What we can do for your organization is detailed in
the subtopics on the right side of all pages.


Campaign Planning Study
Development Assessment
Campaign Planning Study
Major Gifts Development
Planned Giving Programs
Marketing and Communications
Board of Directors Development
Information Technology

Campaign Planning Study:

We set the expectations of all stakeholders in a positive framework by calling the customary feasibility study a campaign planning study. The question is not whether it is possible to raise the campaign goal, as "feasibility" implies, but how to conduct a campaign that will reach a lofty yet realistic goal. The campaign planning study is the beginning of a dialogue with potential donors and key stakeholders regarding the organization's vision and future, not just a survey of donors' interests. The campaign planning study includes two vital assessments:

  1. An external assessment of the campaign case and strategy, and the constituency's ability and willingness to support the effort. This phase of the planning study involves personal, confidential interviews with prospective donors and other influential individuals who can help the organization reach the campaign goal through significant giving of their own and/or community leadership that influences others to make significant gifts.
  2. An internal development assessment that evaluates the operational readiness of the organization to carry out a campaign. The development assessment will evaluate trend data, staffing, information systems, communications, and lay and professional leadership roles. It may include benchmarks with other similar organizations.

RDG President Paul Ellenbogen, in consultation with key professional and lay leaders, will develop and administer an in-depth questionnaire to measure six general indicators of campaign success, plus issues of special concern to the institution. The six indicators are:

  • The interviewees' perception of the organization
  • The priority they give to the institution and the campaign
  • The strength of the case for support
  • The strengths and weaknesses of the campaign
  • The potential goal that may be achieved
  • Availability of lay leadership

The campaign planning study report includes findings; recommendations of a compelling rationale for support; a campaign strategy and preliminary campaign work plan; a campaign timeline and budget.

The report will also recommend the optimum goal for the campaign, and summarize how the interviewees view a) the urgency of the campaign and b) the significance of the facilities or programs to be funded with the campaign proceeds.

We will also provide a confidential report of findings on lay leadership candidates and on major donor prospects identified in the study.

Development Assessment:

The development assessment, which may be conducted apart from a campaign planning study, can be a critical first step in preparing for a major fundraising initiative. A development assessment focuses on the current state of an organization's fundraising program and its growth potential within the unique context of that organization. The management and effectiveness of every fundraising program can be improved by application of proven principles and best practices, but the application must be tailored to each organization's specific capabilities.

We review all components of a development program - staffing, budget, systems, communications, and more - to determine where it is doing a superior job and where it could do better. The result is a plan with realistic timelines, optimal staffing estimates, and other recommendations to help you improve your fundraising productivity and achieve optimum results.

Campaign Counsel and Management:

RDG is best known for expert planning and guidance of successful capital and endowment campaigns. For more than a quarter century, we have helped institutions grasp the issues and opportunities of major fundraising endeavors to fulfill their visions and serve their communities.

Organizations can benefit greatly from a wise and experienced guide in these challenging times. Whether you need occasional counsel throughout the campaign, or comprehensive campaign management services, we stand ready to serve your organization. Whatever our role, we always work to maintain campaign momentum, expedite decision-making, sustain the confidence of leadership, and ensure the integrity of the campaign.

Major Gifts Development:

Working effectively with major donors is more critical to a campaign's success than ever before. Today, as wealth becomes ever more concentrated, a greater percentage of dollars raised are coming from a smaller percentage of the donor base. The 80/20 rule is obsolete; now and in the future, the most successful organizations will generate over 90% of their campaign goals from less than 10% of their donors. Major donors and their stakeholders are increasingly concerned about how their donations are spent, and fundraising campaigns must accommodate these interests. A properly planned and carefully executed major gifts program can prompt new thinking in existing donors and inspire them to make gifts tailored to their interests and the organizations' needs. Donors' fortunes rise and fall with increasing rapidity in these turbulent economic times. An effective campaign program must identify prospective new major donors and current donors who may no longer qualify as "major" prospects for intensive cultivation/solicitation efforts. The new generation of major donors may have philanthropic interests different from those encountered in the past. We can assess your current donor base and design a major gifts program that will help you determine:

  • Who are your best prospects
  • What are the appropriate cultivation strategies
  • How should they be solicited and by whom
  • Necessary training of lay and professional leadership
  • Initiatives and events to attract and recognize donors

Planned Giving Programs:

Planned giving strategies employ legitimate estate tax planning techniques to maximize donation potential now and in the long term. As Baby Boomers age, and the Generation Y inherits and manages its ancestors' unprecedented wealth, planned giving represents the greatest potential vehicle of philanthropy. However, planned giving programs require knowledge of sophisticated estate planning techniques that many organizations lack. As a result, significant potential contributions are often "left on the table."

We can help you develop an effective planned giving program that includes:

  • The marketing of bequests, trusts and other deferred giving vehicles
  • Endowment fund governance, gift acceptance and investment policies
  • Promotional materials for popular instruments with their tax advantages
  • Training for lay and professional leadership
  • Specialized events and publications to recognize deferred gifts
  • Developing a philanthropic culture for planned giving

Marketing and Communications:

We help our clients craft communications plans for targeted and ongoing communications with members, donors and prospective donors. We provide expertise in creating major donor brochures, capital/endowment campaign case statements, annual reports, Web sites and DVDs, and other marketing and communication collateral materials.

Board of Directors Development:

Strong, engaged, and effective boards of directors don't just happen. The most successful boards embrace ongoing training and educational opportunities concerning philanthropy. They are engaged on many levels and become strong advocates for the fundraising needs of the organization. We can design a board development program that will provide the ongoing orientation and education your board members need. We can also conduct board assessments, and facilitate training sessions and retreats.

Information Technology:

Effective data capture, storage, and processing systems are critical to the efficiency of charitable organizations. We offer information technology (IT) services designed for philanthropic organizations, as a stand alone service or in conjuction with our campaign management services. For those with little or no IT capability, we can assess your requirements, review possible options and help you select the best IT solution for your needs. If your existing IT system is inadequate or problematic, we can conduct an audit and recommend a solution to fix or replace the current system. Often, it is more cost-effective and less disruptive to reconfigure an existing system in order to fully realize its capabilities than to replace it with an expensive, unfamiliar system.

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