March is always an exciting month in North Carolina watching the NCAA tournament and rooting for your favorite college basketball team to climb the ladder to the final four and hopefully win the tournament. In our household we usually have a few brackets going. We are competitive and we watch as many games as we can, hoping that our team will win.
Our neighbors proudly display their alma mater flag on their front porches and as teams are eliminated, we all root for the last NC remaining team. This year it’s UNC Chapel Hill – or as North Carolinian’s say – Carolina. When I first moved to North Carolina from Saratoga Springs NY twenty years ago, my jaw dropped as co-workers brought their televisions to work during March Madness to watch games during working hours and this was totally acceptable to supervisors. That is one of the great things about this state in addition to the food, the weather, the people, the beaches, the mountains and I could go on and on.
The NCAA brackets and games are similar to the capital campaigns we work on. Nonprofits create campaign giving charts of potential donors at all levels as a roadmap to meet and hopefully exceed their campaign goal. The competition for funding is fierce and sometimes your seed prospect doesn’t make it all the way to a gift.
In a campaign, the donor brackets change and morph and what you thought was a solid major prospect turns into a smaller gift and what an organization thinks is a smaller potential donor turns out to be a final four winner. The strategy of ensuring a campaign has four prospects lined up for every one donation received has become a rule of thumb. Organizations need to ensure that all prospects in a giving chart are cultivated fully and are ready to make an investment.
You need to be ready to play defense and offense and change the giving strategy at a moment’s notice to breed a champion.
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In my last blog “The Oscar Goes To…” I asked readers to nominate a nonprofit in any Oscar category by emailing me a brief note about their service. I’d like to highlight a couple of nominees.
Nominated for Best Screenplay = Best Strategic Plan: Wake County Bar Association/Tenth Judicial District Bar.
Nominated for Best Live Action Short Film = Best Event: Children’s Flight of Hope/A Vintage Affair