“Promoting a Culture of Philanthropy ”
The RESOURCE Tank
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Do you remember the saccharin-sweet person you couldn’t stand to be around? Do you remember the always-a-downer person who never was invited to anything? Are you either of these two? If you are, or if you have someone on your staff who is, take a deep breath and start to make a plan for change, because saccharin-sweet and always-a-downer personalities can take down an organization.
Donors are looking for authentic. They want passion and enthusiasm. They want to feel good about what they are doing. How we approach them can make the difference between a “yes” or a “no”. Our demeanor can make or break a donor relationship.
Friendly is defined as having goodwill. Friendly is not hostile. Friendly is warm and comforting.
Are you friendly when you meet with donors? Or do your nerves take over and cause the meeting to feel tense (the opposite of warm and comforting)? There are four clues to improve your “friendly” factor, they are:
Recently I’ve been on a speaking binge. I’m not sure why the flurry of activity, but within the past few months I’ve received invitations to speak at several national, state and local conferences and to a variety of nonprofit organizations. I’ve enjoyed each opportunity to share my thoughts and meet new friends. I’ve been especially grateful for the excellent references and reviews I’ve consistently received from the groups I’ve been speaking to. It’s been a confidence-inspiring whirlwind of activity.
Yesterday I failed. It was a comedy of errors from beginning to end, but it wasn’t really funny.
My presentation fell flat. It was disjointed and probably confusing to the audience. It’s a wonder they didn’t ask me what I was talking about. Following the presentation, I couldn’t remember anything I said.
This experience has taught me seven important lessons to remember if you find yourself speaking to a group:
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”
Building a culture of philanthropy in your business or organization is a team-building effort that not only fosters a feel-good work environment but improves your bottom line.
Never doubt the power of philanthropy, which defined is the love of mankind.
Helen had it right.Read More
On this day of the financial training, as we were reviewing balance sheets and applying the “acid test” to determine a nonprofit’s financial standing, one organization was upside down with a ratio of .0494:1.05 (.05 in assets to every $1.05 in liabilities – not a good situation.)
The facilitator asked the group to comment on what should be done based on the negative ratio; one participant responded: “You better get out and get more donations!”
Now, I am pretty sure she was kidding, but there was that fleeting moments when the only thought in my mind (after much self-editing) was: REALLY?! And it prompted me to make this short blog post to remind all of us that our donors are not a go-to source for money when we’ve mismanaged or planned poorly.
Our donors are not ATM’s.
Executive directors have the responsibility to manage a financially solvent non-profit organization with AT LEAST a 1:1 ratio of assets to liabilities. And that really isn’t enough, because there is no room for error.
If the ratio begins to slip into the negatives, and the liabilities are greater than the assets, the Executive Director’s responsibility is to make changes within the organization to offset that dip. And where do you do that? Typically in your largest expense items: personnel, programs, etc. , or you can borrow money – not a recommended practice, but sometimes it’s necessary.
Donors are volunteers. They are partners. They are supporters. But they are not ATM’s.
I absolutely believe if management is doing their job, a donor will never be called upon to “save” the organization.
And that’s that.
OK, let’s do this. Pretend I am your donor. You’ve just nailed your personal appeal to me relating concisely and completely your organization’s efforts, your achievements, your goals, and your needs.
You’ve WOW’d me with data showing the expected long range effect of your work. It’s obvious that you are changing lives for the better. And now you look to me; I know you are about to ask me something in an attempt to engage me in your efforts. But all that’s going through my mind is W.I.I.F.M?
What’s in it for me? W.I.I.F.M? What’s in it for me? You’ve talked about you, and about your organization, but what about lil ol’ me? You know, the one with the checkbook….me, your donor?
Talking face-to-face with potential donors can be challenging, but if we remember the simple rule of conversation, which is to ask questions of the other person and NOT talk solely about ourselves, it’s really fairly simple. Imagine attending a party and as you meet new people you start talking about yourself, nothing else (yes, we all know someone who does this – obnoxious, isn’t it?).
It’s not all that much different when you’re talking to your donors, making an appeal, or introducing a campaign…sure, you have to give them the information they will need to make a decision on their involvement, but why not frame your presentation from their viewpoint? Tell them what their involvement will do, who it will affect, how it will make a difference and change lives…remember, this is really about them, it’s not about you.
Tell a compelling story correctly, let them know what’s in it for them, and ask concisely.
You can do this…without being obnoxious!Read More