Fundraising Planning: Is Your Board Costing You Big Bucks?
You have an excellent nonprofit board of directors. They’re engaged, committed, and proactive.
Yet, when it comes to fundraising planning, you control yourself not to roll your eyes at some of their recommendations. You’re frustrated because you could reach new people, form solid relationships, and be busy building your nonprofit and revenue streams with the board’s support in raising revenue.
Besides, since the board is your boss, it’s awkward to redirect their efforts–since they get so enthusiastic about each new fundraising opportunity they discover.
To be effective at fundraising planning (and supporting fundraising efforts), nonprofit boards need to get familiar with three musts. This video outlines them. How will you introduce these musts to your board to get remarkable fundraising results at your nonprofit?
00:22 Must #1 Complex, Nuanced, and Researched
01:13 Must #2 Open and Honest
02:07 Special Hint
02:28 Must #3 Test the Fundraising Plan
03:16 Your Brilliant Board
You’re board-they’re brilliant. They bring a lot to the table. You helped pick them, and you are very, very grateful for their service. But when it comes to fundraising planning well, things are not so sweet.
What are the three must that boards must do to be effective and remarkable at fundraising planning?
The initial must is that boards must be open to recognizing that fundraising is complex, nuanced, and researched. This is not your parents’ nonprofit. Gimmicks don’t work. We know what works.
So here’s an example. A board sees another event in the community and says, “Oh, let’s do what they did. They had a gala, and in three hours, they made a quarter million dollars. Of course, we can do that.
What they don’t see is a back story and a long history of building relationships.
Why is this a must? Because without it, your board is going to waste precious resources, their time, their contacts, and what they could be doing for your nonprofit. And what we can help them do as nonprofit leaders is to show them this is what works. Here’s how we do it. Let’s do it together.
The second must also involves the staff’s relationship with the board. And that is, the board having an open, honest conversation with staff about what the best activities for the board to do to help fundraising would be in the forthcoming plan.
Now, boards often shy away from this because they assume it’s going to be about asking my friends for money, and that is just one of the multitude of things that boards can do to help nonprofits raise funds. In my book, Let’s Raise Nonprofit Millions Together, there’s a whole chapter on things that anyone can do, and there’s another chapter devoted to what boards can do specifically.
Why is the board’s willingness to have an honest conversation about fundraising planning and its role a must? Because boards are busy, and there’s a difference between being just busy and doing things for the nonprofit and doing things that are effective.
Many plans fail because there’s no accountability written in them. One of the most ideal and perfect things for the board to do in this must is to say not only do we discuss what we will do, but we will also be accountable for making sure the board does that. This takes an awkward CEO situation out of the picture.
The third must the board must give any resulting plan the BS test. Why is this necessary? Because nonprofits have a tendency to fudge numbers because no one really knows what’s going to happen in a budget, and it’s really easy to be optimistic. But the board is in an excellent position, especially with the understanding from the musts. The first two musts is what the fundraising plan consists of. They have that inside-outside point of view that allows them to give some perspective on what’s happening and what the plan is laying out.
Why is this important? Because fundraising budgets impact all plans and what you will be able to do in the future. It also is important because it impacts your credibility, and no one wants fuzzy credibility when it comes to fundraising.
Your board. They’re brilliant. They bring so much to the table. You so appreciate them, and with these three musts, your board will be working with you to create effective fundraising plans. I’m Karen Eber Davis. It’s super easy to set up a time to chat with me or to email with me. I’ll put the links above.
Karen Eber Davis Consulting guides executive directors and CEOs to generate the resources, boards, and support they need to make remarkable progress on their missions. As the award-winning thought-leader, advisor, and founding principal of Karen Eber Davis Consulting, Karen helps nonprofit leaders get answers, generate revenue, and grow their mission. Davis is known for her innovation and practicality based on her work with or visits to over 1,000 nonprofit organizations and her experience leading board and team events. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.