Let's Raise Some Money
Insights from Karen Climer about fundraising and nonprofit organizations

What Would You Do With $10,000?

September 3rd, 2014 by Karen Climer

Recently, I had an organization approach me about writing a direct mail letter for them.  This is an organization that derives most of its revenue from membership fees.  They receive some small donations, but they do not have a history of soliciting donations.

I was having a hard time grasping why this organization needed more money other than for the security that comes with having money in the bank.  I asked the board, “If I gave you $10,000 (a huge gift for this organization) right now, what would you do with it?”

“We could subsidize the membership of students.”

“We could travel to Tallahassee to lobby.”

“We could provide more education to the community.”

“I would really like to have our own building.”

Every board member had a different idea about what they would do with the money.  Even after a lengthy discussion, there was nothing that remotely resembled consensus.

I told them they didn’t need for me to write a direct mail letter.  They needed a strategic plan.

Ask your board this question, “If someone gave us $___ (a huge amount for your organization), what would we do with it?”  Everyone needs to have the same answer.  Everyone on the board needs to know that the priority is scholarships or the new building or whatever it is for your organization.  If the board doesn’t know the priorities, your problem isn’t lack of money.  It’s lack of direction.

Posted in Board of Directors, Planning

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