Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Need More Board Help Raising Funds From Individual Donors?

This month’s Added Value includes a board member primer on individual donations. Besides providing basic knowledge about this funding source, it includes a section on how board members can help. Here is an excerpt.

How can I help as a board member? “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” Do you remember this song? It reminds us of the need for individual donations from nonprofit leaders. Individual donations begin with the people closest to the organization. The board, volunteers, staff, and customers make gifts first. Why? This group knows and loves the organization and is closest to it. They believe the cause is wonderful and vital. Some organizations set a specific dollar amount for board donations. Others ask for a meaningful gift that each board member determines his or her self.

Besides first gifts, sharing your passions with your connections is critical. For grass-root groups, this can be as simple as sending an upcoming special events announcement to your email list with a personal note, and following it up with five personal invitations. For larger organizations, consider serving on committees that plan for and ask for gifts. Make calls to make appointments with your peers. Make calls to thank donors. In all cases, help the nonprofit to network with potential donors.

Click here for the article, Waiting for Super Donor, What Board Members Need to Know About Individual Donations. This article is the second in a series of board primers about nonprofit income sources. To read rest of the series, start your free subscription to Added Value today.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Guilty! Prove Your Board Supports Your Organization

A friend, a young pastor in his first congregation was exhausted. He was overworked. His board was not pulling their weight. Finally after months of frustration, he told the board how overworked he was and how he really needed their help. After three minutes of ominous silence, one member responded, “Pastor,” she said, “We’re glad to help. What would you like us to do?” He told them. He got the help.

Might more board help be available to you if you ask specifically for what you need? The March 30 Non-profit E-News of from the Community Foundation of Sarasota included an on-point tip about providing your board members with the support they need. This post shares two additional resources recently featured in Added Value (our free monthly newsletter) to help your board understand expectations and the support they can offer.

Resource #1. Guilty as Charged: Prove Your Board Supports Your Organization, lists specific items of board support you would use to if you wanted to convince a jury that your board supports your organization. Here are two of ten pieces of “evidence” to prove guilt:

Evidence #1. Gifts. Determine the amount of money your board gives over the course of a year. What is the total? What is the range of gifts? Has either increased in recent years?

Evidence #6. Stewardship. Besides leading in giving to the organization, guilty board members also encourage others to give. How many of your board members encourage existing donors to continue and enhance their relationship with your organization? For evidence include activities, like making thank you telephone calls, meeting with county commissioners who contract with your organization and visiting with donors to learn about their interests or to request major gifts.

Resource #2. The Board Support Chart takes the proofs of support discussed in the Guilty as Charged article and presents them in a graphic form. Provide each board member a copy of the chart, or one you adopt to fit the needs of your organization, in a file folder. Each meeting ask them to update it, so you can both measure their efforts to support your nonprofit.

To get the board help you need, ask for it. Be specific.