But how? I have a few tangible ideas for you to implement with your board. Not only are these ideas effective, they will start to create a new bridge to the idea that philanthropy is about so much more than the ask. Of all of the fundraising activities that we do, the ask is actually less than one percent of our time. So why do so many folks spend all their time focusing on it? Why is it that when we go to conferences, there are 10 or more sessions on solicitations, but less than three on thanking donors and cultivating relationships? Here's your turn to help shape that paradigm.
- Take a portion of the next board meeting and have an "attitude of gratitude" session. Teach your board why the simple act of saying thank you is so valued among your donors.
- Start having them each write 5 hand written notes at each board meeting- start by having them thank loyal donors.
- Have a thank a thon phone calling session at the next retreat where they call donors, you pick the segments, to say thank you. These calls are powerful for both people involved.
- Teach them about all the other activities they can participate in outside of solicitation. Where do you need help most?
- Bring a student, or beneficiary into the board meeting to have them tell their story of how the support has changed their lives.
- Take a portion of the board meeting and have them tell why they give back. Record this information so you can help them be reminded of why they are key to your organization. These stories are invaluable to you.
- Understand that these are super busy folks, so communicate with them in bullets or top points. I do an email called top five Friday that lists five unique but quick things they can do to help move a relationship forward. Each item should take less than 5 minutes.