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Raising money.

New board members frequently approach their positions with an unfortunate degree of reluctance because of one word: fund-raising. No matter how eager they may be to help govern their organization, they are intimidated by the though of asking people for money.

Fund-raising may be the most overwhelming word on the list of board responsibilities, but it is also the most important. If an organization is supported through annual giving, capital campaigns, and deferred gifts, then the board of directors must provide leadership and carry a major share of the fund-raising load, with staff in a supporting role.

When you accept a board position, you are committing to invest time, effort, and money to ensure that your organization succeeds in its mission. Once you have a grasp of that mission and acknowledge it as something important to you, your organization, and that segment of the world that your organization seeks to benefit, asking for donations should come easily.

Try using the following list of suggestions to clarify goals and turn fund-raising into a rewarding part of board participation. * Know your mission. To set an example of strong leadership, you must understand what you are trying to do, and why. Encourage all board members to develope a shared vision of where the association is going and what resources it needs to get there. Clearly communicate these objectives throughout the organization, from staff to members and potential donors. * Ensure the financial viability of the organization and its programs. People give to successful organizations. Make sure your association is accountable for past programs and fund-raising efforts. Donors may be reluctant to contribute funds if prior donations were never applied to designated programs. * Adopt an overall fund-raising goal for the board and an individual goal for each board member. Carefully evaluate the programs the organization would like to focus on and establish an amount that the board will contribute. Then decide what percentage of that figure each board member will be responsible for raising. Individual board members can then secure donations or make personal contributions to meet this goal. * Expect 100 percent financial participation from board members. As a member of the board, you are in a respected and influential position to encourage people to donate to your organization. The amount of your personal contribution is not as important as your concerted effors to bring in donations. * Realize that people have an inherent need to give. People feel good about giving money to worthy causes and seldom take offense at being asked to consider a contribution. Remember, there is not substitute for the personal touch. People are more receptive to requests from other people than they are to impersonal solicitations such as direct mail. * Develop a target list of people to contact. Networking is crucial to fund-raising. Consider previous donors, friends, business acquaintances, professional colleagues, donors to other organizations, people who have solicited you for donations, and people who have expressed interest in your organization or in a similar organization. * Develop a case statement and use it as your rationale for donor support. Before soliciting a donation, first answer the following questions: Why do you need the money? How will you use the money to meet those needs? How will fulfilling those needs perpetuate the overall mission of the organization? Define a specific goal, such as finding a cure for a disease, and demonstrate how your organization plans to accomplish that goal. For example, will you conduct research and educational campaigns? Most people want to have a positive impact, so show them how their contributions can make a difference. * Be prepared. Successful fund-raising is 90 percent preparation and 10 percent asking. Prospects must be sought out, selected, and evaluated. Find out what their interests are, what organizations they have donated to in the past, and how much they can give. Don't let inadequate preparation result in a first-time rejection that will scare you off from the entire process. * Make fund-raising fun. Consider having contests and awards within the board to create additional motivation for achieving goals. Fund-raising can be as rewarding for you and your fellow board members as it is for your organization.

T. J. Schmitz, CAE, is executive vice president and CEO of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, Indianapolis. James L. Cundiff is director of development at Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity.
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Society of Association Executives
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:fund-raising techniques
Author:Cundiff, James L.
Publication:Association Management
Date:Jan 1, 1992
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