Showing Up—eighty percent of success

Just showing up is four fifths of success; at least that what Woody Allen asserts.  I would agree and say such also applies to fundraising.  The questions is what does “showing up” consist of?

There are any numbers of charitable organizations that have lots of people “showing up” for service.  Although well-meaning, simply arriving and announcing, “I’m here” isn’t sufficient to add value.  I’ve met a sizable number of nonprofit board members that, unfortunately, do believe that their presence at a board meeting is enough.  For those organizations whose boards are principally composed with individuals of that mindset, the result is predictable.  No, the result isn’t over bounding success.  It’s something more like mediocrity.

“Showing up” is arriving emotionally engaged, and with support—yes financial—and also with skills that are critical to the organization.  It’s being focused on the essential board duties of advocacy, setting policy and fundraising.  Doing all this while going out of your way also helps.

The time has passed when effective board membership is simply showing up in body or lending your name and prestige.  Organizations are being judged by not by the glories in your past but by what can be expected from them in the future.  Leadership—the board—is the future.  How does your organization look from this vantage point?

Larry C. Johnson
M. E. Grace & Associates