Level 9 is all about stability and ensuring the long-term success of your team in the area of Development. For the few teams that are able to reach Level 9, this means growing your caseload of potential major partners beyond the list you originally identified at Level 6. These new contacts will come from many of the avenues you’ve created leading up to this point. Perhaps they attended your Vision Dinner, spoke at an Executive Forum, were invited to attend a ministry event, or were referred to you through another major partner.
Another important step to make once the time is right is to ask 3-5 partners to consider joining your Development Council. This is a group of dedicated partners who commit to a long-term investment of their Labor, Influence, Finances, and Expertise. Rather than advising on the day-to-day operations of the ministry, a Development Council is committed to making sure that your team has the funding it needs. They might do this through personal giving, planning your events, referring others to give, or helping you do ministry.
In addition to passing along some of this responsibility to the Development Council, leadership will also begin to train younger staff to ensure that Development will continue to thrive in the event of a leadership shift.
5 LANES OF DEVELOPMENT
Most committed partners form a Development Council to share the load of developing partners for the ministry.
At least 1 large, in-person gathering of partners and smaller strategic gatherings.
Inviting partners to regional, national, or international AIC events.
Reporting of gifts.
Lifting partners to see new giving opportunities beyond your team.
In addition to all past strategies, personalized reports are given for every major gift given to your ministry.
Visibility online and through events.
Partners share positive experiences after engagement.
This level doesn't look the same for every team. The snapshot of the 5 Lanes of Development (above) might perfectly reflect your team's current Development operations, but there's probably at least one area that doesn't fit. In those areas, your team might seem to be further along than this Level or perhaps still catching up. That's okay!
That said some things are true of most teams at this stage. Here's a brief list of things that are probably true of your team if you're at this level:
Growing a caseload of potential major partners beyond who you identified at Level 6
Creating a Development Council to advise and help with future Development efforts
Training other staff members to continue Development strategies when leadership shifts
Asking partners to join a Development Council for your team
Meeting with Development Council
Starting (or re-starting) the MPC with new partners
Forming a Development Council means entrusting the success of your ministry into the hands of new people.
It may take a long time - even years - to get to Level 9 from Level 8 depending on the connections God has provided you and your team.
Leadership might have changed since you started at Level 1, meaning these partner relationships must be transferred to and re-established with new leaders.
POTENTIAL NEXT STEPS
The next step from here is to consider maintaining an official major partner caseload with your organization. Contact your current leadership and your organization’s Development leadership to discuss the possibility.