Monday, 30 April 2012

9 Ways Board Members Can Raise Money Without Fundraising

9 Ways Board Members Can Raise Money Without Fundraising

The good news is that there are lots of other things board members can do to bring money in the door. And remember, if you are financing not fundraising your organization, your definition of “bringing money in the door” should be very broad.
Here are 9 things you could ask your fundraising-shy board members to do:
  1. Help create or evaluate a business plan for an earned income venture. If you have business leaders or entrepreneurs on your board this would be a great use of their time and add tremendous value to your organization. If they can help you create a more profitable business, they are directly contributing to your organization’s bottom-line.

  2. Advocate for government money. You may have a board member that can’t stand the idea of asking their friends for money, but they are well connected in city, county, state or federal government and could open doors to you for government contracts, grants, fee-for-service or other government monies.

  3. Provide intelligence on prospects. If you have a board member that seems to know everyone in town, but for whatever reason refuses to ask any of them for money, they can still be incredibly useful. You may be getting ready to ask a prospective donor for $1,000, and this board member can tell you what that person has already given to, at what level, who else might know them and so on. When you make an ask, the more information you have going into it, the more successful you will be.

  4. Set up a meeting with a prospective customer. If your nonprofit is engaged in an earned income venture, you probably always need help with new sales. If you have a board member who is part of, or connected to, the target customer(s) of your business, they could open doors to new customers. Or at the very least, they could help you think through your sales and marketing strategies and make them  more effective so that you can attract more customers.

  5. Email, call or visit a donor just to say thanks. The stewardship of a gift is an often forgotten, but incredibly critical, part of the fundraising process. According to Penelope Burk’s annual donor survey, 84% of donors would give again if they were thanked in a timely way. And being thanked by a board member is a bonus. A donor who renews their gift to a nonprofit is providing more money for the organization.

  6. Explain to a prospect why you serve. A board of directors is a group of volunteers who care so much about the mission of the organization that they are willing to donate their time (a precious resource) to the cause. As a donor, it is affirming to see that a volunteer is contributing time, but it is even more motivating to hear, in the board member’s own words, why they feel compelled to serve this organization. That story can be enough to convince someone to give.

  7. Host a small gathering at your home. Over the course of a year, most people invite a gathering of friends and/or family into their home at least once. A board member could take a few minutes at their next dinner party, birthday celebration or Super Bowl feast to talk about something that is near and dear to their heart: the nonprofit on whose board they serve. They don’t have to ask people for money, but they could simply say, “If you’re interested in learning more, let me know.” And then the nonprofit’s staff could take it from there with those who are interested.

  8. Recruit an in-kind service. If a board member could remove an expense line item from a nonprofit’s budget that would directly contribute to a stronger bottom-line. For example, if a board member works at an ad agency, could they convince their company to provide some pro-bono marketing services to their nonprofit? But keep in mind, these in-kind donations must be of value to the nonprofit and provide an offset to a direct cost that the nonprofit would otherwise have to bear.

  9. Negotiate a lower price from a vendor. Do you have a board member with great negotiating skills (think of all of those lawyers on your board). Could they negotiate with your insurance providers, office space rental company, or printers, for a lower price? If so, that’s more money in the bank.
If you think of a board member’s “get” responsibilities in these much broader terms, then I find it difficult to imagine a board member who cannot bring money in the door. You just have to get strategic about how each individual board member can best contribute to the organization’s bottom-line.

Financing not Fundraising

Financing not Fundraising

As we approach the end of a pretty difficult year for nonprofit fundraisers, and look towards the start of what could be an equally difficult one, I’d like to outline a new vision for how the nonprofit sector gets funded.  Fundraising in its current form just doesn’t work anymore.  Indeed, traditional fundraising is holding the sector back by keeping nonprofits in the starvation cycle of trying to do more and more with less and less.
Really, what the sector needs is a financing strategy, not a fundraising strategy.  By that I mean that nonprofits have to break out of the narrow view that traditional FUNDRAISING (individual donor appeals, events, foundation grants) will completely fund all of their activities.  Instead, nonprofits must work to create a broader approach to securing the overall FINANCING necessary to create social change.
What does this new approach to financing the nonprofit sector look like?  It looks like this:
  1. Nonprofits understand that funding programs and general operating expenses is not enough to survive and thrive.  All activities that bring money in the door (individual donors, foundation grants, earned income, government contracts, loans etc) are integrated and part of a larger financing strategy that supports the short AND long term goals, as well as the programs AND infrastructure of the organization.
  2. Nonprofits no longer segregate fundraising from their other activities (programming, administration).  All elements of a nonprofit’s operations, including the money-making ones, are fully integrated and moving forward together.
  3. Individuals, who make up 80%+ of the private money entering the sector, become a greater focus of fundraising efforts, rather than corporate or foundation philanthropy (which make up 5% and 12%, respectively, of the private money entering the sector).
  4. Fundraising messaging moves from an emphasis on the tin-cup mentality and donor benefit, to an emphasis on the social impact a  nonprofit is creating.
  5. Money is raised to support not only the direct services that a nonprofit provides, but also the infrastructure (staff, technology, systems, evaluation, training) of the organization.  Nonprofits understand that they will only get better at delivering impact if they have an effective organization behind their work.
  6. Other types of capital vehicles (like loans, equity) are added into a nonprofit’s financing mix.
  7. Earned-income opportunities are evaluated and, if appropriate, launched.  Earned income is not right for every nonprofit, but it is worth exploring and analyzing opportunities as they come and understanding and being open to the revenue-generation possibilities.
  8. The net revenue of every money-making activity a nonprofit engages in (events, individual fundraising appeals, corporate sponsorships, earned income, etc.) is calculated and evaluated.  Low net revenue activities are replaced with higher net endeavors.
  9. Nonprofits move away from “push” fundraising and marketing efforts that force their message on innocent bystanders (like direct mail appeals) and towards “pull” fundraising and marketing efforts that bring interested donors/prospects to the organization (like blogs, Twitter, Facebook, friend-raising events, etc.)
There really is a better way.  Nonprofits don’t have to wear out their fundraisers, their donors, their staff and their message.  By working towards financing their efforts as opposed to fundraising for them, they can get a lot closer to social impact.
If you want to learn more about how to apply the concepts of Financing Not Fundraising to your nonprofit, check out our Financing Not Fundraising Webinar Series.
To download the 27-page Financing Not Fundraising e-book, click here.

Related posts:
  1. Financing Not Fundraising: The Plan
  2. Financing Not Fundraising E-Book
  3. Financing Not Fundraising: Calculating the Cost of Fundraising
  4. Financing Not Fundraising Webinar Series
  5. Financing Not Fundraising: Aligning Money and Mission
About the Author: Nell Edgington is President of Social Velocity (, a management consulting firm leading nonprofits to greater social impact and financial sustainability. Social Velocity helps nonprofits grow their programs, bring more money in the door, and use resources more effectively. For more information, check out Social Velocity consulting services and clients.
Monday, December 14th, 2009 Capacity Building, Financing, Fundraising, Nonprofits, Planning

21 Comments to Financing not Fundraising

Melinda Lewis
December 15, 2009
Absolutely–maybe this necessity will be the mother of some needed invention! I’d just add that we also need to be strategic and courageous with our advocacy, so that nonprofit organizations are getting what we deserve from public sources, as well, which have largely retreated from their former investments and, in many cases, are at least implicitly responsible for some of the challenges/needs that many nonprofits–at least those in the human services/community development/maybe environmental realms– are trying to fill. Less ‘demand’, in this case, would be a welcome thing!
Nell Edgington
December 15, 2009
I completely agree with you. Just as we need to rethink how nonprofits are funded, we need to rethink how government supports social impact. There needs to be much change there as well.
Teofilo Tijerina
December 15, 2009
I love the article Nell. I’m happy to report that we have adopted some and are modifying our approach to align with your recommendations.
I am however struggling to find Philanthropists that think beyond geography. It seems most folks I know are very focused on their hometowns or cities, and not interested in new ideas, approaches, or projects unless they impact their local community. And since we focus in impoverished areas, the existence of philanthropic capital in those communities is low, and often comes with strings attached or favors in return.
Nell Edgington
December 16, 2009
I think the key to raising philanthropic capital in impoverished areas is to find philanthropist who you can convince in a compelling way that the impact you are creating is important to them. As a simple example look at the tremendous amount of philanthropic aid that is going to the poorest areas of Africa right now. The philanthropists who are investing there see no benefit to the communities from which they personally come, however they are very committed to the impact they are seeing in those African communities. You have to figure out how to “sell” the impact you are creating in a way that is compelling to investors.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Volunteering- Reasons and Benefit

Different types of people volunteer for many different reasons, but one thing that unites them all is that they find it challenging, rewarding and varied.

Volunteering can add a great deal to your life and the lives of beneficiaries of the organisation for whom you volunteer. It offers you a chance to become involved in a specific project or with our organisation Erinlayo, as well as an opportunity to meet new and like-minded people. It also gives you the chance to try out something different to your 'everyday' job or routine life, which may lead on to new career options.

Erinlayo Foundation benefit from the input of volunteers by gaining a new and valued perspective on our work as well as the precious resource of time. Even a small commitment can have a lasting effect on an organisation and the people it represents.

Here are some of the reasons why people chose to volunteer:-

Make a positive difference
Gain skills
Make new friends

Have fun
Keep busy
Use existing skills

Gain work experience
Give something back
Sample a career
Do something different from paid job today;

Volunteering opportunities come in many different guises, from long-term regular commitments to one-off individual or group projects. Above all, it’s a chance to make a real difference.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Worlds Aids Day

Started in December 1st, 1988, World AIDS Day  is not just about raising money, but also about increasing awareness, fighting prejudice and improving education. World AIDS Day is important in reminding people that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done.

It is not because HIV/AIDS continue to attack young adult as they make their way into the world and start families. Or as Elton John said, it (AIDS) devastates household incomes and national economies, propelling the perceptual cycle of poverty.
It is poverty that lead many to the road of infections or engage in activities that resulted in their infections,

it is poverty that lead many to seek treatment from unqualified medical practitioner, that uses unsterilised needle.
It is a disease that has claimed the lives of millions of nurses, teachers, doctors, miners, soldiers, farmers and craftsmen men and women, these are are army of ordinary men and women necessary in develping the society in the fight against poverty.

As you read this I will urge that you make a contribution towards medical treatment, The need for this has never being higher in a time when funding is not keeping in line with needs , And according to Bill Clinton the most promising way is through very large numbers of people with small donations.