Greg Jensen & Associates Consulting was established in 2015 and now forms an important part of Cardio-Jenic’s commitment to serving our community through philanthropy
About GJA Consulting
Not-for-profit organisations understand the importance of measuring the impact of every dollar invested in their mission, so they should expect that their consultant should have more than a theoretical understanding of the daily challenges they face. Greg Jensen has shared experiences he can relate to your challenges.
Greg combines over 30 years business experience with post graduate qualifications in Communications and a Master of Counselling. Greg has previously held positions as Managing Director of Cardio-Jenic Pty Ltd and held Executive positions at numerous not-for-profits. Greg is currently the Board Chair of private cardiac informatics company Cardio-Jenic Pty Ltd, Board Director of not-for-profit TRACTION for Young People and sits on the Nominations & Remuneration Committee for Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland. He has previously sat on the Board, Audit & Finance Committee and Nominations and Remuneration Committee for JUTE Theatre company in Cairns.
He currently advises many organisations including Ipswich Grammar School and Fair Go Australia as well as other CEOs and Boards in Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns, Sydney and Melbourne. His not-for-profit speciality areas include health and medical research, education, social services, mental health, and the arts.
Case Study 1 – Light at the end of the journey!
A public hospital foundation with DGR 1 status requested a consultation to review their overall performance compared with similar organisations. The belief was that as a foundation for a broad ranging public health services district, they were unlikely to be able to raise considerable funds through traditional fundraising methods. The approach began with understanding their mission statement, reviewing governance of the Board, and assessing each activity of the Foundation against the mission statement and their status as a health promotions charity. Brand awareness and mission awareness reviews were also conducted.
The initial assessment determined that the Board provided little strategic guidance, and the Foundation’s activities had no alignment with the strategic imperatives of the hospital and health services district. While there was some brand awareness, there was negligible mission awareness within the hospital or the broader community. Moreover, many of the Foundation’s activities while well-intentioned, were inconsistent with their status as a health promotions charity. Additionally, supervision of the volunteer program, which was the responsibility of the Foundation, was a considerable asset to the hospital but was extremely time-consuming and poorly managed by the Foundation. There was a significant focus on resource-dependent events which produced poor returns both in terms of community involvement and financially. There was also poor staff morale and high turnover. Predictably, the overall financial performance of this Foundation lagged considerably against that of similar organisations.
The following was proposed:
• A workshop with the Board to present recommendations and an overview on ANCN requirements measured against their charitable status, and governance issues,
• Re-write the Board terms of reference to align with the hospital strategic priorities,
• A re-assessment and realignment with the Mission Statement,
• Ceasing of all activities inconsistent with their charitable status,
• Re-aligning the Foundation to be the Foundation of the hospital and community,
• A full review of the database-dump, cleanse and import quality, usable data,
• Inviting input from the hospital and district executives to align the fundraising efforts of the Foundation with the strategic requirements of the hospital services district,
• Implement fundraising strategic plan with activities including direct mail and annual appeals, major gifts, bequests, and an annual giving day.
• Training for all staff and Board on fundraising,
• While community recruitment of volunteers remained with the Foundation, supervision became the responsibility of the hospital HR to ensure resources were activated in areas of greatest needs.
The Executive Officer chose to retire; the Board re-generated to act more as an advisory board and conduit between the hospital, health district, and the Foundation; a new EO was recruited with the remit to implement the new strategic plan presented. In the first 12 months, the Foundation grew revenue by 23%, and employee engagement was the highest recorded to date.
Case Study 2 – It is hard to say “not yet” to a desperately needed cause!
A prominent charity well known for assisting people experiencing disadvantage, had proposed to run a capital campaign to raise funds for the expansion of a facility to support homeless people with significant mental health challenges. The Board has agreed to build the facility with or without donor support but felt it a worthy campaign that would connect with their donors.
As professional fundraisers know, an organisations internal readiness to fundraise is an important predictor of success. There are many factors that need to be in place for a successful campaign including good data, strong potential for campaign lead gifts, leadership commitment to the campaign, and a cohesive fundraising team are just some of the components that are essential to success.
In reviewing this organisations internal readiness, we discovered a mistrust between the fundraising team and the executive underpinning a lack of confidence in the capacity of the fundraising team to achieve goals and objectives. Underlining this disconnect, the executive decided that the top 25 donors to the organisation were to be sequestered from the campaign and could not be approached for lead gifts or campaign committee involvement. No explanation was provided as to why.
The engagement was to conduct a feasibility study to determine if it were possible to raise $5 million and if not, what capacity did exist. Research identified 50 donor prospects with an affinity with the organisation and the capacity and inclination to donate at various levels of giving. A “Case for Support” was created and tested with 46 of the donor prospects along with a feasibility questionnaire to determine interest in campaign leadership, and inclination to give to this campaign. Other questions centered on organisational reputation, service delivery and internal leadership.
The survey results indicated the donors had a strong belief in the work of the organisation, but little connection with the executive including the CEO, or the fundraising leadership team. 100% of those surveyed thought the project worthwhile, while only 45% thought they would be able to contribute to the campaign in a meaningful way. No one was willing to commit to a lead gift, and no one was prepared to accept a role on the campaign committee. The total prospective donation amount identified through this process was less than $150,000, well short of the $5 million campaign target.
The following recommendations were presented: the campaign does not proceed but rather the organisation attend to their internal readiness deficiencies. As a courtesy, a full fundraising strategic plan was prepared with recommendations to realign the fundraising team with the organisational mission, address leadership concerns, and better connect the organisation with their donors. This included developing individual strategies for those donor prospects who indicated a willingness to donate to the aborted campaign.
It is never easy to inform a client that they don’t have the capacity or internal readiness to conduct a successful fundraising campaign, especially given the importance of this project, and many consultants may consider advising this to go ahead regardless. However by recommending they attend to internal matters first and consider the integrity of their donor relationships, the longer term benefits have been highly beneficial.