Since 1996, we have trained over 5,000 nonprofit teams in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and several countries in Europe.
More than half of our groups join our Sustainable Funding Program after attending Benevon 101.
Our groups span the entire gamut of the nonprofit sector—health and human services, advocacy, research, environmental, arts, faith, international relief, etc.
We have alumni in all fifty United States, nearly every province in Canada, in the United Kingdom, as well as several countries in Europe and Africa.
Read and view testimonials from Benevon, alumni, nonprofit organizations of all types.
The Benevon Model works for every imaginable type of nonprofit, so long as you have a passionate team of seven to ten people who are willing to roll up their sleeves and do the work it takes to implement this successfully, according to your coach's recommendations. Read and view testimonials from Benevon alumni nonprofit organizations of all types.
Contact us to let us assess your team’s readiness. Our experienced relationship managers will take their time to guide you through the process to determine whether your organization is ready and, if not, what more you will need to do to get ready.
Take our quiz to assess your understanding of the Benevon Model.
Here are our team requirements for the Benevon 101 workshop:
- The Benevon 101 workshop is for teams of seven to ten people from the board, staff, and volunteers from a single organization.
- Your team should consist of two to three staff members, two to three board members, and two to three additional volunteers.
- One staff member must be your CEO, Executive Director, or equivalent position.
- One development staff or development volunteer should also be on the team.
- One team member (usually a development staff member) must be identified as the Team Leader.
- You may bring up to ten total team members. Workshop tuition includes seven team members. Tuition for up to three additional team members is $250 per person.
- Each team member must be willing to devote one to three hours per week for one year to the team's implementation of the Benevon Model.
Team members agree to serve on the Benevon team for one year and fulfill the following four requirements:
- Attend the entire two-day Benevon 101 Workshop with your organization’s team
- Serve as an Ambassador: host and fill one private Point of Entry Event with ten guests or more within three months of attending the workshop
- Attend monthly team meetings in your organization’s office
- Participate in all coaching calls with your Benevon coach—one call approximately every eight to ten weeks
Successful first-year implementation requires a minimum half-time, dedicated development staff member, who serves as the Team Leader. In addition, we recommend that each team member be prepared to dedicate one to three hours per week for one year.
If you continue in our Sustainable Funding Program, by the second year of your implementation, you will need one full-time development staff member dedicated to this process.
Many groups find they do not need to hire an additional person to fill this role. Rather, they are able to reallocate staff by eliminating other more labor intensive and less productive activities. They see the value of the cultivation process and are able to justify having full-time dedicated staff.
If you continue to implement the model, in the second year you will need one full-time development staff person dedicated solely to this process. This person serves as your Team Leader.
As you scale the model to major gifts, you will likely be adding more development staff, which will be justified by the return on investment your organization will realize in major gifts.
Getting everyone on board with the basics of the model is critical to success. Invite them to do any or all of the following to learn more about Benevon:
- Have them watch either of our online videos, Eight Minutes to Sustainable Funding, or Creating Sustainable Funding for Your Nonprofit 55-Minute Recorded Seminar, which outline the Benevon Model, presented by our Founder and CEO, Terry Axelrod.
- Join us for one of our free introductory seminars, calls, or webinars.
- Read the Eight Guiding Principles of Benevon.
- Contact us by phone or email. Let us help you build a team and assess other gaps before you begin your implementation.
If your organization is seriously considering participating in one of our programs, here is a valuable tool, a PDF with useful tips on How to Talk to People About Benevon (before coming to Benevon 101).
Over our more than twenty years of working with nonprofits to build strong Benevon teams, we have learned a thing or two about how to best present the model to your board.
If you have decided that you want to bring a team to participate in our year-long training and coaching program, we strongly recommend that you not present Benevon to your full board until you have met these prerequisites:
- Have the full buy-in of your executive director or CEO.
- Have identified a Team Leader: preferably a development staff member who can devote at least twenty hours per week to leading your organization’s implementation of the model.
- Have spoken with a Benevon representative to determine the best time of year to put on your first Benevon Free One-Hour Ask Event and which Benevon 101 Workshop (location and dates) takes place nine to twelve months before your ideal Ask Event month.
- Have identified your full team of seven to ten people, including at least two board members who have already agreed to come to a scheduled two-day Benevon workshop and participate on your team for the year following the workshop, fulfilling the four requirements of every Benevon team member.
- Each of these potential team members has put the dates of that Benevon two-day workshop on their personal calendar and has indicated they are available to attend for the full two days.
- Have identified one or more sources of funding for the tuition and travel expenses to come to our two-day workshop. Hint: the most popular sources of funding are: 1) one existing donor or foundation that already supports your organization, or 2) taking the funds out of your operating budget, knowing that you will raise far more than the investment by implementing the model.
Do not expect your full board to love or understand the Benevon Model the first time they hear about it. By having fulfilled these prerequisites, you will be far more likely to achieve the board's buy-in for your participation in our programs.
When you have met these prerequisites, have your CEO and your two enthusiastic board members present your plan for participation in Benevon, outlining your due diligence work to date, your timeline for implementing the Benevon Model, your team members, and your source of payment.
This process generally ensures successful board approval.
Remember that Benevon requires a minimum of two board members (usually the board chair and board development committee chair) to serve on your Benevon team. Many teams consist of many more board members than just two, but two is the minimum. Also, remember that only those board members who serve on your Benevon team must meet our four team member requirements.
We have no expectations at all for those board members who do not serve on the Benevon team. We have found that, as your organization begins to implement the model, most groups invite their full board to attend a Point of Entry Event to experience firsthand how you are telling your organization’s story to the community. After attending a Point of Entry, board members receive a personal follow-up call where they are asked for their feedback, in the same way you will follow up with any other guest. Many of the board members will volunteer to become Ambassadors and host and fill their own private Point of Entry Event for their friends or colleagues.
Over time, as board members come to understand and experience the model firsthand, more and more of them become supporters. Some board members may never fully buy into the model. They will continue to contribute in all the valuable ways they have contributed in the past.
Again, Benevon has no expectations of board members who do not participate in your seven-to-ten-member team.
We require nothing of the board members who choose not to be on your Benevon team.
Having said that, many of your board members may genuinely want to participate in some way, especially after they attend your sizzling Point of Entry Event after your team comes back from the workshop.
Here are the optional responsibilities that all board members may choose to take on to support the efforts of your Benevon team:
- Learn about the Benevon Model: Attend a Benevon in-person introductory session, conference call, or webinar or watch the online video
- Attend a Point of Entry Event and bring guests to the organization’s public Point of Entry Events all year
- Serve as an Ambassador: host and fill one private Point of Entry Event with ten guests or more
- Recruit others to be Ambassadors
- Make thank-you phone calls and invitation calls as requested
- Give money: make a personal financial contribution (of an amount that is meaningful to them) to the organization
- Attend cultivation events and bring others
We recommend, rather than focusing on where to find the tuition funds, that you focus first on having other volunteers, board members, and staff from your organization attend an in-person introductory seminar or webinar or watch our Creating Sustainable Funding for Your Nonprofit 55-Minute Recorded Seminar to learn more about the Benevon Model. We have found that after enough people from your team understand how the model works and are motivated to participate in the program, they will work together to secure the funding.
In many cases, a single donor or board member pays all or part of the team's tuition, and even frequently chooses to join the team.
Many foundations and individuals fund "capacity building" and "technical assistance" programs that can provide support for teams to attend the workshop. They understand the leveraging value of paying for a team of people to be trained and coached over time to implement a system for building non profit financial sustainability and community engagement.
Here is a PDF delineating the "hidden costs" associated with implementing each step of the Benevon Model.
You may also want to listen to a podcast from Terry Axelrod talking about the "hidden costs" in the first year.
For immediate examples of nonprofit organizations that have successfully implemented the Benevon Model, please visit our Testimonials page.
If you are seriously considering participating in our programs, we recommend you first read the Eight Guiding Principles of Benevon.
Here is a valuable tool, a PDF with useful tips on How to Talk to People About Benevon (before coming to Benevon 101).
Over 90% meet or come within 10% of meeting our first-year formula if they have followed all of the steps in the process according to the coaching.
- Formula: take the number of people who attend your first Ask Event and divide by two, then multiply by $1,000.
- For example, a 200-person Ask Event would yield $100,000 in cash and pledges the first year.
We take each group's results very seriously. We debrief and critique the reasons for each of those groups that does not meet our formula. We have found that groups do not succeed for one or more of the following three reasons:
- Team composition does not meet our requirements. Team requirements: seven-person team of two to three staff including executive director/CEO; two to three board members; and two to three volunteers. Must have more non-staff than staff on the team.
- The team does not use the telephone coaching hours that come with the workshop package.
- The team does not follow the recommendations of the coach—they "get creative"!
Having said that, for a group to come to our workshop, follow the model and raise, for example, $100,000 from a 250-person Ask Event, is still a major success for most groups! Above and beyond the money raised, every group reports great pride in having the story of their real work known in the community.
Yes, we offer a variety of customized private programs for a minimum of ten nonprofit teams. Please contact us for more information.
Call 206-709-9400 and talk to one of our experienced relationship managers or fill out our Contact Us form.
We look forward to guiding you through the process!
"Benevon provides a proven system to change culture to one of sustainability which can inspire and define the outlook of the whole organization - from staff to board to stakeholder. Brilliant, clear, achievable, and authentic."
Richard Stanaro, Board Member, Catholic Charities of the East Bay Oakland, California
"As a team, we have learned a common language, developed a plan, and are on the same page for how we will proceed over the next twelve months."
Michael Mortell, Vice President of Development, Special Olympics Wisconsin
"[Benevon] is the single most effective fundraising model that exists! This model is designed with integrity and heart, and comes from a context of knowing deeply who people are and their longing to make a difference with their lives, with their money, and with their vision. People who follow the model simply cannot fail."
Lynne Twist, Co-Founder and Board Member, Pachamama Alliance
San Francisco, California