Fundraising Campaigns and Strategic Planning

Fundraising Campaigns and Strategic Planning

Our consultants can assist your organization with all facets of strategic planning, preparation, and execution as well as pre, and post-campaign assessment


Fundraising campaigns are a powerful driver to address institutional needs, enlist and engage the support of constituencies and elevate philanthropic performance. The process to plan and prepare for a campaign is as important as its execution, and can inform short and long term success.

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning studies involve a number of our services, often including, but not limited to needs assessment and priority setting, developing the case for support, campaign branding and marketing, an evaluation of the existing donor pipeline, training for gift officers, development staff and executive coaching for institutional leaders.

Campaign Readiness

Feasibility studies or readiness assessments gage both internal and external readiness.

External constituent’s opinions, attitudes, and engagement and are key to developing a roadmap for your campaign’s success. We assess the potential and likelihood of both philanthropic and volunteer support for your proposed campaign, enthusiasm for the strategic goals of the campaign, and confidence in your institution, its leadership, and its fundraising programs.

Internal readiness is assessed in terms of staffing, structure, donor pipeline, processes and funding priorities articulated in the case for support.

Based on both internal and external readiness, evidence-based recommendations for ambitious, yet achievable campaign goals are recommended.


Donor and Constituent Engagement

Donor and Constituent Engagement

S. Sutton & Associates Inc. takes a holistic, integrated approach to maximize impact and efficiencies and provides the best possible strategies and approaches for each client’s specific situation.


What you say, how you say it, when you say it and the means to convey the message require careful orchestration and integration within an organization. Our consultants are adept in all aspects of marketing and communications related to organizational profile, development, and constituent engagement.

Whether the project is program specific or institution wide, the process of S. Sutton & Associates Inc. is the same:

Careful research

Data drives our process. We work with institutional leadership to gather all relevant information, research internal and external audience orientation, conduct audits of current communications including staffing, resources, channels, activities and audience segmentation.

Cogent and comprehensive strategy

Institutional objectives and goals are used to develop fundraising rationale that define and drive effective messaging. We then determine suitable channels and strategies along with processes, tactics, budgets, timelines and schedules, concluding in an actionable plan to implement and assess results on a periodic basis.

Creative writing and design

Our expert consultants have the experience, expertise and knowledge to bring you the most current and impactful campaign messaging and names, visual identity, branding guidelines, cases for support and collateral materials.


Development Program Review and Expansion Strategies

Development Program Review and Expansion Strategies

People, product and process determine success.


The competitive environment for philanthropic dollars increases expectations for performance and forces regular re-examination of the entire fundraising enterprise. S. Sutton & Associates Inc.’s philanthropic consulting team can work with you to assess the overall effectiveness of your program and opportunities for expansion.

Comprehensive Review of Development

Organizations in steady state or embarking on an expansion of fundraising efforts need to examine how well current approaches have been working. How your fundraising program has performed in the past will inform strategies for the future.

S. Sutton & Associates Inc. starts by reviewing your organization’s historic results. Our consultants interview stakeholders, development team members and institutional leaders to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of your current fundraising program.

With this information, we provide feedback on staffing, organizational structure, resource investment, program initiatives, policies, procedures, products, staff and departmental structure, and integration to ensure the maximum return on investment and elevated performance of your fundraising program.


Data Analytics

Data Analytics

We can help your team use analytics to make evidence-based decisions to achieve your desired performance, return on investment, and fundraising goals.


Data is the modern-day equivalent of an Oracle or Holy Grail. Once harnessed, interpreted and applied it serves as an invaluable tool to drive growth and success. S. Sutton & Associate’s team of consultants and analysts can help your institution achieve higher, more sustainable fundraising using data analytics.

Driving Growth

Donor intelligence and performance metrics enable improved fundraising performance. S. Sutton & Associates Inc. consultants will collaborate with your team to build a roadmap for investment in the people, processes, technology and programs necessary to create and maintain a data-driven culture.

Gift Optimization and Acceleration

S. Sutton & Associates Inc. explores the relationship and demographic indicators of each prospect and donor and pinpoints individuals who self-identify as strong prospects with philanthropic propensity toward your organization. These factors, paired with giving history and engagement, allow for a tailored approach to donor acquisition, retention, and upgrade.

Improve conversion rates, participation and engagement

Enable targeted appeals to annual fund participants who are giving below their capacity, and to prospective and lapsed donors.

Unassigned prospect discovery

Identify high-value unassigned annual fund participants and prospects for reassignment to gift officer portfolios to advance the major gift pipeline.

Individual gift officer portfolio evaluation and realignment

Identify low-value assigned prospects, resulting in reassignment recommendations for gift officer portfolios.

Gift officer metrics management

Enable leaders to identify gaps between management expectations and actual gift officer behavior and time allocation, manage activities more efficiently, allocate resources, build more effective teams and allocate resources to produce better outcomes.

Gift officer metrics dashboards

Enable gift officers to measure and benchmark visits, proposals, success rates and effective stewardship.


Counsel and Support for Philanthropists

Counsel and Support for Philanthropists

We provide deep expertise to optimally structure, establish and manage the philanthropic activities of our clients along their entire philanthropic journey.


At the core of our relationships with our clients is a shared commitment to maximize philanthropic investment to achieve significant impact. S. Sutton & Associates Inc. works with clients to understand their charitable inclinations, articulate their motivations, further define their objectives, and develop and implement sound strategies that create measurable value and achieve results.

Strategic Planning and Best Practices Approach to Philanthropy

What is your dream for the future? What good would you like to see in the world? You already have an accountant, a wealth or investment advisor. He or she properly focuses on what they know best: money. There is enormous variability in what they may know about the philanthropic process or a given organization’s ability to work effectively and efficiently with your generous philanthropy. This is where we come in. S. Sutton & Associates Inc. has the know-how to turn your vision into reality.

Top philanthropists are strategic and disciplined in creating and executing a thoughtful plan. They know their top priorities – the causes they want to invest in – and they know how they will measure their success through metrics of impact, return on investment and progress.

We work with our clients to develop a plan that is consistent with their personal values and financial goals, but which also incorporates flexibility to allow for evolution as times and circumstances change.

We help you provide support that is the most meaningful to you and the most useful to the sectors and causes you care about. Is your focus art, design and culture, community based membership and advocacy organizations, education or healthcare and research? Are you interested in student support and scholarships, general operating support, specific programs, capital, equipment or infrastructure? Do you want to support one organization, several in a community, or several organizations working on the same issues from different angles, in different geographic regions or globally?

To shape such a philanthropic plan, we start by helping you answer several critical questions:

  • What or who do you want your giving to benefit?
  • What are you trying to achieve with your donations of money, time or assets?
  • Why are you giving? Do you have a specific legacy in mind? What is your motivation?
  • How much and what are you capable of giving?
  • How much involvement do you want with various organizations?
  • If you have a family or children, how may they benefit by being involved in the process?

Strategic Philanthropic Portfolio Construction and Tactical Counsel

S. Sutton & Associates Inc. represents you and your values, identifies opportunities which resonate with you, provides the information you need to make sound giving decisions and does the follow-up to make sure your gifts have their intended result. To construct the most strategic portfolio we:

  • Work through the family dynamics to energize the family’s giving or take it in a new direction
  • Develop a process to engage your children or grandchildren in giving
  • Identify or develop opportunities to make a difference which are in alignment with your philanthropic objectives
  • Explore areas of giving where you have less expertise
  • Reduce the volume of requests you need to consider… and most often decline
  • Get to know a nonprofit’s work well before introducing you to them as a potential major donor
  • Identify ways to stretch your dollars further through highly strategic gifts or collaborations
  • Conduct research, perform due diligence and fully vet opportunities and organizations to make sure your gift will be used well, your name will be protected, and construct gift agreements accordingly
  • Work through the delicate process of discontinuing funding of organizations you have supported over time
  • Analyze how loans, philanthropic equity, social impact bonds, or impact investments as well as grants, might contribute to your giving strategy

Impact Measurement, Performance Assessments and Accountability

You know how to build wealth; you’ve done it. But many donors who want to engage in philanthropy often lack the time, interest or know-how to evaluate a charity’s performance, often confusing accountability with achievement.

There is no real way for you to gauge the effectiveness of the particular causes or the institutions you may want to support. Guidestar, Charity Navigator or the Better Business Bureau are important resources but they really can’t tell you how well your grant will be utilized – or the charity’s innate ability to fulfill your trust. Or not. How will you know if your contributions are making a difference? By what criteria will you evaluate your existing donations and future charitable opportunities?

S. Sutton & Associates Inc. provides a different lens to vet performance of organizations. We help you determine criteria for impact and performance, assure your gift is used as intended, your name is protected, and there is complete adherence to terms articulated in gift agreements.


Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility

The world is changing fast. Business is facing new demands from rapidly evolving technologies, while social, environmental and political issues are affecting bottom-lines. Business and nonprofit organizations have a choice. They can choose to be at the mercy of these new forces, always reacting to defend the bottom-line. They can also choose to embrace these changes, seeing them as opportunities to deliver healthy, inclusive growth with long-term viability.


Thriving in today’s business world means having clarity of purpose, beyond profit. Businesses with this clarity know that profit is an outcome of the value they create. That’s why they focus beyond profit. What does your business stand for? To authentically engage, your employees, customers and your community must believe in your purpose. Driving stakeholder loyalty and advocacy is vital to standing out from the crowd and succeeding in these changing times. We can help you learn about the forces driving change over the next few years and look at corporate responsibility and sustainability issues through a new lens.

S. Sutton & Associates Inc. recognizes opportunity for all parties when there is alignment between the objectives of corporations and the mission and funding priorities of a nonprofit. Knowing how and when and with whom to associate is a strategic decision.

S. Sutton & Associates Inc. has the expertise to help your organization develop strategy and tactics to maximize the potential, minimize risk, and move the mission of the organization forward.

We assist corporations and nonprofit organizations seeking to realize the potential of CSR through corporate sponsorship, contributions of goods, services, products and cash, employee engagement and pure philanthropy to contribute to your organization’s bottom-line, raise profile and build customer and donor bases.

S. Sutton & Associates Inc. brings a deep understanding of this arena, trends, and short and long term implications when considering an association. We help structure and guide programs to meet the strategic objectives of corporations and nonprofits considering all aspects of CSR.

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