Act NOW to Cope with Coronavirus + Market Downturn

Boy are we in unsettled times! We face a potential pandemic and market downturn. As board members for nonprofit organizations, your responsibility is to make sure your organization is strong and able to provide its important services to your community. Your role is to ask good questions, act as a thought partner to your ED, support the decisions that are made, and help with fundraising. Your organization’s top priorities: assess risks, make a plan, and act now. I live in the Seattle area so I’m on the front line of the virus in the US. Our health officials have asked… Read more

How to Prepare for a Successful Donor Ask

In this post, I share a story from a fundraising professional about the importance of preparation to making a successful ask. He describes how he tries to identify the best person to make each ask and then thoroughly prepares for each meeting so the asker – whether it is a board member, the ED, or someone else – is confident in their role. This post is the latest in my series about fundraising for nonprofit organizations. Other posts include: Successful Fundraising Requires a Great Story Fundraising Strategies for Large Institutions Organizing for Fundraising Success Having Board Members Thank Donors Role… Read more

Successful Fundraising Requires a Great Story

In this post, I continue my series on fundraising and share a story from a very experienced nonprofit fundraiser. He says that while having a volunteer board member along on an ask is helpful, a strong staff person can be effective without a board member. Key to success for staff or board members is having clear priorities, telling a story that resonates with the community and with donors, and knowing how to build relationships. Other posts in the series include: Fundraising Strategies for Large Institutions Organizing for Fundraising Success Having Board Members Thank Donors Role of the Fund Development Committee… Read more

Creating Strategic Board Agendas

I have a couple complaints about board meetings. One is that they can be incredibly boring and unproductive. I wrote about this in my last post and will address the issue in this post with ideas on how to create and structure an effective board meeting agenda. I start with the assumption that the reason to get everyone in the room (or online) at the same time is to interact. If you spend your entire meeting on committee reports, you could just send them by email. I can read them at home or the office and use the time to… Read more

New Year’s Resolution: No More Boring Board Meetings!

I have served on a lot of boards which means I go to a lot of board meetings. Honestly, lots of board meetings are – well, I have to say it – boring. You sit and listen to presentations and committee reports, take an occasional vote, and do little else. Let’s start with the assumption that the reason to get together in one room or on one call is so people can talk to each other. To carry out fiduciary responsibility, board members need to be able to ask about finances, risks, and progress toward goals. To be thought partners,… Read more