Marketing And Fundraising Strategic Plan


note: In 1992 when the organization was formed, the Tutor/Mentor Connection was just an idea. By 1997 this idea had become visible throughout the city. Through the 1990s we feel many donors did not fund the T/MC because they only perceived us as a single tutor/mentor program. Thus, in 2004 we added Tutor/Mentor Connection to the official name. In the rest of this document, where ever you see Cabrini Connections, that refers to the entire Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection organization.

In April 2011 the Board of Directors voted to downsize and only focus on the Cabrini Connections strategy. Dan Bassill was given ownership of Tutor/Mentor Connection name and assets and has formed Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC to continue to support tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and to help build similar support networks in other cities.

This document provides the fund raising strategy that any non profit can use, based on what Bassill used from 1992-2011 to raise more than $6 million to fund Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection. Pages will be edited in coming months to reflect changes in organizational structure.

While corporate and private foundation grants will always to be the primary component of Cabrini Connections’ revenue, the organization will strive to develop and continually expand a donor base which will include event marketing, planned giving,, and annual campaign, Internet giving, and earned income. As a publicly funded charity, we must deriving at least 33 1/3% of the total program income from donor's who give no more than 2% of the total contributions in any fiscal year. This can include corporations.

Everyone will be Involved:

Every employee, Director and volunteer with CC, T/MC is a fund raiser. The financial viability of the organization is a shared priority, one that can best be met by active outreach by all members. Our Board of Directors and staff must develop a passion for fund raising and be cheerleaders to recognize every contribution and every effort that has led to a contribution. Our communications to volunteers, donors and family members will attempt to convert everyone into active Net-Workers (people who actively introduce Cabrini Connections to their own personal and professional network). This continuous awareness and encouragement should show each volunteer and supporter that they can be a successful fund raiser.

This graphic shows the goal of each member of the organization reaching out to members of their friend-family network who then do the same, reaching to their own networks. The ultimate goal is reaching people who can provide major contributions of talent, time and/or dollars.


To see enlarged version of this graphic, view this blog article.

Business Marketing/Advertising:

CC, T/MC will develop a business marketing strategy to achieve its revenue goals. It will develop high quality, timely, programs, events and actions that deliver a service to a youth, or to a youth serving organization and it will build public awareness of these action in a wide variety of communications channels. Cabrini Connections will distribute its public awareness and involvement via traditional print, radio and TV, and through constantly expanding Internet channels. It will also rely heavily on “word of mouth” networking done by our volunteers, students and those who participate in events organized by the Tutor/Mentor Connection. Since 1994 this strategy has resulted in numerous print, TV, radio and Internet stories and a growing awareness of Cabrini Connections and the Tutor/Mentor Connection. In 1997 the T/MC was a Teaching Example at the President’s Summit for America’s Future and Dan Bassill was named a Giraffe, by the Giraffe Foundation. In 1999 Bassill received the Publishers Clearing House Good as Gold Award on a nationally televised segment of the Montel Williams TV show. In 2001 Bassill was appointed to the Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service and was given an honorary doctorate by Illinois Wesleyan University. In 2008 the organization received a grant from Oprah Winfrey's Angel Network Foundation and in March 2009 was featured on their web site.

This growing public recognition creates a greater willingness of a larger number of people to provide funds to CC, T/MC. It also enables Cabrini Connections to effectively network in more influential donor circles. However, money will not come to the organization without an effective format for asking for the contribution. We will ask via our Internet web sites, via all media that are sent to any stakeholder, and through the one-on-one actions of our various stakeholders.

Tracking Systems:

CC, T/MC will track each contribution and contributor, showing year-to-year and accumulative giving patterns. It will also track solicitation efforts, showing “friend-building” actions of different stakeholders of the organization.


A variety of strategies will be used to “ask” for contributions to fund Cabrini Connections.

The organization’s 2000 revenue came from the following areas

Corporate and foundation grants ….. 72% of total

Individual (annual campaign & events) ……. 23% of total

Conference fees 4% of total

Publications 1% of total

Planned Giving/Earned Income 0%

Internet Income 0%

The organization’s 2008 revenue of $476,000 came from the following areas

Corporate and foundation grants ….. 62% of total

Individual (annual campaign & events) ……. 22.1% of total

Government contracts 8.29 % of total

Conference fees 2.45% of total

Publications 0% of total

Planned Giving/Earned Income 0%

Internet Income 0%

In Kind Donations 5%

Our strategy continues to be to grow the dollar volume of corporate and foundation giving while increasing the percent of revenue from Individuals, events and planned giving and earned income.

Corporate/Foundation Grants

The more proposals that we can put into the hands of potential donors, the more success we will have. Therefore, we will constantly search out potential donors, based on their history of supporting tutor/mentor programs, or the history Cabrini Connections and its volunteers have with these organizations. Corporations with volunteers serving Cabrini Connections are most likely to contribute. Therefore, we will prioritize recruitment of volunteers from corporations that have a history of charitable giving and we will train our volunteers to become solicitors within their workplace.

Montgomery Ward was the primary corproate sponsor from 1993 to 2000, donating $40,000 each year, and donations space, utilities, parking, etc (which was not counted as income). In 200 the Lend A Hand Program at the Chicago Bar Association/Foundation provided $4,500. In 2007 and 2008 that was $35,000 each year. This is a result of our efforts to help a leadership group grow within the legal industry.

Our strategy is to continue to help such leadership groups grow, in every industry, so CC, T/MC receives consistent funding, and so that other programs also receive funding. Our success in this will earn us grants because this is part of the mission of the T/MC.

Corporate/Foundation Sponsorships

Companies are beginning to recognize that “doing good” can contribute to “being profitable”. Cabrini Connections has created a calendar of T/MC and Cabrini Connections events that can attract corporate sponsors. We will develop strategies that build long-term commitments of many businesses to Cabrini Connections through the various events that one, or more, companies sponsor.

The Tutor/Mentor Connection has created web-based services that can potentially attract sponsor dollars, such as the Program Locator ( ). In addition, it has created products that other networks might purchase, such as the Organizational History and Tracking System (OHATS), and the Student-Volunteer History and Tracking System. We need to find ways to develop these opportunities.

Workplace Giving

The United Way and Combined Federal Appeal workplace campaigns now allow employees to designate charities like Cabrini Connections for payroll deduction giving. Through our newsletters, web site and networking we will continually remind workers of this option.

Cabrini Connections is listed in the workplace fund raising campaign of the Black United Fund of Illinois, and the Tutor/Mentor Connection is listed with Community Shares of Illinois.

We also receive funds from employee giving at companies like Abbott, Microsoft, Allstate, Schwarz, Sergeant Lundy, etc.

Our communications should encourage volunteers, parents, alumni to advocate for employee giving to CC, T/MC during annual campaign periods.

Individual Giving/Annual Campaign

We will develop direct mail and Internet email campaigns that ask potential donors to make individual contributions of $5 to $10,000 each year to Cabrini Connections. You can see from the 2000 and 2008 giving levels that this percent remained 22-23%.

Planned Giving

We will develop two strategies to impact planned giving and bequests. First, we will develop programs and staff capacity to nurture planned giving to Cabrini Connections. We will learn from those organizations who do this well and will adopt the best practices of others as our strategy. Second, we will develop “loyalty groups” within legal, financial, accounting and estate planning professional groups. Within these groups we will lead a long-term strategy of donor awareness that is intended to influence new “philanthropic capital”. As wealth is transferred from generation to generation, these professional groups serve as consultants and brokers. Our goal is to raise tutor/mentor awareness within this group so that our name is added to the list of “recommendations” when a donor is looking for a place to leave his/her estate.

Earned Income

Through the T/MC we will develop new ways to earn revenue to support Cabrini Connections. As we continue to develop a model that supports tutor/mentor programs in Chicago, we will develop the capacity to sell our services as “consultants” to other communities and networks around the country. In addition, we will create the ability to develop “training materials” and “publications” that can be sold through the Internet to users from all over the country. This distribution of services will increase the number of people who come to use our web site services, such as GIS mapping, OHATS, etc., and who will attend our conferences. This creates the opportunity to sell memberships, as well as advertising.

National Collaborations?

Through the T/MC we are also developing partners in communities all over the country. We are connecting many of these partners via our conferences and Internet forums. Our goal is that these partners become a “virtual organization” where they serve as formal advisors in the T/MC structure and we serve as formal partners in their own organizational structure. By demonstrating that we are a national network we create the potential for funding from national foundations and corporations, not just local organizations.

Faith Community Requests?
We have received consistent funding from St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Sycamore (Dan) and the Winnetka Congregational Church (via grant). We should explore opportunities for volunteers to request donations from their home church, temple, mosque, etc. congregations.


The Art of Fund Raising: "You raise money when you ask for it, preferably face to face, from the smallest possible number of people in the shortest period of time, at the least expense.

• Leaders must lead. Directors and Advisory Council members must provide individual leadership in fund raising efforts at raising a minimum of $1,000 in contributions.

• Total Quality Mentoring – a Board Development Strategy. The organization realizes that it must recruit leaders who have the ability to ask and receive larger contributions. Its strategy is to recruit leaders from each of the 16 career clusters, as well as from different ethnic groups, and social, alumni and civic groups. As this strategy grows, it will lead to “special interest advisory boards, with 3 or more members focused on a single component of the TQM strategy. For instance, Sara Caldwell is building an “arts board” to support the arts programs of Cabrini Connections. In the same manner, we can convert our Tech Team into a Technology Board, and our lawyer volunteers into a “Law community board”. The result will be leaders who are mobilizing support from within their industry, and into other industry segments.

This image visualizes the TQM goal:


• Build a commitment through involvement. Use the combined resources of all staff and volunteers in all efforts. The organization will recruit leaders from its Kids’ Connection, where volunteers become committed to mentoring through the young people they bond with over two or three years of service. It will also recruit from the T/MC and from among other volunteers who join the capacity building efforts of the organization. As volunteers develop a track record of commitment (documented in the Organizational History and Tracking System (OHATS), we will recruit them to open positions on the Board of Directors, as needed.

• Have a plan. Have a schedule and assign responsibility. Then stick to it. Our plan is to increase the list of potential supporters who learn what we do, and to analyze that list continuously to locate “decision makers” who can help obtain grants and larger contributions. See discussion of manpower needs and fund raising challenges of 2000-2010 below.

• Set goals that make sense; ones that fit the project and the program

• Be direct with our message. Make the case for our project as human and brief as possible. We constantly tell our story through the images of kids/volunteers and the use of GIS maps to show that Chicago is a large city where many programs and many volunteers are needed. We use the Internet to provide a blueprint of what we do and what Chicago must do, with the ability of a potential donor or volunteer to visit this information as often as they want to learn what we are doing.

• Campaign leaders are our most important asset. Care must be taken in recruiting project leaders and honorary chairpersons.

• Build our prospect lists with care. Research prospects—do our homework well. Rate prospects and ask them for specific amounts.

• Treat our tutoring volunteers with respect. Do not tarnish the integrity of the tutoring program by over soliciting our active volunteer base.

• Build a plan that attracts a broad base of donors so that we meet our goal of being a "publicly supported charity". That means 33.3% of funding must come from donors who each give no more than 2% of our total budget.

• Don't expect publicity to raise money. Hard work raises money.

• Don't use a fund raising event or method only because we dislike the direct one-to-one appeal.



We seek to involve every stakeholder in building the network of public support needed to sustain Cabrini Connections and tutor/mentor programs throughout Chicagoland. Following are actions an individual can take to build friends, then revenue, for Cabrini Connections:

A) Become a financial supporter of Cabrini Connections. A contribution of $10, $25, $50, $100 or more will make a big difference in the type of programming and the number of children we can reach. Look at it as an investment. A kid saved now is a fortune saved later.

B) Ask your neighbor. Become an advocate for Cabrini Connections in your own business and personal community. You probably know someone who would contribute financial support to this type of work if you just asked. So you can be a connecting link between a Cabrini child and a potential benefactor, just by asking one of your associates to become a contributor.

C) Ask your company. The corporation where you work and your professional association both have foundations that fund programs like this. They are keenly concerned about the quality of the workforce in the coming years. They want programs like this to work. Your personal introduction of Cabrini Connections can make a huge difference in successfully opening the door to corporate and foundation financial aid.

D) Recruit a friend. Cabrini Connections works because dedicated volunteers are willing to give time and energy. Either directly as a tutor, or indirectly as an organizer, administrator, writer, or planner. We're a business, just like yours, and we have the same organizational needs. We just fill most of them with volunteers.

E) Use the Social Networking and Communications tools on the Internet. CC, T/MC has provide a vast amount of information showing what our goals are, what we accomplish, and how other people can get involved on the web sites at and . Our CEO is active with blogs, on-line networking, email, and many other daily efforts intended to expand the visibility and network of the organization. The result is that we are recognized in many places for our expertise. This is what led to the $50,000 anonymous donation in 2007.

This use of the Internet to spread the word and advocate for our cause needs to be shared by other leaders and volunteers, even our students and alumni. In the section on collaboration at we show many examples of how we operate as a decentralized organization in which everyone shares the responsibility for our total success, including our fund raising success.

As volunteers identify individuals and/or organizations who are receptive to a Cabrini Connections grant request, they will act as the liaison to Cabrini Connections designated fund raising representatives (President, board members, etc.) who will meet with the target individual/organization and provide all necessary follow-up through the receipt of the grant.

Following receipt of a grant, a thank you will be sent to the originator of the contact and to the donor. From that point on, Cabrini Connections will continue official responsibility for maintaining regular communications with the donor, providing follow-up reports and renewing the grand request in succeeding years.


Between 1993 and 2000 Cabrini Connections grew from annual revenue of $49,000 to annual revenue of over $600,000.

In 2001 through 2007 revenue declined to $350,000 to $400,000 per year. Part of the decline was due to lower in-kind deductions for rent subsidies at the 1111 N. Wells building. A greater part was losing $40,000 per year from Wards and losing additional dollars due to the poor economy and the 9/11 attack.

In 2007 the income of the organization rose to $481,000 due to a $50,000 anonymous gift, the first grant of $35,000 from Lend A Hand, and a $28,000 inkind donation. In 2008 revenue was $476,000 with a one time donation of $58,000 from HSBC North America and a gift of $50,000 from Oprah's Angel Network Foundation.

In 2008 we began to see the impact of the financial sector meltdown, as HSBC ended it's grant support and golf benefit $5k sponsors declined. This led to a Board of Director's decision in 2011 to discontinue support for Tutor/Mentor Connection and only focus on the Cabrini Connections program….even though most major grants of 2005-2008 came via T/MC.

In total, the organization raised more than $6.5 million through 2011. This revenue generation paralleled the building of the Cabrini Connections organization and the creation and development of the Tutor/Mentor Connection. This was accomplished through the efforts of a staff that has never had a full-time funded or volunteer professional development/marketing position. The organization has relied on the efforts of its CEO, plus a changing cadre of 2-3 other full time staff, plus 1 to 3 part time staff in any given year.

Between 1994 and 2001 the organization has had at maximum two part time fund raising/marketing people supporting the goals of this Fund Raising strategy. Due to available funds, these people were generally inexperienced in development work. Between 2002 and 2008 there were even less people on staff, due to lower income and a fixed cost of rent and utilities of close to $70,000 per year.

In 2008 part of the funds from the HSBC Holdings gift were used to hire a full time marketing, fund raising coordinator at a salary of $42,000 (development salaries range from $70,000 to $90,000 and above for experienced people.) Because of the economy, and the experience of the person we hired, we did not grow our income in 2008 nor have prospects for new revenue in spring 2009 that justified keeping this person on staff. Thus, since January 2009, we have operated as before, without anyone dedicated to marketing and fund raising on staff.

In order to rebuild revenue to support program growth, the organization needs to find volunteers who will take responsible roles in fund raising while looking for dollars to hire a full time development professional. During most of its 1993-2011 history all of the following functions were concentrated in the hands of the organization's president and CEO).

- Planning Initiatives – Provides leadership in the areas of strategic planning, board development, annual giving plans and donor cultivation

- Communication – develops all plans for internal and external communications, including annual report, public information and annual budget

- Internal and External Financial Reporting – Develops all internal systems to insure adequate and timely financial reports are transmitted to staff, Board members and donors

- Financial Planning – Provides leadership to the overall budget process, including incorporation of income strategy development

- Board Development – facilitates the recruitment, training, managing and motivating of board members to actively govern the organization and bring resources to the organization

- Donor Relationships – Cultivates relationships with prospective and current donors to create a sense of ownership and involvement that will result in financial support

- Identification of new donors – Plans and develops methods for attracting new individual, corporate and foundation donors to the organization

- Income Generation – Raises money through preparation of proposals, solicitation materials and special events

From time to time there were part time volunteers employed to help with these efforts. While the President/CEO held these fund raising roles, he was also providing leadership to the Cabrini Connections tutor/mentor program and was the primary organizer, innovation leader and manager to the growing Tutor/Mentor Connection.

The PLAN and the Reality

This fund raising plan was on the books from mid 1990s through 2011 and generated significant annual income for the organization. However, this organization was never able to recruit and involved board of director volunteers who would provide consistent help in achieving these goals. Other than the Chairman of the Board, few volunteers took these roles consistently. Thus, the challenge to any non-profit is to not only have a plan, but to be able to recruit volunteers at the Board of Director and Program level who take on going actions that are described in the plan.

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