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Five Fundamental Principles of the Fundraising Campaign – Straight Talk to Boards on their Fundraising Obligation

  1. Neither the ability to give nor the perception of need tells people of good will how much to give.
  2. The single determining factor in soliciting others for their donations to a cause is the standard of giving established by the donors’ peers.
  3. The level of giving behavior of the community will never rise above the standards set by the identified leadership of that community.
  4. The quality of your fundraising campaign, therefore, has little to do with the prospects and everything to do with the quality of behavior and commitment of the organization’s leaders, workers, and fundraisers.
  5. The campaign, in turn, is, in essence, an educational process and should therefore be designed to link the outer circles of the organization’s community with its internal circle of believers and supporters – to articulate giving expectations, to model exemplary giving, and to communicate the return on giving.

I believe in these five fundamental principles. My experience persuades me that adherence to these principles is the key to effective and superior fundraising results.

And, these principles provide the context for unequivocally declaring the imperative of the nonprofit board’s role in fundraising.

For those nonprofit executives who bemoan the failure of their boards to reckon with their role in fundraising or to adequately step up to the fund giving and fundraising plate, here’s my prescribed statement to their members:

“If you care enough, if you truly believe in the cause of the organization on whose board you sit, then you should have neither resistance to give as good and as much as you can nor fear about asking others to join you in supporting your cause. If you cannot fulfill this expectation, then perhaps this board is not the place for you.”

If the cause does not cause the board members’ pulse to hasten or make the hair on the back of their neck stand, then why are they on the board?

As stewards of the public trust in their organization, they should, by definition, protect the public’s investment and have their own skin in the game as an assurance of their commitment to accountability.

That’s what I think. It’s as simple as that.

I’d like to hear your perspective. Please comment, and share with others.

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