The Silver Bullet—influence

Yes there is a silver bullet in fundraising (well, almost). Nonprofits continually search for that one critical component that will send their fundraising totals over the top. The deep irony is that most charitable organizations already have this tool in their kit but are unable—or unwilling to use it.

The single most effective tool in the kit of a fundraiser is the influence of the organization’s leadership board members. No transactional approach to fundraising—galas, auctions, golf tournaments can even approach the power of this tool. Ditto for professional fundraisers’ solicitation skills.

The sad irony is that despite the influence that many members of leadership boards have within their personal and professional networks, most never use it. The most recent Cygnus Donor Survey lays it out rather starkly: Although a healthy majority of nonprofit board members (59%) are aware of their responsibility to raise money, less than a fifth ever evaluated their efforts and barely over a third had any requirement to give personally.

The good news is that this situation is readily “fixable.” Investing in serious and strategic board recruitment along with ongoing and comprehensive training and support for your organization’s board members will show its return handsomely on the bottom line—where it counts.

Larry C. Johnson
M. E. Grace & Associates