Growing the Pie – The GROWTH System of Fundraising
The post below is a chapter from my book on using the CFC as one of the revenue streams for your non-profit. It is longer than most blog posts, and I will be glad to send you the 5 page .pdf of it if you request it via a comment in the blog, or by simply sending me an e-mail at BillHuddleston@verizon.net. This is the pre-publication version of the chapter, and I welcome any suggestions or comments. Thanks!
“Growing the Pie”
How to Use the GROWTH™ System of Non-profit Fundraising to Increase Unrestricted Funds
by Bill Huddleston
The habit of giving only enhances the desire to give.
— Walt Whitman, poet (1819-1892)
The word philanthropy has its roots in the Greek language meaning “love for mankind.” It was never meant to apply only to donors of thousands or millions of dollars.
— Arthur Frantzre
The GROWTH System of Fundraising is not a get rich quick scheme for non-profits, but if you follow the steps in the GROWTH System of Fundraising, you will end up with reliable streams of income for your non-profit, and in a manner that reduces the risk to your non-profit. The GROWTH method also uses the principles of leverage, which in this case has the effect of reducing the risk to your non-profit.
The term GROWTH is an acronym and stands for:
Group and Growing the Pie
By using the GROWTH method, your non-profit will benefit from:
● The power of groups.
● Monies raised will be unrestricted.
● You will not be constrained by some “expert” opinion about the value of your non-profit’s mission.
● You will participate in the most donor friendly method of donating to non-profits: workplace giving by designation and through payroll deduction.
● You will learn how to “grow givers” and how to “grow the pie” by promoting and recognizing giving as a positive habit for your non-profit and your supporters.
Fallacy of Focusing Only on the “Biggest”
Bill and Melinda Gates are two of the most generous people the world has ever seen, and I absolutely commend them and say “thank you” to them for their generosity and the good works that are performed through the Gates Foundation.
I do think that we as a society pay too much attention to the monies donated at the top of the giving pyramid, and not enough attention to the contributions millions of Americans make every day, including not just financial contributions, but contributions of time, energy, and brain power as well.
As generous as Bill and Melinda Gates are, I am willing to predict that you will never see them walking up your neighbor’s sidewalk delivering for Meals on Wheels, even if you live in the Seattle area. Rather, there are thousands of volunteers across the country who do see that people who are unable to prepare a meal receive at least one nutritional meal a day.
In The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations, James Surowiecki describes the phenomenon that is created when a large group of people are asked to solve a particular problem—they come up with a better answer than any one individual alone does. According to Surowiecki, there are certain conditions that must be in place, including: diversity of opinion; independence; decentralization; and a means of aggregation.
These characteristics actually describe the nature of donations made through CFC campaigns, using the dollars donated as a proxy for a “vote.” There is a wide diversity of choices, and Federal public servants can support the CFC charities that they most identify with. CFC donors are free to support whatever charities they wish, and there are extensive safeguards in place to prevent any hint of coercion. The CFC is a decentralized program; there are hundreds of individual CFC campaigns in every CFC region, rather than “one big campaign.” Adding up the totals at the end of the campaign provides a mechanism of aggregating the support received.
By using the GROWTH System of Fundraising you expand your non-profit’s reach, you develop a revenue stream that produces unrestricted funds, and you do this all while decreasing the risk to your non-profit.
What do I mean by “decreasing the risk” to your non-profit? Here is a simple example. Let’s say that one of your major annual fundraising events is a special dinner, which can be a wonderful way to raise money and provide for recognition of donors and volunteers.
Special events do carry with them significant risks:
● The location (hotel or banquet hall) needs to be paid, regardless of whether you get the attendance you want.
● Weather can have a negative impact. If it’s an outdoor event it can rain or be stifling hot, or it can snow, depending upon the time of year, all of which serve to keep people away.
● A power failure affecting the hotel or the entire neighborhood.
● Competing events you were unaware of when the event was planned.
I am certainly not saying “do not hold a fundraising dinner,” special auction, benefit concert, or other event, because they can be great events, are lots of fun for participants and volunteers, and can produce serious revenue and recognition for your organization. I just want you to be aware of the risks that they entail. (Do make sure you get event insurance for any large special event).
I do want you to consider developing the CFC as one of the revenue streams for your non-profit, if it makes sense for your non-profit and if it makes sense in your region of the country.
If you are a small national or international non-profit, the CFC can dramatically increase your leverage, if you have a mission that you believe will resonate with the Federal workforce. This is because as a national or international charity, with one application you are automatically in the more than 250 CFCs that exist in both the United States and around the world. There is a CFC anywhere the U.S. has a significant Federal presence, including in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Compared to the risks outlined above about special events, consider the benefits of a CFC campaign:
GROWTH™ System of Fundraising
CFC Campaign Benefits for CFC Non-profits
● There are minimal upfront costs (other than items you choose to provide at charity fairs; at a minimum this would include additional brochures).
● The CFC solicitations are done on behalf of all CFC charities, by Federal public servants who have volunteered to be “CFC Keyworkers.” Your staff is not tied up with making solicitations. This is the power of the Group in the GROWTH System.
● By focusing on the multiple benefits that participating in the CFC provides to all non-profits, it has the effect of “Growing the Pie.” The G in the GROWTH System stands for both Grow The Pie and Group.
● Funds received are Unrestricted, and if you’re new to the non-profit world, the formula is: Unrestricted Funds = Twice as Valuable as Restricted Funds. This is the R for unRestricted in the GROWTH System.
● The CFC is an Open system, which means that if you meet the eligibility requirements, you are enrolled in the system. No one is saying “We have too many of X type of charities, we are not letting anyone else in.” This is the O in the GROWTH System.
● Workplace giving is where donors are grown, and the CFC is by far the most donor friendly means in the world of donating to charities that the Federal CFC donor cares about (when the charity participates in the CFC). Participating in workplace giving does not take away from any other means of fundraising, and in fact, provides a “nursery to grow donors.”
● Workplace giving also has the advantage that, since the solicitations take place by peers, during the workday, there are no calendar conflicts, such as those that can happen with special events.
● Workplace giving provides your non-profit with extensive leverage. Every fall, there are literally thousands of CFC volunteers helping to raise money for all of the CFC non-profits.
● “Thank Yous.” In the GROWTH System, the multitude of stakeholders who actually produce benefits for your non-profit are identified, and inexpensive and effective ways of saying ”thank you” are shown to you and your non-profit. “Thank yous” are the T in the GROWTH System.
● By using the GROWTH System, your non-profit will learn the habits of workplace giving and how to grow donors and other resources for your non-profit. Habits can either be good or bad; the H in the GROWTH System shows you how to develop good habits for donor cultivation and success in the CFC.
More information about the CFC is available at the http://www.cfcfundraising.com website. Please go there and request your copy of my special report on the CFC – Subsidized, Low-Risk, High Leverage Non-profit Fundraising.
“Growing the Pie”
Copyright 2010, Bill Huddleston, All Rights Reserved
I welcome any comments or suggestions on how to improve this chapter, including any success stories about your non-profit’s experience with the CFC. Please send them to BillHuddleston@verizon.net. Thanks!