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Fundraising the SMART Way: Predictable, Consistent Income Growth for Your Charity, + Website by Ellen Bristol

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Part IIDefining the Fund Development Process

According to contemporary management theory, it's difficult—if not impossible—to manage or improve a process if you look only at what happens at the tail-end of the process. Management theory geeks call this the inspection model, by which they mean you look at the teddy bear, disk drive, or washing machine only after it falls off the end of the assembly line, and if it doesn't pass inspection, you throw it away. Or maybe you eat it. How many of you get a mental image of Lucy (I Love Lucy, not the Peanuts character) in the candy factory?

Bye-bye, all that wasted time, money, raw material, effort, profit margin, and cost of lost opportunity.

The cultivation process simply cries out for better management controls, which is what Part II is all about. If the funder-selection strategy and its product, the Prospect Scorecard, represent one of the bookends that control productivity, then the other bookend is opportunity management.

Unfortunately, the most common way nonprofit professionals “manage” the fund-development process is by counting up the bucks that come in at the end. Money is invariably a trailing indicator; it doesn't show until after the work to get it has been done. It's a truly important and meaningful trailing indicator for sure, but if you just keep track of the dough you raise by counting it up at the end of the year, quarter, or month, you really have no way to learn how much you might have lost through poorly targeted ...

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