The Assisi Foundation of Memphis, Inc., purchased 90 hours of fundraising counsel on behalf of six Mid-South nonprofits, ranging in focus from urban farming to performing arts. Each organization received 5–20 hours of “micro-consulting” services with Saad&Shaw, a fund development firm whose counselOnDEMAND program provided a blueprint for Young’s strategy.
Throughout the year, some of the selected nonprofits chose to develop a business plan or write a case for support. Others prepared grant applications or conducted an organizational assessment. Time was also used for coaching and strategy sessions, board workshops and group exercises, and the creation of tools for future work.
“Working within a specific block of time seemed to help most of the organizations more quickly focus on their priorities or determine their level of readiness for a major fundraising effort, strategic business plan, or project,” said Young.
Early results are positive — more than $1.5 million in grants and in-kind resources to date. Of the six participating organizations, four have secured new grant funding or major donations, and two have reshaped their fundraising operations in preparation for future activities. All reported that they gained new insights into fundraising, fund development, and donor cultivation, solicitation, retention, and engagement.
“As a funder, we were able to direct resources to a greater pool of grantees, with sometimes better results than if we had made a similarly sized grant to a single organization,” said Young.
Young’s goal for this experiment was to explore the most effective ways to support the organizations served by The Assisi Foundation, which receives frequent requests for financial and technical support. “Many nonprofits think money is THE answer to their problems, but when we engage with them, we sometimes discover that their true needs are more complex,” she said.