Raise Cash. Save Lives. Embrace the Major Gifts Buddy System.


I was with a non-profit Executive Director not too long ago, who had this observation about building relationships with the organization’s key supporters, “I feel strongly that fundraising staff shouldn’t meet with our biggest donors, since they won’t stay around here anyway.” And so his solution was to keep his staff away from his donors.


I have said quite enough (and have the hate email to prove it) about relatively short tenures in the fundraising profession, but let’s examine this statement. The Executive Director is keeping all the key relationships close, going on calls by himself, doing the asking himself, following up by himself, and generally keeping his own counsel. That sounds like a recipe for failure. What happens when he leaves or gets hit by the subway?

Major gift fundraising is the most delicate dance of planning, listening, and boldly asking. It is also the ultimate team exercise, where bringing as many organizational assets to the table as possible is smart practice. Do you want your major gifts program to soar? I say, employ the Major Gifts Buddy System.

The Major Gifts Buddy System could not be simpler and works like this: virtually every donor or prospect visit should be staffed by two organizational representatives. Why?

  1. Fundraising is HARD. Spreading the work to multiple staff/board/program folks makes it easier, and much more fun. We need to do a better job spreading joy around our non-profits, encouraging each other and celebrating wins. Want to be the hero in your office? Take your CEO along for a slam dunk sponsorship renewal. Let her walk out with the check or signed agreement. Everyone is going to be happy.
  2. Fundraising is about LISTENING. We all hear things differently, and make daily judgements and biases based on our own experience. A two person visit means the organizational will be much more likely to hear what the donor or prospect is actually saying, instead of what we want/hope/wish to hear. And I think it is okay for one of the two to take notes while you talk.
  3. Fundraising is SCARY. Many CEOs are brilliant at discussion specific programs and the vision behind a strategic plan. They can often get hung up on the Ask itself. By partnering with a staff fundraiser, someone can be ready to circle back to the Ask if the conversation drifts off. Someone Asking is always better than no one asking.
  4. Donor relationships must be institutionalized for follow up and posterity. I am nervous whenever a CEO or ED goes and meets with a key donor to discuss something important without a staff member along. Why? Who is going to take notes about the conversation and follow up? Who is going to make sure that a promised next step is planned and accomplished? We drop the ball too often in fundraising. A two person call prevents that.
  5. Two person calls are a perfect way to engage volunteers. Board members generally have the best of intentions. They want to help you raise money, but they don’t know where to begin. By bringing board members and fundraising volunteers along for a carefully planned conversations with donors and prospects, we model behavior. We teach by doing. We build confidence. We win.
  6. The Buddy System is even better way to grow your own staff fundraising talent. I am a huge believer in the development of fundraising staff. Your entry level annual giving person can only grow and mature through the opportunity to see senior staff in action, meet donors, and to learn first hand relationship fundraising. Your organization will save a lot of cash down the road by promoting from within as staff turnover inevitably happens. I like to see the CDO and CEO spend time in the field with as many fundraising staff as possible, bringing them out to donor visits (where appropriate) as an investment in human capital. What better way to inspire confidence?
  7. You can engage program staff in a useful way. The Holder and Keeper of our missions in the program staff. They know the best stuff, and have the best stories. But we cannot send them out to meet donors solo. Instead, invite them to participate in donor and prospect interactions. You will be surprised by what happens. Even the most shy program manager can shine when discussing her work and the impact to clients. It can be magical.

Make your donor visits more joyful. Go in pairs. See brilliant results. Email me your success stories!

Posted in Cultural Entrepreneurship, Fundraising, Philanthropy | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

How (not) to Hire a Development Director


Summer is always a hot time for hiring, as fiscal years wrap up and professionals look to make their next career moves, or are bounced out for not meeting expectations. This is a particularly challenging time to find fundraising talent, as we approach full employment, and well qualified candidates have lots of opportunity in front of them.

Much has been said about the relative professionalism of fundraisers and the constant turnover in our industry. Change will happen, and your non-profit will have openings. So, do yourself a favor and avoid these avoidable errors with your next fundraising hire. Your search will inevitably be a costly failure if you:

Ignore internal candidates: Hiring from outside is expensive and costs time and relationships. Is there someone internally you can promote, who is worthy of coaching and investment to grow into a real leader? This lack of imagination for growing internal talent is one of the biggest mistakes non-profits make. Consider, strongly, internal candidates for your next opening, and what support they might need to be successful.

Don’t put a premium on candidates who care deeply about your Cause. Almost everyone who works in non-profits cares specifically about the mission of their organization, except (too often) the fundraising staff. Look for qualified candidates who care deeply about your work, and not those who just want more money or less hassle then their current job.

Accept candidates who’ve moved three times in five years. Or more. The average tenure is 18 months for any fundraising job, but not for everyone. Why, then, do non-profits keep hiring these guys who bounce from job to job. What do you think is going to happen, that you are the One, at last? Forget it. Bouncers bounce. You will get burned again and again.

Put Higher Education experience as Holy and Sacred. There are many college fundraisers who are quite good, but so what? Are they worth the money? I don’t know. What I do know is that colleges and universities have gigantic engaged alumni bases and staggering resources to bring to fundraising programs. Does that mean that a couple of years of university fundraising experience makes your candidate viable for a CDO job of a complex program? Doubtful.

Make “who would I most like to have a beer with?” a deciding factor. This is so stupid as a consideration, and often what reinforces barriers of entry from marginal populations. We tend to have beers with people like ourselves, and if this is a factor, you are going being unfair. Drink beer with your friends. Hire qualified professionals for your fundraising programs.

Embrace Youth at the expense of competence and experience. I get that there is a youth movement underway, and it is a positive thing for the most part. But I also see organizations ignore experienced professionals in favor of attractive youngsters. This is a mistake.

Ask, “What is the biggest gift you’ve closed?” Of all stupid interview questions I’ve heard in my career, this is the stupidest. It has been asked of me in every single job interview since grad school. Major gifts take years to develop for the most part. Someone is going to be there to secure the gift. Compared with progressive management responsibility, a history of successful engagement of board members and community leaders, and the ability to communicate in person and in writing, closing a couple of fat gifts should matter little.

Don’t know what sort of leader you seek. This is where organizations fail so often, in not knowing what they seek to begin with. Do you need a Gift Closer, who will Lone Wolf all the giving, never visiting the office? Do you need a manager who will keep all the program elements moving along? Most fundraisers are good at one but not both of these things. One of the best bosses I ever had led a big staff and complex program, but was just bad in a room with donors. And because you don’t know what you want, you will hire the millennial university fundraiser with modest experience (but good looks), and pay them too much. You will enjoy chatting with them at cocktail parties. Until they quit.

Your next staff opening in the fundraising program is an opportunity, but only if you are thoughtful and realistic. Wonder Woman does not exist, and if she did, you could not afford her.

Posted in Philanthropy | 12 Comments

Towards a True Professionalism in Fundraising

I asked this question a year or so ago, and others are starting to ask as well, is fundraising a profession? Compared to accounting, with a similar emphasis on revenue, we cannot really say yes to that question. We lack the training standards, the professional development expectations, and the established best practices of a true profession.

Today if you call yourself a professional fundraiser, then you are a professional fundraiser, even if you work five different jobs in seven years. Heck, have someone pay you once for a side gig, and you can call yourself a Consultant.

Friends, this needs to change. The needs are too great, and the stakes are too high for our non-profits to keep up this shoddy and amateur status quo. As a new fiscal year begins, the time has come to embrace a new and true professionalism in fundraising.

The Professional Fundraiser shall:

Commit to Our Organizations. Fundraising is about relationships and impact over time. It is impossible to have meaningful results in 18 months. Major gift fundraising is an exercise in patience, love, and education. But far too many of us cannot help ourselves. We jump to the next thing at the earliest possible moment, for a little more cash, or because we stopped liking the Marketing Director, or got our feelings hurt at the Annual Meeting. When you leave for the next shiny dime, consider very carefully there is real consequence to your actions. Donor relationships are damaged and organizational credibility is diminished. All of us working in fundraising are a little less credible every time one of us jumps ships.

Show Ownership and Leadership. I have heard just enough of fundraisers whine about the goals given to them, and the board and executives who aren’t helpful. The whining must cease. I argue with Marketing staff from time to time, but they rarely blame others when sales goals aren’t met. Fundraising is everyone’s job – okay, fine. But it is the fundraiser’s responsibility to inspire effort and action from board members, committee members and executive staff leadership. It is our job to seek a path to a revenue goal, and to rally others to action. If not this, what?

Be Collegial. The last person who should pick any sort of fight in a non-profit is the fundraiser. Every dollar that fundraising staff get paid (and they are the highest paid non-executive staff members in most organizations) could be applied to programming – serving kids, serving the community, taking care of the exhibits, and so on. What that means is that you are the most expensive overhead of all. Be a partner to your program colleagues. Learn their names and their roles. Thank them for their efforts. Show them that overhead is worth it.

Look and Act the Part. Jeans on Fridays in the summer? Maybe. But not if you are spending time with Donors. You are the best paid staff members. Act like a professional. Dress like a professional. Don’t be sloppy, in person, on the phone, or by email.

Show Grace. I remain enthusiastic about our millennial colleagues, hard working and motivated in my experience (for the most part) but this is a group too quick to be offended, to take exception, to hold a grudge by day to day interactions and inevitable conflicts. This won’t do. Fundraising is as much art and science. We made bad decisions and we use bad judgment. Accept responsibility when you screw something up. Forgive others when they do the same.

Get Out of the Office. Go. Don’t eat lunch at your desk. My goodness. If you want to play around with computers all day, go learn machine code. It pays better.

Seek out Mentors. It is unfortunate that learning from experienced professionals is increasingly uncommon in our industry. Is is shameful, really. The internet is a delight. College is fun. But you can learn more from a good mentor in this business than in any other way. Like masonry or car sales, one learns fundraising by doing, through experience. This is a dated notion in our late era America I know. Seek a mentor, and your career will benefit.

Put the Donor First. Most of the challenges our organizations are having in retaining donors is due to simple application of stewardship. Are you talking to donors every day to say thank you? Are you engaging them before you ask them for things? Are you increasing your donor’s interest in your programs through personal engagement?

Ask, Without Apology. As much as I admire the ideals of “Philanthropy” our job is to engage, to steward, and to ask. It isn’t complicated. Asking is hard – that is why organizations hire someone to do it. They hired you. Ask – some will say “no” and that’s okay. Some will say, “Not right now” and that’s okay. Many will say “yes” and the world will change. That’s worth the fear.

We can advance our work. We can show pride. We can become, at last, a Profession.


Posted in Philanthropy | 4 Comments

Get Off the Internet and Raise More Money.


It is much, much to easy to dump upon Development Directors in today’s non-profit environment. Yours is an almost impossible job, responsible for Herculean revenue targets but without the authority to set priorities and budgets. Add all the bosses in the form of CEOs and Board Members who are difficult to engage and lead to success, even on the best day, and we wonder why the average tenure for a Development Director is still hanging at around 18 months?

For some perspective on this check out, Wild Woman Fundraising, who has sacrificed economic stability (and the rest of the benefits of full time employment) to be a happy freelancing author and consultant. I made a similar move myself six years, and I cannot say I miss the fundraising office.

So this challenging work. There has been plenty, much, written about the things you Development Directors should be doing – getting out of the office, engaging volunteers, networking endlessly for corporate support, picking up the phone every five minutes, and so on. But what shouldn’t you be spending your time on? What habits and tasks can you drop today to free you to raise some actual cash?

Want to Raise More Money? Start by:

  1. Getting Off the Damn Internet. We don’t often speak of this, but today’s office culture is a giant time suck of non-productivity, as everyone is screwing around online, all day long. Facebook. Twitter feed. Instagram. Video Games. At work. And don’t even get me started at the chasm of wasted professional energy that is Linked-In. Father Puff Puff tried to link up with me recently. Awesome. Whatever efficiency has come into our professional lives via technology and the internet has been cancelled out by the hours and hours workers spend screwing around on their phones and computers. Stop playing reindeer games on your computer all day long.
  2. Forgetting About Donor Research. Another classic time wasting exercise in our profession is the search for Capacity in our donors. How much could that Magical Prospect Give to Us? This can lead to an endless chase for clues, including expensive and unproductive wealth screening systems. I found my name in one such expensive system not too long ago. It reported a current marriage from a ten years gone by divorce, board service from the late 90s, and a most recent gift in 2006. I am not a wealthy guy by any means, but this is some nonsense. Instead of seeking out mystical formulas on the capacity of your donors, how about we get to know them personally? The generosity will follow. The rich are getting richer.
  3. Bagging the Internal Meetings. In you meet with your marketing department more than once a month as a fundraiser, that’s much too much. Skip the meetings. As many as you can. Lie about it if you need to get out of attending. Or, better yet, schedule meetings out of the office. With your donors and prospects. “Do I need to attend that internal meeting?” NO. No, I do not. 
  4. Chasing Small Sums. Grants take much time and energy. Corporate gifts are increasingly competitive. If it isn’t worth your time, don’t go after it. Focus on individual gifts instead. An eight page grant application for $5,000? Why not simply ask five people for $1,000 each? This is the wealthiest moment in the history of the world, and tomorrow will likely be an even wealthier day. Seek the cash.
  5. Stop Worrying So Much. Yours is such a stressful job, and I am sorry for that. And I see colleagues who are frozen professionally by the demands of the work. Worrying won’t help, not one time.

Breathe. Get off the Internet. Get After It.

Posted in Fundraising, Leadership, Philanthropy | 5 Comments

Donor Centered Fundraising Is Not The Real Problem.


I’ve read, re-read, and then read a third and fourth time Vu Le’s recent broadside against the donor centered fundraising model and its moral limitations. Please study it if you haven’t already, for the issues raised are fundamental to our industry, and if you consistently read one non-profit blog, make it this one.

Placing a donor’s wishes and biases above all else in our fundraising programs is a slippery practice, and that’s just the start of Vu Le’s concerns about our current zealous focus on the wealthiest to make the largest investments.

We absolutely need, as a society, to recognize that there is only “we” and “us”, and that those with more have a moral duty and obligation to support those who have less. Vu Le rightly relates our industry to the larger inequities of our late age America, a time when most of us wonder if our civilization, like the Romans and the Pharaohs, is coming to an inevitable conclusion sooner rather than later. Everything has a beginning, middle and end, and where does American society look to you these days, reading the paper on Sunday morning?

So I get it. But let’s give a gentle pause to holding up philanthropy as an example of all that is wrong with America. Much of the criticism I see about philanthropy is an argument against wealthy folks getting buildings named after them for things that they should be doing anyway. But this much too simplistic. There are many, and better, ways to avoid taxes than by giving one’s money, and if giving away cash was the most efficient way to get one’s names on buildings, our President would be in the philanthropy business, and not the real estate game.

What does any single wealthy person owe your organization? Nothing. Not one single thing, regardless of your mission, moral certainty or good works. Is this fair? It is not fair. It isn’t. One of the giant challenges of today’s philanthropy is the near impossible necessity of potential donors to care about things as a precursor to support. And this really sucks, unless you are the beneficiary.

Let me give you an example that happens all the time in America: The Disease That Impacted Our Family:

The Wealthy Smiths are lovely people. The Wealthy Smiths also have strict guidelines about philanthropy, via the private Smith Family Foundation (focused on animal welfare and various scholarly publications) and, when asked to contribute or engage in most galas or fundraising campaigns, politely and privately decline almost always, citing current priorities and the vast number of requests received annually.

But then, a grandchild is born, with a grim medical diagnosis of pediatric diabetes, and the floodgates open. Grandma Smith organizes a gala, endows a position at the hospital, and joins the Board of Directors of the National Pediatric Diabetes Foundation. She becomes an unstoppable advocate in the community about this terrible disease, and a powerful force for good. As a direct result of her grandson’s unfortunate medical challenge, thousands of other kids will benefit from treatment and research, and the world is a little better place for it.

Did Grandma Smith have a sudden moral awakening that all children deserve good quality medical care? She did not. She had a personal encounter with a tragic childhood disease, and as a direct and singular result, opened her heart, network and checkbook. There was no educating her before the sick child arrived. She supported scholarly publications and puppies.

And so, what should a fundraiser do with this Gift from the Gods? Are you kidding? Embrace it. Ask for more. Start the Smith Family Matching Challenge Campaign. Make Grandma Smith the Hero of Children’s Diabetes. Name the program after her. Create a Donor of the Year Award. Anything else would be professional malpractice. 

And Yet…does this random chance occurrence (a child with a disease born into a wealthy family) demonstrate any sort of cohesive public policy or sustainable framework for society? Of course not. We’ve allowed wealthy citizens to pick and choose their pet causes, based on personal interest and preference, if they decide to engage in philanthropy at all.

And so none of this is working particularly well for society, but it is not really our fault as fundraisers. The fight here, truly, is not with non-profits, simply doing their best in very challenging circumstances. In our industry, we should be gentler with each other, accepting that we work in an a very imperfect society. This gross inequity of late stage America, of sickening wealth accumulated by the few at the expense of the rest of us, isn’t about overuse of the word “you” in fundraising letters, or overindulging in placing donors at the center of solving our problems.

The real question over what’s fair or sustainable for all is a much larger one, as the rich get ever richer. It is about regressive tax structure, and debating government’s singular reach to bolster (as in the 90s and the decades prior) a healthier middle class. It is about health care for every single one of us, so that the youngster born with type one diabetes gets the care he needs as a human right. There is no change we can make to philanthropy to solve this moral crisis, no way we can engage foundations or educate donors that will truly solve this dreadful inequity.

So, we do what we can in philanthropy, accepting that the system is deeply flawed. We celebrate Grandmother Smith in the battle against pediatric diabetes, and we cash the Smith Family Foundation check.

And, if we are serious about solving true inequity, there is but one solution. We Vote.

Posted in Fundraising, Philanthropy | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Be the Asker. Seek the Connector.

2016-09-27 15.09.17

Among the many daily challenges for the modern Development department is the care and feeding of fundraising volunteers. “Challenge”, though, does not even begin to describe the difficulty in recruiting, training, tasking, and stewarding the precious few souls willing and able to assist in the critical, but daunting, task of raising funds. It is perhaps the most difficult part of our work as fundraisers.

What does an ideal fundraising volunteer look like? Let’s see…independently wealthy (but also generous), widely known and deeply respected in the community (but also approachable), well versed in the organization’s case and mission (but not a micro-manager), capable of asking for anything with confidence (but not arrogant)…you get the idea.

The ideal fundraising volunteer does not really exist. Busy people know a lot of others in a community, but lack the time to dedicate to learning a case and actively managing solicitations. Generous donors are often uncomfortable asking others to join them. The result? Too often a fundraising committee of ill-equipped volunteers and a frustrated staff who cannot count on predictable output and effort.

What to do? For a start, let’s consider the two main functions of volunteer fundraisers: Connecting and Asking. Can volunteers be Askers? Some can. Most cannot. Salespeople are born and not made. I believe that in my soul, whatever your consultant is telling you. Asking requires rare courage and determination, and often, the unpleasant prospect of a No. It is why good salespeople make great livings, despite the internet age of instant information and access. It is why that goofy looking dude mysteriously has an amazing and beautiful girlfriend. Askers face No, and live through it. Most of us cannot accept this sort of rejection on a regular basis. We cannot.

Are there effective volunteer fundraising Askers? Of course. There are some rare volunteers out there who will ask, and from time to time, ask well, at the right time, in the right way (in person) for the stretch gift. But most will not, and cannot, whatever they promise you. And this means that you are wasting lots of time with your fundraising committee by assigning solicitations to volunteers who simply cannot perform the expected tasks. And so what happens? Activity languishes. What should have been a person-to-person conversation becomes a letter, prepared by staff, with a personal note at the end, probably mailed late because the meeting was never scheduled. And on and on.

What’s the alternative to expecting our fundraising volunteers to become magical Askers? Let’s stop wasting time chasing that Unicorn. Let’s seek out Connectors instead, those volunteers who are well-known, well-regarded, and with a network. These are the fundraising volunteers who can make things happen by opening doors, making introductions, and facilitating proposals.

So what do you need? A Connector to open the door, make an introduction, attend an initial meeting, follow up on your behalf, and help say thanks. A good Connector is someone who can say, “I know a guy at that Company. I can get you a meeting.” It is also sometimes, “I know a guy who might know the guy at that Company. Let me dig into it.If there is something more valuable to us than a personal introduction to a prospect, I don’t know of it. That’s way better than someone will just Ask. That’s a Connection. Galas are often chaired by good Connectors, but fundraising committees, seeking magical philanthropy beans, are not. Right?

What does this new focus on making connections mean for your fundraising committee? How about fewer meetings (spending the time making connections instead) and much less frustration (staff and volunteers agreeing to specific next steps rather than passing out names to solicit)? It also means a whole new opportunity for your volunteers. Rather than lengthy meetings (difficult for busy people) a good fundraising Connector can make one or two big things happen for your organization a year, and then call it a day.

Listen, if your organization is large enough to have a fundraising staff, or even an individual paid fundraiser, you already have an Asker. It is you. You are the one getting paid to hear No, and you are the one who understands the case, the mission, and the specifics of the opportunity.  Embrace this role. Be brave, and practice. Asking gets easier over time, and hearing No isn’t as bad as you fear. PRACTICE!

Expecting volunteers to Ask for you is a recipe for jumping between five jobs in seven years, always blaming the lack of a philanthropic culture for your career woes.

Worry less about assigning solicitors. Find some Connectors.

Posted in Fundraising, Leadership, Philanthropy, Volunteers | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Some Observations about Your Board Meetings.

2016-06-15 16.16.48

Whenever a non-profit colleague leaves a job, or is dismissed, and reaches out to me, the first thing I say is, “Well, at least you don’t have to go to the next Board Meeting” and that person’s spirits are immediately cheered. Is there anyone out there who truly loves the traditional, stuffy, overstuffed and dry board meeting? I haven’t met you. Why is it this way?

Some Observations about Your Board Meetings:

  1. Quarterly Might be Just Fine. If there are high functioning committees (executive, development, programmatic, but not marketing, hopefully) accomplishing the work of your organization, and if there is consistent conversation between staff and board members on an ongoing basis, a monthly meeting is likely a waste of time and resources. Why? One of the great secrets of non-profit management is that board meetings require an enormous amount of staff time to produce. No one wants to admit this. Assembling reports and summaries, preparing the meeting itself, organizing each committee member’s report, and so on requires hours of staff time that could be better spent doing literally anything else. Monthly board meetings mean lots of your staff are spending a DAY or TWO a MONTH prepping. Is this wasteful? Yes.
  2. The Chair must Chair. Good meetings need effective conveners. This means moving purposefully through the agenda, knowing when to let a valuable, but off topic, discussion continue, and when to wrap it up. It means encouraging participation from the introverts. Meetings should start on time, and end when they must. And, for all the hassle, I don’t believe it is worthwhile to dial members in by phone. It is almost universally disruptive for everyone actually attending the meeting, the dieal in participant rarely feels truly engaged as an active participant, and speaker phone technology has not advanced meaningfully since the 1990s. Until we have hologram communications, let those who cannot attend simply not participate.
  3. Staff should be Seen and (rarely) Heard. Or, even better, Back at the Office, Working. Having four or five (often even more) staff members in attendance at your board meeting is an expensive waste of time and resource. Board members should be giving reports whenever possible, with staffers there to answer follow up questions and share Mission Moments (see below). Or staff should stay, mercifully, back at the office. If you are an Executive Director who feels that the whole staff team needs to attend each and every board meeting, let’s sit and talk about your priorities.
  4. Consent Agendas are Your Friend. 40 page all-but-the-kitchen-sink printed board packets are not your Friend, however. The consent agenda is a wonderful development in non-profit work as it eliminates simple information sharing at meetings. Use it. But don’t print out a 40 page board packet of consent agenda filler and hand all that crap out in a three ring binder every month. Forests are literally disappearing. Send a pdf of the full report by email if you must. Do not PRINT ALL THIS DEBRIS.
  5. The Development Report Cannot Wait. When your Development Report is the 9th item on the agenda, no one is going to pay attention. Your Board is an active leadership group for your fundraising program. Prioritize this on your agenda. Prep the Development Committee chair to present a concise report outlining recent successes, progress to date, and areas of focus in the coming 60 days.
  6. Create a Mission Moment, for the love of all that is Decent. The average Board Meeting I attend has no magic, nothing specific to connect the necessary (but boring) business of governance with the mission and life of the organization. This is such an easy fix. Devote five minutes near the start of each board meeting to your Mission. Five Minutes! What to do? Introduce a new staff member from the program side, who briefly outlines their work. Sing a song. Share a impact story from a program recipient. Play the new marketing video. One of the best Mission Moments I’ve witnessed was showing off a new light board in a theatre. Are light boards interesting? You bet.
  7. Avoid Open Ended General Discussions. The worst board meeting is one that goes on indefinitely, based on squishy questions with no real strategic direction. “How can we better market to millennials?” “Which corporate contacts can each of us provide to fundraising today for immediate solicitation?” “What is our executive transition plan?” “How can we recruit a more diverse Board?” are all interesting questions but have no place for a typical board meeting agenda. There is a time and place for strategic discussions. Save the, for the annual retreat.

Board Meetings can be drag, but think about the opportunity they represent: a group of committed volunteers focused on your non-profit, bringing diverse skill sets and backgrounds to your vital work. Start with this list for improving yours!

Posted in Annual Fund, Board Development, Fundraising, Leadership, Philanthropy | Tagged , , | 3 Comments