A Few Questions:
- How do you get there?
- Where do you start?
- What do you do with the board you have now?
- If you start the process of change, will it upset the entire organization?
- Can you afford not to do it?
Develop a road map:
- Selects a specific destination (goals/measurable outcomes)
- Sets a specific ETA (timeline)
- Identifies specific resources needed for the trip (strategies/budget)
Strategic Planning provides the perfect opportunity for some to gracefully hop off the train
Define the role of the board:
The transformation of volunteer board into a fundraising board is a process of maturation:
- Infancy: Hands-on volunteer/staff support
- Childhood: Some of the volunteers on board become donors
- Puberty: Core group begins to recruit newly interested donors/volunteers (2nd generation is born), and board begins to set giving expectations though they are not consistently enforced
- Adolescence: board begins to see the need to redefine itself (as the professionalism of the staff support increases)…The board discusses the changes taking place
- Adulthood: When asked what they do for the organization, the board members respond, “We raise funds and influence for our organization.”
Write a board contract:
- Develop the list of board commitments (with fundraising give/get level and other expectations)
- Develop a written commitment form to be signed annually by each board member
- Discuss the terms with each and every prospective board member
- Board must be willing to “fire” board members who do not fulfill commitments
- Never allow a zero gift option
Assess the current board:
- Study the skill sets and assets of the current board and plot it on a chart to check for areas of strength and weakness
- Analyze the individuals by profession, gender, age and diversity and develop a wish list for types of expertise and talent desired to enhance the board
- Look to the strategic plan and decide if the challenges of the next three years can be met by the current board members themselves
- If not, add to the wish list
Develop a STRONG nominating committee:
- Present the board analysis to the Nominating Committee for their review
- Develop a working wish list of prospective candidates
- Identify the best member of the committee to cultivate each prospect
- Be diligent with research
Walk before you run:
Grow as you go.
- Your board will move from a hands-on board to a fundraising board over time.
- The hands-on board stage is an important phase of development and organizational culture
- As the board commits to increase its commitments and giving, don’t retreat!
Be careful what you wish for:
The board of your dreams can be a nightmare if you aren’t ready.
- The professional expectations of the fundraising board are high, with little tolerance for inefficiency from one another or the staff
- Make sure your staff members have the professional skills to support the board’s efforts
Walk the Walk:
- Set the pace and the standard through your professional conduct
- If at all possible, give at the level of your board
- Encourage your staff to value your organization through their giving
- Facilitate the process of increasing your staff members professional skills while you are increasing the influence and affluence of your board
Remember that board members are to be cherished:
- They don’t have to choose your organization, and they can walk away
- They are your first donors. Don’t look straight through your board when thanking “the donors”
- Constantly ask yourself how you and your colleagues can make it easier for your board to serve your organization
- Make sure the emails and letters you ask them to send are crisp and to the point
- If you ask them to make a call, remember to include the number
As you move to the next level:
Don’t leave your soul behind.
- An organization should reach maturity with the best of the founding members intact.
- Organizational maturation should not be a process of dumping out the old for the new, but a careful blending of the two.
- The heart and soul of the organization resides in the passion of those who believed in your organization before it was not the chic thing to do.
Never forget them.
From Ballet Austin powerpoint