Blog Categories
Past Posts

Archive for June, 2013

Board Essentials: Collaborating in the Community

Board members frequently wonder “What’s my job?” And when it’s not clear what the job of the board is, members will wander into tasks that aren’t the rightful work of the board.

So it’s important for the Board to have a conversation with the CEO of the nonprofit and get clarity on what the job is. There ought to be a job description for the CEO. And there also should be a job description for the Board. And one of the jobs is communicating with key groups in the community.

Who are those groups? Who are the groups in the nonprofit’s community, in its sphere that it wants to collaborate with to deliver its mission? There are groups in the community….it may be churches, government offices, schools, health care providers, arts organizations. There are all sorts of groups doing good work in the community. The nonprofit should identify those who can provide the best benefit. The best bang for the buck. And there should be some focused effort to work with these, and have good discussion with the board on how best to proceed to make that collaboration happen.

There can be a degree of spontaneity to this. But discussing who your partners/stakeholders are and how best to approach them, and to engage your board members in reaching out in their normal course of community involvement will prove very beneficial to your nonprofit organization.

Post to Twitter


Donor Stewardship in the Summertime

Each summer I write a piece about proper attention to donors. And the centerpiece of “proper” is “thank you.”

So my advice to you on this rainy New England day in mid-June is to think about proper donor acknowledgement this summer.

Start with a note. A thank you note out of the blue is always a nice touch. Unexpected, maybe on a picture postcard you have created that presents a nice image of how you are delivering your mission in your community. With a brief signed note of thanks to your donor. A personal touch, a bit out of the ordinary that will get this person’s attention.

Host an event. Depending on the mission of your nonprofit, holding a morning coffee, afternoon tea or early evening canapes with refreshing drinks reception would be well received. If you are an arts-related organization, this is very easily done and will be much appreciated. If you are an environmental or health or social service organization, finding space for this might be a bit of a challenge, but a board member might help you and co-host it at a nice spot. And having a speaker talk briefly for a few minutes on a topic of interest can add to the draw. And the event isn’t to make an appeal for another gift. It’s purely an opportunity to acknowledge donors and socialize.

House party. The latest trend is for board members to host mini parties at their homes and ask for contributions. This could be simply thank you events in a home setting, featuring light hors d’houvres and drinks of some sort and a chance for people close to the nonprofit to mix socially with donors and let them know they are appreciated.

Try this on for size. It’s an application of relationship fundraising…with a focus on the relationship.

Post to Twitter


Beyond the Strategic Plan: Revenue Generation that Works

At the May 30 2013 NH Council on Fundraising Council, I was joined by Tricia Casey, Director of Advancement at Boys & Girls Club of Nashua NH. We delivered a workshop “Raising Money with a Purpose.” Our focus was on development plans and case statements. And our premise was that these elements worked best when they are built out from a Strategic Plan. Why? Because the nonprofit that’s properly focused on a Mission with well-laid out Goals knows where it’s headed. And if staff and volunteers are clear on their direction, then approaching donors makes sense. I believe one reason why board members are reluctant to raise money for a nonprofit is because they’re not clear about the “why.” Building out a thoughtful development plan from a strong Strategic Plan will make all the difference.

And here are some of the key components:

A Development Committee Leads the Way. Having a volunteer development team on the board who can take the lead in the annual appeal (asking fellow board members for their gift, and asking major donors for their gifts) will be very useful to the fundraising process.

Diversified Revenue Stream. Beyond the annual appeal, there are appropriate events and other activities that bring in revenue for the nonprofit.

Assessment Before the Plan. Check out what similar nonprofits are doing to raise funds. Develop a profile and try to stage growth into a broader fundraising action plan over time that will make sense for your organization.

For more detailed information, please feel free to contact me for advice on building an effective Revenue Generation plan for your nonprofit organization.

Post to Twitter