Tips to Keep Your Fundraising Efforts Out of the ER
The executive director felt her top need was additional staff since she is "the only staff available to handle donor development and fundraising responsibilities." What caught my eye was there was no mention of her governing board. When I responded that it is the board's responsibility to insure adequate resources for staff to deliver the mission effectively, the executive responded that she is well aware of the role of the board in fund development. She stated that her biggest challenge is in convincing board members of this.
The role of board leadership in this particular situation is critical. The executive's response of the need to convince her board as to its role opens up a lot of other thoughts. We'll leave some of those for another time.
To recap, I believe that the situation described by the executive is solvable — but not without investing time and effort, and enduring some short-term pain. It remains to be seen what will actually happen.
Creating and maintaining a sustainable funding base almost always includes a healthy and growing fundraising outreach to individual donor-investors. These are people who are emotionally committed to your cause or organization. You work to engage these individuals in a myriad of ways but fundamentally always treat as partners in the fulfillment of your mission.
I want to thank the hardworking and well-motivated executive director who shared her situation. I hope that the challenges she is facing will resolve themselves in a productive, positive way. Perhaps her situation and my response to it will serve to spark action in other organizations.
In these columns we address real-life obstacles and challenges that nonprofits face in creating sustainable funding to deliver their missions and achieve their goals.
I want to hear from you concerning your particular situation and the difficulties you face in developing sustainable revenue streams. Email me, and I'll give you a quick response. I'll choose some of these thorny obstacles to share, along with my insights, in upcoming columns.
An internationally recognized philanthropy and fundraising thought leader, Larry C. Johnson trains the staff and volunteers of worthy causes to achieve real impact through the creation of reliable, growing revenue streams. He emphasizes principles before methods as the key to long-lasting success. He stresses the simple, the practical and the joyful.
Larry is the founder of The Eight Principles, the premier brand for educational products and services in relational fundraising and philanthropy. The Eight Principles provides digital education, live workshops and structured coaching to nonprofit organizations.
Author of the award-winning book, "The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising," AFP named Larry Outstanding Development Executive in 2010. The Wall Street Business Network ranks him in the Top 15 Fundraising Consultants in the USA. Larry is a graduate of Yale University. Larry speaks widely and serves on numerous nonprofit and corporate boards, including The Philanthropy Council of The Carter Center, the philanthropy of the 39th President of the U.S.