Getting a $90 Average Gift

Great ideas fail for many reasons, but great ideas also succeed, often greatly.

During the Association of Fundraising Professionals International Fundraising Conference, Kerry-Ann Powell of The Harvest Group outlined the success found by the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Foundation in its fundraising effort to build a monument to the civil rights giant. Success, as in $127 million to build and dedicate the monument, direct mail of $1 million per year and $90 average gift.

Powell said fundraisers did well by focusing on strategic problem solving, drawing guidance from the PUDDIE method of strategy formulation.

It looks like this:

  • Step 1. Prepare through strategy formulation. Organization strategy, fundraising strategy, a funding tactic plan;
  • Step 2. Understand the elements through analysis. Company culture, organizational infrastructure and bandwidth, external factors;
  • Step 3. Design the blueprint. Consider the objectives, gather expertise, generate ideas;
  • Step 4. Develop the infrastructure. Think of development as the bridge between design and implementation. Leverage expertise;
  • Step 5. Implement the plan. Design is cognitive. Implementation is kinetic; and,
  • Step 6. Evaluate the results, and rinse and repeat the plan. Consistent evaluation is a must, even within the implementation stage. Just because a funding tactic did not hit the objectives does not mean it failed.