The FOCUS Group believes that building relationships with donors over time is at the very core of the fundraising process. Ongoing relationships give donors opportunities to play significant roles in the advancement of causes they believe in. To maximize donors’ impact, a nonprofit must know the donors. That is, know who the donors are, what kinds of roles they might play, when they can give and when they can’t, and when they can volunteer and when they can’t.
Nonprofits need to take donors seriously. Not just when asking them to give, inviting them to an event, or recruiting them to volunteer. Donors need to be taken seriously from the initial contact and throughout their lifetimes.
Since 1982, The FOCUS Group has counseled nonprofits across the US and Canada in Taking Donors Seriously®, our firms’ training in working with major donors. The FOCUS Group works with clients in: defining their case in the most authentic and motivating way, identifying leadership and prospects who truly care about the cause and the case for support, crafting strategies based on the identified leadership and prospects, and formulating a plan to carry out the strategies.
Some of the characteristics clients mention in describing The FOCUS Group include high integrity, principle-based, out-of-the-box strategists, people who know their craft, system specialists, marketing oriented, and technologically savvy. The FOCUS Group challenges clients to think in fresh and creative ways about their missions and programs and to use ingenuity in working with donors. In working with clients, our firm endeavors to apply the best available technology and the marketing expertise that enable clients to demonstrate to donors how they can achieve their philanthropic objectives.
We serve clients whose missions range from higher and secondary education, to agencies serving the disadvantaged and the disabled, to youth, relief, and arts organizations across the US and Canada. The goal is to provide the highest quality of service, giving clients the greatest value now and over time.
The FOCUS Group works with clients to articulate the case for giving, develop leadership, clarify and grow a prospect list, develop strategies, and build a plan. We focus on the fundamentals that are grounded in principles and experience learned through advising many clients in varied situations.
The FOCUS Group stresses the importance of long-term major donor development. Our firm equips clients to build and maintain lifetime relationships with their major donors. Twenty percent of the donors give eighty percent of the money, and we show clients how to cultivate special relationships with the top twenty percent of their prospects. Rather than expending effort in many directions, this approach gets the results clients need, using a manageable process. Rather than creating work for clients, we help clients eliminate ineffective activities.
The FOCUS Group promises integrity. Frequently, consultants must ask hard questions or give counsel that is not particularly welcomed. Clients do not engage The FOCUS Group to tell them what they want to hear. They expect our firm to give accurate analyses and recommend effective strategies.
Stories abound of consultants who are very present during the cultivation of clients and early in campaigns when the big gifts usually come in. Then they appear less frequently when the work gets difficult and campaigns hit the flat places. The clients of The FOCUS Group expect professional attention and timely communication. Our firm offers both and continually initiates with clients throughout all aspects of campaigns and projects.
Efficient development departments are key in the nonprofit arena. Donors are concerned about high administrative costs. The FOCUS Group invests its resources annually to ensure availability of the best technology. Unlike most firms that outsource services and are not directly involved in applying technology, our firm knows the latest applications and works with clients in using these tools. In fact, The FOCUS Group has developed its own software, Windshield2020®, a specially designed and patented system for managing campaigns.
The FOCUS Group has had the privilege of long-term working relationships with clients. We take our clients seriously, keep our promises, and finish projects on time. Clients come back for more because The FOCUS Group has earned their trust. Clients are encouraged to take donors seriously, and our firm shows them how to accomplish just that. The FOCUS Group enjoys a long and diverse list of repeat clients, some who have been calling on us since the firm was founded in 1982.