Fundraising

Posted on in Fundraising

The gavel comes down – on every auction-organizer’s nightmare.

An exclusive back-stage tour of Hamilton is going for $500 – and the donor is going to be mad.

Expecting it would raise at least $5,000, the donor is sitting in the back of the room wondering why this jewel, which is clearly worth so much more, is going for so low a price.

The answer is a mismatch between the item and the people in the room. 

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Board meeting scenario: List of known donors to other groups in the field is passed around.

Board Member A says, “Hey, I know Janet Big Giver.”

Development Director, eyes lighting up, asks: “Can you introduce us?

Board member A’s response? “Send them the newsletter. It can’t hurt!

But does an unsolicited newsletter really help? 

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Board member fundraising commitment sheets. Cultivation opportunities. 1-1 ask role plays.

There are many good strategies to support board members taking their first, tentative steps in fundraising. Proven tactics that work, time and time again.

So why isn’t every board member at the table? Why are board members still resistant, when presented with all the “steps to success”?

Because they’re afraid.

And we have to address that fear before any of the myriad tools and best practices of the field will be useful.

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People are so busy now-a-days! Traveling for their jobs, stuck behind their desks, running out from work to pick up kids from their piano lessons – it’s hard to get a quorum for the classic 2-hour board meeting.

People arrive late, leave early, bail out at the last minute, or their voices float in and out of a disembodied phone speaker so infrequently you barely know they’re there.

Maybe we need to re-think.

Maybe face time should be viewed as a precious commodity, rather than a right – and parceled out when absolutely needed, as opposed to being the default option. 

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The most critical question in planning a fundraising event?

NOT – what’s the best location…who should we honor…when’s the best date…or even what’s the right format.

All questions that board members – and staff too – love to focus on when starting to think about a special event.

It’s…who will do the asking for us. 

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