Talking with clients and potential clients, I'd say that these are without question some of the most common comments that come up in our conversations:
- No one on our board fund raises. We don't have anyone who wants to.
- Our board members don't seem sure what to focus on. I wish they'd do more.
- Our board meets a few times a year. That's about the extent of their involvement.
- We want everyone on our board to give, but they don't always. It doesn't seem like we should have to have the same conversation every year.
Comment below with your most common board-related frustrations, and I'll pick a couple to focus on in subsequent posts!
For those who took my recent major gift solicitation training at the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, here are the downloadable slides. Thanks again for being a part of it!
I'll be giving a training on making the major gift ask this month on April 19th at Albuquerque's Center for Nonprofit Excellence! Would love to see you there.
Details and registration info are available here: Click me!
I saw this article in the Harvard Business Review today and had to share it. Its findings:
People tend to overestimate the power of their persuasiveness via text-based communication, and underestimate the power of their persuasiveness via face-to-face communication.
In person requests are a whopping 34 times more powerful, in fact. Mathematically, that means, "you need to ask six people in person to equal the power of a 200-recipient email blast."
Here are the documents from the Making the Major Gift Ask training session. Thanks again for participating. Feel free to reach out with questions.
I'll be presenting a training session on Making the Major Gift Ask for AFP's New Mexico chapter next month. April 13th! Solicitation coaching! Networking! Lunch + cake! Details here: AFP Link.
Chance the Rapper wrote a huge check to the Chicago Public Schools foundation today. At just 24 years old, the Grammy winning musician has been in the national spotlight all of about 30 minutes. Most music stars wait decades to make such a major philanthropic move - if ever. But he and Chicago go way back - and to understand why this gift is so cool, you have to know about Chance, his dad, and their remarkable Chicago roots.
Chance's father is Ken Williams-Bennett, a native Southsider and former aide to Chicago's legendary African-American mayor Harold Washington. He later worked for Illinois state Senator Barack Obama before the presidential run, and now serves as deputy chief of staff to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. That's a fierce legacy of civic love and service by any measure, and you can bet Chance's dad had some ideas about the kind of serious public work he wished to see his son do. Chance grew up with the Obamas in his life, and as his star rose, he helped President Obama with the My Brother's Keeper Initiative.
While Chance felt called to music early, there are two now-famous things most Chicagoans know about his career: 1) he dropped out of college to pursue hip hop and 2) his dad did what a lot of fathers would do in that situation - he completely flipped out. The pair weren't on speaking terms for a long time following the move.
The fates conspire for all of us. Chance's soaring career is the result of an unknowable alchemy - a mix of talent, grit, and luck. But that $1 million gift to one of the largest and poorest public student bodies in the U.S.? I'm going to credit the enduring influence of an awesome dad for that one.
I'm so proud to be supporting FUSION Theatre Company as it helps to lead the Arts and Culture district work happening in Downtown Albuquerque right now. This is how you use the arts to make change happen in a city -- change that builds the economy, leverages the unique cultural assets of a region, and raises the quality of life for everyone in the community. Forward!
An article in Albuquerque Business First today touts the use of LinkedIn as a free, easy relationship mapping tool to prospect for major gifts. While it’s not the worst fundraising advice I’ve ever heard (in a category of journalism that can often range from the tone deaf to the truly misleading), it is flawed. Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t over-rely on LinkedIn for this task, especially for gifts that trustees will solicit:
So my advice – whether you have a consultant or are doing this solo – is that the quickest, most effective method is still a largely human-centered one:
Here's my outline for a thorough yet succinct major gifts donor bio. It's universally useful and not too fussy. I use it constantly.
Aliases (include nicknames and maiden names)
Record number in your database
Relationship with Your Organization
• How they became connected to your organization
• Years of involvement, key groups and leadership roles
• Current donor status
• Key relationships within your organization, especially board
• Two sentence max summary on last key contact with organization
Professional and Civic Background
• Companies and leadership roles
• Important business info, especially newsworthy events
• Involvement in other nonprofits or civic groups
• Giving to other organizations (quick to read chart form is ideal)
• Schools attended, alumni roles
Family and Personal Background
• Key family members and relevant history
• Spouse, basics about children
• Interests, hobbies not otherwise covered
• Anything else important that didn’t fit in above
Optional: Possible Interest Areas
• Briefly identify 3-4 possible interest areas within your organization
Footer: Your name, date, and possibly list key sources
Emilie, Principal and Owner