Leveraging Fundraising Structure through Event Leadership

Leveraging Fundraising Structure through Event Leadership

Over the years nonprofits have struggled to figure out how to grow their fundraising events.  Some organizations have been successful, and others have found it difficult to get the right people involved.  Powered by Professionals follows a process that enables us to increase our chances for success by leveraging an organizational chart for each event we work on.  Let me show you how we do it.

The first step in creating an organizational chart is to determine the structure of your program and then creating the framework for that structure. There are three categories we think should be considered when identifying honorees:

A. Credibility – identifying someone who further solidifies your expertise in an area and by recognizing them further enhances the perception of the organization.  Make every attempt to choose a leader in their field (ex. if your organization is health-related – possibly a leading physician that cares for patients, a top surgeon, or a researcher.)

B. The Money Box – this person needs to have the ability to raise funds.  It could be a company, leading executive, influential family, philanthropist and or an incredibly well- networked individual.  Having a connection to your organization/mission is a plus, but not always a must.  Having a clear detailed conversation with the potential honoree and laying out what the expectations are is essential to the success of your fundraising event.

C. Wow Factor – this person brings immediate exposure to your organization and is not expected to raise funds (although it would be a bonus.)  By this person committing to be a part of the event, the organization can further market the event and/or leverage this individual to raise funds and most importantly, raise awareness of the organization through the media or an industry.

The most important task is to give people clear roles in the event, so they feel connected and responsible for the success of your event. After identifying the honorees, one of their responsibilities should be to help identify additional people to get involved and play a role in the event, in many cases as Co-Chairs.  This enables the organization to get to people they otherwise would not have a way to approach to become part of the fundraising team because a close contact of theirs is being honored. In some cases, the Co-Chairs can drive more fundraising than the honorees. This is a crucial part of the fundraising success of an event.  These Co-Chairs can be considered as possible honorees or board members in the years to come, helping the organization continue to build a pipeline of strong supporters.

The Top 5 Tips for Working with Fundraising Consultants

Tips for Working with Fundraising Consultants

By Peter Heller

Contributors: Derry Derringer, Gary Friedmann, Kim Gerstman, Jeffrey Lischin, Lisa Mantone, Ross Mudrick, Bruce Temkin, & Mieke Vandersall.

I have worked as a fundraising consultant for almost two decades. I love what I do – witnessing nonprofits surpass their fundraising goals never gets old. 

The relationship between a nonprofit client and their fundraising consultant has the potential to be a true gamechanger. The most successful engagements I have witnessed have one thing in common: the client took full advantage of our working relationship. The client was communicative, clear, honest, brave, patient, hard-working, and at the end of the day genuinely enjoyed working with the Heller Fundraising Group. 

The Heller Group operates with five staff and approximately 20 collaborating consultants. I believe one of our great strengths, and differentiators, is our ability to provide nonprofits with highly skilled hand-selected teams. We believe that bringing a small group to each organization not only allows for multiple intelligences to work on challenges, but also accomplishes fundraising goals quickly and efficiently. The Heller Group’s highly skilled consultants are all hands-on, trustworthy experts. 

These experts have incredible insight, and I am thrilled to feature their voices on the Heller Group Blog. They know exactly what makes the most successful relationship with a consultant.  

Perhaps you are thinking about hiring a fundraising consultant or are currently contracted with one — take a moment to read their advice below.

And if you are wondering whether you should hire the Heller Fundraising Group, follow this link to read my blog on the subject!

Without further ado, I present to you the Heller Group’s Top 5 Fundraising Tips for Working with a Consultant:

  1. Be Clear. Communication is Everything!

There’s nothing wrong with needing expert advice and additional hands-on help – two of the most powerful things consultants can offer nonprofits. What makes the consulting relationship go well is communication from both sides of the table on needs and expectations. Here’s what our consulting team says:

Be sure to set up clear expectations and deliverables. – Kim Gerstman

Be clear about your goal. – Derry Derringer

Communicate with your people. Transparency about our process is critically important for success. – Mieke Vandersall

Don’t be shy — communicate often! – Gary Friedmann

Be clear about your needs and capacity. – Jeffrey Lischin

Schedule a few “big picture” check-ins fairly early in the engagement. These conversations shouldn’t focus on specific deliverables, but instead on whether work styles are meshing and whether you’re getting what you need. Often problems can be prevented through proactive communication. – Ross Mudrick


2. Honesty is the best policy

What aren’t you saying about the challenges at your nonprofit? These things will eventually come up. Fundraising brings everything to light – trust me on this. So, let’s start our consulting engagement with all our cards on the table, even the uncomfortable ones. Our team agrees with me: 

Be truthful about the strengths and weaknesses of your organization and fundraising program – Kim Gerstman

There are no dumb questions. – Bruce Temkin

Make your needs known, even if it’s painful to admit that some things aren’t going well. The sooner we can get to the root of the problem, the sooner we can solve it. – Ross Mudrick

Give frequent feedback to your consultant about how they are meeting the objectives of the contract. – Kim Gerstman 

Be honest with us. The only way that we can work together is if you are honest and truthful with us about your reality. We are able to keep confidentiality and talk through sticky dynamics, and… often…[that is when] we are able to make change.  – Mieke Vandersall


3. Take Risks

Look, we’ve all got different levels of risk tolerance. But here’s the thing, no one ever raised more money by staying in the safe zone. Our team knows this from experience…

Be open to change. Take more risks while you have an experienced advisor by your side.  – Derry Derringer

You bring the passion, and we’ll bring the fundraising expertise. – Bruce Temkin

Try something new. We are working together to try new things–and those new things are based in how we think about, talk about, and raise money. We might recommend scary things, but they might just help unlock blockages. – Mieke Vandersall

As much as possible, be open to suggestions.  You have hired a consultant for their expertise and there may be ideas, while new to the organization, [that] could be impactful to fundraising in the long run. – Lisa Mantone

4. Do the work and trust the process

We’ve seen so many nonprofits raise more money when they engage in the best practices we teach them. We understand, however, it can be hard to believe in the money before you see the money. So, what do you put your trust in? THE PROCESS. It works.  

Put in the work. – Derry Derringer

There’s no silver bullet for fundraising success – it takes time. – Bruce Temkin

Provide all needed documents, boilerplate writing samples, documented outcomes. – Jeffrey Lischin

Make sure that you set aside time in your schedule to work with the consultant. – Kim Gerstman

Think about your engagement as being term-limited. If you have questions about why the consultant is doing something the way they’re doing it, ask, so that by the end of the engagement you’re ready to continue the work on your own. – Ross Mudrick

Trust us! We only work well together when we have a culture and relationship of trust. – Mieke Vandersall

5. Chemistry is Key

When you select a company to support your fundraising base the decision on the proposal AND the chemistry. Choose the people who can get you to your goal. People are the secret ingredient. 

When selecting a consultant, focus on culture fit. The consultant should be someone you feel comfortable with, that you trust, that you feel gets you and cares about your work. If you like working with the consultant, you’ll get a lot more out of the engagement. – Ross Mudrick

The chemistry has to feel right from the beginning. The consultant should be able to connect viscerally with your mission and articulate the case for support with ease and fluidity. – Gary Friedmann

Communicate with us. Tell us when things aren’t resonating in a particular way to help us learn your own unique culture.  – Mieke Vandersall

Enjoy the relationship with the consultant – it is an opportunity to test new initiatives and especially those that may have a great impact on fundraising results.  It is a partnership! – Lisa Mantone

To learn more about the incredible fundraising team at Heller Fundraising Group, please visit: www.hellerfundraisinggroup.com/our-team

A Crucial First Step in any Data Privacy Program

A Crucial First Step in any Data Privacy Program

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the relationship between data privacy and cybersecurity is a symbiotic one. Data privacy depends upon cybersecurity.

In this article, we will discuss both  privacy and cybersecurity and explore how they work together. We will also provide recommendations for improving your organization’s cybersecurity and data privacy posture. Now more than ever, it’s important to stay safe out there!

What is the relationship between cybersecurity and data privacy?

As the world becomes increasingly digitized and cybercrime continues to evolve and escalate, data privacy and cybersecurity have become major priorities for organizations and individuals. Data privacy refers to the protection and management of personal information and cybersecurity focuses on the protection and preventing systems and data from unauthorized access or theft.

Despite their different focus, cybersecurity is a basic requirement for data privacy. Data privacy informs data management practices, while a robust cybersecurity infrastructure can help to protect data once it has been collected. As the stakes continue to rise, it is clear that data privacy and cybersecurity must be given equal attention in order to keep sensitive information safe and maintain compliance with existing and emerging regulations.

Why does this matter for nonprofits?

Nonprofits often collect a great deal of personal information, making them a prime target for cyber criminals. Nonprofits are increasingly relying on technology to further their mission, which means they are also collecting and storing more data. This makes them potential targets for cyberattacks, which can result in the loss or theft of sensitive information.

Data privacy is also a concern for nonprofits, as they may collect personal information from donors, volunteers, and clients. If this information is not properly secured, it could be accessed by unauthorized individuals, which is a breach. As a result, cybersecurity and data privacy are essential considerations for any nonprofit.

Cybersecurity Measures

In order to ensure the safety of your information and data, we suggest that organizations conduct a cybersecurity assessment. A cybersecurity assessment can help you identify potential security risks and take steps to mitigate them. By understanding where your digital assets are vulnerable, you can make changes to improve your overall security posture.

As a nonprofit organization, you are responsible for safeguarding sensitive data and protecting your constituents from cyberattacks. While the stakes may be high, there are some basic steps you can take to reduce your risks.

First, make sure that all of your devices and software are up to date with the latest security patches. This will help to close any vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers. Next, use strong passwords and two-factor authentication for all of your accounts. This will make it much harder for unauthorized users to gain access to your systems. 

Cybersecurity training should be a regular part of every employee’s development. By receiving regular training, employees can stay up-to-date on the latest threats and best practices for keeping themselves and their organizations safe online. 

Data Privacy Measures

As global privacy legislation continues to develop, it is increasingly important for organizations to take data protection and privacy seriously. In light of recent changes, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and emerging laws in various US states and in countries around the world, organizations must adapt their practices to ensure compliance with these regulations.

Organizations that collect, process, and store personal data must be transparent about their data collection practices, provide clear mechanisms for individuals to exercise their rights under these laws, and implement strong security measures to protect personal data from unauthorized access or disclosure.

By taking these steps, organizations can protect themselves from potential fines and other penalties, and ensure that they are respecting the privacy rights of their customers and employees.

Organizations are encouraged to develop a data handling policy. This policy should outline how personal data is collected, used, and protected. By developing this policy, you can help ensure that your organization treats personal data responsibly and protects the privacy of individuals.

An effective data handling policy is also an internal educational document for staff. By having clear guidelines and procedures in place, employees can be better informed about how to handle sensitive information. Creating a data handling policy can help to foster a culture of responsibility and accountability within an organization.

Finally, organizations should provide training for all employees on data protection best practices. By taking these steps, you can help to ensure that the personal data of those associated with your organization is safe and secure.

What next?

Data privacy is a critical issue for nonprofit organizations because it impacts the trust that donors and constituents have in those organizations. Individuals need to feel confident that their personal information will be protected, and cybersecurity is essential to maintaining that confidence. In order to keep your data private and your constituents feeling safe, make sure you are taking steps to protect your organization from cyberattacks.

Join us for our upcoming webinar, “A Little Privacy Please…”, where we will discuss data privacy best practices for nonprofits. You’ll learn about the current laws that apply to many of today’s nonprofits, managing data privacy throughout the lifecycle of your data, and the essential role that cybersecurity plays. We hope to see you there!

Register now for “A Little Privacy, Please…”

How to Fix a Computer That Won’t Turn On: 5 Easy Steps

How to Fix a Computer That Won't Turn On: 5 Easy Steps

Your computer won’t turn on. This is a problem that can have a lot of different causes, but don’t worry, we are here to help! In this blog post, we will walk you through a few easy steps to fixing your computer. So don’t stress out – just follow our guide and your computer will be up and running in no time!

1. Make sure your computer is plugged in and that all of the cables are seated tightly.

If your computer won’t turn on, the first thing you should do is check the power supply. Make sure that the power cord is plugged into a working outlet and that the computer itself is turned on. If the power cord is loose or damaged, it may need to be replaced. If everything looks good with the power, move on to checking the cables.

Loose or damaged cables are another common cause of computers not turning on. Check all of the cables that are connected to your computer and make sure they are secure. If you see any damage, you will need to replace the cable.

2. Check your surge protectors or power strips and make sure they are on and working.

If you are still having trouble, the next step is to check your surge protector or power strip. These devices can sometimes turn off without you realizing it, so make sure they are on and working. If they are not, try plugging the computer directly into a wall outlet.

3. If you have a laptop, make sure that the LED on the charger is lit

Sometimes this is on the plastic transformer box or on the end that attaches to the computer. If this is not lit, it could indicate an issue with the power source. Make sure that the outlet you are using is working and that the cord is not damaged. If everything looks good, try plugging it into a different outlet.

If the LED on the charger is lit, leave it plugged into the laptop for a while to rule out a dead battery.

4. Check if your computer is overheating

If your computer has been on for a while and it suddenly won’t turn on, it may be overheating. This is especially common with laptops. Turn off your computer and allow it to cool down for at least an hour before trying to turn it back on.

5. Make sure your computer’s power button is working properly

The power button is another common culprit when computers won’t turn on. Check to make sure that the button is not stuck in the “on” position and that it feels normal when you press it. If the button seems damaged or does not work properly, it will need to be replaced.

Nothing is working, what next?

If none of the above tips have solved the problem, it is most likely something more complicated. If you aren’t particularly computer savvy this is the point where you should reach out to a professional.

If you are a RoundTable Technology customer, feel free to reach out to our Support Team at any time and we would be happy to help.

If you’d like to continue trying to diagnose the problem yourself we have a few further troubleshooting steps that you can try.

Advanced Troubleshooting Guide


Check your BIOS settings

The BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) is a low-level software that controls the hardware of your computer. If you are having trouble turning on your computer, it may be due to a problem with the BIOS.

To check the BIOS settings, you will need to enter the BIOS menu when you first start up your computer. This is usually done by pressing a key like F12, F11, or Esc during startup. Consult your computer’s manual for more specific instructions.

Check your internal cabling

If you have a desktop computer it might be time to open it up and check that none of the internal cabling has come loose. This is a more advanced troubleshooting step and should only be attempted if you are comfortable working with computer hardware.

If you have followed all of the above steps and your computer still won’t turn on, it is most likely a hardware issue. At this point, you will need to take it to a professional or replace the damaged part.

We hope this guide was helpful in getting your computer up and running again.