What To Do If A Board Member Challenges You In Public

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Has it ever happened to you? Has a board member openly challenged…

6 NO ASK Fundraising Strategies for Board Members

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NO ASK fundraising strategies? What can I possibly mean? If …

How Your Board Members Can Help Increase Donations by 39%

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Here's a killer strategy for increasing your gifts by up to 39%.

And what is the magic ingredient? It's your board members, who else?

Can you possibly employ ONE FUNDRAISING STRATEGY and have it return up to a 39% increase in gifts?

Yes, it may sound impossible - but it's true.

Here's your chance to put your board members to work where they won't have to ask - all they have to do is thank.

This is one of my NO ASK fundraising strategies for board members. It's a perfect place to put your board members who are nervous about soliciting to work.

I'll be talking about this and several other NO ASK fundraising strategies for board members in my next webinar on Thursday May 13 "NO ASK Fundraising Strategies for Board Members."

Be sure to join me when I'll discuss lots of ways board members can support fundraising without ASKING. And bring your board members - it's tailor-made for them! You can find out more and register here.

Here's one of my favorite ways for board members to directly impact the bottom line: without soliciting:


THANK YOU CALLS TO DONORS

Try this test, and track your results. You'll be amazed:

The next time you send out an appeal, employ your standard thank you processes - letters, personal notes, etc.

But select out a random group of donors for a special thank you treatment:

  • Organize your board members to make thank you phone calls to these donors within 24 hours of the gift being received. It's really important that they make the call within 24 hours of when your organization receives the gift.
  • Have your board members talk to a real person if at all possible.
  • After several tries, they can just leave a message that simply thanks the donor.
  • The phone calls are NOT about asking for another gift. They are for stewardship only.

If your board members are adventurous, they can ask the donor why they chose to make this gift. They can pull out the donor's story - and the donor will be even more pleased and honored.

THEN, a few months later, send another solicitation out to all your donors - both the ones who received the extra thank you phone call and those who just received your regular thank yous.

And when repeat gifts come in, compare the results of both groups.

You'll find, when all other things are equal, that the donors who received a prompt, personal thank you from a board member within 24 hours of the gift being received will give up to 37% more than the other group.


How Advice Visits Can Open Any Door in Town

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Advice Visits are one of my golden tools to help open doors to prospective donors - and to find out what's on a donor's mind.

Advice Visits are based on the old adage:

"If you want someone to give you advice, just ask for money.

If you want money, then ask for advice."

Asking prospective donors for their opinion and guidance always helps to create a closer relationship between the donor and your organization.

And we all know that good fundraising is all about INVOLVING the donor -- not just ASKING for money.

So Advice Visits are part of any good sustainable fundraising program.

Advice Visits practice one of my favorite fundraising rules:

"Treat donors like real people, not like pocketbooks. Ask them for MORE than just money."

The 4 Golden Words That Will Open Your Donor’s Heart to Your Cause

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I'm about to reveal my Golden Formula for opening a donor's heart to my cause.

I also use this to find out what a donor is thinking about my presentation.

I use these 4 words all the time - and I get terrific benefits and feedback! I can't tell you how valuable they have been to me.

It's a very simple, single question. And it is guaranteed to evoke a response from your donor that tells you where he stands.

But more importantly, it generates the donor's own thinking about your issue.

It encourages him to ponder your presentation, to digest your material, to think about it, to react to it. It encourages him to embrace what you have just said.

Here is my key to success.

I ask this Golden Question:

"What are your impressions? . . . .

And then I shut up and listen carefully.

This question encourages the donor to think more deeply about what you've presented. She is not going to get hot and bothered about your cause just by listening to YOU do all the talking.

Why Board Members Love Advice Visits

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Why do board members love Advice Visits?

Because they find them to be a relief.

If you send your board members out into the community connecting with important people and asking for advice, they'll usually be very happy.

It's because they don't have to do a long, detailed presentation. And they are not comfortable doing that. They don't feel that they know enough.

They ARE comfortable with the idea of seeking advice and input.

After all, they are the community representatives on the board.

It is totally appropriate for your board members to be asking other community leaders for their best thinking on how to achieve the organization’s goals.

They do not have to present a detailed case for support in order to be effective personal advocates for the cause.

Three Rules for Successful Advice Visits

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Advice Visits are my GOLDEN KEY to opening any donor or potential donor's heart to my cause.

I wrote about Advice Visits in my newsletter this week. (if you are not a subscriber, you can sign up here.)

I have used Advice Visits time and time again. They are based on the old adage:

"If you want money, ask for advice.

If you want advice, ask for money."

Rule One: Make Sure You Are Interesting, Not Boring
As you tell your person about your cause and seek his advice, you should be watching carefully for his reaction.

If your prospect seems to not be very interested in your cause, then you should not drag on.. If you are perceived as boring or droning on and on, you will never be welcomed back!

The kiss of death for any fundraiser is to be boring. You are the one listening, not talking!

Help Your Board Members Become “Door Openers”

What would you MOST love your board members to do? Many nonprofit…

How to Create a Hard-Hitting Hands-On Planning Session With Your Board

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Ah, death by strategic planning! Don't get me started on how AWFUL and what a TIME WASTER strategic planning can be. At least the way we do it in the noprofit sector. I am organizing a "hard-hitting, hands-on planning session" with an organization that has been wandering aimlessly for a few years. They wonder why they can't raise money? Here's the answer - their vision is not juicy enough to get excited about. Here's our agenda for our planning session: (I've changed the names to protect the innocent!)
  • Reconfirm Good Cause's vision and mission.
  • Reach consensus on what Good Cause wants to do in order to implement its vision and mission in the coming year and in the next 5 years. (broad framework here for the longer time period.)
  • Identify strategic directions and set some firm goals around each direction.
  • Answer the question: "how will we know if we have been successful?"
  • Determine the critical success factors that will make or break the new goals.
  • Agree on the board's role in creating success for Good Cause and what each person is committed to doing.
  • Set next steps so that the staff can flesh out a complete operational plan for the coming year.
I had to tell the staff - you can TRUST me that it will not be a WASTE of time. I told her that I will not facilitate a meeting that I wouldn't attend myself. : )

Fundraisers are on the Front Lines of the Battle

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The New York Times today ran an opinion article about a new study…

Treat Board Members as Real People With Real Concerns

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I think we approach our board members ALL WRONG. We nonprofit folks have this idea that our board members should be devoted to the cause 24/7. And when they place other priorities in front of our to-do list, we are disappointed in the least. I hear a lot of complaining about board members. "My board members won't raise money," the executive director sadly whispers to me. "They won't even open doors," another friend confided. I thought to myself, well do these board members think they are supposed to raise money or not? I could have bet a case of beer that the staff's notion of what board members were supposed to do was not at all the same as the board members' idea of what to do. My nonprofit friends think, "Of course board members are supposed to raise money!" But the board members are probably thinking secretly to themselves, "I'll do anything BUT ask for money." Is there a conflict here? And here's the rub. There is bound to be disappointment on one side or the other unless there is a frank conversation about what you need your board members to do. If you want your board members to help in fundraising - And if you do need them to "raise money," then you have to give them a format for this work. You have to tell them exactly how to do it and make it easy for them. They need a lot of encouragement and hand holding, and that's fine! They aren't the "hardened professionals" that we are. So DO be realistic about your expectations and treat your board members like you'd want to be treated. They are volunteers. Wonderful, well meaning community volunteers. But they are untrained. They are not fundraising professionals. Treat them like the real people they are.

Top Tip to Maintain your Nonprofit Board's Momentum and Motivation

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A question I am frequently asked is, "Once I get my board fired-up, then how on earth do I keep my board members motivated and enthusiastic? Whenever the board members gather together, we get excited and energized about our work. But my board members frequently get distracted with other priorities. What to do?" The first thing you must do is take responsibility for keeping your board energized. If you are the nonprofit CEO, do everything you can to keep them going. AND if you are the chair of the board, also, do everything YOU can to fan the flames of your board members' energy. The most important thing is to take responsibility and don't expect that someone else will assume this role. Do you know the saying, "If it's to be, it's up to me?" Well, here's the perfect place to implement that idea. If your board is gonna stay excited, motivated and energized, it won't happen without YOU taking the lead. You can't expect your busy board members to keep focused and energized on their own. If you leave it up to them, you just may be disappointed. This is "Volunteer Management 101" - and the number one job of managing volunteers is motivating them. Here is a real life best practice example from a board I am currently serving on. This is from the CEO of Lillian's List, a political action group on whose board I serve. Our CEO, Carol Teal, is just about the best nonprofit CEO I've ever had the pleasure of working with.

We're in the Dream Business

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Do you ever consider what we fundraising folks are really up to when we appeal to our donors? Is it hype? Is it promises that we will keep? Is it mission, vision and values? Is it changing the world? Last month at the Bridge Fundraising Conference in DC, I kept hearing a theme echoing through many of the presentations I attended. MLK“We are in the dream business.” It really means that we are selling a happy dream of the future. Of a better world. A better community. People being helped. Smiles. Comfort. Happiness. But in our appeals for help, we forget this all too often. Instead we focus on problems, what's wrong, what we will do to fix things. But the most successful approach - whether you are doing fundraising, sales, bringing together groups of people for a common purpose, teamwork - whenever leadership and inspriation are required - is to picture your dream for the future. Think Martin Luther King, one of the greatest inspirational leaders - and orators - of recent times. His "I have a dream speech" is a spectacular example of inspired dreaming. The dream is so powerful that it's like a great river sweeping everyone up in its path, surging inevitably downstream to a much happier future. When we paint a picture of our dream for happy students, healthy children, cared-for elderly, majestic symphonies, clean sparkling water - whatever we are raising money for - we also capture the power of that mighty river of energy sweeping everyone together. When I work with boards, we talk about dreaming. I tell them they should always be standing high on the hill sharing their vision of a happier world with everyone they know. When they are standing on that hill, solid in their dream, focused on the future, they are more powerful than they can imagine. When you, your board members and your volunteers take a firm stand on the mountain, that's when you have the energy and the power to change the world. That's when nothing can stop you.

The Number One Way to Get Your Board Members to Follow Through

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iStock_000006450448XSmallSo many nonprofit board members are enthusiastic and well-meaning but too often they back out of their commitments. Bet you have run into this problem! And I have been on the other side too, as a board member. In the heat of an exciting discussion, I suddenly found myself making personal commitments. Then later, in my office, I thought better of those ideas and was not so very enthusiastic about them. In nonprofit organizations, it's hard working with volunteers, who actually don't HAVE to do anything anyway. You simply can't MAKE volunteers work. That's why I always say that we are in the motivation business. You have to be able to motivate and charge up your board members and volunteers if you want them to be productive. It's a rare nonprofit volunteer who can keep herself fully pumped up with excitement and enthusaism all the time! Here's my secret weapon in motivating my volunteer committees. And it's an old standby of teamwork and leadership theory: PEER PRESSURE. Here's the most important thing to know about board members: they never, repeat, never want to look bad in front of their peers.