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FIO Partners, LLC


© 2007 All Rights Reserved FIO Partners, LLC


FIO Partners is the exclusive provider of customized consulting services, unique assessment tools,
and curriculum to ensure the healthy development and growth of nonprofit organizations,
foundations, and government entities.

This guide to Strategic Growth can be downloaded for free from our website: It is copyright protected but can by used by managers in the sector to help
assess the growth and development of management infrastructure and can be copied to
share with others for that purpose. Other uses, such as use as a teaching tool by consultants,
trainers, or faculty, requires the permission of FIO Partners. Permission should be sought by
contacting We thank you for your cooperation.

The guide contains the Key Tasks for individual management systems. As you will discover at
the back of the tool, each Key Task is matched with a set of indicators that can tell you how
well the Key Task is being carried out. The indicators may be purchased in sets by
management system, or as a complete set of all ten management systems. The indicators can
be purchased and immediately downloaded from our website.

Also at FIOPartners,com, you will find other assessment tools and services to support strategic
management of your nonprofit organization. Articles on various topics are also available as
free downloads from the site. If you would like to speak with us, we can be reached at FIO
Partners,LLC 401 651 1994.

1 © 2007 All Rights Reserved FIO Partners, LLC


• It is our belief that nonprofits do not build management capacity evenly across functions. It is perfectly
possible for a nonprofit organization to have a well established financial reporting system, a fund
development and marketing effort that is still in start-up, and very little human resources capacity, while
growing dramatically.

• The following guide is a standardized assessment tool that benchmarks where each management system is
relative to the developmental cycle of a nonprofit organization. The tool, for example, benchmarks whether
the nonprofit organization’s human resource management system is in the Growth Stage or whether it
reflects the characteristics of the stage of development we call Established. An Overview of Stage
Characteristics is provided on page 5.

• The assessment tool provides indicators that help assess the current status of the organization’s management
systems and, in the process of comparison against these standards, provides information for the organization
to use in goal setting. These indicators will signal the organization when it has reached the next level of
functionality, and will provide important guideposts in measuring the effectiveness of capacity building efforts
with the organization.

• There are a total of ten dimensions that are captured in the tool:
• Program Strategy Development
• System Participation
• Marketing & Public Relations
• Fund Development
• Information management
• Human Resources
• Financial Management
• Risk Management
• Physical Plant
• Quality Assurance

2 © 2007 All Rights Reserved FIO Partners, LLC

Purpose of This Tool
Executive Leaders, along with other staff and/or Board members, can use this guide to determine their
organization's over all stage of development (Idea, Start Up, Growth, Established) and to assess whether the
development of internal management systems is aligned with their over all development. The process takes
about an hour and will result in a clear picture of where internal system development is lagging. The tool is most
useful as a contribution to the assessment of internal strengths and weaknesses in support of strategic
management, but can also be used by Leadership at any time to create a conceptual framework for how the
organization is evolving. The Key Tasks included here are illustrative of good management practice in health
and human services. They do not cover every aspect of each function, but rather are designed to spur
discussion around this function and to anchor that discussion around important developmental tasks.

For each functional area, review the key tasks with managers, or if a young or very small organization, with
Board members in your organization. Most groups find it easiest to begin at the Idea Stage and read through
the Key Tasks in “chronological” order for each function. Place a check in the box above each Key Task that
the group feels is complete, fully addressed or standard practice. As the group moves through the Key Tasks,
they will arrive at a stage in which the Key Tasks are largely undone. This is the most probable current stage.
Write in the stage name in the upper right corner of the Functional Worksheet.

You may find that, for instance, a Key Task from an earlier stage is undone but that a number of Key Tasks from
what seems to be the current stage are complete. It is good to note these “omitted” steps at the earlier stage
for later analysis. The existence of one or two “omitted” steps, however, should not define the current stage if
more subsequent Key Tasks in the next stage are complete as in the example below. See the example of a
completed Function on the next page….

Instructions for completing the Assessment continue on page 15.

3 © 2007 All Rights Reserved FIO Partners, LLC

EXAMPLE OF COMPLETED FUNCTION ASSESSMENT: Despite the fact that there are two Key Tasks that need attention from Start
Up, we would say that this organization has evolved its Fund Development efforts to the Growth Stage since four Key Tasks in
the Growth Stage are complete.

FD1 Done FD2 Done FD3 Done

Turn supporters into donors Develop skills in Research potential
IDEA grant writing sources of funds
FD4 Done FD5 Done FD6 Needs Work FD7 Needs Work

START UP Submit grant requests Identify potential Cultivate potential Build understanding and
donors donors skills in fund
FD8 Done FD9 Done FD10 Not Yet FD11 Not Yet

Develop a written development Build specialists Grow annual campaign Create a signature
plan within fund special event
development office
based on most
promising sources
FD12 Not Yet FD13 Done FD14 Not Yet FD15 Not Yet

Add infrastructure as needed, Respond carefully Invest in on-going Recruit at last 3 Board
hiring senior management support to funder reporting cultivation efforts members who are
for fund development in later requirements established members of
growth stage and/or other the "giving community"
FD16 Not Yet FD17 Not Yet FD18 Not Yet

Fully diversify fund development Engage individual Engage individual

methods board members in board members in
ESTABLISHED securing access to influencing policy
giving communities makers and other key
decision makers to
ensure flow of funds

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Stage Overview: General Characteristics by Stage
Organizational Shaping
Stage Organizational Characteristics Management Focus Board Model
Change Points
Creative, generative, very high Recruitment to the cause, search for Flexible, do what it takes including Receipt of start up funding,
commitment, passionate attachment resources, shaping passion into programs hands on volunteering choice of initial director (chosen
Idea to mission, all volunteer from among founders or from
outside) ends this stage

High energy, strong dependence on Advocacy for mission to the outside world, Still quite flexible, though Response to funder pressure for
vision of the founders, few resources, establish relationships with funders, find hierarchy of leadership emerging, internal controls, expectations of
lots of activity some to little purpose, staff, establish client base, attention to usually founder dominated, still legal compliance, success in
Start Up staff have “a calling” as much as a job, programming, attention to formalization to may be some volunteering but expanding program or
frequent chaos, frequent crises, the degree that funders and/or legal shifting to management tasks. attracting significant funds.
centralized decision making compliance demands it.

Services in demand, chronically Division of labor begins, tasks of Transition from hands on support Pace of growth dependent on
undercapitalized, always playing catch management differentiate and are to technical advisors, founding success in securing funder
up to evolve infrastructure to keep up captured in positions, focus is on internal board members leave (often investment. Can be sharp
with program growth. Gradual but control, staff recruitment, issues of growing explosively). Members increasingly internal debates over direction
Growth steady formalization of internal quickly, credentialed staff hired to run aware of governing at both board and staff levels,
operations. programs, emergence of middle responsibilities, assertive of legal leadership crises at both Board
management at the program level,can responsibilities and Executive levels
be a period of high turnover. Emergence
of program policies/protocols.

Services recognized in the Decentralization of decision making, senior Policy driven board that Ability of leaders to keep the
marketplace, usually multi-source management differentiates to inside/ understands its legal and fiduciary sense of mission alive for both
funded, sometimes collect additional outside, with the ED the outside person responsibilities. Members rarely board and staff; external crises
missions as funding diversifies, steady who manages relationships with funders, act as technical advisors, are cause funding shifts, changes in
stable services, no hesitancy about regulators. Strategic direction well recruited for position in the technology of programming
Established competence, infrastructure has caught defined, positioning of organization in community (access to power cause program reinvention.
up with growth curve, pace of wider system becomes important. and/or resources)
acquisition of new programming slows Scanning the external environment for
but still occurs. threats. Quality control to avoid internal

Large, well respected, has Formal planning, coordination of divisions, Status board whose names bring If programs are not kept current,
accumulated wealth (endowments), control via reporting, board member deference from funders and can slip into decline. Too much
influential in shaping funder direction cultivation and influence, major outside regulators; approve and review money can bring stagnation;
and regulator choices, often multi-site, presence in order to maintain management recommendations; too much power breeds
Institutional significant physical plant, divisional stability…legislative presence, social can be little attachment to arrogance
structure has emerged, multiple engagements where other power brokers mission; board members
cultures may operate, bureaucracy show up. Internally, oversight of systems to motivated by civic duty and
and role cultures often dominate. ensure smooth functioning largely social connection.
accomplished via delegation

Key Notes: Organizations will move through the stages only if they are successful in securing resources. Decline and termination, or, decline and reinvention are options at each stage of development. The
growth of management infrastructure will occur more quickly if a funder demands it. Industry standards will also influence the order in which infrastructure emerges.

5 © 2007 All Rights Reserved FIO Partners, LLC

Program Strategy Development Stage Selection: ____________________________
Identify new Research the Determine if there is Research what other Develop a logic model for Determine the factors
community need, problem area to be evidence based organizations in the the program, clearly that contribute to the
gap in existing addressed practice (a model community are doing identifying the activities impact of the
system, or market that has been proven about this issue that will be undertaken and problem/service area
opportunity to be effective) the outcomes that will be
SD7 SD8 SD9 SD10 SD11
Identify the specific Involve potential Design program Identify competitors Create timeline of key
community, clients to provide activities to reach and potential tasks to govern
population, perspectives from the individuals at risk or in collaborators implementation
geographic area that program's user's point need in the focus
will be the focus of of view area
program activities

SD12 SD13 SD14 SD15
Develop initial program procedures Develop pricing strategy Plan advertising and promotions Cultivate key players in your
and policies industry/allied services and develop

SD16 SD17 SD18 SD19 SD20 SD21
Scan for opportunities Maintain focus on Seek collaborative Keep abreast of Plan adjustments to Develop roles in
for expansion and/or vision, mission and partners, when actions of competitors infrastructure to Strategy Development
diversification values appropriate accommodate growth process
and expansion


SD22 SD23 SD24 SD25 SD 26

Continuously monitor Continuously scan for relevant Assess internal strengths Review program portfolio Develop an integrated
changes in relevant community changes and weaknesses relational strategy
service systems
SD27 SD28 SD29 SD30
Review vision, mission and Develop corporate goals and Develop infrastructure Institutionalize quality
values tie to key result areas support strategies assurance and
organizational learning
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Systems Participation Stage Selection: ____________________________


No Key Tasks at this Stage



Initiate contacts and develop Join an association if there is a Identify the relevant city, state, and
materials to support referrals from group of organizations working in federal officials that have a
other organizations your mission area in the city, region potential impact on your
or state organization's issues



Scan for organizations who may be Build the organization's Build the organization's Determine what groups if any
potential competitors or understanding of how its services fit understanding of how its services fit provide advocacy for your
collaborators with other organizations working in with other organizations working in consumers or for your organization's
similar or allied fields the same geographic area issues of concern and develop a
relationship with them
Annually determine if there are Develop at least two strong Scan for best and evidence based
public policy issues that relate to collaborative relationships with other practice in your fields of service and
your organization's services nonprofits that provide allied integrate knowledge into program
services planning


SYS11 SYS12 SYS13 SYS 14

Develop the means to cultivate key Develop the capacity to be "heard" by Develop a network of Meet on a regular basis with
policy makers/decision makers key policy makers and decision makers collaborative relationships with representatives of allied
other nonprofits that provide allied organizations for joint planning,
services support, information exchange
Provide leadership in at least one In areas where your organization has Seek out or develop a network of
industry group to which your excess administrative capacity, seek collaborative partners that make
organization belongs to share infrastructure with younger the mission of your organization
organizations more powerful in the community

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Marketing and Public Relations Stage Selection: ____________________________



Support Board recruitment Support involvement of consumers in Communicate the benefits of your Deal with naming, logo issues
program planning program to potential funders

Deal with location issue Develop collaterals to Initiate contacts and develop Develop media relations Evaluate success of
support consumer materials to support referrals strategy and implement recruitment strategies and
recruitment from other organizations adjust



Segment markets and target Attend to consistency of image Establish routine media outreach Establish donor cultivation efforts
communication messages and
strategies to segments

Explore policy issues relative to Consider web site development
program areas and develop
communications strategy



Develop organization wide Professionalize marketing/PR function Proactively and reactively influence
marketing plan policy making that concerns
organization programming

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Fund Development Stage Selection: ____________________________



Turn supporters into donors Develop skills in grantwriting Research potential sources of

Submit grant requests Identify potential donors Cultivate potential donors Build understanding and skills in fund


FD8 FD9 FD10 FD11

Develop a written development Build specialists within fund Grow annual campaign Create a signature special event
plan development office based on most
promising sources

FD12 FD13 FD14 FD15

Add infrastructure as needed, hiring Respond carefully to funder reporting Invest in on-going cultivation Recruit at last 3 Board members who
senior management support for requirements and/or other requests efforts are established members of the
fund development in later growth "giving community"


FD16 FD17 FD18

Fully diversify fund development Engage individual board members in Engage individual board members
methods securing access to giving in influencing policy makers and
communities other key decision makers to
ensure flow of funds

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Information Management Stage Selection: ____________________________


No key activities at this stage

As program plans come together, Purchase hardware and software to Build management understanding of Lease or purchase equipment to
explore the kinds of information support early operations Information Management as an support internal and external
that will be needed to implement, organization wide capacity building communications
manage, and report about the issue



Build system in response to industry Provide on-going professional Stay current with technology Develop a basic website that
and funder requirements and development opportunities for all applications that support program highlights programs and
needs of program and management staff in Information serviceS organization accomplishments
administrative management for Management
information to support decision-
IM9 IM10
Develop an Information Ensure that capital budget includes
Management Plan that is investments in IM infrastructure
organization wide routinely to maintain currency

IM11 IM12 IM13 IM14
Use data depositories linked with Establish comprehensive systems to Support IM with competent senior Invest in state of the art, fully
communication vehicles to capture, document, and management through hiring or via networked computing hardware
cultivate key stakeholder groups disseminate knowledge internally contract with comprehensive range of up-
to-date software applications

Explore the use of the internet to
extend access to donors and,
consumers, and/or for advocacy
or public education
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Human Resources Stage Selection: ____________________________

Build initial group of supporters Prepare initial group to move Adopt operating procedures Develop an understanding of the Act as advocates for the
around founder(s) toward leading an for the initial group of knowledge needed in order to frame organization's mission
organization founders grant proposals

HR6 HR7 HR8 HR9 HR10

Select Executive Director Organize work into jobs Develop initial personnel Write formal job descriptions Determine compensation and
policies benefits

HR11 HR12 HR13 HR14 HR15

Contract for benefits Recruit and hire first program Develop training for staff and Develop annual performance Set up personnel files
staff management appraisal process

HR16 HR17 HR18 HR19 HR20 HR21 HR22

Review how work is Maintain current Manage Formalize recruitment Manage training and Update and Maintain current
organized into jobs formal job compensation and and hiring orientation of staff this conduct annual personnel files
descriptions benefits issue performance
appraisal process

HR23 HR24 HR25 HR26 HR27 HR28

Create middle Planned recruitment Prevent Attend to personnel Formalize training Monitor and adjust
management among to sustain growth unnecessary laws and industry programs, tying skill compensation to
program staff turnover regulations building to program maintain
performance outcomes competitive position

HR29 HR30 HR31 HR32 HR33 HR34 HR35

Formalize new Attend to personnel Maintain training Monitor Focus rewards on Create Motivate staff to
employee laws and industry programs, tying skill compensation to outcome attainment opportunities for overdeliver on their
socialization regulations building to program maintain competitive leadership, jobs
performance outcomes position entrepreneurship

HR36 HR37 HR38 HR39 HR40 HR41

Formalize HR function Expand policy Credential staff Develop peer review Manage emergence Develop strategic
through senior mgt structure to include for professionals of divisional structure, HR plan to support
position or external HR protocols if appropriate to size organizational
contracting strategic goals

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Financial Management Stage Selection: ____________________________

Learn about 501©3 Incorporate Apply to IRS for non Secure operating funds Open checking Provide periodic reports to
status profit status for creating an account founders group on
organization finances

FM7 FM8 FM9 FM10 FM11

Understand fund Set up simple cash Develop annual budget Learn to manage payroll, Set up system for managing
management accounting withholding, etc. payroll and withholding
requirements for initial
FM12 FM13 FM14 FM15 FM16
Develop receipt records Develop system to Establish routine finance Establish minimum level of Report to funders as required
for all incoming funds acknowledge donations reporting to the Board internal controls

FM17 FM18 FM19 FM20 FM21
Review internal controls Establish fund accounting Adjust budget Institute general and Keep Board informed of
system as program portfolio development model as subsidiary ledgers financial health
diversifies organization grows
FM22 FM23 FM24 FM25 FM26
Secure independent audit Manage cash flow Manage inventory, Establish credit Develop investment strategy for
acquisition and disposal of cash

FM27 FM28 FM29 FM30 FM31
Decentralize budget and Develop key result areas for Periodically rebid audit Manage investments Manage credit effectively
compliance functions financial health

FM32 FM33
Formalize accounting FMIS capable of handling
function via creation of multiple revenue sources
senior management position, and multiple cost centers

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Physical Plant Stage Selection: ____________________________



Plan space to support intended




In choice of facility, ensure Research legal implications of Purchase or identify donations Secure/plan for janitorial and
access to space by consumers lease arrangements prior to signing for needed furniture and maintenance services



For every additional program or Annually identify physical plant Develop standards for sanitation Review lease vs own options
program expansion, assess needs, budgeting for repairs and and safety to ensure space costs are
adequacy of current space refurbishment appropriate and in the long
term interest of the



Ensure that physical space is well- Develop facility plan as part of Oversee choice of financing
tailored to current needs strategic plan, including capital options for capital infrastructure
budgets for purchase and repair

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Risk Management Stage Selection: ____________________________


Research and complete Secures 501©3 status Secure appropriate professional Seek training in nonprofit
documentation required for advice and counsel management
nonprofit corporate status


Screen candidates for Ensure that staff, staffing Indemnify board and staff Build organizational Insure against fraudulent activity
positions patterns, physical space competence on relevant and accident
meet all licensing/legal legal and financial areas

RM10 RM11 RM12 RM13 RM14
Augment or maintain Follow established internal Identify formal spokesperson Control use of organization Retain appropriate legal
currency of ED control procedures correspondence tools, e.g. counsel
knowledge of npo letterhead
accounting practice

RM15 RM16 RM17 RM18 RM19

Augment or maintain Review insurance Use written contracts to Protect confidentiality of Ensure safe working
currency of ED coverages annually as control risks consumer records environment for staff and
knowledge of npo liability organization grows consumers

RM20 RM21 RM22 RM23

Adjust internal controls as Protect 501c3 status Review personnel policies Establish procedures to
organization grows and procedures from liability protect Board from creating
prevention perspective legal liability

RM24 RM25 RM26 RM27 RM28 RM29
Attend to security Review benefit Review fundraising Develop and Implement injury Integrate risk
systems programs for legal procedures to prevent maintain disaster prevention programs management into
compliance fraud plan continuous quality

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Quality Assurance Stage Selection: ____________________________


Build knowledge of founders concerning
intended field of service



Conduct initial pilot if Implement as planned Develop means to Adjust program as Provide evaluation Bring piloted program
possible solicit feedback from needed as knowledge documentation to to scale
consumers of consumers funders as required


QA8 QA9 QA10 QA11 QA12

For each new program, Focus on consistency of Develop means to solicit Develop clear, formal Adjust program model as
define evaluation model implementation feedback from consumers systems for data collection in feedback/results indicate
all relevant areas need for change

QA13 QA14 QA15

Provide evaluation As programs mature, As older programs mature,
documentation to funder(s) develop codified program implement outcome studies
as required models


QA16 QA17 QA18 QA19 QA20 QA21

Implement continuous Embed quality Identify "deep Identify and investigate Build focus on Build organizational
quality improvement improvement into roles, measurement" priorities sentinel events performance into learning into culture
program program protocols and annually and conduct organizational culture
standards. studies

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Instructions for Functional Mapping

• Once your group has reviewed all of the Key Tasks, use the chart on the next page to record your results. Just
place an X in the box that represents your growth stage for the function listed at the bottom of the column.
Then connect the X’s to determine whether your organization has evolved its management systems
symmetrically or asymmetrically.

• If your organization has evolved symmetrically, you may want to think about using this tool to anticipate Key
Tasks that are still in front of you. As part of your strategic management process, you will identify both a
programmatic and relational strategy. These two strategies will drive the future of your organization and will
tell you which of the functional areas will have to be developed and to what degree. For instance, if you
decide that your organization should be competing for federal grants you may have to upgrade your
management information system. If you want to run programs for which there are no sources of funds other
than foundations and individual donors, you may have to evolve your fund development function.

• If your organization has evolved asymmetrically, with the development of one or more management systems
lagging behind the rest, you will want to think about the problems this may be causing and target the
development of these functions in your strategic management efforts.

• See Next Steps for how you can evaluate how well you are doing each of the Key Tasks.

16 © 2007 All Rights Reserved FIO Partners, LLC

IdeaGrowthFunctional Mapping

Strategy Systems Marketing & Fund Information Human Financial Physical Risk Quality
Development Participation Public Development Management Resources Management Plant Management Assurance

17 © 2007 All Rights Reserved FIO Partners, LLC

Next Steps

• To learn more about the specifics of how to accomplish the Key Tasks as management functions evolve, or to
evaluate how well you are actually doing them, you can access FIO Partners Indicator Sets for the functional
areas that interest you most. The Indicator Sets can be ordered for all of the functional areas or just for those
you want to concentrate on. They can be ordered from the website

• For each Key Task listed, we have developed a deeper set of Indicators that will guide your thinking about
how the Key Task should be accomplished.


culture Adopt a formal continuous
quality assurance program
Ke y
Routinely seek best practice
task information in field of service

Provide professional development

Indicators opportunities for all staff

Reward problem identification and

Problem solving

See failures as learning opportunities

Demand that leaders and managers

see change as a constant

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When you have completed the process of comparing Key Tasks and Indicators to your actual performance for
several management functions you can generate an assessment of strengths and weaknesses relative to how
well your management systems are supporting your organization.

Summary of Key Results from the Management Assessment

Anytown Hospice, Inc.
Report on Core Functions

Anytown Hospice: Core Functions

# of indicators

40 No/Needs Work
30 Compliance
Strategy System Marketing and Fund
Development- Partcipation - PR - Development -
Established Growth Established Established
Functions by stage

19 © 2007 All Rights Reserved FIO Partners, LLC

Report on Core Functions, continued

Strategy Development-Established Stage

Anytown Hospice has undertaken a strategic planning process every three to five years since its inception. The
shift the organization is now considering is from classic strategic planning to strategic management, a continuous
process of adapting both internal and external realities. The Executive Director and Board already carry out
many of the critical functions that make this management model a success. However, there are several key
areas that still need attention.

These are:
– Articulating strategic vision around relational strategy (see details below)
– Identifying corporate goals and key result areas to accomplish them
– Carrying strategic vision to an operational level by instituting work plans and budgets for which
managers are accountable
– Similarly, ensuring that the Board assesses its own responsibility for its own tasks;
– Strengthening quality improvement
– Crafting a strategy around organizational learning that supports corporate goals

Systems Participation-Growth Stage

– While all other core functions have evolved to the Established Stage of Development, Anytown
Organization is functioning at a fairly low level of the Growth Stage relative to Systems Participation.
This lag is reflective of the lack of strategic vision and priorities around relationships, noted above.
Areas that need attention include:
– Building the organization's understanding of how its services fit with other organizations working in
similar or allied fields
– Building the organization's understanding of how its services fit with other organizations working in the
same geographic area
– Developing alliances with consumer advocates where possible
– Developing a clear public policy agenda
– Integrating best practice knowledge into program services

20 © 2007 All Rights Reserved FIO Partners, LLC

Report on Core Functions, Continued

Marketing and Public Relations

Anytown has made an investment in professional staff for marketing and public relations but this investment is not
being used to support strategic positioning to the degree that it could be. These efforts are not well tied to the
organization’s overall development. The most serious lack in this area is the lack of a well thought out marketing
plan and the failure to employ the tools of marketing and public relations to support key relationships such as
government relations.

Fund Development
Again, the lack of a comprehensive development plan is a further indicator of the organization’s lack of
integration around program and relational strategies. Given that the organization raises over $500,000 dollars
annually, it cannot be said that the development effort is ineffective, only that it is not as powerful as it might be.
Areas to attend to include:
– Creation of a comprehensive written development plan
– Better integration of Board development and recruitment of major donors
– Stronger efforts around fundraising for capital assets and planned giving
– Engaging Board members in active recruitment of major donors

Need more help? If you decide you need additional help in using this tool, contact FIO Partners. Just return to our
website and send us an email, or call us at 401-651-1994.

21 © 2007 All Rights Reserved FIO Partners, LLC