7 Deadly Sins of Fundraising
On a development committee call the week of the board meeting (chaired, incidentally, by the board chair — violating another best practice), the president opened discussion on how they should follow up with the board in the two days before the board meeting. This was, again, in lieu of following a very specific plan for follow-up that had been outlined. So for 20 minutes the committee discussed how to follow up — by email, phone calls — as the chair/committee chair then admitted to the entire committee that he was among those who had not made their commitments. Credibility gone.
After the board meeting, it became very clear that this is one of those clients whom you just can't work with and maintain high standards. In the campaign planning and feasibility study, we even added two days of interviews pro bono to compensate for the president not making follow-up calls to secure participation in a timely manner. We believed in the organization's mission that much.
This now former client has such potential. A great mission and niche. We crafted a unique strategy following the feasibility study where — no surprise — it became apparent that board giving was going to be far less than hoped for and that there was not a sufficient major-gifts pipeline to achieve the intended goals.
Our unique approach was built on using best practices to maximize board giving and create momentum. It was to press the board to stretch. One thing is for sure in fundraising: Violate best practices, and you will fall short of your potential. Violate a handful of best practices, and you will fall far short.
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.