Boards: The Secret Superheroes of Fundraising
A small social can take several formats. It can be hosting a coffee get-together, tea, dinner, a porch party, cookout or cocktails. It can be breakfast meetings or luncheons. It can include three people or 100.
Follow these rules for a successful small event:
- A board member or volunteer invites people and hosts it.
- There is no charge.
- It is a cultivation event designed to fire up people about your cause.
- A plan is in place for following up after the event; if not, don't do the event at all.
Small socials always have a short presentation in the midst of the socializing. The board volunteer host should welcome everyone, and the CEO should give a short, high-impact message with a clear call to action at the end.
3. Become a tour guide. A carefully scripted tour of your facility can be a powerful way to demonstrate your organization's good work and illustrate unmet needs in the community. It lets your work speak for itself, and board members can host tours to bring prospective friends closer to your organization.
Your guests will hear staff members or even clients/students/stakeholders express in their own words their personal, firsthand experiences with your organization's mission — and the good it does in the community.
Like a small social, a well-planned tour also has the board volunteer's welcome, the CEO's visionary message and a solid follow-up plan.
4. Open the door with advice visits. Even though there is a gold mine of potential friends and donors within your board members' social networks, many probably aren't sure how to open the door to their contacts without seeming pushy.
But they can ask their friends for advice, guidance and counsel about their favorite projects. And they can do it in person. "If you want money, ask for advice," the saying goes. "If you want advice, then ask for money."