Rebooting Endowment Development

May 25, 2017



Written By: Mike

By Mike Bussey

At a recent conference, several sessions and related discussions focused on ways to revitalize, reimagine and recharge stagnant endowment development programs. And for good reason!

Although many nonprofits report having endowment funds, that percentage is declining and very few have on-going programs that effectively inform and invite the organization’s best friends to make endowment commitments that, ironically, are also in their best interests.

The tragedy of this scenario is that, at a time when the potential for endowment commitments from Baby Boomers is at historic highs, most churches, schools, nonprofits and other charitable organizations are not even positioned to receive endowment commitments, let alone help donors understand how they can be helpful.

Although numerous tactical initiatives to activate endowment development programs were presented and discussed at the conference, there is an important strategic action step that, when taken first, will effectively engage the top volunteer and staff leadership in defining and committing to a revitalized, reimagined and renewed endowment development program.

To reboot a stagnant endowment development program, first appoint an Endowment Development Task Force, consisting of 6-8 of top staff and volunteer leaders (Representatives from the Board of Directors, the legacy society if you have one, the CEO/Executive Director) charged with the responsibility of:

  • Assessing your current endowment development program and determining a baseline position for the program.
  • Reviewing proven practices for endowment development programs.
  • Reviewing and revising the case for endowment (Why is it critically important?) and recommending a long-term (10 year) endowment fund goal.
  • Drafting a comprehensive Endowment Development Program and a related annual Endowment Activation Plan.
  • Working with staff and volunteer leadership to have the plan approved by the Board of Directors (or Trustees).

Donor By Design Group is always willing to be of assistance in rebooting endowment development programs! If you’d like a template of an Endowment Development Task Force commission and/or an Endowment Development Activation Plan, please contact us!

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