For years I’ve been hearing from executive directors and CEOs who say, “My board does a horrible job raising money” or “My board won’t raise money.” I’ve even heard some words that I won’t repeat here.
What’s wrong with these boards? Nothing is wrong except that we put expectations on them that they can’t meet. We expect them to be everything…major donor (with their give), development director (with their get), and marketing coordinator (with their outreach). There are several problems with that model that we can discuss at another time. In the meantime, if you’re one of those directors who can’t get your board to fundraise, let me tell you how to do it without them!
It starts with time management
I know what you’re going to say. I don’t have any time, or I have a hard enough time managing my time. Why should I care about this? If you keep it simple you can find the time. Carve out 3-5 hours of your schedule and block it out labeling it “Fundraising Planning.” Ideally, you should do these 2 – 3 months before your new fiscal year starts so you can plan your million-dollar new year. You’ll also want to include your development director or executive director and do it as a team. This is when you’ll do your best, uninterrupted thinking around fundraising.
Start with the traditional gift chart and map your million dollar goal
You may have seen this before. The chart that lists all of the donations, at each level, that you need to get to your fundraising goal. These charts are commonly used in capital campaigns and endowment campaigns but can be used for everyday fundraising too.
Pull your list of cash donors from the last 12 months
If you can’t easily do that, then I highly recommend you get some donor software (try DonorPerfect.com or Bloomerang.co) Now that you have your list sorted by largest donor to smallest, segment the list and identify where each donor goes within the gift range chart. How close to $1 million are you? Where are the gaps? What will you do to fill the gaps?
Most likely, you’re going to use grants, individual donations, virtual special events, and a multitude of other types of fundraising to get to your million-dollar goal. IF you can tap board members to get some of this money, that’s great but remember the whole point? You can raise $1 million without them.
I know this because, after years of working with midsized organizations, I’ve raised millions without board members. I’ve served on boards and been engaged in the give/get. I understand it. However, many nonprofit board members simply don’t. They don’t have the time or skill set to engage this way. That’s okay.
Let’s stop expecting them to raise a bunch of money and do it ourselves. We’ll experience less frustration and more satisfaction.
If you need help building your million-dollar (or more) fundraising program, let’s chat. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are some quick, simple solutions that will get you closer to the $1 million+ mark in 2021.