Let’s face it, alongside all the other drama of running your nonprofit organization is the relentless need to have funds coming in, all the time. You’ve done your planning: the annual fund drive, the special event, the online donate now efforts, some corporate help and even maybe some public funds, if you are lucky.
One of the most ongoing, controversial and opinion-laden topics is board support: what to expect, how to get it and what to do when it is not forthcoming. Theoretically board members have been clearly briefed on what they are expected to provide and the commitment they are taking on, but the operative word is theoretical. In real life, members may come on with the best of intentions, but the road to hell is paved with them.
It may be helpful to look at some of the common obstacles to board fundraising and see how those opportunities can be expanded:
We have clients, patients and family members on the board, but they don’t have money.
Your clients and members are your best advocates; they have chosen to align themselves with your organization. This means they have a sincere voice about the value and work of the organization that is more meaningful that a professional development staff. Because they have been helped by the organization, they can provide heartfelt and true stories to potential donors about the impact of the organization for them.
Ask them to write something on your website, be part of a fundraising solicitation, and share their reasons for being part of you. Maybe create short videos of them, short and direct and on the front of your site, so donors will easily see and hear their desire to support the organization’s work and purpose.
There are specific things we need, e.g. public relations or banking, and our board does not have the contacts or network to deliver them.
Wait, are we sure that is true? Each and every one of us has a number of contacts, some closer than others, but they are there. Sometimes we need to sit down and think about just who we DO know….. Everyone has co-workers, clients, vendors, neighbors, family, and Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In and what have you. As you ask members to systematically think through who they know, both of you would be surprised about how vast your organization’s potential reach can be. Just because a board member can’t pick up the phone to the rich folks and big companies in town, doesn’t mean you have no possibilities out there.
Think about people you know, from the gym, carpool, online clubs, I bet you know a lot. I was doing a kids’ program and set up a silent auction looking for those kinds of goods. After about an hour of a planning meeting, one board member sat up straight: I totally forgot, my neighbor is a VP at Mattel, I just never thought about her in that way”. Problem solved.
If you don’t want to wait for Part 2 – Call me – 310 828 6979.