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Facilitating Fundraising

Typically, less than half of a nonprofit’s board members want to be directly engaged in fundraising. However, the board has a critical role in fundraising.

Whether a board member should directly engage in fundraising depends on the skill and will of the individual board member and is the subject of last week’s article.

However, the board as a whole and through the activities of its committees has a significant role to play in the success of your fundraising.

When you select a vendor for your nonprofit or your family, two of your primary concerns are the vendor’s reliability and accountability. When the task is large or important your selectivity increases.

The same is true of donors. If all you want is a small donation, your nonprofit’s level of reliability and accountability can be low. However, if you want your donors to be generous and loyal, your nonprofit must exhibit a high level of reliability and accountability.

Think about the nonprofits in your community who receive generous support from the significant donors in the community and receive large grants from foundations. They have an admirable level of reliability and accountability.

Think about the nonprofits in your community who are struggling. What is their reputation for reliability and accountability? When they were strong and vibrant organizations, their reputations were strong. However, as their reliability and accountability declined so has their sustainability of their mission.

You have used some vendors because someone you trusted recommended the vendor. On occasion, a few of those vendors have proven to be less reliable or had lower accountability than you would have liked. Either the vendor slipped or your referral came from someone with different standards than yours. The point is that reliability and accountability are determined by those outside the organization.

How would your nonprofit’s clients, donors, referral sources, advocates, and community rate your nonprofit’s reliability and accountability?

What steps does your board need to take to meet the standards of those outside your organization?

When a vendor fails to meet your standards for reliability or accountability, are you willing to accept their excuses? Do you think the average member of your community is more or less accepting of your explanation than you have been of others?

Next Step:

Determine the external perception of your nonprofit’s reliability and accountability

Create a plan to improve the external perception

Use a change in donor generosity as a measure of the effectiveness of your improvement plan

Make the review of external perception an annual event for the board

Word-of-mouth is the way news of a change in your nonprofit’s reliability and accountability rating will spread. The giving trend of your donors and the rate at which new donors are added to your donor base are indicators of the direction of change and the rate of change. While the change will be slow, your donor statistics will provide you with constant and reliable feedback you can use to assess your success.

Demand the same reliability and accountability from your nonprofit as you would if you were one of its clients, a prospective donor, or an objective observer from your community.

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