Fundraising is difficult enough. What if you didn’t have to go at it alone?
And what if you could have thoughtful mentorship, immersive support, tangible guidance and an accountability partner as you forge through your specific fundraising challenges?
That’s where personalized coaching comes in. No matter where you are in the fervent – and seemingly never-ending – process of fundraising, there’s nothing quite like dedicated, 1:1 attention and expertise of someone who’s been there. It is a sounding board that you can trust and an ally with your best interests and success in mind. Someone to brainstorm with you on sensitive issues that naturally arise in the day-to-day arena of fundraising for social change.
Perhaps most importantly, it’s a sense of clarity and direction with your fundraising so that you can get back to the mission at hand.
Personalized coaching with Open Rivers is ideal for founders, executive directors and development team members who are tasked with leading the fundraising and resource mobilization efforts of small, values-aligned nonprofit and community benefit organizations. Whether you are starting from scratch or your current fundraising efforts are in need of a reboot, this is for you.
When we work together, the aim is always for you to:
Feel confident raising money for your mission.
Be prepared to jump on funding opportunities.
Have the systems you need to be sustainable.
How It Works
The coaching experience is truly customized for whatever you need most in order to feel authentic and empowered to bring in the money for your mission. That said, themes that typically crop up in 1:1 coaching sessions include:
- Cultivating your capacity for leadership, leveraging your strengths, mitigating obstacles and developing a positive mindset that will set the tone for your fundraising success.
- Navigating relationships and creating a high-value donor community with a realistic action plan for approach and engagement.
- Designing sustainable systems and processes that will streamline and optimize your fundraising infrastructure.
- Feedback on appeal campaigns, donor engagement messaging, grant proposals and applications for funding.
See below for specific topics. All coaching options include:
A live, 1:1 coaching session with Kristin Oliver by video chat (or, if you’re in NYC, it would be wonderful to meet in-person).
Curated resources with worksheets, tips and templates that will help you find clarity, get organized and take action.
Common Coaching Topics
PURPOSE | Amplify Your Why
Perhaps you’ve just founded an organization or you’re thinking about it and want clarity from the get-go. This coaching session topic has plenty of reflection prompts that will shine a light on your purpose and inspire solidarity with your cause.
✓ Clarify your purpose with a deep dive into your mission, vision and values
✓ Gather an authentic collection of stories to inspire your supporters
✓ Craft a convincing case for support that will activate your fundraising
POTENTIAL | Illustrate Your Impact
Defining impact can be tricky and even a little nerve-wracking. There’s nothing like logic models to send someone running for the hills. But never fear! This coaching session topic comes with step-by-step, no-fluff worksheets designed for visual learners and creative thinkers.
✓ Drill down your big picture vision into tangible steps for success
✓ Develop your blueprint for change with goals, metrics and evaluation mechanisms
✓ Create templates with all the elements you need for any funding proposal or pitch
TACTICS | Allocate Your Energy
There are so many fundraising options these days. Should you go for grants? Write that once-in-lifetime appeal letter? Start up a crowdfunding campaign? And so on and on. But you only have so much time in the day. This coaching session topic hones in on where you should focus your precious energy.
✓ Choose fundraising campaigns based on your strengths and capacity
✓ Set up an achievable fundraising calendar and action plan for the year
✓ Cultivate a circle of fundraising ambassadors to rally for your success
PEOPLE | Find Your Tribe
Successful fundraising of any kind, for any issue, is really about two things: storytelling and connection. You have to bring the right story to the right people. This coaching session topic is an exploration of the shared human spirit coupled with epic reflection prompts to find your ideal community of supporters.
✓ Discover your dream donors, the people you most want to support your work
✓ Curate a portfolio of prospects most aligned to donate to your mission
✓ Catalyze your outreach with techniques for research, validation and discovery meetings
NUMBERS | Identify Your Need
In other words: Budgets. Virtually every funder is going to need one. This coaching session topic keeps it real by looking at hard numbers, framing your fundraising around your financial reality and ensuring your goals are not just pipe dreams. Template spreadsheets abound for this one!
✓ Focus your fundraising by zooming in on program-critical expenses
✓ Prioritize your fundraising goals based on your capacity, program activities and targets for impact
✓ Entice your prospects with mission-aligned opportunities they can get behind
COMMUNICATIONS | Spread the Word
A creative and consistent communications plan is critical to successful fundraising of any sort. Why? Simply put: No word on the street means no money coming in. Whether it’s how you share your story, illustrate your impact or engage your donors in dialogue, communications plays a central role. This coaching session topic gets into the nitty-gritty of genuine connection.
✓ Broadcast your message with uplifting content primed for donor engagement
✓ Welcome your supporters with a thoughtful appreciation process
✓ Maximize your web presence with simple, effective donation solutions
APPEALS | Make the Ask.
Your mission relies on the influx of donations that pour in from a well-designed and thoughtful fundraising appeal campaign but all the moving parts to get it out into the world can be overwhelming. This coaching session topic is basically a hand holding you through the process with plenty of creative, compassionate and constructive feedback.
✓ Launch your fundraising campaign with a solid, customized game plan
✓ Nurture your community of donors with ongoing retention strategies
✓ Ensure your efforts are worth it with a framework for ROI, reflection and rejuvenation
A Single Intensive Session Includes:
One 90-minute coaching session by video call dedicated to tackling a specific area of your fundraising.
A pre-session questionnaire to be completed before our call and a session outline designed to efficiently guide our time together.
A customized action plan with recommendations tailored to carry you forward following our session.
Email and text support for one week following the session.
The Monthly Coaching Package Includes:
Two 1-hour coaching sessions by video call each month to discuss your progress, challenges and action plan for the immediate future.
Ongoing support via email to address any issues that come up in real time and answer any questions you may have in between our sessions.
Comprehensive notes with action items, recommendations and suggestions from our session.
Additional research, resources and tools curated just for you in a shared, downloadable folder.
$800/Month (3 month minimum)
Frequently Asked Questions
Who will be my coach and what's it like to work together?
You’ll be working with me, Kristin Oliver, founder of Open Rivers! Here’s a few things to know about what it’s like for us to work together:
- I care deeply about the organizations and the people that I choose to work with. I believe in their missions and I amplify their successes. As such, it is important to me that we are values-aligned with a shared vision for a just and thriving world.
- I only work with people who I respect and whose company I truly enjoy. My clients and I have been known to have more than a few late night conversations that inevitably possess the sense of solidarity that comes with in-depth, yet safe and authentic dialogue on some tough topics.
- I’m also known to be a little blunt and take a “no-bullshit” approach to fundraising, coaching, and pretty much everything else in life. My clients can always expect integrity, honesty and transparency when working with me.
- In response to some of the common challenges I’ve witnessed in the organizations I’ve worked with over the years, I have a core inquiry: How can we be solutions-oriented, radically optimistic and unwaveringly compassionate? So heads up that when you’re working with me as your coach, I also center your wellbeing and emotional equilibrium in this fundraising process.
I don't have the money for coaching just yet. What's the next best step for me?
If you’re just starting out with $0 in the coffers, head over right now to the appeal challenge. It’s a totally free training that we designed to get your fundraising off the ground and bring in those first few donations.
After that, reach out to us. We actively seek partners who provide support to aligned organizations for leadership development and capacity building, particularly when it comes to fundraising. We might be able to point you in a good direction.
I'm not sure if this is right for me. Is there someone I can talk to?
Sure! Send us a line and we’ll schedule a brief call to address any questions or concerns you may have.