“If it could give me a ring, I’d marry it!” I wasn’t expecting this enthusiastic response from Jamie LaFreniere, Executive Director of Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, when I asked her how the Network for Good software was working for her, but it was music to my ears.
For the last three years, the Nonprofit Leadership Initiative (NPLI) has partnered with Network for Good to offer a fundraising capacity building program called Jumpstart. I was thrilled to hear Jamie share how her capacity has increased since her involvement in the Jumpstart program. Jamie is able to generate reports and respond to board member requests for donor information within seconds rather than the hours, sometimes days, it took previously. I especially enjoyed hearing the creative ways she’s utilizing the software’s video thank you feature. Jamie says, “The video thank-yous really let you personalize your thanks. You can speak directly to the donor about their history of giving, or their specific program. For my board members I even add silly things like having my dogs on screen or going out in the snow! It keeps them engaged and brings life to our gratitude.”
NPLI and Network for Good co-fund the Jumpstart program for five nonprofits, within NPLI’s service region, each year. Participants are matched with a certified fundraising coach to help them navigate the software, but more importantly to build their fundraising skills. Some Jumpstart participants are already skilled fundraisers, but the benefits of individual coaching from someone who understands current fundraising trends and knows the Network for Good software has been a value-add. According to Jamie, “Working directly with Tom has been wonderful because he has tips and tricks I didn’t even know I needed. It is the little things, like showing me how to resend emails to people who haven’t opened them, or mining the list of donors for excellent legacy gift prospects. He makes it easy and very beneficial.”
NPLI created monthly user group sessions to provide additional support for Jumpstart participants. Kim O’Brien, NPLI Executive Director, commented, “We think of nonprofits competing for donor dollars, so I wasn’t sure if users would be willing to share fundraising information, but I’m delighted with the outcome of these sessions. Instead of competing, a mindset of abundance permeates the user group. We celebrate each other’s successes, while sharing tips on how to maximize the software tools, so everyone can be a better fundraiser.”
NPLI will start its fourth cohort of Jumpstart in May 2021. Additional information on Network for Good and the Jumpstart grant program can be found on NPLI’s website.