Articles by Denise Sheppard

Secret Ingredients of a Successful Fund Raiser – Sponsorships

Posted by on Jun 27, 2013 in Fund Raising, home slider, Nonprofit | 0 comments

Secret Ingredients of a Successful Fund Raiser – Sponsorships

In the early stages of planning a successful fundraiser, it is important to consider sponsorships. Your ticket price needs to cover the cost of putting on your event. Your sponsorships, corporate and individual, will be the area that puts you over into to the “successful” category! What questions should you consider before sending that first letter to a business or individual?

  • What is in it for the Sponsor? This is the most important question. At this point in your preparation for your event you are dealing with a successful business or individual. Can you offer them advertising the night of the event on the program? How about adding their logo to your website? A “tip of the hat” from the podium during your opening remarks also can be reserved for your highest sponsors. Of course, tickets to your event should also be offered to your sponsors, graduated according to the amount of the donation.
  • Why would an individual or company be interested in sponsoring your nonprofit? Are they a local business that has ties to your nonprofit? Does someone from the company sit on your Board of Trustees? Are they one of your vendors? All of these companies should be asked. Will your Board members consider donating at a sponsorship level?
  • What or where is their connection to your organization? Another interesting intersection for individual and corporate sponsors is their desire to have their name before a particular Cause, Honoree, or Co-Chair. This is one of the primary reasons that it is critical to choose your Honorees and Co-Chairs with great thought.
  • Where will you find these sponsors? This is the most asked question. A rule of thumb for asking is “top down, inside out.” What this means is that you should always start with your Board of Trustees. They are the people charged with fiscal responsibility of your organization. Their support and that of their friends, colleagues, and business associates will be most important. Staff and volunteers are also asked to contribute any names of contacts that they may have as well. Next vendors are approached and asked to show their support. Finally, companies within a ten to twenty mile radius can also be approached, particularly large name companies.
  • Craft a well written letter letting the appropriate individual know that you will be following up within ten days in person or by phone…and then GO DO IT!

Denise Sheppard is a development consultant who loves helping to raise money for worthy causes. She provides mentoring for new development staff; writes grants; and thrives on being part of a team who is organizing a fund raising event. She can be reached at or 617.755.6001

Time Management 2

Posted by on Jun 27, 2013 in Leadership, Time Management | 0 comments

Another effective Time Management Strategy is to track your time. How are you spending your day? By writing down what you do and how long it takes, you begin to see where your hours and minutes are going. Maybe it is as simple as an app on your phone that you use to to see where the bulk of your time is spent. Tracking time has been recommended numerous times across many disciplines and is always the first step in changing any behavior. It is suggested because it works. You now have a better handle on what is eating up the majority of your time.

Another by-product of this tool is that you will often discover when you are most productive. Are you a morning person? Do you find that the largest part of your most productive work is accomplished early in the day and by mid afternoon you are “net-surfing”? Do you plug away at the same report for hours first thing in the morning, but later in the day, your creative juices just seem to be flowing? After a week of writing down how you are spending your time you will not only know what is draining your time and energy but hopefully have a better idea on how you can arrange your schedule to be most productive and successful.

Wishing you a day of time well spent!

Time Management

Posted by on Jun 27, 2013 in Leadership, Nonprofit, Time Management | 0 comments

Time issues seem to plague everyone whether you are managing a large corporation, a fledgling nonprofit or any size in between. The demands on our time have become huge and include not only the people in the near vicinity, but thanks to the Internet, connections around the world.

How do you manage this constant flow of interruptions? Everyone gets the same 24 hours/1440 minutes a day. Are you able to prioritize? Do you have anyone to delegate some of the responsibility to? One strategy I have used, and that I periodically need to be reminded to return to, is the matrix below that forces me to separate the Urgent and Important form the Unimportant and Not Urgent.

Urgent Not Urgent

Office emergency
Grant deadline
Budget for Board
Presentation for major client Strategic Planning
Quality Family Time
Assessment of vision and values
Time for exercise and reflection
Not Important Unnecessary meetings/phone calls
“ping on” for email and voice mail
Drop in visitors Excessive web browsing
Busy work easily done by staff
This is by no means everyone’s list of priorities…they vary by job and responsibility. It is an illustration of how time can be managed more effectively and by proper planning things that often appear in the Urgent/Important column can easily be scheduled into the Important/Not Urgent category.

Wishing you a day of time well spent!