The Nebraska Community Foundation works with community, organizational and donor-advised affiliated funds serving 250 communities located in 80 counties. NCF and its affiliated funds have reinvested $269 million in Nebraska since 1994.
Nebraska Community Foundation development staff members have identified 10 indicators of high performance for affiliated funds. We’ve found that the affiliated funds that are engaging in a number of the activities described below typically enjoy a greater level of success than do affiliated funds who are not engaged in these activities or who are not working toward these goals.
The indicators are listed in reverse order with the most influential indicators listed last. The self-evaluation tool is available for download at the bottom of the page.
10. Community-Wide Celebration
High performing funds hold annual community-wide celebrations. These celebrations are a great way to thank your volunteers, honor your donors, engage the media and inspire potential donors. These events have proven very successful in communities large and small across the state. We’ve observed that annual celebrations with good publicity are the most effective. Read more about how to get the most out of your annual celebrations in the events section.
9. Donor Visitation
Regular conversations and communication with current, past and potential donors are essential to growing your affiliated fund. The most successful affiliated funds have 80% of their Fund Advisory Committee members cultivating at least one donor. Ongoing contact with donors helps to move donors from one level of giving to the next. Read more about effective donor communications in the donor relationships section.
8. Impact Grantmaking
Grantmaking that makes a difference both today and 10 or 20 years from now is the key to making a difference in your community or for your organization. High performing funds strive to invest 80% of their grant dollars in programs and projects that make a difference in the long term. Impact grants show donors that you’ve used their money wisely and show local media that your affiliated fund is forward thinking. Learn more about making grants that make a difference in the impact grantmaking section.
7. Annual Fund Advisory Committee Member Contributions
The most effective affiliated funds have Fund Advisory Committee members that are bought-in to the mission and vision of their affiliated fund. The best way to communicate your commitment to your affiliated fund is to give your time, talent and your treasure to support the success of the affiliated fund. The most successful affiliated funds have Fund Advisory Committee members who have all made contributions. The actual amount is not as important as your ability to say that 100% of your Fund Advisory Committee has given something, whether an outright gift or a planned gift.
6. Number of Donors
In order to continually grow your affiliated fund you need to constantly look for ways to engage new donors. The most successful affiliated funds strive to grow the number of donors by 20% each year. Increasing the number of donors annually is directly related to the donor visits made by your fund advisory committee members. Ongoing conversations with donors about what is important to them and where they see your community or organization in the future is the key to engaging them and keeping them engaged.
5. Action Plan Implementation
“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.” This quote by David Campbell emphasizes the point that, without planning ahead, chances are that you’ll end up somewhere other than where you’d like to be. Creating an action plan will help your affiliated fund make decisions about what you want to accomplish and the steps you need to take to get there. Read more about creating an action plan in the action planning section or contact your NCF development staff member for more information.
4. Fund Advisory Committee Meetings
Meeting regularly is a key part of keeping your affiliated fund moving forward toward your goals. We have found that most effective affiliated funds meet monthly with 90% attendance from all fund advisory committee members. Monthly meetings and good attendance will help your affiliate fund to get more accomplished. Read more about effective affiliated fund leadership in the Leadership and Fund Advisory Committee Development section.
3. Donor Commitment
Committed donors who are focused on the goals of your affiliated fund are essential if you wish to continue to grow your affiliated fund. You should strive to have 80% of your affiliated fund donors give annually at the same or increasing levels. It has been shown that creating a “habit of giving” to your affiliated fund will increase the likelihood that your affiliated fund will receive larger estate gifts – many times from unexpected donors. Read more about fostering donor relationships in the donor relationships section.
2. Fund Advisory Committee Members Include their Affiliated Fund in their Estate Planning
A highly engaged and committed Fund Advisory Committee is the glue that holds your affiliated fund together. The ability to state that at least 80% (if not 100%) of your Fund Advisory Committee members have included the affiliated fund in their own estate plans is priceless when you are approaching potential donors and asking them to do the same. Learn more about donor visits on the donor visitation page.
1. Endowed Funds to Harness the Transfer of Wealth
When a donor gives to your affiliated fund’s endowment account he or she is giving a gift that will live on forever. Endowed accounts, especially unrestricted endowment accounts, allow your affiliated fund to meet the needs of your community or organization now and in the unforeseen needs of the future. NCF staff encourages all of its affiliated funds to strive toward capturing at least 5% of the projected 10-year intergenerational transfer of wealth. The number of NCF affiliated funds who have achieved and surpassed this goal is increasing yearly. Think of all you could do if you had a robust unrestricted endowment – you would be able to provide for the current and future needs of your community or organization. Read more about the intergenerational transfer of wealth
and the importance of endowment building.
Download the self-evaluation tool. You can use this tool to assess your affiliated fund’s progress in relation to these ten indicators of high performance.
Rick Muenchau assists Dusty Earwood using equipment provided by a grant from the Eustis Community Foundation Fund.Read more →