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Secret Ingredients of a Successful Fundraiser – Board Members

Posted on Jun 27, 2013 in Fund Raising, home slider

Board members are the nerve center and life blood of all nonprofit organizations. While the staff do the heavy lifting of day to day work, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and giving shelter to the homeless, Board members set the course for the organization. While it should always be with input from all stakeholders, none the less, the Board holds ultimate fiduciary responsibility for the organization. How then can you engage and support these valuable contributors? Training, Training, Training and it must start before they are confirmed. One of the most effective strategies to use is to have a job description that is part of the interview process for all prospective board members. This document spells out the expectations, including number of Board meetings per year and time frame; committee meetings that generally meet in the alternating months; fundraising responsibilities; the necessity for making a significant financial gift; and making this organization one of their top three charities for the duration of their tenure on the board. You will eliminate the most frequently heard complaints from Board members if this information is explained before you ask for the commitment. People can now make an informed decision. Once confirmed the training must continue. It is helpful to take 15 minutes at each Board meeting and educate members on the variety of ways that they can use their skills, talents, and influence to increase the visibility and financial security of the nonprofit. Not everyone is comfortable asking for a donation but board members should be assured that there are many ways that they can assist the fundraising process. An important role for board members is to introduce their friends to the organizations where they serve as a Board member. Your passion for the organization and the work being done by the nonprofit is one of the most important gifts you can share with anyone. Accompany the Executive Director or Development Director on an “ask.” You are there to lend support or influence but you need not do the asking. Use your influence in the business community to suggest possible event co-chairs, friends or colleagues that you know are philanthropic, and would be interested in sharing in the good working being done, by supporting this worthy cause. Denise Sheppard is a development consultant who loves helping organizations raise money for worthy causes. She provides mentoring for new development staff; grant writing; board development, and thrives on being part of a team that is organizing a fund raising event.  She can be reached at denisesheppard@comcast.net or...

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Life is NOT About…

Posted on Jun 27, 2013 in home slider, Inspiration, Leadership

“Life is not about how fast you run or how high you climb but how well you bounce.” These inspiring words from the Buddha need to be a morning mantra of all consultants today, especially those working with the nonprofit sector. We are bombarded on all sides with messages of doom and gloom. Word is that the economy, while recovering, still could take ten years to reach previous heights. The media is constantly sending messages out that donor dollars are fewer this year as the economic crisis has caused people to hold a little tighter to their discretionary cash. Government itself is adding to the “black cloud” by threatening to limit tax deductions on donations to charities. What is a consultant to do? This my friend is our time! We ARE the voice that steadies the Executive Director and Board of Trustees. With words of confidence, and charts and graphs of course, we assure them that their donor development plans of engaging donors in the mission and activities of the organization has been right all along. These loyal supporters, that some call “donors,” are friends of the organizations and will stick by them, increasing donations to make up the shortfall where others have fallen. These long term relationships have been investments from both parties, and it is the consultant, with eyes and ears beyond the organization who provides the wisdom and encouragement to the Executive Director to step up to the challenge of asking for the needed support that will allow the organization to bounce and to remain strong in this...

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Secret Ingredients of a Successful Fund Raiser – Sponsorships

Posted on Jun 27, 2013 in Fund Raising, home slider, Nonprofit

In the early stages of planning a successful fundraiser, it is important to consider sponsorships. Your ticket price needs to cover the cost of putting on your event. Your sponsorships, corporate and individual, will be the area that puts you over into to the “successful” category! What questions should you consider before sending that first letter to a business or individual? What is in it for the Sponsor? This is the most important question. At this point in your preparation for your event you are dealing with a successful business or individual. Can you offer them advertising the night of the event on the program? How about adding their logo to your website? A “tip of the hat” from the podium during your opening remarks also can be reserved for your highest sponsors. Of course, tickets to your event should also be offered to your sponsors, graduated according to the amount of the donation. Why would an individual or company be interested in sponsoring your nonprofit? Are they a local business that has ties to your nonprofit? Does someone from the company sit on your Board of Trustees? Are they one of your vendors? All of these companies should be asked. Will your Board members consider donating at a sponsorship level? What or where is their connection to your organization? Another interesting intersection for individual and corporate sponsors is their desire to have their name before a particular Cause, Honoree, or Co-Chair. This is one of the primary reasons that it is critical to choose your Honorees and Co-Chairs with great thought. Where will you find these sponsors? This is the most asked question. A rule of thumb for asking is “top down, inside out.” What this means is that you should always start with your Board of Trustees. They are the people charged with fiscal responsibility of your organization. Their support and that of their friends, colleagues, and business associates will be most important. Staff and volunteers are also asked to contribute any names of contacts that they may have as well. Next vendors are approached and asked to show their support. Finally, companies within a ten to twenty mile radius can also be approached, particularly large name companies. Craft a well written letter letting the appropriate individual know that you will be following up within ten days in person or by phone…and then GO DO IT! Denise Sheppard is a development consultant who loves helping to raise money for worthy causes. She provides mentoring for new development staff; writes grants; and thrives on being part of a team who is organizing a fund raising event. She can be reached at denisesheppard@comcast.net or...

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