By Hal Cropp


For many years, I experienced what I’m sure is a phenomenon that many Executive Directors of small nonprofits have encountered – a lack of focus when it came time for the Board to address its responsibilities for fundraising. You know the symptoms – grab bags of ideas that may or may not be development related like,


“Can we get a bus to bring patrons to the theater?”

“Why don’t we auction off walk-on roles?”

“Let’s have one big fundraising special event!”


I began to get serious about finding a solution which would bring focus to these well-meaning individuals’ efforts and would also craft a framework in which future boards would be able to function effectively.

Having known the people at Creation in Common and worked with them on various initiatives over the past two decades, I asked Carlo and Dana if they had any ideas or insights which would help. Serendipitously, they were just launching their new Raise Together fundraising assessment tool, which addressed the very concerns I had held!

Through their scientific analysis of development strengths done through individual board member assessments, they were able to target areas of strength that our company had developed and also identify key areas for improvement. Once the analysis was complete, they met with board and staff to present the findings and went through a process of identifying two key strategic initiatives focused directly on the areas we had together agreed needed improvement.

Board members embraced these initiatives, but more importantly, they were able to articulate how these initiatives would be followed in the months to come. They also developed a way of speaking about development, and their roles in the process, that pushed aside individuals’ impulse to “brainstorm” (or revisit the grab bag) without a structure in which to test those ideas.

If this scenario rings true for you, I cannot endorse Raise Together enough. The significant turn that the collective board’s consciousness around the whole development responsibility took gives me great hope for the future of our company.