Beyond the obvious of wanting to do something good and wonderful, what are the personal agendas an individual may want to advance in developing a relationship with your nonprofit? Do you know them? Can you meet them? Do you ignore them?
In the fairy-tale stories of nonprofits and the good they do, there is often a white knight – a donor, board member or volunteer – who champions the work of the organization; gives major gifts; opens doors to meaningful relationships with other donors; promotes your nonprofit to the powers that be; and helps ensure your sustainability, program excellence, and targeted messaging. The nonprofit can focus on its “real work” and this mythical person will attract resources and solutions to proactively solve all challenges.
Here’s what we’ve observed. Very few organizations live in this fairy-tale world. Those that do have built a culture of fundraising into their nonprofit or institution and that work has taken time and resources. They trust the nonprofits they are involved with because they and those that know them, fund them, and are vested in their success.
When you are ready and wanting to diversify your supporters, board members, and donors, take some time to consider whether you are able or willing to accommodate the unspoken needs of those who can bring more resources to the table. These can be hard questions to ask and answer, but we suggest taking a moment to put yourself in the shoes of someone who may think differently from you.
Consider the following questions. Will a relationship with your nonprofit advance my career path? Is the work of your nonprofit something I can be proud of amongst their family and associates? Will this relationship give me the profile I want in the community? Is this an opportunity for me to make an impact? Will I be associated with a “winner?” Can I count on your organization and its leadership to help me become more successful personally and business-wise? Can your organization keep its word and follow through with those who I introduce as potential partners and donors? Can you follow through on commitments in a timely fashion? Will you treat those I introduce you to with great care? Will you reach out to me only when you need me? What about the “little” things: Will phone calls and emails be returned?
Do you have the capacity and infrastructure needed to deliver on your vision? Are you open and transparent about your strengths, challenges, and where the “bumps in the road” may be?
How will I be recognized and honored for my contribution? Can you deliver on what was promised? Do you know how to proactively get in front of issues that could erupt into a scandal?
People spend their lives building a reputation, relationships, and social and professional networks. These mean something to them. Take a moment to consider your willingness to value what these mean to those who you want to become involved with your nonprofit. You might find yourself with some new friends.
Copyright 2021 – Mel and Pearl Shaw of Saad&Shaw – Comprehensive Fund Development Services. Video and phone conferencing services always available. Let us help you grow your fundraising. Call us at (901) 522-8727. www.saadandshaw.com.