Consulting Services
Provided by

Mary M. Gilliam, MBA, CFRE

Organizational Planning | Fund Development Strategies
Fundraising Training | Board Development | Grantseeking & Grant Proposals | Special Events & Volunteer Management


magnolia34 Organizational Planning

Strategic Planning

If you don’t know where you’re going, any road you take will get you there.

We provide Strategic Planning facilitation services that will guide your Board members to:

  • Identify long-range goals consistent with the vision and mission of the organization,
  • Develop consensus about strategies to reach goals and
  • Craft annual, measurable objectives in the areas of human resources, operations, and marketing to support attaining long-range goals
  • Involve Board and Staff in Action Plans with specific roles and responsibilities and deadlines

Culture of Philanthropy

Does every person in your organization understand that attaining fundraising goals is a “Team Sport”?

Organizations that successfully advance their mission through fundraising include every member of the organization from the Board to front-line personnel. Culture of Philanthropy training allows each member of the team to understand the basics of fundraising, donor needs, and how to present the organization’s Case for Giving. During Culture of Philanthropy training, all of your constituents have a voice in making creative contributions to the organization’s fund raising success.

  • Staff and board training on implementing Culture of Philanthrop
  • Recommend staff recognition and reward plan to support implementation of Culture of Philanthropy.


magnolia34a Fund Development Strategies

Strategic Fund Development Planning for Long-Term Sustainability

Now that you know where you are going and how you plan to get there, will your organization have the funding resources to attain annual objectives?

In order for any fundraising effort to be successful an organization must have a solid fundraising plan and staff to support all fundraising efforts. Increasingly, nonprofits are designing fundraising plans that represent a diversified approach to fundraising. That is, organizations realize the importance of planning for several different types of funding.

Strategic Fund Development Planning addresses your organization’s current advancement skills inventory, analyzes donor market opportunities and helps your Board and staff develop a fundraising plan to meet annual development goals starting from where you are now and building toward where you want to be.

Prospect Identification for Major Gifts

Who you know that you didn’t know you knew!

Board Members may also not realize the number and quality of potential funders that are in their circles of influence. The Consultants will guide the Board members through a structured process to help them identify such contacts.

We guide your Board members through a revealing and entertaining exploration into the world of potential major donors – people that they know right now! Then, we energize them to begin asking for support for your organization.

Donor Marketing and Public Relations

Focusing your Organization’s Fund Development Plan on the Mission, Vision, and Values of the Organization and the Donor means that your Board of Directors and Staff fully understand the giving motivations of all your donors.

Successful donor marketing involves understanding Development Dynamics as a Value Exchange. Therefore, to meet its funding goals, the Board and Development staff must anticipate the donor needs and expectations of all its donor constituencies. We help you understand:

  • Donor Exchange Processes and Dynamics
  • Why Do Donors Give? (Or why they don’t give)
  • Identification of specific donor markets
  • What motivates your donors?
  • What are the value exchanges they seek and how should you speak to them
  • Constituency development: Recruit, retain, upgrade

Naming Rights Plans and Protocols

If your organization owns property, you have a great opportunity to increase your funding by offering Naming Rights Opportunities. To get there, your organization needs a comprehensive, well-thought out Plan and Protocols for action.

The Consultant, working with your Board members, leadership and Development staff, will review potential Naming Opportunities and construct a Naming Rights Matrix and Protocol that will be used in raising support for capital costs and in approaching donors at every level. The organization will possess a written Naming Right Manual with Naming Rights opportunities and Protocols clearly articulated. This Manual will serve as a roadmap for obtaining support from a wide range of donors, giving everyone who is committed to your mission an opportunity to invest in your future and be recognized for their investment.

Donor Stewardship Plans

Research states that most donors are lost between the first and second gift! Thanking donors in a timely manner and with the right message can lead to recurring and larger gifts.

We help you develop a Donor Thank-you program that allows you to “touch your donors” and communicate with them in ways that are meaningful and appropriate for them. Our “Seven Touches” approach will help you retain and upgrade donors, engage them in your mission, and transform them into loyal Ambassadors for your mission. Our stewardship plans are easy, and we try to keep them low-cost and fun! The “Seven Touches” reinforces your staff and Board involvement in the Culture of Philanthropy.


magnolia34b Fundraising Training

Making the Ask Training

The # 1 Reason that People Don’t Give? Because they are not asked!

An organization’s Board of Directors is typically the entity responsible for identifying, cultivating and securing major donations on behalf of the organization. However, in many organizations, Board members have not been introduced to training that will help them learn how to be successful in these endeavors.

The solution to this problem is to train Board members to be successful in introducing their organization to potential large donors, and equip them with the presentation skills and materials they need to be successful.

  • Training includes an overview of philanthropy, why people give, how to uncover donor intent, donor cultivation, and role-playing exercises with real life “ask” scenarios.

“No Ask Fundraising” Training

But is there a softer side to Asking?

An organization’s Board of Directors is typically the entity responsible for identifying, cultivating and securing major donations on behalf of the organization. However, in many organizations, Board members have not been introduced to training that will help them learn how to be successful in these endeavors.

The solution to this problem is to train Board members to be successful in introducing their organization to potential large donors, and equip them with the presentation skills and materials they need to be successful. When board members are trained to build “buzz” about an organization’s mission, fundraising is a natural outgrowth.

  • Training includes “no-ask” methods and role playing exercises with real life “no-ask” scenarios


magnolia34c Board Development

Board Survey

The Board of Directors is the entity in a nonprofit organization that is responsible for the vision and direction of the organization. Many times, Board members do not realize the vital role that they play in leading their organization’s vision and plan for sustainability.

We survey your Board to assess Board perceptions and understanding of their roles as central to fundraising success in your organization:

  • Board members will be assessed regarding their understanding of their roles and readiness as vital links in the fundraising success
  • Board survey responses will be captured and reported to the Executive Staff
  • Board survey responses will be conveyed to Board members via email or during a training session
  • Board members will have a clear concept of their roles and responsibilities as Board members

Board Development

Board or bored? Fundraising campaigns succeed when they are built on the foundation of a strong board, so it is crucial that an organization invest in board development. Do you have the right people “on the bus” and in the “right seats” on the bus to help your organization meet its Strategic and Advancement Goals? If you don’t, how can the organization add valuable new Board members, engage an Advisory Board and energize your current Board to meet your goals?

  • Assessment of current board using Composition and Recruitment Matrix
  • Board Development tools include templates for Board Commitment package, Board Skills Assessment, and Volunteer Information Profile
  • Training on how to recruit new board members, implement 100% board giving
  • Assessment of current board committee structure and recommendations for optimum structure, including job descriptions for all positions


magnolia34d Grantseeking and Grant Proposals

Grants Research

Annual funding through grants has averaged only 12- 13% of the total funds raised in the U.S. over the last decade. In a tightening economy, funders seek to invest in organizations whose missions and programs closely match their own funding mission.

Potential Corporate and Private Foundation funding sources are matched to your organization’s mission, programs and organizational capacity and readiness. Grant guidelines and application forms are obtained (as available).

Grantseeking 101: Before you write the Grant

Once you have identified potential foundation funders, what should you do to assure grantseeking success? How do you build a relationship with a foundation? How should your grant be written so that your chances of obtaining funding are increased?

We help guide you through the relationship building process with proven presentation approaches and talking points.

Grant Writing

Grant writing includes federal, state, corporate and private foundation proposals and applications.

  • We provide both hard-copy and online grant writing services
  • Services include preparation of letters of intent, letters of inquiry, cover letters, cover sheets, federal forms, proposal narrative, line-item and justified budgets, and required attachments
  • Research available federal grant opportunities and apply for them on behalf of client


magnolia34e Special Events and Volunteer Management

Event Assessment/Enhancement

An event without follow up is not an event!

  • Analysis of each event, including review of budgets, timelines, committee structures, ticket sales, sponsorships, auctions, in-kind donations, and sponsorship proposals - and customization for maximum revenue
  • Recommend steps to use events as a springboard for major gifts

Volunteer Recruitment and Training

Volunteers are the backbone of non-profit success. They increase reach into the community, and leverage the impact of development staff members. However, success with volunteers depends on the right “fit” to insure the right volunteer is in the right job for the right reason.

  • Creation of volunteer job descriptions
  • Staff training on the 3 R's of Volunteers - recruitment, retention and recognition
  • Volunteer training on Volunteer/Staff Partnership
  • Committee structure review and recommendations