A Most Unexpected Place to Find A Major Donor Prospect

Do you feel like there are no new prospects in your constituent pool and they are not being surfaced by your research department, engagement or annual giving teams?  You need to hit your visit goals (with appropriate visits), have worked your current portfolio and need to find new prospects.  Here is a simple but often overlooked option.

I have a difficult volunteer, now what?

You have reached the boiling point with a volunteer and you need to do something, but what?
First, you may want to read an earlier post (A volunteer is driving me crazy, what should I do?) to be sure you are assessing the situation correctly. 
Volunteers are critical to the work of non-profits and we need to find ways to work with them, but they are not always right.  You still have to manage them, their work and your sanity.

A Volunteer is driving me crazy, what should I do?

In the non-profit world volunteers are critical to our work and success. Most are amazing and help us do great things for our institutions, but occasionally they are not.
Many of us have been there.  If you work with volunteers you likely had to deal with the "difficult" volunteer.  Difficult can take on so many meanings when it comes to volunteers.  

Are you getting the most out of your board?

Give, get, or get off.  
Those were the three G's of non profit board membership that I learned as a young fundraising professional. For a long time, I thought that only related to money. 
My understanding was that the only requirement for being on a Board of Directors at a non-profit was to give your own money, help the organization get someone else's money (individual, corporation or foundation) or it was time to get off the board so they could add someone that would. I have since discovered that view was a little short sighted.


Are you using data to drive constituent engagement?

In the fundraising world, we take this path or we just do what we have always done. Why change? Well, I will never forget the quote by Henry Ford that a senior development officer had on his desk in the 1990's, "If you do what you have always done, you will get what you always got." For whatever reason, the fundraising world has been afraid of going against past history, especially if the organization has been successful. They continue the tried and true, what worked at another organization or resort to Doshi's hypothesis.


Are you playing a role in your team's professional growth?

Are you regularly talking with those you supervise about their individual professional goals?

Too often these conversations are left for the once a year evaluation or they never happen, but that is a topic for another day. When was the last time you had a discussion with someone you supervise about their goals and aspirations? If you are not asking them, are you really serving as anything more than their supervisor?


Event Fundraising - Are the results worth the effort?

Your organization is looking for ways to raise money. Usually the first suggestion from volunteers is to have a golf tournament, auction, ball, gala, race, or person of the year celebration. The volunteer raves about the event they attended and how much money the group raised. Everyone gets excited about the possibilities and what the organization could do with that kind of money. Are they blinded by the possibilities? Are events really the best way to raise money for your organization? 

This is an age old question that fundraisers and non-profits continue to struggle to answer. Throughout my career, I have seen some really good examples of events where the effort was well worth it, others where it was probably a wash, and many where the real return was not worth the overall investment. Sadly some of the last group become the hardest to get rid of because we have not evaluated the big picture.