Board member – “I don’t really know what I’m doing at this meeting. I care about the cause, and I agreed to be on the board because of that. But month after month I sit through our meeting and wonder, am I really doing any good?”
Executive Director – “If I could just get my board inspired, but month after month they show up, talk for an hour, and then go home. And that’s the ones who actually take the time to show up. When I send out the materials ahead of time, most don’t read it and come to the meeting unprepared.”
Ask board members and EDs what their primary objective should be in regards to raising money and donor development, and many times they will say “we need new donors.” No doubt every organization should be working hard to replenish its donor pool. But in terms of priority, the opposite view is the more effective — donor development must start with the heart of the organization — the board and key staff leaders, the core.
“Where the head goes, the body must follow.” So goes the old saying, and nothing could be truer. A board and chief executive working together can accomplish just about anything.
I love analogies – here’s one. A computer will never run faster than its central processor. No matter how many peripheral devices you add on, it is limited by the core processor speed. In fact, if you continue to add new devices and new software, it will actually slow down. Upgrade your core processor — develop your CEO/Board relationship.
Donor Development Challenge for this week —
If you’re an executive (ED, CEO, Pastor, Rabbi, etc.) — plan right now for a long one-on-one lunch with every member of your board. Be intentional — build trust, share visions, brainstorm strategies.
If you’re a board member — call your executive right now and take her to coffee. Find out what makes him tick, what she cares about most deeply, where he sees the greatest opportunities for your organization.
The results will be magic.