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Archive for April, 2014

Reaching Out to Donors: Effective Communication

I like what Gail Perry has to say on Fired Up Fundraising: Five Tips for Donor Love: http://www.gailperry.com/2014/04/5-tips-making-donors-love/. The bottom line idea is to communicate using methods that get your donors’ attention. Could be online, could be snail mail, could be You Tube video, could be all the above. First, you need something to say that makes your donors want more where that came from. If they delete or toss your messages in the round file, that doesn’t help you. So when you can, ask your donors what they like to hear, and how they like it. And then meet them in their comfort zone. Capice?

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Board Development Masquerading as Board Orientation

Recently I’ve worked with a couple of clients seeking to “elevate the game” of their Board of Directors. In each case there’s a small contingent who see the value of developing Board skills in working more as a Strategic Board rather than as a Micromanaging or Absentee Board. How leaders deal with this kind of dilemma is quite a challenge. It comes under the old saw, “You can take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” So as the consultant-in-waiting, what can I do to help facilitate progress?

What I’ve started doing is recruiting the nonprofit CEO and Board Chair to help find a team of current Board members who will help organize an orientation. From my experience thus far, it works to engage experienced, seasoned members to help outline and then deliver an orientation session for new-to-newer Board members. And part of the preparation for this session is for experienced Board members to do a bit of research and prepare a piece of the presentation and then facilitate the discussion that will follow.

Many members of our nonprofit Boards feel as though they know all there is to know about governance and don’t want to waste their time. This attitude of “you can’t teach me anything new” can undermine a Board’s advancement. I believe nonprofit leaders and consultants interested in working with Boards who may be a bit stubborn about their need to learn, can engage these volunteers and seek their help in getting an important job done.

So each year when there’s orientation for new Board members, tweak the process to engage more seasoned members of the Board. Get them involved. This can help get the group on the same page and working better toward common mission purpose.

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Teaching in Seattle

I’m looking forward to coming to Northeastern University’s Seattle campus in late-May to teach a hybrid version of the Nonprofit Fundraising class. I’m excited to be putting my show on the road for the first time for the College of Professional Studies. I’m working with Seattle-basd nonprofits to bring practitioners in to serve on a discussion panel. Respond here if you’re interested. And I’m recruiting a nonprofit to work as our “client.” In exchange, client nonprofit will receive a Donor Acquisition Plan. This class runs online from May 19 to June 28 (six weeks). But I’ll be in beautiful downtown Seattle Saturday and Sunday May 31 and June 1 for some face-time fundraising fun!

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