Join a community of robust learners aiming to master their craft. Seed has developed a full year of free monthly workshops designed to serve leaders across your organization.
2023 AT A GLANCE
MEASURING THE IMMEASURABLE
Objective: To identify manageable strategies for measuring program outcomes that feel elusive
We know that setting outcome goals is a critical step to activating generosity toward your organization. But what if your program model includes intangible outcomes? Things like “changing community behavior,” “developing sense-of-self,” or “forming an improved family bond.” In this workshop, we will identify goals that provide clarity to your organization as well as leverage generosity from donors. We will then create the building blocks of an evaluation plan for goals that seem impossible to measure.
We will first articulate the importance of measuring outcomes: the way lives, land, and minds are transformed. This is different from measuring outputs: how many lives, acres, or ideas you spread. Next we will generate ideas for how to measure outcomes. We answer the question, ‘We’ve chosen the right goals, now how exactly do we measure them?’ We will use case studies from real organizations and invite participants to workshop their own goals.
Remarkable Idea: You can measure and communicate the impact of your work, even if your work seems intangible.
Free tool at this workshop: Impact Measurement Field Guide. Sample.
IMPACT GOALS AND REVENUE GROWTH: RESEARCH RESULTS PREVIEW
Objective: To identify the correlation between bold impact goals and revenue growth
Thanks to Seed’s partner organizations, we have been testing the correlation between strong bold impact statements and revenue growth. We want to make the case that nonprofits can and should increase their boldness in designing solutions to social sector problems. We should shift from goal setting that maintains the status quo to goal setting that disrupts the status quo as seen in Silicon Valley startups. In this workshop, we will reveal the results of our study.
Remarkable Idea: Silicon Valley has something to teach us about the power of offering investors bold solutions to common problems.
Free tool at this workshop: Seed’s guide for improving the boldness of your impact messaging
LEAN STRATEGIC PLANNING
Objective: To identify methods for developing a simple, efficient, and cost effective strategic plan
Strategic planning has a reputation of being an obligatory process that extracts resources from an organization rather than generates any sort of meaningful tool. Seed’s approach to strategic planning is to facilitate dialogue and worksessions that ground the organization in a clear north star. We believe a clear north star is the impact the organization wishes to achieve programmatically, one that separates them from others in their field and that attracts the generosity of wide-ranging philanthropy.
Seed will share our lean strategic planning framework for finding that north star. In this way, you may conduct your own strategic plan without a long drawn out process. We will provide cost and time saving tips for each stage of the process: research, planning, operationalizing, and communicating the plan.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT FOR NONPROFIT LEADERS
Objective: To practice methods for building traction toward goals
As leaders we often struggle to find a balance between moving our team toward goals and micromanaging. A traction organizer is a tool that allows you to witness progress toward individual or team goals and allows your team the autonomy to manage it independently. In this workshop, we will practice using a traction organizer and discuss how to use it for accountability in one-on-one and team meeting settings.
Free tool at this workshop: Seed’s traction organizer template
ONBOARDING NEW STAFF
Objective: To build an onboarding plan for new staff members that reduces anxiety
Without clear objectives for new hires, the onboarding process can feel scattershot and overwhelming to all parties involved. Planning onboarding through the lens of knowledge and skills can launch a new team member effectively. Knowledge: what do we need this new person to know about the background of the organization and their role? Skills: what skills do we need them to develop within their first six weeks and what does competency look like in each? Seed will provide an onboarding planning template that helps you chart the first six weeks for your new hire and their supervisor.
Free tool at this workshop: Seed’s onboarding planning guide. Sample
Remarkable Idea: Leaders with anxiety can learn to be non-anxious through emotional differentiation and emotional connection.
Objective: To identify the indicators of chronic anxiety as well as strategies for applying a non-anxious presence to their organization.
Chronic anxiety shows up in our organizations in the form of reactivity, focusing resources on the most dysfunctional members of our teams, and directing resources toward the crises. Leaders face a constant battle to hold the organization’s identity in place while managing a barrage of external pressures. While all organizations face situational or acute anxiety, some organizations are hemorrhaging from chronic anxiety. Participants will leave with the ability to both identify the indicators of chronic anxiety as well as strategies for applying a non-anxious presence to their organizational identity, fundraising strategies, and program design.
Free tool at this workshop: Seed’s leadership reflection worksheet. Sample
Remarkable Idea: Strategic planning can be as simple as defining your north star. Your north star answers the question, “What would it look like if we were wildly successful with our mission statement?”
Free tool at this workshop: Seed’s agenda for north star-defining meetings
Remarkable Idea: Meetings with direct reports become less ambiguous when they focus on clearing the deck toward weekly progress.
Remarkable Idea: Outlining a list of competencies and what “good looks like” for each of those will take the guesswork out of onboarding new hires.
MAJOR GIFT PORTFOLIOS: PLANNING YOUR NEXT MOVE
Remarkable Idea: Securing major gifts can be broken into a series of meaningful weekly tasks that add up to a donor committed for a lifetime.
Objective: To identify the activity and milestones required to move a donor from prospect to long-time investor.
Major gift fundraising starts with planning. Successful major gift fundraisers create clear, goal-oriented plans. The best fundraisers we’ve met do 3 things really well. First, fundraisers authentically connect with donors through sharing and evoking stories. Second, great fundraisers submit to the process – they commit to the daily activities that when executed over time produces missional, generous relationships. But the 3rd strength of great fundraisers is that they spend time gaining clarity on their plan and direction forward. This is the core objective of this workshop: identifying meaningful and strategic next steps with major donors throughout the course of their donor journey.
Free tool at this workshop: Seed’s major gift portfolio template. Sample
ENGAGING YOUR BOARD IN FUNDRAISING
Objective: Establish clarity of focus for boards in their support of fundraising efforts
Board members often fall on distinct ends of a spectrum when it comes to supporting the fundraising operations of an organization. They can either be completely disengaged and resistant to fundraising or they can offer unsolicited advice while trying to manage fundraising strategy on their own. Even a board that is not specifically designed for fundraising can be organized to support the core efforts of the team. In this workshop we will establish a plan for bringing the board alongside the fundraising team to prioritize their focus. We will share specific ways to engage your board in fundraising such as introducing you to major gift or corporate sponsor leads, hosting connector events, or supporting your stewardship activities.
THREE APPEAL WRITING TECHNIQUES TO TRANSFORM YEAR-END GIVING
Remarkable Idea: Value-add content will take the sales out of your appeal writing and make your donors share the email with a friend.
Objective: Adjust your appeal-writing strategy to create value-add content
The nonprofit sector is becoming increasingly skilled at personalization and segmentation to its donor base. However, the 0.08% conversion rate tells us that we still have a hill to climb. The good news is that nonprofits have an opportunity to leverage a technique that is uniquely suited to our sector: creating value-add content.
Creating value-add content is not a supplement to your appeal calendar. It can be central to your appeal calendar. It’s simply another way of writing that takes the sales out of your messages and lets your organization’s expertise speak for itself.
In this workshop we will practice three key techniques for adding value to your audience:
Teach us something.
Give us something to practice.
Introduce us to a new perspective.
Free tool at this workshop: Seed’s favorite value-add appeal samples and appeal writing toolkit
STRATEGIC FOCUS: RAISING MORE BY DOING LESS
Remarkable Idea: Fully operationalizing one to two fundraising strategies will have a bigger return than maintaining three to five strategies at a mediocre level.
Objective: To evaluate the viability of five fundraising strategies for your current organizational lifecycle: major gifts, grants, annual giving, events, corporate sponsorships. To analyze the top two strategies which could collectively raise more revenue when highly operationalized than 3-5 strategies which are only somewhat operationalized.
The activity you say “no” can only strengthen you. This workshop will equip you to evaluate the viability of each strategy as if you were your own consultant. You will consider each strategy through a matrix that ranks: sustainability, return on investment, return horizon, scalability, and needed infrastructure.
Free tool at this workshop: Seed’s strategic selection field guide
EVALUATING YOUR FUNDRAISING PERFORMANCE
Remarkable Idea: Analyzing last year’s fundraising performance is easier when you are looking at the upstream activities that led to the downstream revenue.
Objective: To develop a process for conducing a year-end-review of your organization’s fundraising performance.
Creating a test and learn environment is essential for progressing toward mastery of your fundraising strategies. This workshop will provide a format for analyzing qualitative and quantitative data from your previous year and setting your team up to learn and iterate.
Free tool at this workshop: Seed’s end of year evaluation template. Sample.
Remarkable Idea: Board members charged with facilitating connector conversations will feel more engaged.
Free tool at this workshop: Seed’s connector event field guide. Sample