An important part of building an endowment begins with generating interest in the topic among your constituency. That interest will, in time, convert to commitment.
Here are some specific strategies you can implement to generate growing interest in the value of building a sizeable endowment:
• Illustrate what endowments are accomplishing for others. Share examples of what a substantial endowment has achieved for other charities. Use the illustrations in speeches, at board meetings and publish a “did you know?” chart in your newsletter or magazine.
• Conduct “imagine” exercises at board meetings and among major gift prospects. Ask those present to imagine your charity receiving whatever would be considered a “transformational” gift directed to your endowment — one that would transform your organization and what you are able to accomplish. If it were up to them, how would they utilize annual interest from the fund? This exercise will help participants visualize what such a gift could accomplish.
• Profusely publicize any endowment gifts you receive. Plaques needn’t be just for bricks and mortar; use them to recognize endowment donors. In internal publications and among your community’s media organizations, feature articles on your endowment donors and how their gifts will make or are making a profound impact. Recognize those donors in public settings.
For more ideas on building your endowment, read the About.com article, How and Why to Make Endowment Fundraising a Priority for Your Nonprofit, authored by Stevenson, Inc. Founder and CEO Scott Stevenson. Also, purchase your copy of Endowment Builder , a 70-page resource full of ideas and procedures you can take to grow your charity’s endowment.