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Services

  • Annual Fund Counsel

  • Board Development and Training

  • Campaign Management

  • Church Campaign

  • Communications Strategies

  • Development Assessment

  • Feasibility Study

  • Grant Writing & Research

  • Planned Giving

  • Prospect Research

  • Public Sector Funding Strategies

  • Solicitor Training/Coaching

  • Strategic Planning

Annual Fund Counsel

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Annual funds are essential sources of revenue for most non-profit organizations. The revenue raised supports yearly operating expenses and often special projects which cannot be funded through other sources. Conway Company, LLC offers counsel to organizations seeking to initiate an annual fund or enhance their current annual fund operation.
Counsel includes:

    • Thorough analysis of past and current fundraising efforts
    • Exploration of areas for annual fund growth – programs, services, collaborations
    • Creation of a detailed plan including recommendations for improving fundraising techniques and a suggested schedule for implementation throughout the year
    • Segment prospects; determine number of face-to-face calls; recruit solicitors
    • Confirm that donor software is up to date and staff trained on its use
    • Planning and execution of the communications support necessary for annual fund success, such as writing appeal letters, use of social media, and branding and messaging, which all clearly articulate the cause and need for donor contributions
    • Training staff and volunteers in solicitation techniques

All efforts are undertaken within the context of the non-profit’s mission and culture and with a realistic assessment and expectation of its donor base. Conway consultants are also available to organizations seeking ongoing counsel and expertise as their annual fund operations advance.

Conway Company, LLC offers clients expert counsel, the use of proven fundraising strategies and an extensive knowledge of the regional philanthropic climate to maximize each organization’s potential through customized solutions.

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Board Development and Training

An active, committed Board of Directors is vital to the overall direction and operation of non-profit organizations. It is no less important that the Board members also give significant financial support. Non-profit organizations looking to maximize their fundraising potential may need to evaluate the Board’s role and examine whether:

    • Each Board member’s involvement extends beyond attending Board meetings
    • Each Board member is an advocate for the non-profit in the community
    • Each Board member believes in and works to further the organization’s goals
    • Each Board member gives personal financial support, according to his/her ability
    • Each Board member enthusiastically participates in committee assignments
    • Each Board member understands and practices the concepts of stewardship and fiduciary responsibility

If the answers to those questions point to a Board of Directors that includes many members who are directors in name only, it may be time to re-examine the Board’s role, recruit new members and clearly communicate the expectations of Board membership.

Conway Company, LLC offers expertise in all of these areas. Senior consultants have more than a century of combined experience in fundraising and have worked with diverse Boards across all sectors of the non-profit community throughout the United States. The firm can guide non-profit clients through the process of Board evaluation, assist in developing a strong, committed Board with the necessary skill sets, and can offer Board members orientation and training.

Conway Company, LLC offers clients expert counsel, the use of proven fundraising strategies and an extensive knowledge of the regional philanthropic climate to maximize each organization’s potential through customized solutions.

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Campaign Management

A capital/endowment campaign is an exciting, ambitious undertaking for a non-profit organization. It may be the culmination of several years of planning, study and cultivation and it usually represents the means to fund projects, build facilities or expand endowment that enable an organization to further its mission and bring a vision to fulfillment. The consultants at Conway Company, LLC welcome the opportunity to join with non-profit clients and guide them through a major campaign that will have a lasting impact on the organization. They have experience managing campaigns with goals which have ranged from $1 million to $110 million and give each client’s campaign the priority and attention necessary to successfully meet its goal.

The first step in effective campaign management is to develop a strategy customized to the client’s specific needs and build on the findings of a pre-campaign feasibility study. Conway consultants will then seek the support and approval of the organization’s leadership and Board for this direction. With that in place, the firm’s team members are experienced in and ready to offer the following campaign services:

    • Prepare a campaign plan and assign tasks; campaigns typically last 16-24 months
    • Identify and recruit volunteer leadership including a campaign chair and cabinet
    • Write job descriptions for volunteers
    • Provide effective prospect research and/or electronic datamining
    • Write the case for support
    • Create a scale of gifts, noting the ranges and numbers of gifts needed for success
    • Determine appropriate named gift opportunities at various levels
    • Initiate and guide early solicitation of leadership and Board gifts
    • Recommend and oversee a comprehensive campaign communications effort which clearly articulates and reinforces the case for support through well-written materials, pleasing and motivating graphic design, production of a video, and updates to the organization’s website/social media presence, if necessary
    • Train volunteers and staff in fundraising techniques; prepare them to make in-person solicitations, alone or as part of a team
    • Assist staff and volunteers in gift solicitation
    • Research and write selected foundation proposals
    • Assist in planning campaign-related events such as kick-off/victory celebrations
    • Organize and schedule regular report meetings to ensure that all volunteer tasks are carried out in a timely, efficient manner
    • Recommend a budget; closely monitor campaign expenses

In addition to personal solicitations, other fundraising strategies that will be evaluated and considered for each client are a regular e-newsletter, special events and small group meetings, crowdfunding, expanded use of social media, an employee giving effort, community campaign and direct mail.

Our highly-personal, hands-on counsel offers customized levels of service based on the needs and budget of each non-profit client. A campaign consultant can be assigned on a periodic basis as infrequently as one or two days a month or take a more active role in campaign management and direction working eight to twelve days per month. The service may be on-site, remote or a combination of both. Any or all services are aligned to make use of an organization’s existing development resources such as available staff expertise, volunteer leadership, and to supplement communication strategies already in effect. Fees are determined according to the clients’ needs and the specific areas of consulting expertise required.

A Conway Company team member is available for a no-obligation discussion. Just call to schedule a time convenient for your organization.

Conway Company offers clients expert counsel, the use of proven fundraising strategies and an extensive knowledge of the regional philanthropic climate to maximize each organization’s potential through customized solutions.

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Church/Stewardship Campaign

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Local churches need to raise significant amounts for construction, renovation and endowment projects. Organizing and implementing such a major capital campaign is a specialty of Conway Company, LLC. The firm’s staff members have served a wide variety of denominations in urban, suburban and rural locations, with goals ranging from $500,000 to $8 million.

Conway Company consultants understand the unique constituencies represented in a local church effort. To properly motivate and “raise the giving sights” of each member, a thorough education and information program should be a key campaign strategy. The specific needs of the church should be explained from the pulpit, in print materials, in group meetings and by fellow members before seeking gifts.

Our consulting team is prepared to assist with early campaign planning, campaign management, including a communications package, through to pledge redemption.

Typical services offered local churches:

    • Capital campaign management
    • Communications strategies: writing, graphic design, pulpit messages, video
    • Early campaign activities
    • Feasibility study
    • Increased giving/stewardship promotion
    • Planned giving/bequest promotion
    • Prospect research
    • Solicitor training/coaching

 Denominations served include: the Christian Church, Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic.

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Communications Strategies/Writing, Design, Video

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Key to the success of any fundraising effort is a positive public perception of the non-profit organization. Awareness building for the organization, its mission and important role in the community should ideally begin long before an active fundraising effort is undertaken. At the very least, organizations must identify strengths and impact of their services to reinforce the case for fundraising support.

Conway Company, LLC consultants have the experience and knowledge to aid non-profit organizations with the strategic planning and implementation of a complete communications package to support both immediate and long-term fundraising goals.

Consultants can assist clients with identifying the organization’s strengths to be communicated as well as areas of weakness that require a clear, effective strategy to handle the questions or concerns of potential donors. With an analysis of past and current communications efforts, the firm’s team members can counsel clients to enhance the successful techniques already in place, as well as advice on different mediums which may be more appropriate for conveying the organization’s mission and message. Conway consultants have expertise in strategic communications planning, branding and messaging, video production, written communication, photography, social media and graphic design.

Among the communication services available are:

    • Devising an appropriate message within the context of the organization’s mission, history, culture and donor base
    • Writing a case for support for an annual, capital or planned giving campaign
    • Designing brochures and other fundraising materials
    • Creating and producing an informational or campaign video
    • Executing social media campaigns
    • Developing a campaign or awareness-building newsletter (print and electronic)
    • Writing appeal letters or direct mail pieces

All communications strategies are undertaken to clearly articulate and reinforce the case for fundraising support or the enhancement of the organization’s image. Communication services are available as needed or as an element of a campaign management contract.

Conway Company offers clients expert counsel, the use of proven fundraising strategies and an extensive knowledge of the regional philanthropic climate to maximize each organization’s potential through customized solutions.

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Development Assessment & Writing a Fundraising Plan

Generally all non-profit development operations have their strengths and weaknesses; sometimes they are discernible by those inside the organization, however, it usually takes an objective outside review to bring them to light. Conway Company, LLC conducts thorough, comprehensive development assessments which provide clients with specific, detailed information to enable them to enhance both short and long-term fundraising success. Senior consultants have extensive experience in this area, having conducted more than twenty-five development assessments across the country.

When Conway Company consultants perform a development assessment they review past efforts, evaluate current operations and recommend specific action steps for the future. Their work will include personal interviews and on-site research followed by data analysis to draw conclusions and recommend a specific fundraising plan for the organization.

As part of the assessment, Conway Company consultants will review the following areas:

    • Fundraising initiatives including the annual fund, special events, major and planned giving programs, recent capital campaign results, grant requests, direct mail, on-line contributions and/or telephone solicitation
    • Staff effectiveness
    • Communications/publications – brochures, website, social media presence
    • Record systems
    • Prospect research, identification and cultivation procedures
    • Board and volunteer involvement
    • Program management and organizational structure

Prior to arriving on-site Conway team members will request reports, records and publications for review. Their work will typically include an examination of:

    • Annual and development reports
    • Solicitation strategies
    • Annual and capital campaign results, with pledge redemption data
    • Special events
    • Senior administrator’s visit calendar
    • Budgets
    • Donor records
    • Publications
    • Prospect files, both paper and electronic
    • Current and proposed staffing
    • Development software

The careful analysis of these materials is one aspect of the development assessment. Another important methodology involves conducting personal, confidential interviews with staff, volunteers and Board members, as well as other constituents. The interviews uncover attitudes, perceptions of the organization, new ideas and other observations helpful to assembling the fundraising plan. During the interviews the consultant will test different fundraising strategies, seek to discover any potential issues or obstacles to a clear and convincing case for support, and determine the interviewees’ level of interest.

If requested, Conway Company also uses benchmarking techniques in its assessment of the development office. By comparing the organization to other successful programs similar in size, service and location, consultants are able to provide objective, comparative information. While each non-profit organization is a unique entity operating in a specific geographical area and having structural and financial limitations, the principles of fundraising are universal. By gathering data from other organizations across the region or the country Conway Company is able to offer insights into practical, effective fundraising methodologies. Such insights are incorporated into the set of action steps found in the fundraising plan.

The final portion of the Development Assessment is the report. Based on the internal review, interviews, benchmarking (if used) and the experience of the consulting team a set of Conclusions and Recommendations will be offered, both orally and in writing. The report will include:

Organizational issues. The firm will identify any governance, legal or structural problems.

Fundraising potential. We will address internal and external issues likely to affect the organization’s future fundraising success.

Elements of the fundraising plan. This part of the report will provide specific action steps for staff, Board and volunteers. Strategies for improved identification and cultivation, donor communications/branding, on-line presence, timetables, staffing, Named Gift Opportunities (if appropriate), clubs and societies, a major gift effort and donor retention are possible topics.

Development assessments conducted by Conway Company generally take four to six weeks to complete, after signing a Letter of Agreement.

Conway Company offers clients expert counsel, the use of proven fundraising strategies and an extensive knowledge of the regional philanthropic climate to maximize each organization’s potential through customized solutions.

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Outline Of A Conway Company Feasibility Study

 

After completing a Feasibility Study, most organizations are ready to move directly into a campaign.
Here is an example of a typical campaign timeline:

 

If you have questions about a Feasibility Study or Campaign Management contact us.

Feasibility Study

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Long before the groundbreaking for a new building or the victory celebration after the goal has been met, a successful capital/endowment campaign begins with a feasibility study. This early step is crucial to fundraising success and represents the foundation from which a campaign can be launched.

Conway Company, LLC consultants conduct feasibility studies that provide organizations with the vital information necessary to decide whether to pursue a capital/endowment campaign and if a decision is made to move forward, to set a realistic, attainable financial goal.

Studies typically take 8 to 10 weeks to complete and involve the following steps by Conway team members:

    • Examine development activities, such as annual fund results, previous capital campaigns, special events, status of prospect research, and donor cultivation
    • Research and write a preliminary case for support
    • Identify prospective interviewees and schedule interviews
    • Conduct face-to-face, confidential interviews with prospects and friends
    • Organize, schedule and facilitate group interviews
    • Use an electronic questionnaire for other prospects, if appropriate
    • Analyze and evaluate the findings
    • Prepare a report to include narrative, text, statistical analysis and direct, unattributed quotations which offer insights about the organization
    • Write a set of recommendations made in relation to the numerous other campaigns conducted by Conway consultants, evaluating whether the same factors for success are present or whether other steps may be required
    • Present the report in two phases, as a draft and as a final document to Board and staff members

The personal interviews are pivotal to a thorough, accurate and in-depth final report. Interviews are scheduled directly by the senior consultants doing the study, enabling them to establish contact and begin to build rapport with the participants. The consulting team brings extensive knowledge of the regional philanthropic climate and years of interviewing experience to this process. They take a relaxed, confidential approach which encourages constituents to freely express their opinions. The interviews provide information about the ability of the non-profit to conduct a successful campaign as well as help to cultivate potential leaders and donors. The interviewees are among the first to learn of campaign plans so in addition to their feedback, consultants begin to develop their interest in the project.

Throughout the feasibility study process, Conway consultants keep the organization’s staff and Board well-apprised with numerous updates. Upon completion of the study, a Conway consultant will personally present the study findings, initially in draft form to a select group of the organization’s leaders. After that group has reviewed and clearly understands the recommendations, a final presentation is scheduled with a larger group, usually all senior administrators as well as the full Board. In both sessions the consultants present their findings which evaluate:

    • The organization’s institutional and philanthropic image
    • Strength of the case for support
    • An attainable financial goal
    • Availability of volunteer campaign leadership
    • Quantity and size of leadership gifts
    • Any possible problems and how to overcome them

Within the study report, Conway consultants will offer a series of campaign strategies, timeline and budget.

Based on the results of the feasibility study, and if a campaign is recommended, Conway Company is available to provide campaign counsel with the specifics outlined in the study report. Should a study reveal that it is not an appropriate time to begin a campaign, or if there are other special circumstances, the consulting team will counsel on alternative approaches as well as offer advice to improve the organization’s future fundraising potential.

Conway Company, LLC offers clients expert counsel, the use of proven fundraising strategies and an extensive knowledge of the regional philanthropic climate to maximize each organization’s potential through customized solutions.

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Grant Writing & Research

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With interests as varied as the scope of non-profit organizations who turn to them for support, foundations offer a significant resource for donated revenue. Yet several factors often prevent organizations from maximizing the fundraising potential of foundations; these include an inability to research, develop and write effective grant proposals and a misunderstanding of the importance of matching a foundation’s interest with the non-profit’s mission. Not all organizations have the staff expertise to effectively overcome these barriers. Conway Company, LLC has a well-respected team of grant writers and prospect researchers who can draw on years of experience personally working with foundations to provide comprehensive grant research and writing services to clients.

Conway Company consultants have found that those organizations most successful in securing grants have well-written proposals produced by professionals. The firm offers clients the following three-step process to aid in achieving that success:

    • An environmental scan of the foundation landscape – local, regional, national
    • The ability to match an organization’s niche or programmatic results to the interests of various foundations
    • The creation of a customized, well-written grant proposal clearly showing the match between the organization’s mission and the foundation’s interests

With decades of fundraising experience, Conway consultants have substantial knowledge of the regional philanthropic climate and a reputation for writing grant proposals which are complete and based on accurate, appropriate research. Conway consultants are also known for their expertise in determining and requesting an amount likely to be granted.

The firm offers grant writing and foundation research as a stand-alone service to organizations seeking to improve their ongoing fundraising capabilities or within the context of a major capital campaign.

Conway Company offers clients expert counsel, the use of proven fundraising strategies and an extensive knowledge of the regional philanthropic climate to maximize each organization’s potential through customized solutions.

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Planned Giving/Bequest Promotion

Planned giving offers attractive benefits for donors and exciting possibilities for their charitable interests, yet it is becoming an increasingly competitive arena among non-profit organizations vying for donor attention. Non-profits need to distinguish themselves from other charities with the right combination of communication and cultivation to achieve substantial planned gifts and maximize their impact for both the organization and donors.

With their decades of experience in fundraising, Conway Company senior consultants have the background, knowledge and communications expertise to help clients realize the potential a properly structured planned giving program offers their institution. They understand the complexities of planned giving options and can guide clients through establishing a planned giving program or assist them in strengthening an existing one.

Counsel includes a thorough analysis of the organization’s needs and detailed recommendations for creating or enhancing a bequest or planned giving program. This includes assistance with promoting planned giving options to donors, counsel on building the relationships necessary to receive planned gifts, adopting or modifying Gift Acceptance Policies, and guidance on the legal, organizational and stewardship aspects of planned giving.

Instrumental to the success of promoting and securing planned gifts/bequests is clearly communicating the options, benefits and importance of this fundraising strategy to donors. Conway team members realize that donors who are prudent with their own financial resources expect the same fiscal responsibility from the charities they support. Consultants can advise clients on how best to communicate fiscal prudence and stewardship concepts to planned giving prospects and assist them in developing and implementing an appropriate set of strategies. In addition, with longer life expectancies and an increase in blended families, consultants can advise and strategize on the multi-generational decision-making which is becoming increasingly common among donors.

Conway Company offers clients expert counsel, the use of proven fundraising strategies and an extensive knowledge of the regional philanthropic climate to maximize each organization’s potential through customized solutions.

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Prospect Research

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Whether launching a capital campaign, identifying potential Board members or maximizing the impact of an annual giving program, non-profit organizations need access to accurate, detailed information on current and prospective donors.

Prospect research is one of the specialized services offered by Conway Company, LLC. Experienced consultants are prepared to meet with clients to discuss their research needs and then to offer a plan which can include:

    • Electronic datamining of an entire donor base which often yields surprising results in terms of financial capacity and past giving
    • Preparing in-depth profiles on selected prospects, including details on their financial resources, philanthropic interests and history, and giving potential
    • Meeting with non-profit staff and Board to review and evaluate the research and put it into perspective for that organization’s unique fundraising situation
    • Assigning the most effective solicitor/solicitor team
    • Creating appropriate, yet appealing Named Gift Opportunities
    • Writing customized appeal letters/proposals to individuals, families, or corporations

Taking full advantage of electronic resources, Conway Company consultants have access to more data than ever before. Research resources include the internet, public and law libraries, search engines, and interactive software programs. In addition, the firm subscribes to several electronic databases to serve clients and maintains a proprietary database for clients. Consultants examine property records, securities’ filings of publicly traded companies, and other public documents such as court filings, lawsuits and judgments to obtain a complete picture of a prospect’s financial position. All information uncovered is treated as strictly confidential and is never provided to another entity.

To determine philanthropic interests and intent, a careful review is made of gifts to other non-profit organizations. Such a review is particularly illuminating to confirm gift ranges, areas of support (such as environmental causes, higher education or social services) and geographic limitations for an individual or family.

Conway Company consultants are available to provide prospect research as a stand-alone service to non-profits seeking to enhance their current fundraising capabilities or within the context of planning for a major capital/endowment campaign.

Conway Company offers clients expert counsel, the use of proven fundraising strategies and an extensive knowledge of the regional philanthropic climate to maximize each organization’s potential through customized solutions.

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Public Sector Funding Strategies

For a growing number of non-profit organizations, particularly museums, other arts organizations and social service agencies, a key component to a successful capital campaign is to develop a public sector funding strategy. This enables organizations to create and capitalize on public-private partnerships to raise significant amounts toward a campaign goal.

For many non-profit organizations, developing a public sector funding strategy is a new approach to fundraising. Before launching into this uncharted fundraising territory, it’s best to seek professional direction from an experienced guide. With more than a decade of experience creating successful public sector funding strategies on a local, regional and national level, the consultants at Conway Company, LLC are well-prepared to explore this arena with clients. While public sector funding may not be the best option for all non-profit groups, size does not have to be a determining factor. Conway consultants offer the expertise and knowledge to assess if this is an appropriate approach aiding even small non-profits. In addition, Conway team members have experience designing public sector funding strategies for non-profits working as part of a collaborative or a group of similar organizations.

Conway Company consultants are available to meet with an organization’s Board and staff members to begin to outline a public sector funding strategy or to further develop the public sector initiative that may have emerged during a pre-campaign feasibility study.

Conway Company offers clients expert counsel, the use of proven fundraising strategies and an extensive knowledge of the regional philanthropic climate to maximize each organization’s potential through customized solutions.

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Solicitor Training/Coaching

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An effective case for support is fundamental, a realistic goal is critical and an experienced fund-raising counsel is essential, but equally imperative to the success of a capital campaign is the ability of volunteers to effectively seek contributions. In order for volunteers to accomplish their goal, they must be well-trained and have well-understood assignments.

A hallmark of the Conway Company is the organized, effective training it provides to volunteer solicitors. With decades of experience managing capital campaigns for diverse nonprofit clients, Conway consultants are well-prepared to organize and supervise the recruitment, training and assignment of solicitors to achieve maximum results. With Conway Company’s experienced guidance, volunteers come to understand the critical role they will play in the campaign’s success.

To achieve the most effective solicitor training, Conway Company offers clients the following services:

    • Developing specific, written job descriptions for volunteer solicitors
    • Creating customized training materials for each individual client and campaign
    • Engaging in active solicitor training using real-life experiences and role-playing
    • Organizing and facilitating report meetings for each section of the campaign

Most often it is Board, campaign cabinet and staff members who take on the role of volunteer solicitors during a campaign. With a keen understanding of the many demands these leaders face for their time and attention, Conway consultants are prepared to offer concise, effective, well-organized training in the following areas:

    • How to emphasize mission and stewardship
    • How to ask for a major gift
    • How to emphasize giving options that will encourage a larger gift including cash, pledges, securities, deferred gifts, real estate, or a combination of these options
    • How to effectively promote named gift opportunities
    • How to make effective use of the campaign’s communication resources including the case for support, video or brochure
    • How to overcome objections

Conway Company consultants are available to accompany solicitors and staff on individual, in-person solicitations.

Upon completion of the training offered by Conway Company consultants, volunteer solicitors are well-prepared to create the understanding of and enthusiasm for the campaign that should translate into significant financial support.

Conway Company offers clients expert counsel, the use of proven fund-raising strategies and an extensive knowledge of the regional philanthropic climate to maximize each organization’s potential through customized fund-raising solutions.

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Strategic Planning for Non-Profit Organizations

Successful non-profit organizations have embraced strategic planning to advance the mission while providing metrics which are transparent to current stakeholders (Board, staff, and donors) and the general public.

Conway Company, LLC offers guidance in developing and implementing strategic plans. The firm has been retained to assist in the strategic planning process, facilitating planning retreats and in converting mission and vision statements into a case for support in preparation for either a targeted major gifts effort or a capital/endowment campaign.

A Conway Company-led strategic planning process, while always customized to reflect the history, needs and culture of the organization, will typically include:

    • Review of internal documents such as program, financial and institutional advancement data
    • Interviewing a number of key constituents
    • Prepare working paper/questionnaire, as needed
    • Facilitate a day long retreat with visioning, SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis, evaluation of outcomes and financial impact(s) all examined
    • Determine a financial plan
    • Write an action plan, with assigned responsibilities, goals and objectives
    • Implement the plan, with agreed milestones and measurable outcomes
    • Evaluate progress; make mid-course corrections, if required

The benefits of strategic planning include the organization’s ability to design its’ future, to prepare for unexpected situations, to seek collaboration with other entities and improve communications between Board and staff.

A consulting engagement as described above generally takes between 6 to 10 weeks, depending upon the availability of interviewees and the readiness of the organization.

Conway Company offers clients expert counsel, the use of proven fundraising strategies and an extensive knowledge of the regional philanthropic climate to maximize each organization’s potential through customized solutions.

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