Designing a Comprehensive Development Program: A Three-Workshop Series

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Flatiron Building 5th Floor Conference Room

301 Broadway

Bethlehem, PA 18015

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There are four footings, upon which we build a comprehensive development program. Without any one of them, your program will falter, and probably fall.

The first workshop session will introduce these pedestals:

  • Case for Support

  • Sources of Support, or Funding Constituencies

  • Fundraising Leadership (Staff and Volunteer)

  • Detailed Plan

We will then explore fully the case for support and begin to develop a “case statement”. In doing so we will answer such questions as:

  • Why do people give to a particular not-for-profit institution?

  • Why do/should people give to “my” institution, organization or agency?

Workshop participants will be assisted in determining the particular financial needs to be addressed by their development program. This will include capital, program, operational and endowment needs; short-term and long-term needs. We will discuss how to determine program goals and objectives.

This first session will also focus upon the sources of support. We will examine the similarities and differences in motivating each funding constituency, as well as individual prospects for support within each constituency. These funding constituencies include individuals, businesses, foundations, organizations and other friends.

We will also discuss the importance of soliciting gifts at various levels, securing major gifts as well as broadening the base of support.

At the conclusion of this first session, participants will be encouraged to draft an institutional case statement and submit it by email prior to the next session.


In session two we will begin by reviewing the case for support and funding constituencies. We will examine a few actual case statements (anonymously) that were submitted prior to this session.

Then we will discuss the other two pedestals upon which to build a comprehensive development program: leadership and a detailed plan.

We will explore the essential role of both staff and volunteer leadership, including the Board and other volunteers.

Also in this session we will outline a development program plan focusing upon such things as:

  • Methods of solicitation

  • Individual and constituency cultivation

  • Public relations

  • Systems

  • Budget

  • Volunteer structure

  • Program timetable and more.

Placing this plan within a context, we will discuss RRBA’s “Development Cycle”, illustrating the process of cultivation, solicitation, recognition and, continuing cultivation and solicitation.

This session will conclude by outlining the various methods of solicitation and a discussion of one such method: direct mail solicitation. Participants will be encouraged to draft a solicitation letter to be submitted before the next session.


This session will begin with a review of the development plan, and continue with an examination of a few solicitation letters submitted prior to this session. We will discuss similarities and differences between acquisition and renewal/upgrade mailings, the various pieces that comprise the direct mail package, and methods of testing and evaluating solicitation mailings. We will also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of in-house mailing procedures as compared to outsourcing the process.

We will also spend considerable time discussing personal/face-to-face solicitation, the most effective method of securing charitable support. This part of the program will include a very effective role-playing exercise and discussion.

Foundation research and effective proposal preparation will be the focus of the second part of Session three. We will focus upon the three types of charitable foundations, identifying prospects for support, and writing an appropriate and motivating proposal.

This session includes a discussion about the appropriate role of special events in a comprehensive development program, and how that applies to “my nonprofit”.

This session, and the workshop series, will conclude with ample time for questions and answers regarding anything presented or discussed in the three workshop sessions. The objective is to tailor the workshop content to meet the needs and circumstances of each individual nonprofit.

Workshop Series Presented by:

Richard R. Blain & Associates (RRBA), a full-service fundraising and public relations consulting firm serving not-for-profits of various types. RRBA has assisted many not-for-profit institutions and organizations over the past thirty years. In addition to serving RRBA’s clients, Rick is a frequent presenter at numerous conferences and seminars. RRBA will guide you through a practical approach to development training. It is one that enables the participants to actually put to practice that which they have learned in each session, prior to the next workshop session, ensuring applicability and institutional or organizational success.

Rick Blain

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Flatiron Building 5th Floor Conference Room

301 Broadway

Bethlehem, PA 18015

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