Archive for Fundraising

52 Ways To Motivate Your Board Memebers

You can fire a board member. You can shame a board member. You can ignore a board member. I have never heard of beating a board member. So when it comes down to motivating a board member, you might want to consider the carrot more powerful than the stick. Or in fact, the carrot might really be your only option.

Years ago I worked with a board in Queens, NY. The board chair’s name ended in a vowel, as did the vice president’s. I asked the board what would happen if a board member didn’t honor a commitment. He said, “I’m in the concrete business.” The V.P. said, “I’m in waste management.” I laughed. They didn’t.

In fact, when I got to know these pasta-eating jokers, they rewarded their board members more than any non-profit leaders I had ever met. They would send the family of an event chair a basket a cannolli and other goodies to thank them for all for their help on making the evening a success. They knew how much work a family does when someone chairs an event, whether it is on the event itself or taking up the slack at home. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather have a basket of cannolli and wine than a carrot, and forget about the stick, or in their case, concrete.

As you think about how to reward board members, here are 52 ideas to mull around. Appoint your best Martha Steward wannabees (from an entertainment rather than a felonious point of view) and let them decide how to incentivize your achievers.

1. When you have a new board member, send a press release to the local paper, business journal, alumni magazine, church or temple bulletin and/or PR department of his or her corporation.

2. Create a “Member of the Moment” award for your annual meeting for quiet, behind the scenes leaders. Tiaras and crowns from a party store are always an elegant gift.

3. Surprise a particularly industrious board member by having the member’s car washed and detailed during a meeting.

4. Give new board members who have “seen the light” and joined your board, tiny flash lights for purse or pocket.

5. Start your board meetings with sharing celebrations of what is going well in your members’ personal, professional or volunteer lives.

6. Get a funny award, like an old bowling trophy, from a pawn shop, and pass it on to the board member who asks the best question.

7. Provide every board member with business cards for your organization. (To save money, have them printed by the sheet without the specific names and print them on your computer)

8. Create a Hall of Fame wall with photos of your board members.

9. Put your board members’ photos on your website.

10. Link your organization’s website to your board member’s websites and ask them to do the same.

11. Give a creative toy to celebrate great service such as a stuffed roadrunner or the Energizer Bunny.

12. Give all of your board members lottery tickets with the note, “Our clients (or members) don’t have to take a chance on their future with you on our board.”

13. Give your superstar a magnificent box of chocolates with the note, “I’ve gained so much from you, now it’s your turn,” or a heart healthy box of goodies with the note, “From my heart to yours.”

14. When a board member takes on a big committee assignment or agrees to chair a special event, present a folder with an engraved name plate with his or her name, the assignment or event and the year.

15. For your shining stars, present a certificate for one month of shoe-shines or a piece of jewelry with stars.

16. At the end of a long board meeting or retreat, hire a massage therapist to come to do chair massages.

17. Give a “Life Saver Award” for someone who helps out at the last minute. The award should be packs of Life Saver candies.

18. Use a wall chart to note the progress of a project, whether it’s getting new members, raising funds or serving more clients.

19. Send birthday cards to your board members. Better yet, call them and leave a message, even if they aren’t home.

20. Send an e-mail birthday greeting to your board member, reminding other board members to call or e-mail greetings.

21. At the end of a term or a long project or special event, write a thank you note to the board member’s family noting the contribution and acknowledging the time away from the family.

22. On your board roster, list hobbies. This will give other members an opportunity to connect.

23. Provide a special parking space for new board members or board members who have taken on extra responsibilities.

24. Give board members newly released books or videos that are germane to your organization.

25. To build relationships and to become “a learning organization,” create a book or movie club that convenes before your meeting to keep current on issues affecting your clients.

26. Send a meal, pay for a house-cleaning, lawn mowing or snow removal service for a board member’s home during an illness or after a big project.

27. After meeting a goal, if your board meets in the morning, give your members a boutonnière to wear to work. It will serve as a conversation starter.

28. Before talking about fundraising, give every board members a $100,000 Candy Bar or a Payday.

29. Give new volunteers and board members a coffee cup with your website and phone number. (Great also to give to funders and folks who refer clients)

30. Give board members post-it notes with your logo, phone number and website.

31. Create a pin or other logo-wear for multi-generational members of families who have served your organization.

32. Take photos of your volunteers and board members with their kids. Frame the photos as a thank you.

33. Bring a pizza or sandwiches to the staff for a communal lunch with the board. Ask each group to prepare a list of questions for discussion. Learn and enjoy!

34. After a walk or run event, give the chair and his/her committee certificates for pedicures. Have pedicures as part of a Happy Feet Debrief.

35. To celebrate an achievement, send an email message with an appropriate mp3 song as an attachment i.e. “She Works Hard for Her Money,” “Taking Care of Business” or “The Hallelujah Chorus.”

36. Create an on-line “Good News Gazette” where fundraising, membership goals or other victories are shared.

37. Raise the bar. Increase the goals and make specific plans to celebrate. Put your best party person in charge.

38. Give a board member an hourglass, watch or clock as thanks for the gift of his or her time.

39. After an event, have a volunteer of the year. Put a photo of that volunteer in your lobby and send a copy to the newspaper and to the volunteer’s boss, spouse, parent and/or children.

40. Have a “bright idea” award for the board members with the most innovative idea that they have also implemented. You might want to give a lamp or a year’s supply of light bulbs.

41. At the end of a board member’s term, don’t just “whack them and plaque ’em”, give them a final send off at a luncheon or breakfast in their honor. Share plans for future involvement.

42. Remember to celebrate holidays that are relevant to your mission. For instance, if you have a “new American’s program” or deal with other immigrant issues, bring a client to talk about his/her experiences for the 4th of July.

43. For your annual meeting or board retreat, use Photoshop to put your board members photos on a Wheaties box. If you have a member with poor attendance and a really, really fabulous sense of humor, put his or her photo on a milk carton.

44. Provide logo wear that proudly displays your web address. On the back, list what you can do/learn on the site.

45. When beginning the strategic planning process, give everyone involved a calculator, ruler or abacus that says “Everyone counts when it comes to (then state your mission or organization’s name).

46. At your national convention, surprise a board member who has done a particularly fabulous job with a suite.

47. Create a “President’s Award,” which is given yearly by the board president to the member of the board or a volunteer who has done exemplary work.

48. Inaugurate an “ABCD” award (Above and Beyond the Call of Duty) which can be given anytime during the year.

49. Instead of the traditional gavel, give a conductor’s baton, magic wand or magic lamp to rub, to a new board chair.

50. Have a professional photo taken of a board member, get him or her to autograph it, and frame it for your wall of fame or executive’s office.

51. For the board member who is always putting out fires, buy and present him or her with a real fire fighter’s hat. Present several different hats to the board member who wears many hats.

52. Buy a toy sheriff’s badge for the development committee, and deputize them as fundraisers.
If you are interesting in fund raising training for your board, check out http://www.carolweisman.com/newsite/fundraising/fundraising_retreats.html or call Carol at 314-863-4422.

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Great Free Way to Keep Up With Donors

You know, some times you just think people know what you know if they are young and smart and a great leader? Welllll, last weekend I was working with just such a CEO, Beth Lloyd at Volunteer Hampton Roads in Norfolk, VA. We were strategising about her board retreat that I was facilitating the next day, and I asked how she was keeping up with current donors, most of whom foundations and corporations. I mentioned, “Of course you are using Google Alerts.” Her pretty brows furrowed and she said, “No.”

It took literally about 2 minutes to set it up with just the words, “Volunteer Hampton Roads.” All you do is go to the home page of google.com, type in “google alerts” and fill in the words or phrases that you want reports about. Then a message is sent to your e-mail address, you confirm that you indeed want this info, and Bob’s your uncle, you are in business.

Ten minutes after setting this up, Beth got an alert. One of her collaborators had thoughtfully posted a job on his website for a position she wanted to hire for, thereby helping her expand the search. I said, “You need to thank him.” Beth said, “Of course I will.”  Now this is where being an older, bossy consultant comes into play. I said, “Pick up the phone this minute and make the call before you touch the computer again.” Beth, being a quick learner and realizing that I outweighed her, picked up the phone and left a very gracious message. Another message came a few minutes later from a colleague touting Volunteer Hampton Road’s programs. Beth picked up the phone, another quick call, leaving a message.

At the board retreat, we suggested that one of the “ask averse” board members take on the role of helping with relationship management of a portfolio of donors so that Beth can continue to go into the community and make the major asks. All this person would need to do is keep a google alert list of current donors and send cards, notes and make the occasional call on what is going on with the individual, foundation or company.

You got to love a free way to keep up with donors. And getting to work with smart boards and leaders who implement immediately compouds the joy.

Mildly tech-savvy Granny, Carol Weisman, MSW, CSP

p.s. Beth, you are no doubt getting an alert about this. Have a great week!!!

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What Great Donor Customer Service Looks Like

Great customer service to donors is almost a nonsequitor, which is why it is so important to celebrate it when it happens. Last weekend, I went on the website of The Missouri Botanical Gardens to make a small donation in memory of a friend’s partner’s parent who died out of town. I had only met my friend’s partner Scott twice and never his parents. It was simple and easy to make the donation. Since I didn’t know Scott’s deceased parent’s name, I filled in the on-line form with “Scott’s Mother.”

First thing Monday morning, I got a call from Ann in the development office of The Missouri Botanical Gardens. She called to alert me that she had looked up the obituary and it was Scott’s Father who had died! She then proceeded  to offer me her name and phone number in case I needed help in the future with a gift.

I am sure Scott would have forgiven me if I had botched the gender of his parent who had passed, but I didn’t have to ask for forgiveness thanks to Ann. It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to give a larger donation!

Gender-confused fan of Ann, Carol Weisman, MSW, CSP

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Special Events: One Step to Save Your Stomach Lining

One of my favorite nonprofits is in a pickle. And a common pickle it is indeed. A board member suggested a smallish event a few months ago. It is now crunch time. The staff didn’t get the invites out on time. The board has a bit of post-holiday malaise and bloat and the event chair is going ballistic. Where is all the support that was promised? Or was it?

 

Here is the most common scenario: A board member says, in best Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney fashion, let’s put on a golf tournament, skeet shoot, wine tasting, wild boor hunt, you fill in the blank. The board hears, “I will put on the event.” The board member thinks she is saying, “Together, WE will put on the event.” Everyone agrees to the event, a date is set, and then fast forward, its crunch time. The board is dismayed that the event chair expects the board member to bring 10 people. A few of the board members confide, “The truth is, This really isn’t my kind of thing, you know!.” This is the stuff of antacid commercials.

 

How to avoid this? If this is a small event and you are counting on the board rather than an outside committee to bring in the guests, take ten minutes, ask the board for a conservative count and ask them how many people they can deliver that night. Take names and write it down. If you want 150 to attend and the board can deliver 37, this might just be the wrong event, wrong evening, wrong committee. This one step will make all the difference.

Carol Weisman, MSW, CSP, not a fan of small events

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Special Events and The Board, Forgetting The One Crutial Step

One of my favorite nonprofits is in a pickle. And a common pickle it is indeed. A board member suggested a smallish event a few months ago, it is now crunch time. The staff didn’t get the invites out on time. The board has a bit of post-holiday malaise and bloat and the event chair is going ballistic. Where is all the support that was promised? Or was it?

Here is the most common scenario: A board member says, in best Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney fashion, let’s put on a golf tournament, skeet shoot, wine tasting, wild boor hunt, you fill in the blank. The board hears, “I will put on the event.” The board member thinks she is saying, “Together, WE will put on the event.” Everyone agrees to the event, a date is set, and then fast forward, its crunch time. The board is dismayed that the event chair expects the board member to bring 10 people. A few of the board members confide, “The truth is, This really is my kind of thing, you know!.” This is the stuff of antacid commercials.

How to avoid this? If this is a small event and you are counting on the board rather than a committee to bring in the guests, take ten minutes, ask the board for a conservative count and ask them how many people they can deliver that night. Take names and write it down. If you want 150 to attend and the board can  deliver 37, this might just be the wrong event, wrong evening, wrong committee. This one step will make all the difference.

Carol Weisman, MSW, CSP, not a fan of small events

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Under Promise and Over-Deliver on Special Events

The opening of the new gambling casino in St. Louis last week crapped out. My husband and I weren’t invited, but many of my friends who are married to big shots were. My husband would rather be invited to an autopsy than the opening of a gambling casino. (Being a physician, this is also more likely). Anyway, the invitation promised big things. The uber expensive invite indicated that there would be visible grandeur and perhaps fireworks.
     Just getting to the black tie event was a problem. No one thought to have spent time or money on signage. Once you arrived, getting a drink was damned near impossible. And food? Well, one of my friends found the sushi table and planted herself there. Another friend said that she couldn’t even see the food. Guests were given coupons to shop at the stores, but they weren’t open.
     But the real talk of the town is that with all the hype, they dragged the grumpy, hungry and still sober guest outside in the cold to witness the magnificent lighting of of the building named Luminarire and it didn’t work. A few bulbs flickered, but then nothing.
     The valet parking took one of my friends an hour. Another friend’s husband stayed to gamble. She took the car and left. He won $27. When he asked the valet to get him a cab, no one knew how to do it. He finally got one using his cell phone. The cab was only $25. At least he was working in the black! The next day, he realized he had forgotten his driver’s license which he had left as collateral for chips or some such thing. The phone number for the casino was unlisted. The mailbox the the PR firm was filled. The meeting planner is no doubt in rehab.
     One of my clients is having the mayors from a number of municipalities in for a meeting in two weeks. The trick to events is to under-promise and over deliver. I’ve suggested to indicate that there will be sandwiches, then have goody bags. Their mission is healthy living. Fill reusable bags donated from a local grocery store with a pedometer, snacks etc. If you tell them, as Luminarie did, to expect the event of the century, and then fail, you will wind up in the blog of someone who didn’t even get an invite!

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Amuse ’em, Use’em or Lose’em, The Board and Fundrasing

I recently did a board retreat with a dynamic foundation board. The development director was tearing her hair out trying to get trustees to show up. The folks who did show were amazing. They were CEO’s, dedicated community volunteers, people of wealth and affluence and influence. I was wowed. The  “A Team was in the building. The problem: They were being asked to work on a golf tournament. Period. Not only that, if you deducted staff time, they were-making about $11.00. They were like using a race horse to pull a beer wagon. The power balance to the mission was off kilter.

What would get the whole team together? A massive goal that matched the talent pool. One of the members had just funded a building for a hospital that will bear his and his wife’s names. He alone could have written the check for the golf tournament gross amount and everyone else could have gone to jazzersize or watch reruns of the West Wing.

If they don’t get these folks excited, use their talents they will for sure lose these dynamos. The questions: Does your fundraising goal match your board? Too staggeringly high and they will feel overwhelmed. Too low and they will disengage.

You can bring this up with the board as a whole, or ask them individually. The questions are:
1. Is our fundraising goal going to meet our organization’s needs to drive our mission?
2. Do we have the right people in the room to achieve this?
3. Are we using you, our board member, effectively?

Carol Weisman, MSW, CSP, wanting to spread all this talent.

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