The Case of the Eager Board Member
Bill's offer was politely declined. I almost laughed out loud when he relayed to me the reason he was given. "We don't have an IT department," said the new executive director. The phone app can be downloaded and navigated by a 6-year-old. Even curmudgeons like me can navigate the likes of Facebook on my iPhone.
What's more, the executive told Bill there wasn't any need as she was directing board members simply to recontact the individuals who gave last year and "demand"—that's the word she used—the donor re-up at the same level. That's because, "everyone knows we only need 100 percent for us to get our grant renewed," the executive flatly stated.
Peter Drucker said that culture trumps strategy every time.
A working strategy and the recent experience of being snatched from near death wasn't enough to change an organizational mind-set of being comfortable with failure.
Bill has left the board. He's taken his five-figure annual cash gift with him.
When their fundraising totals plummet—as they surely will—don't be surprised if the national headquarters doesn't place the chapter on probation again for financial insolvency.
What I told Bill, he already knew. Being successful demands the mind-set of success.
I have seen many a nonprofit steeped in what I call the culture of scarcity. Think poor. Act poor. Be poor. "After all, if we're on the financial edge it's not our fault." Or is it?
Being successful in fundraising is much, much more about how you think than what you do. This will be my theme at the NoNprofit Pro Leadership Conference in May. It's also what I proclaim at my mind-set-changing Triple Win Events.
Fundraising success—changing the world—is within the grasp of anyone who really wants it. I challenge anyone to dispute that.
Larry believes in the power of relationships and the power of philanthropy to create a better place and transform lives.
Larry is the founder of The Eight Principles. His mission is to give nonprofits and philanthropists alike the opportunity to achieve their shared visions. With more than 25 years of experience in charitable fundraising and philanthropy, Larry knows that financial sustainability and scalability is possible for any nonprofit organization or charitable cause and is dependent on neither size nor resources but instead with the commitment to create a shared vision.
Larry is the author of the award-wining book, "The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising." He is the Association of Fundraising Professionals' 2010 Outstanding Development Executive and has ranked in the Top 15 Fundraising Consultants in the United States by the Wall Street Business Network.
Larry is the creator of the revolutionary online fundraising training platform, The Oracle League.
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