PAIDEIA, Inc., is not a fundraising agency. In fact, we believe it is futile to attempt merely to increase a client's financial support without first evaluating that institution’s overall strengths and weaknesses. Our clients need to fulfill their respective missions; then, the money will follow.
As a firm dedicated to helping institutions in their pursuit of excellence, PAIDEIA strongly advocates that our clients adopt a philosophy of cost-based services, supplemented by need-based financial aid for those incapable of meeting full costs. Such funding for financial aid is provided by voluntary gift support by persons encouraged to invest in the worthy cause by the example and urging of governing board members and the chief executive officer’s appeal for a fully-funded mission. We offer counsel to help our clients:
• Create awareness among board members of their obligatory financial support.
• Strengthen the CEO’s ability to ask for and receive major financial gifts.
• Set cost-based fees toward a fully-funded mission.
• Establish a professional development/advancement office.
• Eliminate fundraising by means of product sales and events.
• Begin an annual giving campaign.
• Increase revenue from ancillary and mission-related services.
• Conduct a readiness/feasibility study prior to launching a capital campaign.
• Conduct a capital campaign from its “quiet phase” to its celebratory conclusion.
• Learn the best financial practices among similar institutions.
Specific services related to these goals include:
Pre-campaign envisioning programs
Campaign readiness (feasibility) studies
Major and leadership gift counsel
Annual fund counsel
Writing for development
Staff development and training
Development and advancement office audits
Board education and training
Marketing communications planning
Creative development and production
Communications program execution
While some in the field still refer to a “feasibility study,” PAIDEIA prefers the term campaign readiness study, because our work tells a client more than whether a campaign is feasible. It indicates whether a select group of donors is ready to support the board’s case, based on the strategic plan already developed—and if not, why.
Our campaign readiness studies help institutions gauge whether the ingredients for campaign success are present. In conducting a study, we focus on five key factors in any campaign:
• The case for support.
• The nature and quality of the prospect pool.
• Leadership—both institutional and volunteer.
• The development and advancement offices.
• The climate for giving.
The PAIDEIA team dedicated to your project prepares an external, unbiased report based on observations, interviews with key constituents and a thorough review of historical and contemporary data, with detailed findings and specific practical recommendations. Our readiness reports do not come with any strings attached or presumed ongoing counsel.
It is no coincidence that, in fundraising and marketing, the word “campaign” is borrowed from the military. Conducting a fundraising campaign requires all the detailed planning, advance preparatory work and efficient tactical execution—including the deployment of personnel at the right place and the right time with the right message—of an army in a theater of battle.
PAIDEIA offers ongoing counsel to campaign leaders and teams—vice presidents, campaign directors, and CEO's—as best suits their individual circumstances. Such counsel can be on a retainer basis of an agreed number of days per month, or as requested.
Our counsel is geared towards equipping the team for success, not managing the campaign itself. Our goal is to institutionalize the skills and abilities required for campaign management such that future efforts at fundraising are enhanced. We ask the tough questions, monitor progress, advise on tactics, strengthen communications, assist in building a core of volunteers, and much more. We are a sounding board for creative and new ideas and future plans.
Major and Leadership Gift Counsel
Simply put, people—specifically, donors—are not created equal. Your fundraising effort, whether inside or outside of a campaign, will rely on surprisingly few donors for the lion’s share of the gifts and pledges made. Too often, much heat and light is generated in the frantic action of development offices when more patient and systematic attention paid to key prospects would be far more beneficial.
PAIDEIA’s counsel regarding major and leadership gifts helps development and advancement offices to define and distinguish between major, leadership and principle gifts. We mentor team members, and help team leaders nurture the talent necessary to implement a successful moves-management process. We advise, too, on the ranking and rating of prospects, prospect research, role-playing the “ask,” and the development of realistic key performance measurements.
Annual Fund Counsel
The annual fund is the backbone of the development office: the foundation on which much of the development superstructure is built. It not only provides the current-use funds necessary to balance a budget and meet institutional goals; it also nurtures tomorrow’s major donors. In addition, the annual fund drive cultivates the habit of giving that is so important to the long-term health of the development program.
PAIDEIA’s counsel in this area extends across the entire range of the annual fund, including:
• Prospect segmentation.
• Graduating class gifts.
• Reunion giving programs.
• Writing compelling copy/brochures.
• Integration of technology into the appeal.
• Effective phone-athons.
• Analysis and benchmarking.
Writing for Development
Writing compelling and persuasive fundraising copy is an art that takes time and practice to cultivate. To be most effective, copy targeted at individuals will differ from that aimed at corporations, or at foundations or government agencies. Whether you are preparing proposals, letters of inquiry, appeal letters, campaign cases for support, an annual report or just an article for your alumni magazine, PAIDEIA can help craft or enhance your messages.
Like it or not, your development operation will most likely be held up to comparison with those at other schools. PAIDEIA knows the pitfalls of benchmarking against the “wrong” schools—which is why we are often called upon to undertake benchmarking for schools against true peer institutions, as well as aspirational institutions. Our counsel includes work to collect, analyze and critique data for clients, and to advise on their performance vis-a-vis chosen peer and aspirational institutions.
Development and Training
PAIDEIA provides economical, customized on- and off-site training and mentoring programs for members of the advancement team. The focus of these programs is on the individual service areas we address that have direct bearing on fundraising and development, as well as management and marketing.
When specialized conferences are not practical or even possible, we can streamline our development and training programs to meet your needs at a lower cost per attendee.
Development and Advancement Assessments
It is good practice to engage in a periodic, independent assessment of the development and advancement functions of any institution. Development assessments are most often undertaken when there is new leadership—presidential or vice-presidential—when personal views require independent verification, in advance of a fundraising or capital campaign, or when major structural changes are desired. An assessment results in a “report card” that can be used to understand both strengths and weaknesses of the development or advancement office, such that resources and attention can be applied to improve performance.
PAIDEIA has a long history of conducting assessments for a variety of institutions. Such assessments can usually be completed within 60 days of our receipt of a signed contract.