“Let’s get a list of wealthy people and have staff call them for a donation.”–a-board member.
Obtaining a list and asking every wealthy person on it for a donation seems like a logical shortcut to resolve your revenue needs.
If only it were this easy.
Your board’s proposal is a cold-call approach to generate donors. The success rate of cold calls (actually making a sale) runs less than 5 percent based on 2,000 calls per month. (One study of experienced salespeople reported a .3 percent success rate.)
How might you respond to a board member who insists on this approach? How might you turn them towards a one-by-one, relationship-based approach? Follow Karen’s 3-step-process.
What you recommend will depend on your situation and the help you would most like from your board members now.
Anticipate that your board members and fundraising committee will suggest that you make cold calls and “gag ’em and drag ’em.” Affirm their willingness to find solutions to tackle your income challenge. Share the challenges with the common strategy. Provide an alternative that engages everyone in finding people interested and the means to support your work. Plan how you will invite and engage them. Help your board members to help you raise money.
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If you’d like to know more about better ways to work with your board, please don’t hesitate to set up a time to talk. I’d love to partner with you and your board to deliver more money into your budget.
Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.
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