Put Them On The List

on in Fundraising

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? 

 There’s so much noise in the e-sphere. Is there a nonprofit out there without some sort of regular e-newsletter?

Most of us click delete-delete-delete unless it’s a group we’re deeply attached to. There’s just not enough hours in the day to keep up with every nonprofit that wants to keep us in the loop.

Simply sending a newsletter out of the blue is not an effective means to get someone to start paying attention.

As in most donor relations work, it’s the personal touch that makes the difference.

A model Board Member response might have been:

“I see that Janet’s on the board of the Hollis Hills Community Gardens. I’m going to their Dinner next month. I’ll try to get some face time with her and mention our kid’s gardening and nutrition program. If she seems at all interested, I’ll forward her some material about the program and we can follow up with the newsletter.”

And then a model Development Director response might have been:

“That’s wonderful! Tell me the date of that dinner so I can send you a reminder beforehand and some material about the program so you can have the info right at your fingertips.”

This partnership between staff and board is based on the fact that board members have the access – and we need them to use it. But staff have the day-to-day responsibility to coordinate, nudge, and support board members in using their access.

That way spreads active responsibility for making the connection to board and staff alike – rather than simply a passive “put them on the list.”


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