Guardianship Services, Inc. (GSI): Development Assessment & Plan
Guardianship Services, Inc. (GSI) serves at-risk adults in Tarrant County who are unable to make decisions in their best interest and require the services of a court-appointed guardian. GSI assists other clients in the community who may need help managing their finances.
Facing a growing demand for their services and a need to increase charitable support, in late 2018 GSI selected M. Gale & Associates to assess its fundraising efforts and create a development plan that would provide a durable roadmap for diversifying streams of philanthropic revenue. GSI staff and board engaged in the comprehensive assessment through interviews, surveys and a focus group with stakeholders.
M. Gale & Associates developed a written case for support for GSI and provided a customized Development Assessment and Plan that encouraged a focus on three pillars:
- Relationship building
- Marketing and messaging
- Giving donors “mission experiences”
Lyn Scott, now in her fourth year as GSI’s executive director, says the plan defined GSI’s forward momentum. “Our changes have been incremental,” she says. “We are making very thoughtful choices and incremental changes that are guiding us forward.”
Storytelling that connects supporters to the mission
Relying on passionate and caring program staff to help bring the mission to life, GSI’s case for support offers compelling insight from program managers who are driven to help GSI clients.
Like many organizations that serve a vulnerable population, GSI has struggled with giving donors insight into the work they do. GSI clients cannot be photographed, named or quoted in organization materials. M. Gale urged GSI to find ways to allow donors to experience the GSI mission in a way that personifies a complex and complicated service.
Scott says GSI is continually learning what aspects of the GSI mission interest donors. “People lean forward when we talk about keeping people in their homes longer and helping them avoid financial exploitation,” she says.
Due to its mission and strong connections to Tarrant County, GSI naturally has a number of attorneys on the board. A passionate and knowledgeable group, many board members serve as an extension of professional ties in guardianship service. M. Gale identified an opportunity to broaden board recruitment to include other industries, diversifying areas of expertise. During the past several months, GSI has added 6 new board members with expertise in banking, finance, technology and business.
M. Gale encouraged GSI to prioritize individual giving and to add a development staff position focused on relationship building with prospective donors. Even with the challenges of Covid-19, GSI continues to pursue greater diversification in revenue with the M. Gale Development Assessment & Plan as a roadmap.
M. Gale & Associates is excited to be working with GSI again, working to further develop the individual giving program and pave the way for expanding the development staff’s capacity in 2021.
“We have an open road ahead of us,” Scott says. “We have overcome a lot of barriers. We have a great internal team, staff and board. M. Gale & Associates has been an anchor for me and for GSI.”