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Reversing a Revenue Decline

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Background

A nonprofit with a history of successful event-based fundraising was experiencing a steady decline in revenues.

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Challenge

The organization had an outdated fundraising strategy, an inability to track donors accurately, and limited event staff.

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Solution

Facilitate a strategic planning process and build a roadmap to increased revenue.

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Result

A strategic plan and execution roadmap that would result in $48M new donations in the next 5
years.

The Whole Story

A nonprofit organization with a history of successful event-based fundraising was experiencing a steady decline in revenues and had no clear plan for profitability.


A storied, decades-old nonprofit organization was struggling with declining revenues, an outdated fundraising strategy, and an inability to track donors accurately. They had a host of events that were not retaining existing donors nor recruiting ample new donors. In addition, they had already endured three rounds of layoffs and the limited staff struggled to maintain the logistics of their current portfolio of events.

Stanton Blackwell’s Role

Facilitate a strategic planning process and build a roadmap to increased revenue.

Our client had a history of fundraising success; therefore, they had not developed a robust strategic planning process with a multi-channel, multiple-year outlook. For this fundraising team, a lack of ideas was not the problem. They had too many ideas! With too much activity and limited coordination, nothing was coming to fruition. Contributing fresh eyes, we helped them design a holistic plan by prioritizing over 50 projects submitted via team roundtables and emailed suggestions. The priority was to focus on immediate impact and put some lines in the water for future years, hopefully reducing the dependency on one or two event-based channels. To identify those initiatives that were most likely to be successful, the team determined the level of effort needed, the investment required, and expected impact of each. While most of the ideas had potential, we helped narrow them down to the top 6 for priority execution. Once we had a plan, we documented it, telling the story
with data and timelines, and preparing the team to present to the board of directors.

Results

A strategic plan and execution roadmap that would result in $48M in new donations in the next 5 years.

With a clear vision and execution plan in place, the team now knew what was required to reach
their goals and who was accountable for execution, and when. The CFO had an idea of
the investment required by year for budgeting purposes. Overall, these new projects were
projected to deliver $48M in new donations in the next 5 years. In addition, the resulting
revenue mix was much more balanced and sustainable for healthy growth with new revenue
streams and integrated fundraising strategies that would lead the organization into the future.

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Contributor: Anne Gehring
Anne Gehring is a Founding Partner of Stanton Blackwell.  Throughout her career, Anne has led teams to solve complex problems through collaboration and structured execution.  She has a passion for people development and has been a strong advocate for talent diversity since her career began over thirty years ago.

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