Moving Too Slowly?

What is the biggest challenge facing your organization right now? I feel confident most of you would say, “The need for more money.” And yes, I agree that is a major problem for most nonprofits.
 
Yet, the money is out there, even in tough economic times. Regardless of the economy, Americans continue to make generous contributions to organizations they believe are doing good things and are managing their money well.
 
If so much money is out there, why are so many nonprofits suffering from lack of revenue? We at Jessica White Associates hear a lot of reasons cited: the economy; donor fatigue; too many good causes seeking support, and more.
 
But the real answer has nothing to do with any of these reasons. The real answer is, board and staff members don’t ask – or they don’t ask effectively, or they don’t ask often enough. We all know the No. 1 reason people don’t donate is because they aren’t asked!
 
Why don’t board members ask? After all, they’re the single most important element in fundraising success. We’ve all heard the excuses:

  • “I was told when I joined the board I wouldn’t have to raise money.”
  • “I don’t know people with the ability to give large gifts.”
  • “I don’t like to ask for money from my friends.”

 
Aren’t these just that … excuses? The real reason most board members won’t ask for money stems from a lack of training and coaching on the process. And executive directors don’t – and can’t – teach them, because they don’t know how either. 
 
The old days of asking for a “gift” are gone. Today organizational leaders must be entrepreneurial and think of fundraising as an investment in a successful community enterprise. Potential donors need to know that they are missing out on a great opportunity by not investing in your organization with their philanthropic dollars. But many board members and, sadly, some executive directors are unable to share with enthusiasm the benefits of investing in their nonprofit.
 
And yourself …

  • Can you clearly and concisely explain the mission and vision of your organization?
  • Can you convince prospects and donors that you know exactly what your agency will do with its contributed revenue to address its chosen need focus?
  • Are you able to relay the costs of delivering your nonprofit’s service or product?
  • And, finally … Are you effective in all forms of communication with prospects and donors, demonstrating that your organization is the best choice to meet their philanthropic goals? 

If not, don’t worry that you’re “moving too slowly”. Jessica White Associates is ready to help you! We can work with board members, staff, and other key stakeholders to develop your case for support, and then teach the concepts and process for successful cultivation and solicitations.
 
Money is out there – if you’re prepared to ask!
 
Let Jessica White Associates help you become successful fundraisers. Contact Jessica White directly at Jessica@JessicaWhiteAssociates.com or 317-472-0925. Don’t be a victim of “moving too slowly” – contact us today!

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Are you a nonprofit board member leading without a vision?

Hope is not a strategy!

Why is it that so few boards lack a comprehensive vision for the organization they serve? If you’re a member of a nonprofit board and you don’t think your nonprofit can reach higher goals, why did you sign on to support them at all?

My sense is not that board members don’t want to have a vision – they just don’t know how to develop one for a not-for-profit. It’s not hard, but it often takes someone from outside the organization to help you see the potential.

We can help – email or give us a call at 317-472-0925 today!

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“ONWARD” – Have you read it?

Howard Schultz, CEO and Chairman of Starbucks, has written a captivating book about how Starbucks turned around from a downward spiral in 2008 to the most profitable year in the company’s history in 2010.

Think this has no merit for a nonprofit? Read the book and you might feel differently. Many nonprofits are spiraling down as I’m writing this, unable to figure out a way to turn around their organizations following the recession. Howard Schultz can give you some good pointers.

If you need more, contact us at Jessica White Associates. We have helped numerous nonprofits turn around their downward spiral and start a strong climb to their full potential, and we are ready to help you!

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JWA’s mailing address has changed: 2113 E. 62nd St., No. 359, Indianapolis, IN 46220. Our phone number, email, and website remain the same.

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IT’S NOT BRAIN SURGERY – OR IS IT?

A friend of mine recently opened a surgical clinic in an underserved area of his town. As a wealthy entrepreneur, he had the means to provide the clinic with the latest equipment. He used his connections in the community to building a strong board with individuals who were very successful in their own professional fields.

At the first board meeting, he assembled his colleagues around one of the operating tables and handed each of them a scalpel. With a smile expressing a job well done, he faced the group and said, “Welcome. You’re our new surgeons.”

Wait! What? No!! No one would really do this, would they?

Well, I certainly hope not. This is just fiction, but we do something similar everyday in our nonprofits. We select a pool of people to serve on our board because they have experience in their respective field which we need in our nonprofit. We assume that’s all they need to become successful board members.

But just because someone is a great attorney doesn’t mean he or she will know how to manage the finances of your homeless shelter. And the local real estate agent who is always the top of the sales chart doesn’t necessarily know how to market your theatre group.

Training a new board member is just as important to the success of your organization as the training board members receive in their own field of endeavor. Why then, do we fail to offer training to new board members?

Here are some of the common objections I often hear from clients:

  • We don’t have the time; we’re too busy right now. We’ll do it later.
    Later might never come. And, if it does, you might lose good board members to frustration while you are waiting for the “right” time.
  • I’ve tried to train board members in the past. They just don’t seem to get it.
    Maybe you haven’t provided the right training, either because you never received that training yourself or because you’re too close to the situation and forget what the board doesn’t know. Here is where a consultant can assist you.
  • We can’t afford to hire a consultant for board development.
    You can’t afford not to! Your board is crucial to the success of your organization. Providing your board members with all the tools they need to advance your organization and its cause is one of the best things your organization can do!

Contact us to help with your organization’s board development needs. We have successfully developed boards from all verticals of the not-for-profit community. In a pickle about your board? Contact Jessica White Associates at jessica@jessicawhiteassociates.com or by phone 317-472-0925.

JWA can move your board to high performers in less time and with less cost than you might think, and we’re ready to help!

SUGGESTED READING

Jessica White, president of Jessica White Associates, recently had the opportunity to contribute to “Nonprofit Turnaround: A Guide for Nonprofit Leaders, Consultants & Funders” – a new book by Jan Glick. “Nonprofit Turnaround” is timely, powerful, and full of practical insight and advice. Based on discussions with nonprofit leaders around the country, this book is for anyone working at any level in the nonprofit sector. Learn more by visiting www.janglick.com/publications.

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