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Reaching the Board Comfort Zone in Fundraising

Whether it’s in my fundraising classes at Northeastern University, with my clients here in New England, or in conversation with fellow travelers who proselytize the value of boards of directors actively raising money, it’s an on-going struggle.
What’s the problem? Problems? We know our volunteers are committed to the mission. How can we translate that commitment to bringing home the bacon to put the mission to work?
Not too long ago (March, 2008) Guidestar published “Five Fundraising Mistakes We Make with Our Boards.” here’s the link: http://bit.ly/aWVpLJ. Click link to get more detail, but here are the points that still hold true 31 months later:
1. We make it about asking for the $$, not about building and keeping friends
2. We send board members on cold or cool calls. Hey! We’re not selling encyclopedias door-to-door. We want to hook our volunteer leaders up with warm prospects.
3. Too many calls at low dollar level.
4. Emergency fundraising, not long-term relationships. Urgency is good; crisis mode is bad.
5. Lack of training, structure, coaching and support.
We need to institute a thoughtful approach to make this work.
Hope you’ll also visit Gayle Gifford’s blog, Cause and Effect: http://www.ceffect.com. Read her October 4 submission: If Fundraising is a Profession, Why Are We So Angry with our Amateur Board of Directorsf?
Huh? That’s a pretty good question. And Gayle gets at #5 in that Guidestar piece I referred to above.
We can make progress with our boards when we invest in them.

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