Remember Your Audience
It was a new vice president for development, and expectations were high. I was serving on a campaign steering committee and enjoying a day full of high energy. The new staff leader entered the room quietly, sat in a row of chairs against the wall and proceeded to either text or read emails until he was asked to speak. His remarks focused on the need to build infrastructure and reset his staff. These may have been valid needs. In fact, had we been counsel, we may have recommended this.
However, my role was not as a fundraising professional, my role was as a donor and a volunteer. And I was very disappointed. There was no talk of vision. He did not share stories of the impact. He did not make me feel that I was a part of a grand mission.
I had forgotten that experience until a few weeks ago when I saw an article on that organization. The institution had hit new fundraising goals, and this leader was quoted. Sure enough, in the article, he was sharing the need to build capacity.
Remember your audience. The time and place to talk about capacity and solving internal issues is in staff meetings and possibly board meetings—certainly not in a campaign meeting and absolutely not in the media.
Motivate your volunteers. Inspire them and your donors. Make potential friends want to be a part of your bold vision.
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.