Fundraising

Posted on in Fundraising

We’ve all seen them: Meetings where board members report on what they’ve done, agree to take on tasks, offer to support one another (“I’ll help you with that Suzy”). Meetings that crackle with deliberation, discussion of tactics towards a common goal, decisions, and commitments to action.

And we’ve all seen their opposite: Meetings that get lost in a swirl of details, tangents, anecdotes, pet peeves. Where “everyone has their say” and the debate goes round and round, nothing really resolves, and everyone leaves it behind till the next meeting when the discussion gets picked up right at the beginning all over again.

What makes the difference? There are a number of factors, but the most meaningful is a strong chair. 

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Posted on in Fundraising

Nonprofit work is never done. We know that job descriptions read 120% if not 150% – and board members are volunteers with plenty of other pressing concerns on their plates.

Given the never-ending onslaught of tasks, initiatives, responses, emails…why should we spend time repeating an activity that was checked complete a few years back?

The answer lies in that very onslaught. It’s easy to lose sight of why we’re all here – why our cause matters so very much, given the daily cascading of issues in the news.

For those of us whose issues are tangentially connected to the headlines in today’s news – and for those caught right in the heart of the storm – it pays to reaffirm the case for our organizations and our cause.

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Posted on in Fundraising

It’s impossible, in most nonprofit jobs, to get everything on your plate completed.

Efficiency issues aside, most nonprofits are staffed under a scarcity model – not enough resources to hire all the people needed to do the job right, so each nonprofit worker wears three hats and takes on multiple assignments that, collectively, assume 36 hours in a day to get it all done.

That’s old news. And there’s plenty of literature around about self-care for nonprofit staff, the importance of work-life balance, etc.

But what about now, when events outside our office door are riveting, whipsawing, compelling and pulling us even further away from getting our “day job” done? 

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Hours of finding just the right verb.

Anecdotes, photos, graphics, charts.

The compellingly-presented need. The dramatic longitudinal impact, obtained through impeccable research.

All produced, of course, in color, branded, visually-appealing.

A well-done case statement is indeed a great thing. It walks your organization right in the door, often before you yourself can get there. It intrigues, it impresses, it grabs one by the throat and demands a hearing.

But while a well-done case statement certainly sells, it doesn’t create a market.

And therein lies the rub.

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Posted on in Fundraising

Fall event. Spring gala. Annual Appeal in between.

Once you wind down from one, you’re gearing up for the next. Continuous fundraising momentum, right?

But if your board – and staff – lurch from headliner to headliner, it can feel like you’re always asking.

Well – you are.

And no, that’s not the most effective fundraising strategy, unless your goal is to burn out donors (and askers).

Instead, try relationship-building: a two-way street of listening, sharing, and ongoing dialogue.

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