Case Study: Seed Programs International
Decade-old Seed Programs International (SPI) had been working as a low-cost seed “vendor” providing surplus seed and expertise for growing gardens to humanitarian organizations all over the world. The organization had always depended on its partner organizations to supply the funding for its projects, but this model had become more and more problematic and funds were drying up.
In September 2009, SPI engaged Patton McDowell & Associates (PMA) to develop a comprehensive fundraising platform for the organization and to start it on its way to grantwriting success. PMA has completed a case for support, designed and distributed a friends and family appeal, begun building relationships with funders and submitted a grant to the Conservation, Food and Health Foundation. In January 2010, PMA will provide the following recommendations in a comprehensive report outlining the process and the rationale for successfully attracting private dollars. PMA has made recommendations for the following:
- A new operating model, budget and project plan for 2010
- A name change and marketing plan to build the brand
- Projection of staff needs, particularly as they relate to marketing and fundraising
- Strategies for attracting individual contributions and the expansion of the organization’s donor pool
- Planned giving elements to be implemented immediately
- The development relationships with foundations and corporations
- Model processes for capturing donor and prospect data via donor database software and prospect research
- Identification of nontraditional partner organizations
- Exploration of preliminary concepts with foundations to inspire further exploration
- Integration of new organization name and messaging to facilitate online giving
The organization is in the process of transforming itself from a vendor model to a model that includes self funding of selected projects. A budget has been developed and funding for specific projects is being sought. SPI has set modest fundraising goals for year one in order to set the stage for great results in years two and three of the plan. The first foundation grant proposal for $25,000 was completed and submitted. A second grant proposal will go to Monsanto in the first quarter. A friends and family appeal has been distributed and results should be available shortly. SPI is on the way to implementing processes and procedures that will ensure fundraising success for years to come.