Your Board is not Responsible for Fundraising
Tom Suddes | October 10, 2007
Reader Beware: This is a rant. It’s contrarian. It goes against everything you’ve been taught, read and believe. It is also TRUE. FACT. REALITY.
YOUR BOARD IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR FUNDRAISING.
There it is again. It’s out there. Get over it.
- STOP whining that your “Board doesn’t understand that they need to raise money.”STOP complaining that your “Board won’t give or get.”STOP moaning about “asking my Board for names and only getting a few back.”
Three times in the last week, with three really, really good FOR IMPACT ORGANIZATIONS, I have heard all of the above and more.
TELL IT LIKE IT IS.
I shared the following with a group of Executive Directors of a really good FIO last week. One of them looked up after I was finished and said, “Finally, someone is telling it like it is.”
*In fact, one of the best Executive Directors I have met says her Board members all buy LOTTERY TICKETS… as their funding strategy! It would be funny, if it wasn’t so sad.
- ‘TRUTH’. In Book 4 of Metaphysics, Aristotle stated, “To say of what is that it is, and what is not that it is not, is TRUE.”‘FACT’. Less philosophy, and more business-like, are the words of a friend and former mentor Jeff Bernel: “You’ve got to FACE THE BRUTAL FACTS. Anything else is delusional.” (This is backed up by a ton of other business thinkers including Jim Collins’ story about the Stockdale Paradox.)’REAL’. Our own REAL experiences with thousands of Boards and tens of thousands of Board members.
The TRUTH… the FACT… the REALITY is that:
YOUR BOARD IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR FUNDRAISING!
- Your Board doesn’t WANT to ‘fundraise’.In fact, Your Board HATES to ‘fundraise’.Your Board would rather spend thousands of hours on a ‘SPECIAL EVENT’ (that’s not ‘special’, not an ‘event’ and raises $1,600…) than ask their friends for money. (Actually, they’d rather crawl through broken glass.)
And they are RIGHT!
To ignore this reality just leads to:
- FRUSTRATION – for you and your Board.STRESS – for you and your Board.UNHAPPINESS – for you and your Board.
I’ll keep this rather SHORT… SIMPLE… and SWEET.
- IMPACT: If your Board is ‘ON BOARD’ rather than ‘ON the BOARD’, they are involved with you because of your IMPACT. They are NOT there because they want to be ‘fundraisers’.Therefore, get them INVOLVED and ENGAGED around your IMPACT. They are on your board for a reason, so engage their talents and abilities to maximize your organization’s IMPACT. Good things will follow…
- CHAMPIONS: Stay focused on your ‘CHAMPIONS’. They are the ones who will lead you to the proverbial ‘Promised Land’. Your Board, as a WHOLE (read ‘MOB’) is worthless (except maybe for rubber stamping some fiduciary gobbley gook).It’s all about the INDIVIDUALS on your Board and, particularly about the CHAMPIONS! As I love to say, “Give me three CHAMPIONS and we will exponentially outperform any ‘BOARD’… 10 fold!”
- ROLE. Every single Board that Nick and I have worked with, without exception, has a fuzzy, ill-defined ROLE vis-a-vis INCOME.We know one thing that is absolutely NOT their role… ASKING THEIR FRIENDS FOR MONEY!Here is one simple, short, sweet way to look at your Board’s (FUNDING) ROLE.
- CHAMPION… Your CAUSE and ORGANIZATION.
- INVITE… Others to be ENGAGED.
- INVEST… with a COMMENSURATE COMMITMENT.
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