Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ideas that Work (102)

idea icon Keeping things simple

Thanks to all of you that contributed comments to the Century post and survey. On behalf of the the team at Scottish Rite Charities, I appreciate that you find this blog to be helpful to your efforts on behalf of your Learning Center. We will continue our work to support you. As requested, we will try to keep our postings to the point. We'll get a little more grant information up as well. As for today, however, I am going to give you the most useful information I have learned in my 27 years in the field:

Make your own gift first. Make a gift that is personally important and bespeaks your role as a board member of your Learning Center. And make it a straight out donation, not an event participation (the Learning Center shouldn't need to incur fundraising costs for your donation. Besides, the expectation on most dynamic boards is that you give and you participate as well as you can - one doesn't absolve you from the other).

The rationale for this statement isn't simply monetary. Most non-profits do not have a generous body like the Scottish Rite behind them. They need to have their closest allies ante up first to set a base of funds. The board is the closest set of allies. Second, the most important role of most boards is to ensure the financial stability of the program. Often that means asking others for support. If you aren't well committed to the LCs financially, how likely will you be to ask others to donate generously?

Do you want to get a leg up on your fundraising? Take the base you've gotten from Lexington, add to it personally generous commitments from the board. Have board members ask former board members to give as well. That is a good starting point that then defines the height of the remaining fundraising goal. I have found that the more you can acquire your reliable gifts and lower the net goal, the more easily attainable the ultimate goal is.

Good luck.


Anonymous said...

Steve I think this is a very apt point. I would also like readers to think about others involved in the centers "giving back" as well-directors, tutors etc.

Sandy Lane
Bay City

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