Little Dogs ... Big Tricks
III. An army of armed volunteers
Make sure your board is on board with fundraising. First and foremost, make sure you have a give/get requirement. The board of directors should be directly responsible for raising at least 20 percent of the organization's revenue. And if board members don't have the skills, make sure you get them the skills they need. Consider asking a friend or colleague at another organization to do a training at your next board meeting. Sometimes board members listen better to a successful third party.
Once they have the skills, keep them engaged. Get them gung-ho about what you're doing, and get them to talk about it. Implement some sort of regular communication that offers them talking points or key activities for the week.
Also set goals (above and beyond the give/get commitment). Challenge them to bring in one new $1,000 donor each in the month of February. If they're anything like my board, they love competition.
Consider adding additional boards or councils with specific fundraising objectives. For example, create an executive directors cabinet whose goal is to raise an appropriate amount for your organization. Then call the cabinet in twice a year to help advise the chief executive. It gives individuals a unique opportunity to be engaged in the organization at a high level, and it also creates a great focus group of people who are truly committed to your success.
IV. Pro bono is pro free
Take a look at your budget one day with a fresh pair of eyes. Is there anything you need that you could possibly get for free? You might be surprised. Put together a plan for soliciting pro bono items and services, and make it a part of your greater fundraising strategy. Larger organizations that sometimes take resources for granted lose their creativity. But we smaller guys get to think outside the box. In the past year, I was able to snag great food for small events, design services for e-mail invitations and printing from one of our corporate partners. Our organization was even the beneficiary of free strategic planning consulting services and major technical improvements.