Ropes: Strategic Fund-Raising

The fund-raising process consists of five steps: research, objectives, programming, evaluation and stewardship (ROPES). The fund-raising process can be strategic if the ROPES of fundraising are followed carefully. The first step consists of researching the potential donor organization, the opportunity and the publics or stakeholders associated with the organization and the opportunity (Kelly, 1998, p. 391). The second step is that of setting specific and measurable objectives. After these first two steps have been completed successfully, programming begins. This third step seeks to turn proposed objectives into outcomes by planning and implementing activities (Kelly, 1998, p. 391). Evaluation is the fourth step and it consists of monitoring the existing programs in order to find out how well they are doing and comparing them to the objectives. The final step is stewardship, which leads back to the beginning of the process. This final step consists of four sub-steps that are reciprocity, responsible gift use, reporting and maintaining and building existing relationships (Kelly, 1998, p. 391).

This description of a strategic fund-raising process will help delineate and analyze the Puerto Rico Community Foundation's use of strategic management in their fund-raising process.For ROPES to be effective the community foundation has to have mission which they adhere to and pursue in all their endeavors. Mrs. Matilde Urrutia, the Development Director of the Puerto Rico Community Foundation was the person interviewed. She kindly provided some insight into the running of the Foundation. During the interview, she read the mission statement of the Puerto Rico Community Foundation and elaborated on pertinent topics of interest. The statement clearly demonstrates the Foundation's purpose and highlights the need for employees to adhere to the Foundation's objectives during any part of the grant-seeking or grant-making processes. Mrs. Urrutia said the Foundation sees itself as a facilitator and explained that the Foundation's mission it to stimulate the community's (Puerto Rico) sense of philanthropy and to encourage the organization of any other philanthropic groups committed to building a healthier community.

The division of labor is another prerequisite for the fund-raising process to be completed successfully. The Foundation balances its role of being a grant seeking as well as grant making organization by having different people in charge of each area. Urrutia identified the main divisions of labor. The members of the board come from very different areas and they each offer their expertise in their fields as well as their "contacts." The president Nelson Colon, Ph.D., is a key player in both grant making and grant seeking endeavors. Nelson Colon was previously the program director with the Foundation before becoming the president. In addition to the president, the Foundation employs a director of development (Mrs. Urrutia), a program director and a group of support staff who deal with administrative duties. Although different programs each have a director their work entwines constantly. The staff works closely together always keeping in mind the interests of the donors, their own and most importantly those of the community. The ideas for the programs come from both grant seekers and grant makers. Within the Foundation an important objective is to find out where the mission of the Foundation and that of the donor's overlap. It is also important to recognize the fine line between autonomy and accountability needed to give donors a sense of ownership without losing sight of the foundation's mission.