Your Guide: Conquering the Development Mountain as a Nonprofit

Part 5: Finishing Strong

Whether you’re reading this series for the first time or you’ve been with me every step of the way, today there’s cause for celebration…

We finally made it to the top of the development mountain!

Here’s a quick recap: In past issues we’ve discussed positioning yourself as a champion in your community, what it takes to have the heart of a champion, how you can overcome your fears and what it takes to inspire others.

Today, in the last article of the series, I’d like to take us to the finish line.

Finally, to be a champion… You must be a finisher.

As you’re climbing along that development incline, there will be days when the view is glorious and you feel like you can sprint up that mountain effortlessly. And there will also be times when every step feels like a chore… like you’re dragging yourself up, inch by inch, using sheer willpower alone.

The strength of a person’s character and drive for success is determined by whether or not they can finish what they started. To be an effective development director, you need:

  • A strong desire to learn
  • Compassion for your organization
  • A teachable spirit
  • Willingness to think outside the box
  • The ability to stay calm under pressure
  • Knowledge of when you should be flexible
  • The patience to provide great attention to detail

And in addition to these characteristics, there’s one other critical key to success.

It all begins and ends with a strategic development plan.

This document is essentially a roadmap with detailed directions for achieving your development mountain. Your strategic development plan should:

Clearly define your objectives and priorities for the next 1, 3 and/or 5 years.

  • Establish a practical framework within which this multi-year plan can be executed.
  • Set financial goals for your organization to reach.
  • Outline the roles and responsibilities of internal partners, as well as your development staff.
  • Determine the targets for your messaging.
  • Lay out the channels through which you will acquire new donors, build lasting relationships and achieve your fundraising and development objectives.

The purpose of this development strategy is to put into place successful and effective development and fundraising plans. This helps to ensure a solid foundation of support for your organization from individuals, corporations, churches, foundations and, possibly, enterprises.

Creating a viable strategic development plan requires a dynamic and strategic effort – one that is well coordinated, diligently tracked and adjusted as frequently as appropriate.

It also requires a team of dedicated professionals.

Communication keeps you on track.

So each time you find yourself talking to someone, assume the discussion is going to be the beginning of something both amazing and bigger than the both of you. Believe you just might find yourselves, years from now, marveling at what you were able to accomplish through this one simple discussion.

Imagine you are standing at a huge, ornate doorway. Your interaction with this person is just the beginning of the adventure…

Your job is to open the door so he or she can see the incredible possibilities. Your faith in your organization should be infectious!

Perseverance helps you reach the pinnacle in style.

We, at Brewer Direct, are here to help you be a finisher. To help you prevail as champions over the areas where you’ve been given stewardship. To provide you with the tools to help you climb that development mountain – to reach the top and finish what you started – by partnering with you one step at a time.

Ready to conquer your development mountain as a champion? We’d love to help you along your journey!

Brewer Academy – led by Shellie Speer – offers personalized guidance, training and mentorship on issues like development and key messaging.

And that help is just an email away! Email Shellie now>>

  • Shellie Speer

    Shellie Speer-Burnett, Senior Vice President, BDI Academy

    With over 30 years of partnership in Rescue Missions and nonprofit organizations, Shellie Speer-Burnett brings her expertise, counsel and philanthropic-centered passion to assist in furthering the work of BDI’s Rescue Mission clients. For 22 years of her career, she served as the Founder and President/CEO of her own agency, ENEX Group, which helped her clients capture hearts and donor loyalty in their communities.

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