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Posted on in Fundraising

How beautiful are my materials…!

I’ve seen a couple of boards lately that are paralyzed by the materials paradox – they can’t get started going out and asking for money because their materials aren’t ready, and they’re running out of money and volunteer enthusiasm because they’re not going out and asking for money.

It happens – you get to a stage in fundraising planning where you’re bursting to get the rubber hitting the road.

And then someone says: “We’ve got to have the right materials to leave with our prospects – we don’t have the right message, we don’t have the right information, we don’t have the right framing.

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Posted on in Fundraising

The back page of the NY Times Week in Review this past Sunday had an Op Ed entitled “Why Fundraising Is Fun.”

Written by Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute, the article is currently #2 on the Times’ most frequently emailed list (behind “Parallel Parking in the Arctic Circle” – go figure).

My hunch? That this traffic is generated by thousands of board fundraising committee chairs emailing it out to their boards.

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Posted on in Fundraising

Board members who show up.

God bless ‘em.

The stalwarts who take their responsibility for the mission quite seriously, no matter the mishegas (translation: craziness) around them. No matter the struggle to make quorum, the (consistently) empty seats around the table.

But sooner or later, if an organization doesn’t take steps to clean house, they’re gonna to start figuring: “Why am I the chump that keeps showing up, when everyone else is blowing this off and still gets to keep the title of board member?”

They’ve got a point.

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Posted on in Fundraising

What Can I Do?

That’s what anyone who joins a board wants to know. In the first flush of enthusiasm, new board members are ready to roll up their sleeves and make good on why they were recruited.

Are you prepared?

This is trickier than it sounds, because while we do want board members getting down to brass tacks and delivering, we don’t want them micromanaging and taking on the work of staff (unless it’s a small organization where a working board is integral to everyday program operations).

Advising, lending expertise, providing oversight…how do we activate new board members while respecting that invisible line between hands-on and hands-in?

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Posted on in Fundraising

In the corporate world, staff development is a given (or at least ought to be, according to standard management practices). And part of bringing someone up through the ranks is giving them increasing positions of authority (with support), and seeing how they do.

So, too, in nonprofits – and on nonprofit boards.

How often does a board chair want to move on, but doesn’t because “there’s no one to step up?”

That’s not happenstance. Real, yes. But accidental, only sort of.

It’s determined by neglect – of the board leadership ladder.

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