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About NCOBPS, “one of the finest communities in the nation”

The National Conference of Black Political Scientists (NCOBPS) connects Black scholars; it builds a trusted, expert community; it offers mentorship and support. NCOBPS helps bridge the divide between mainstream institutions and historically Black colleges and universities; it cultivates brilliant scholarship. And for 50 years—since its founding—the work of NCOBPS has been made possible solely by the commitment of dedicated volunteers.

Building a sustainable future

For 50 years, volunteers have achieved meaningful successes with limited resources. However, in recent years, NCOBPS leaders have developed ambitious plans for a brighter future. They envisioned sustainability, to keep the organization’s mission alive for generations to come. And they desired continued evolution, to attract the gifted minds of the future.

Recognizing that these bold aspirations could not be achieved with current resources, NCOBPS partnered with Benefactor Group to lay the groundwork for a sustainable fundraising program.

A plan to elevate fundraising

From December 2019 to April 2020, Benefactor Group assessed NCOBPS’ potential to raise $500,000 to build a sustainable infrastructure and fund new ventures that meet the needs of next-generation Black political scientists. Our team conducted ten interviews and received 85 responses to an online survey; across both formats, NCOBPS members shared perceptions of the organization, reacted to its future plans, and commented on its potential to attract leadership and secure major gifts.

Overwhelmingly, our team found that members valued the organization and agreed with its vision for the future. Many volunteered to support NCOBPS—through their time, talent, testimony, and importantly, philanthropy—generating confidence in NCOBPS’ ability to meet its immediate fundraising goals. To elevate long-term fundraising, we suggested NCOBPS focus on enhancing its “culture of philanthropy,” a challenge common across professional associations. (Many find their members are not compelled to give beyond their dues. In fact, while members of associations tend to give generously to charities, fewer than 10% consistently give to the professional associations to which they belong.)

To assist NCOBPS in meeting its aspirations, Benefactor Group provided a comprehensive report of findings and recommendations, and a detailed timeline to guide the next several years of fundraising activity.

While organizational leaders originally sought to bypass the assessment phase, and launch fundraising efforts immediately, their Executive Council president was pleased with the study results. “Benefactor Group provided a multi-layered assessment of NCOBPS’ fundraising capacity. They spoke with a diverse cross-section of influential voices in NCOBPS—including younger and older members. I was particularly impressed with how Benefactor Group carefully walked us through their fundraising models and assessment process before moving forward,” commented Dr. Sekou Franklin.

An essential mission, highlighted by current events

Planning for NCOBPS’ fundraising future concluded just as protests around the country erupted in response to police brutality, and as movements rallied with renewed urgency in support of #BlackLivesMatter. In this unique time of action, NCOBPS’ sustainability becomes more important than ever—so the organization and its brilliant members can continue to exert political influence, improve policies, and pass landmark resolutions, now and for generations to come.

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