Strengthening Our Nonprofit Community

Special

Client Success

January 14th, 2019

Record $2M gift launches AI Program at the NC School of Science and Mathematics 

“A $2 million gift to the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics from alumnus and entrepreneur Carl Ryden ’89 and his wife, Ashley — the largest private gift in the school’s history — will launch a program putting NCSSM on the leading-edge of public schools in America for learning about artificial intelligence and its place in society, NCSSM announced Thursday.”

(click here for the full article)

NCSSM Photo

Thomas F. Looney, Chair of the NCSSM Board of Trustees; Karen LeVert, Chair of the NCSSM Foundation; Carl Ryden; wife Ashley Ryden; NCSSM Chancellor Todd Roberts; and UNC President Margaret Spellings (Photo courtesy of NCSSM)

Double Digits

January 9th, 2019

Double Digits

by Susan Ross, Partner

Mary and I are thrilled that moss+ross is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month, and we just have to take a few minutes to reminisce about the journey.

Mary Moss and Susan Ross

Over 10 years we have helped build shelters, schools, cathedrals, synagogues and museums; stabilized reserve funds and helped nonprofits merge; conducted assessments and written strategic plans; launched new initiatives and helped others reboot; managed dozens and dozens of searches and placed many interim staff members along the way.  We have worked on campaigns from $600,000 to $4.2 billion, and we still get excited when our clients get a big gift or cut a ribbon or hit their goals.

moss+ross grew out of a shared vision to strengthen the capacity of our nonprofit community. We felt we could make a difference in this region with an expanded use of the skills honed as development professionals for respected educational institutions we loved.

Mary and I wanted to keep our hands in education, both higher ed and independent schools, but we also felt we could contribute to the growth of the community in which we’ve lived all our lives – specifically, the nonprofit and faith communities in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, on whose boards and committees we had served over the years.  We understood how hard their staff and boards work, and how difficult it is to take on something bigger or different, particularly fundraising campaigns. And we knew how important it was to get it right.

Looking back, we had a nontraditional start. We had made the decision to go out on our own as an LLC just before the economy tanked in 2008. There we were: ready to run the campaigns that no one was conducting. However, we employed what would turn out to be our firm’s core values: creating opportunity, staying flexible and investing in each client’s success. We found other roles to play in strengthening the skills and operations of area nonprofits during those early years.

Along the way we built our team of 18 associates — talented professionals who have joined us from a variety of career paths and who share our commitment to creative and resourceful service to clients. Plus, we have had a lot of fun along the way! Over time, as the economy recovered and the pent-up need for funding meant the campaigns did eventually get underway, we were ready to roll with a larger team and broader consulting experience.

As we start our second decade, we have done our own strategic planning and will be rolling out our plans in future newsletters.  For now, we just want to say thank you to our 169 clients, our 18 associates (plus a handful that have retired or moved on), and the affiliate contractors involved in our newest venture, m+r interim solutions.  It has been a wonderful journey, with many more chapters to come.

“We are grateful for the ways the community has embraced us with a hug so strong

that we were inspired to grow and continue hiring our talented team of associates,

one by one, to meet the needs of the nonprofit sector.”  – Mary Moss

 

 

Salute to the Helpers

September 21st, 2018

moss+ross is proud to work with nonprofit partners who are on the ground in Florence’s wake.

Our work with clients in the nonprofit sector inspires us every day, and never more so than in the past week as Hurricane Florence has affected our region. We appreciate the expertise and dedication of the agencies involved in relief efforts, and the compassion and caring of the staff and volunteers who step up in times of need.  As Mr. Rogers said, when you see scary things in the news, look for the helpers.

This special post highlights a few of our current clients who serve multiple counties in Eastern NC and are on the front lines of relief and support. We know many of our clients are marshalling resources, setting up collections and planning ways to provide ongoing support to the long term needs of recovery. We’ve seen the impact this past week – major events cancelled, services rerouted and volunteers deployed. We salute you all, and stand ready to help where we can.

Relief Efforts by Current Clients Serving Eastern NC

  1. The Episcopal Farmworker Ministry serves migrant and seasonal farmworkers in Eastern NC farm communities that have been heavily impacted by the storm. See the news article below for more details about their work and information about getting involved in their relief efforts.
  2. Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh provides services in the 54 most eastern counties in North Carolina, and serves people of all faiths or no faith tradition. They are working with families affected by the storm to meet their immediate needs and help them recover and rebuild their lives. See Catholic Charities Disaster Relief Services for information on how to help.
  3. SECU Family House at UNC Hospitals serves patients and families from throughout the state, with most guests coming from areas affected by the storm, as shown in this impact map. This client is serving families experiencing storm recovery on top of their serious illness, and support for their mission supports families throughout NC.
Our firm has made donations to these causes, and we know many other clients, particularly those in humanitarian and faith organizations, are coordinating collections, volunteers and fundraising efforts. We encourage you to support them in any way you can.
Recovery and Support for Eastern NC Farmworkers
by Lisa D’Amico, moss+ross interim solutions affiliate
On a typical day, the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry visits a number of camps in Eastern North Carolina where migrant farmworkers live and work harvesting crops and tobacco. Usually, the Ministry provides support in the form of clean clothing (free of pesticide exposure), heavy duty work gloves (to prevent Nicotine Sickness), and water bags to those too far in the field to access water. They provide ESL classes, immigration services, hold a Sunday worship service for the farmworker community, and much more.

But these aren’t typical days. Hurricane Florence has been here with her unprecedented amount of rainfall and flooding. The areas in Eastern North Carolina served by the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry were hit hardest and are surrounded by local rivers, now overflowing their banks.  The focus of the Ministry these days is that of recovery and support. Some camps are flooded and workers are stranded without food until the water subsides. Many workers are in shelters where they need food, water and sanitation supplies.

Residents in the area need direction and assistance with finding resources or applying for federal assistance (if they are legal residents), and the Ministry is helping to provide that information and support. The Executive Director is working to secure funding so the Ministry can not only assist in this disaster relief but also support its ongoing mission of ‘Serving Christ in the fields, on the farm, and at home.’

As the days and weeks go on and the area starts to recover from this devastating storm, the Ministry will go back to its usual day job – that of providing direct services to the farmworkers who help put the food on our tables.

If you would like to help this great work continue, please click on the donate button or send a check to the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry, P.O. Box 160, Newton Grove, NC 28366. If you would like to volunteer, please contact Lariza Garzon at lariza.garzon@gmail.com. Your donations are so appreciated year-round as the Ministry supports the farmworkers, but especially now! Thank you!

Expanded Focus on Faith Communities

May 22nd, 2018

Expanded Focus on Faith Communities

by Susan Ross

Listening to the inspiring words of the Most Reverend Michael Curry on Saturday at the Royal Wedding reminded the world (or at least the two billion of us who watched) that there is power in love to help, heal, lift up, liberate, and show us the way to live.

At moss+ross, we believe the work we do with our nonprofit partners helps to extend this power of love to neighbors throughout our communities. During the past decade, Mary and I have grown the firm to include 18 associates, enabling us to respond rapidly and effectively to our partners. To our original core business of campaign management and fundraising counsel, we have added capacity in executive search, strategic planning, data management, research, and other important areas.

Today we announce an expanded focus on faith communities, knowing that effective fundraising is critical to achieving their missions. moss+ross has helped raise more than $35 million for church, synagogue and diocesan campaigns, and we look forward to becoming even stronger partners in this realm.

We have brought on additional consulting associates to lead our work.  Senior Associates Wes Brown and Patrice Nelson, both ordained ministers with long records of community and church engagement, will direct our faith communities work. In this newsletter, Wes shares his expert perspective on how congregational fundraising is different from other nonprofit efforts.

moss+ross will offer a morning workshop on May 30 and June 13 about planning and running successful faith community campaigns. It is designed to be of interest to both clergy and lay leaders, and there is no charge though space is limited (sign up info is below).

We are excited about expanding our services to partner with Triangle-area faith communities in achieving their fundraising goals.

moss+ross Workshop

Triangle area clergy and lay leaders are invited to join moss+ross
for breakfast and conversation at our upcoming workshop:
“Campaigns and Congregations”Wednesday, May 30 or Wednesday, June 13
(Select the date that’s best for you.)
Breakfast buffet at 8:30am. Workshop 9am – 11:30am.
No charge, but space is limited.

Hilton Garden Inn RTP, TW Alexander Room, 4620 South Miami Blvd. in Durham. Exit 281 off I-40.

RSVP to wbrown@mossandross.com

Fundraising and Faith Communities

May 22nd, 2018

Fundraising and Faith Communities

by Wes Brown

Faith institutions require financial support for leadership, facilities, education, and mission outreach. Yet, many congregants insist that their giving is “between me and God,” and often the pastor or other spiritual leader does not know who gives how much—a very different situation from that of most nonprofits or educational institutions. Fundraising is necessary but often uncomfortable and difficult.

Most non-profits employ staff specifically to manage fundraising efforts, but this is generally not the case for faith communities. While faith leaders know and love their people well, they are seldom experienced in managing campaigns, addressing family financial matters or discussing planned giving options. Members enlisted as campaign volunteers are reluctant, without good training, to approach fellow congregants about generous giving for fear of crossing personal boundaries. And there can be incorrect or inflated assumptions about the charitable capacities of a few prominent members.

A congregation is held together by deep religious beliefs and traditions. It has a strong sense of purpose and mission. It is multigenerational, it meets regularly, it engages professional clergy and enables the ministries of lay persons in activities of worship, education, and service—caring for a parish reaching well beyond its formal membership. The gathering and use of financial resources is a spiritual matter. God’s perspective is abundance rather than scarcity. The Hebrew Bible emphasizes the giving of alms and the responsibilities of tzedakah (charitable giving) as a moral obligation for all. In the New Testament, Jesus speaks about money more frequently than any subject except the kingdom of God. The term “stewardship” describes the proper perspective about money and possessions for members of faith communities who are inclined to reflect the generous priorities of God.

Thus, when the need arises for financial resources beyond the annual budget—for new or growing programs, additional staff, building expansion or repair—congregations may benefit enormously from professional fundraising wisdom and guidance. The team at moss+ross understands that a congregational campaign must be grounded in theological perspectives with appropriate messaging to tie the vision for ministry with the financial goal. Experienced and consistent oversight, a thorough analysis of capacity and readiness, development of a compelling story, training of confident and committed leaders, and close counsel from the campaign launch through celebration are as essential to faith communities as they are to any other organization. Participation becomes a privilege and the result is joyfully transformative.

Join us for one of the upcoming workshops as we share some of the tools needed for a faith community campaign.

moss+ross Workshop

Triangle area clergy and lay leaders are invited to join moss+ross
for breakfast and conversation at our upcoming workshop:
“Campaigns and Congregations”

Wednesday, May 30 or Wednesday, June 13
(Select the date that’s best for you.)
Breakfast buffet at 8:30am. Workshop 9am – 11:30am.
No charge, but space is limited.

Hilton Garden Inn RTP, TW Alexander Room, 4620 South Miami Blvd. in Durham. Exit 281 off I-40.

RSVP to wbrown@mossandross.com

 

Happy Holidays from moss+ross

December 15th, 2017

Treat your donors like family … and they will keep coming back
by Susan Ross

I had 20 at my house for Christmas dinner.  As always, the family meal marked the passage of time, with a core group of regulars bookended by loved ones missing and by promising new relationships.

Why do we value these celebrations so much?  It’s not my food, my decorations, or my presents.  I’d say it is because people find joy in spending their time where they are welcome and where they would be missed if they didn’t show up.

Perhaps our donors feel the same way.

Donor retention is a hot button in fundraising these days, because new studies have shown that we are losing donors in far greater numbers than in the past. Has our preoccupation with major gifts led to a falloff in our rank-and-file donor feeling valued and needed? If so, how can development professionals stem this tide?

My cousin is a busy professional who lives out of town, but she will always be at Christmas dinner, because she knows she is integral to the celebration and that we are all counting on her.  Plus, she knows that she’ll have fun.

Do your donors feel that way about you? Let’s break it down:

Do they think you would be fine without them?  If you only have a direct mail relationship, look for ways to make it more personal.  One of our clients asks every member of the staff (from top to bottom) to call five donors every week, just to check in.  We are great believers that simple phone calls are an under-used tool in fundraising today.

Do they believe you are counting on them? Tell them how important their gift is to your success, not just in a mailer but in ways that feel authentic and targeted to who they are.  A quick personal email checking in at the time of year when a donor usually gives will show that you do indeed notice them, and that this $100 gift matters to you. You can copy/paste a lot of these in an hour, and each one will feel like one-to-one communication.

Do they get pleasure out of the dollars and hours they share with you?  We all make time for things that bring us joy, so help your donors get that feel-good experience from their interactions with your nonprofit. UNC donor and campaign co-chair John Townsend talked about the “transcendent joy of philanthropy” when announcing his fabulous gift this fall.  Donors who are experiencing that kind of happiness by their association with you will never be donor retention problems.  What can you do to be sure they love being part of your great work?

Building a Successful Major Gifts Program

September 21st, 2017

Moving Your Donors to Major Gifts

All fundraisers know they need more major gifts. In a packed room at our recent presentation at the 2017 North Carolina Philanthropy Conference, moss+ross offered a variety of tools to support fundraisers to get those major gifts.

The handouts from that session (linked below) offer guidance about creating a major gifts program and step-by-step strategies for soliciting major gifts and managing a program. We hope you will be able to use this “toolkit” to enhance donor meetings in every stage of the solicitation process.

We’re grateful to the individuals who shared their positive feedback about the conference presentation:

“I loved your presentation. It was so entertaining and informative.”

“The session was very helpful as a refresher to train others.”

“My colleague and I were both in there [for the presentation]. She just started and is overwhelmed. But we can do this. Thank you.”

Moving Your Donors to Major Gifts, presented at the 2017 North Carolina Philanthropy Conference in Durham, NC

Grateful for our community partners

November 17th, 2015

When we started moss+ross in 2009, we made a strategic decision to define the Triangle and surrounding region as our service area. As we thought about our ideal nonprofit clients and the difference we wanted to make, staying local made the most sense. d63dc5b7-6ff8-45b3-b537-576c43fd6427

On November 28, many of us will shop at our favorite local stores in support of Small Business Saturday. As one of these businesses, albeit without a storefront, moss+ross is grateful to you, our clients, for shopping locally for the best nonprofit strategic planning and development counsel.

We couldn’t be happier with the result of our local focus. To date, we have partnered with 106 clients, many of whom have hired us multiple times. Our clients enrich the fabric of our community, and we are grateful for our partnership with you!

1, 2, 3, 4…

May 12th, 2015

11233547_10152991997350805_5642315401823635784_n1, 2, 3, 4…it takes a lot of work to get to 100, and we did it! moss+ross is pleased to count 100 clients in the Triangle, and beyond, as our partners as we work together to make our community even better! Client organizations represent every aspect of nonprofit work including: arts, culture and humanities, environment and animals, health and human services, education, and youth services. 

We truly love working with you all, every minute of it, even the late night and early morning minutes, and we look forward to continuing our relationships with you and welcoming additional organizations to the m+r family. 

Thank you for the work you do to make our community great!

 

A few more numbers to share:

40% of clients have returned for additional servicesMary and Susan have a team of 16 associates to help serve moss+ross clients

There are 11,639 Triangle-focused donor gift records in our proprietary database (and more than 4,500 donors represented!)

National Philanthropy Day in the Triangle

December 4th, 2014

Mary and Susan were honored to host Barker French and David Reese from East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI) at our table for AFP’s National Philanthropy Day on November 12. Barker represents the very best qualities in a fundraising volunteer, and we were proud to nominate him for the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser recognition.

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Barker has a passion for working with the poorest children in Durham. In 2008 he envisioned a community partnership similar to the Harlem Children’s Zone with the goal of preparing East Durham’s children for college or a career. As a result of his hard work and vision EDCI was launched in 2009 with a mission to create a pipeline of quality services for children and families in a 120 block area of East Durham.

For more information about EDCI, please go to: http://edci.org/