Development Assessment

Laying the Groundwork for Philanthropic Success

The Sheridan Group employs proven methods for enhancing your organization’s development program.  Such analysis results in detailed, organization-specific planning that has maximum effectiveness at minimum cost and in turn, provides volunteer leadership and staff with confidence in the planning process and with the resulting action plan.

Upon the completion of the services listed below, The Sheridan Group will deliver a Comprehensive Development Assessment Report of findings and recommendations.  The report will be supplemented by separate resource notebook containing prospect/research profiles and samples of fundraising communications, solicitations, donor recognition and planned giving programs.

  • Internal Program Review – The first phase of our work provides a complete understanding of the organization’s current development program through extensive internal review of staffing, volunteers, development programs, communications and systems.  In addition, we will conduct confidential interviews with key staff and leadership to discuss their shared vision for the future.
  • Case for Support Development – The next complementary step is to firmly articulate the specific initiatives for which your organization will seek annual fund and major gift support.  To construct the Case for Support, we would look first to Strategic Planning efforts, as well as ongoing and planned program initiatives to identify funding opportunities.  We will use the volunteer and staff interviews as an important source of information in “telling the story”.
  • Comparative Analysis of Peer Organizations – We will survey similar, allied or competing organizations to gauge the strategy, revenue potential and timetable for a successful development program.  We will review, catalogue and analyze their fundraising efficiency with regard to staffing, board engagement, appeals, grants, communications/marketing and planned giving.
  • Preliminary Top Prospect Research – Through our internal interviews and independent research we will assist your organization in developing a top prospect list of individuals, corporations/industry partners and foundations.  We will produce prospect profiles and develop approach strategies.

Through the services outlined above, The Sheridan Group will create its key deliverable; a step-by-step 12-month Comprehensive Development Action Plan that includes programs and activities to increase revenues for annual, major gift and planned gift support. Specific components of the Action Plan include:

  • Overall Strategy for Planning, Program Delivery and Resource Management
  • An Organizational Chart
  • A Quarterly Operational Timeline, with built-in progress evaluation check points
  • Roles/Responsibilities for Volunteers and Staff (both current and proposed)
  • A Recommended Role for Development Counsel (if warranted), to provide guidance as the Plan is initially implemented
  • Revenue Goals and Operating & Fundraising Expenses
  • A Monthly Task Summary

We will be prepared to formally present our report and action plan to your organization’s volunteer leadership and staff.