When new members join nonprofit Boards, one of the first things we ask of them is to identify friends, family and work colleagues with the hope of expanding our donor base, right?
But do their contacts really develop into the active supporters we hope they will?
With my current client, I noticed they weren’t….so we developed a strategy to improve our communication to them.
Here’s what we did.
Recognizing that it is our job to educate these folks about the mission of our organization before they are asked for a gift, we mailed an introductory letter to the new prospects. The letter introduced the mission, and described their friend’s new role as Board member. It requested the recipient’s blessing to continue to share information with them about their friend’s new nonprofit venture. The board member signed the letters and mailed them in a plain envelope that had the board member’s home address as the sender. It looked very personal.
Then, once each month for the next two months, we provided this board member with brief mission-specific success stories about a participant in our program. They mailed these to the same individuals with a brief personal one line message.
Finally, our holiday appeal dropped. These too, went with a personal note from the Board member. Now, this group of individuals had a personal tie with the mission, had been educated about the great work we do, and were invited to contribute. The client is already seeing the results from this early education and cultivation, and received a $500 gift.
If your nonprofit plans to add Board members in 2017, consider integrating this strategy. Remember, we must educate, and cultivate before we ask for support.
by: Michelle Jimenez, Senior Consultant HUB Philanthropic Solutions