Is fundraising at the top of your to-do list for 2015? Are you ready to recommit to help ensure the vitality of your nonprofit or college? Will you sign your fundraising commitment form again? What?!? Your organization doesn’t use one? Now is the time to change that. Here are three suggestions for how you can make a difference in your organization’s fundraising.
If you are a fundraising or development professional: Review the commitment forms that board members completed last year. Set up a time to meet with each member to review and plan for 2015. Meeting in person is ideal, but a phone or video meeting could work well too. Ask each to rate their fundraising participation for the prior year. Ask what worked well, and what didn’t. Inquire about training that could help increase their involvement. Let each know you are available to partner and support their efforts. Ask each to recommit for 2015. If your board doesn’t use a fundraising commitment form, now is the time to introduce this. Most likely there will be resistance. That is a good thing: you want to grow into a board where members are proud to give and fundraise. Introducing a formal commitment form can start a catalytic conversation.
If you are the chair of the board development committee: Meet with members to assess your commitment as a committee, and to assess the board’s commitment to fundraising. What is working? What strategies or activities were most successful? Are there problem areas that impede fundraising? What needs to be addressed in the new year for the board to take on a larger role in fundraising? Is there a specific project or fundraising priority the board can take on? If the board is not yet a “fundraising board” what activity can be introduced in 2015 to move in that direction? Don’t be afraid to set a specific amount as a goal. A defined goal (with a timeframe) allows you to measure progress. Be sure to measure!
If you are the CEO of a nonprofit or the president of a college: Commit to your role as the chief fundraising officer. You may have a development director or even an advancement department, but at the end of the day you are the person responsible for the organization’s or institution’s bottom line. Review your calendar and make time for cultivation and solicitation activities with potential major donors and supporters. Schedule time to meet with your top fundraising/development person. Ask “what do you need to be successful,” listen to the response, and work together towards success. Set your own fundraising goal: determine how much you will personally raise in the coming year and secure the involvement of those who can help you reach that goal.
Your commitment will show up on the bottom line!
Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.