I met a donor once, that had reinvigorated his three-generation family run business and sold it to a Fortune 500 company. His family wore proudly the tradition of their work, but positioned it for global success. Another Board Member I met had dedicated his life to the law, then retired early to serve nonprofits. His success came early, then he decided to give back in his community.
It is always interesting to meet new Board Members or Donors and learn about the different types of work they do and interests they hold dear. From companies that are in tried-and-true business models to innovative entrepreneurial endeavors. And while our work in development is usually part tried-and-true (you have to ask, to receive), it also requires an entrepreneurial spirit as well (what worked at last year’s gala may not this year). We are all constantly innovating by finding new individuals to reinvent the way we tell the mission’s story and promote it’s impact.
But when we are stuck on an issue at work, from whom do we seek advice? Your Executive Director? Your colleagues? Our Board Members and Donors go to industry thought-leaders, look to their competitors and re-invent. And they problem solve their business issues constantly. In this way, they can be a significant, untapped resource to us.
When was the last time you brought a business question to a Board Member? Or a committed Donor? There is an adage about the best way to be interesting is to be interested. When was the last time you were interested in how your Board or Donors solve their business problems or prepare for the future.
Taking your business questions to them can be a great opportunity to build engagement. Everyone loves to be the expert from time to time. Allowing one of your donors or board members to help you problem solve is a great way to build camaraderie. Built trust and confidence. Build the relationship and further investment is sure to follow.
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