Wednesday, May 29, 2013

When your Board Member says, "Sorry, I don't have any friends to ask for money."

"Three out of four executive directors (75%)--and 82% of executives among organizations with operating budgets under $1 million--call board member engagement insufficient" according to Underdeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Organizations (2013). 
Penelope Burk's new research on Donor Centered Leadership also points to nonprofit staff and board leadership's self-reported dissatisfaction about board engagement in fundraising. Simone Joyaux writes eloquently and extensively about how to set governance expectations and what to do if board members don't meet those expectations. And, she reminds us not to ask board members to trespass on their personal and professional relationships (so important!). 

There's a lot of emotion--guilt, unclear expectations, resentment, and fear--all wrapped up in conversations with board members about introducing interested members of their spheres of influence to the nonprofit organizations that the serve and represent. In my experience working with boards on fund development plans, these emotions manifest with a comment like, "I'm sorry. I don't have any friends to ask for money." (Let me be clear: this is not the assignment they've been given.)

My sense is that a scarcity mindset is at the root of these emotions. It goes something like this, "If I talk to people about my nonprofit, (1) they will think I'm asking them for money, (2) that would be taking money away from someone, (3) I'm then going to owe that person money for whatever cause they represent, (4) and I don't want someone to ask me for money, because (5) I don't want someone to take money away from me." 

There are a number thoughts to unpack in the scarcity mindset I outlined above. We won't get to them all in this post. I want to start directly with the notion of charitable giving as "taking money away from someone." A way to enter into conversation with a board member who feels this way is to show him or her how charitable giving can offer a financial benefit to a donor and to a charitable organization: a win-win. These are things that are rarely discussed with board members, and doing so may make a slight shift in their scarcity mindset. It may inspire your board members to be more comfortable being an ambassador for your organization.

Please join me, Tim Rice and Aaron Adcock from Lakeside Wealth Management on Thursday June 6 from 8:30am-10:00am at United Way of Porter County for an in depth discussion about 4 Simple Charitable Giving Strategies that Board Members Can't Wait to Share.

You will learn:

  1. How giving stock can reduce tax exposure for donors
  2. Why you should create a great "sponsorship" menu--and how to do it
  3. Who can benefit from Indiana NAP tax credits--and how to explain them in plain English
  4. How IRAs can turn into great gifts
At the end of the session, you will be able to:
  1. Help donors understand how charitable gifts can have important tax benefits
  2. Educate your board members about 4 tax saving strategies to share with friends
  3. Communicate the value that you can bring to and advisor-client relationship

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