by Molly Galo, Senior Consultant
As Advancement professionals, we rely on our board members to fulfill many roles…advisor, counselor, fundraiser, donor, advocate. Do we take the time, regularly, to ensure they have the tools they need to fulfill these roles? Sometimes, we take for granted that our board members know all they need to know about our organization, and we assume they are focused on our mission. But, in order to ensure our board members are both engaged and fulfilled, we must work to keep them connected. An important, yet simple, way to strengthen this connection is to incorporate "mission moments” into every board meeting. Minimally, every meeting agenda should have the organization’s mission printed on it. This requirement may seem trivial, but I’ve been surprised by the number of board members who cannot articulate the mission of the organization. Beyond this practical suggestion, there are a plethora of ways to include a mission moment in every meeting. Here are a few suggestions:
As a complement to these mission moments, a creative board chair I know introduced what she calls “moments for mission” into regular meetings. Her strategy engages board members actively. A week or two prior to each meeting, she asks an individual board member to prepare to lead the moment for mission…by sharing a personal story about why they support the organization, by sharing a fundraising strategy they’ve used successfully, by reporting on a conversation they had with someone in the community about the organization’s work. Her board has gotten so excited that even the quietest, least active board members have become energized. One board member spoke about how these moments inspired her to reach out to her employer’s Community Affairs team, to discuss the employer supporting the organization on a bigger scale. Another board member shared his family’s decision to make monetary gifts to the organization rather than giving each other birthday and holiday gifts.
You know your organization, and your board members, best. Be creative when engaging in mission moments …there’s no limit to what you can achieve!
Have a mission moment to share? We’d love to hear your stories. Please post your mission moments as a comment to this blog.
Laurus Strategies brings our expertise to you with two complimentary workshops for nonprofit organizations.
Chicago, Illinois Nonprofit Fundraising Workshop – February 27, 2014
The Cycle of Fundraising – Part I – Identifying, Educating and Cultivating in Advance of the Ask
Laurus Strategies presents the first in a three-part nonprofit workshop series focused on the Cycle of Fundraising. Our first session will focus on identifying, educating and cultivating prospects in advance of the ask. Partner Mike Bruni along with the team of Laurus Strategies consultants will provide an interactive workshop experience that will provide attendees with new techniques that will aid organizations grow their prospect pool and lead to improved fundraising results.
Register now for this complimentary Chicago workshop!
Milwaukee and Southern Wisconsin Nonprofit Fundraising Workshop – March 12, 2014
Get on the Bus: The Keys to Success in the Current Financial Environment
Do you and your team struggle to understand the current financial landscape? Do you wonder how you should proceed in these difficult economic times? You’re invited to our nonprofit fundraising workshop. The Laurus Strategies team will share techniques that will enable nonprofit organizations to navigate the current financial environment successfully. Mike Bruni, Partner, and George Rattin, Senior Consultant, will lead the workshop
Register now for this complimentary Milwaukee workshop!
I will go on record explaining that I am not a psychologist. However, I came across the work of Abraham Maslow again recently and it got me thinking about people’s desire and motivation to be philanthropic. In 1943, Maslow developed a theory of the Hierarchy of Needs. The hierarchy is sequential in nature. These needs build upon one another and move from basic to increasingly higher-level needs. Humans focus on basic needs (called Psychological by Maslow) food, water, rest, etc. as their primary needs. It is only when those needs are met that we move to the next level within the hierarchy, safety. At this level, thoughts turn to security, health, employment etc.. Once the needs at these two levels are met, you move to the next and so on.
I had studied the work of Maslow and others back in my college days as part of my education training, but now I began thinking of how the Hierarchy of Needs might affect a person’s philanthropy. If we were to use Maslow’s hierarchy as a tool, we could not effectively reach people in the first two levels of giving with a fundraising appeal. Their focus is still on basic fundamental needs. Ideally, we would target those at the top two tiers of the pyramid. However, this is the smallest group and many never make it to the highest level of development. So how might a nonprofit use this hierarchy to help improve their advancement program? A nonprofit should take a multi-pronged approach to donor-base building. Identifying the Esteem and the Self-actualized donors is important. These will be those donors with a strong motivation behind their donations. Beyond identifying this group, work with your donors to fulfill some of the critical needs necessary to move up the hierarchy. I believe people innately strive for improvement beyond basic needs. Maslow called this motivation “Metamotivation.” We can foster this metamotivation within our donor base by engaging them at various need levels. For example, we can help build at the love/belonging level by creating a true community at our institutions which engage, involve, communicate and appreciate. We can supply the love and family atmosphere that they desire. Beyond that we can treat our donors with respect and show them how their involvement can mirror their need to respect others. By connecting with the donors needs, we can supply them with their needs, that will help them move up the hierarchy which in turn will put them in a better position to hear and respond to our nonprofit’s needs.
At the Laurus Strategies’ Non Profit and Public Affairs Workshop last week, we discussed the Cycle of Fundraising. The Cycle refers to the process of identifying, cultivating, asking, thanking and engaging donors. This diagram does more than show a path to a donor “ask”. It really illustrates how a fundraiser’s time should be spent in securing a gift. “The Ask” takes the smallest percentage of time at about 5%. Identification of prospects takes about 20% of the time and 25% then is used to educate and cultivate leading to an ask. The question you should ask yourself is,” If 50% of my time is spent getting to and making the ask, what do I do with the other 50% of the time?” The other 50% is at least equally as important as the first 50%. While the first 50% will result in a gift, your ability to thank and recognize, involve and engage donors will determine a donors willingness to continue to support your organization. Fundraisers often get caught up in the “short game” of the chase for gifts and neglect the stewardship necessary to show that the donor’s gift is appreciated and that it has a real impact on the organization’s mission. Without this work a donor is very likely to not repeat his philanthropy a second time. It is essential that fundraisers as well as those in leadership understand the importance of stewardship as well as cultivation. It is in that way that our organizations are not just chasing dollars, but truly building lasting relationships with donors and deep partnerships that will ensure our organizations stay strong and continue to fulfill our missions long into the future.