Recruit dogs to serve on your board

Yesterday, I made a quick trip to PETCO because I needed to purchase dog food and cat food. When I got home, I checked my receipt and discovered that the cashier had added 22 cents to my bill as a donation to the PETCO Foundation. Hmmmm? I didn’t remember agreeing to make that donation. So, I decided to call the store just in case they were experiencing a glitch in their cash register software.

Needless to say, there was no glitch in the store’s software program. I was informed that every cashier is “supposed to” ask each customer if they would like to round their bill up to the nearest dollar amount and donate that amount to the PETCO Foundation. While I definitely didn’t agree to make any donation, I also didn’t want to make trouble for a minimum wage employee or make a big deal out of 22 cents. However, this experience did get me thinking:

  • I wonder how many of us accidentally make charitable contributions as a result of a cash register promotion and a clerical mistake? I bet this happens often and all of us should heed the old warning of “Buyer Beware!”
  • I started wondering whether or not a cash register promotion is a successful fundraising solicitation tool. Well, guess what … The PETCO Foundation took in $10,473,709 according to their last 990 tax document. While this revenue came in from many sources, I can’t help thinking that chump change apparently must add up quickly.
  • Finally, I started thinking that these darn dogs are so clever! They have us trained to provide them with food, shelter, love and now they’ve become really successful at fundraising.

For those of you who think I am just being silly with the last bullet point, then please take a moment to watch this YouTube video and I challenge you to tell me that I am wrong. LOL

Here is the sad truth about everything I’ve just written today … The dog in the video is 10-times more effective at fundraising than those volunteers who serve on your board of directors who continually say: “I’ll do anything else, but please don’t ask me to fundraise”.  The next time you find yourself fretting about board engagement in your organization’s resource development efforts just remember that the problem might not be your resource development program. The problem might just be your board development efforts. It could also be that you don’t have enough dogs sitting around your board room table!

Is your organization successful at board development? Is 100% of your board room packed with what you would consider fundraising rock stars? If so, please share your secret best practices around prospecting, recruiting, orientation, evaluation, etc! We can learn from each other. Please use the comment box below to weigh-in with your thoughts on these questions or anything I said earlier about cash register campaigns, etc.

(By the way, the picture in today’s blog is our dog “Lady Betrys of Cardiff”.  We call her Betrys, and this is her big internet debut. LOL)

Here is to your health!

Erik Anderson
Owner, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847


  1. Some ideas I have, based on working with boards for years and being frustrated with their lack of donor cultivation commitment…

    Prospecting: Do they bring 3 W’s to the table? Or, at least one of the following: Wealth, Work, or Wisdom. If they do not bring wealth, do they bring wealthy networks and are they willing to leverage those networks for the good of the organization?

    Recruiting: Expose them to organizational outcomes, making sure they have a passion and commitment. Are they FAT? Faithful, Available, Teachable?

    Orientation: Outline expectations, ask for 10 over 10. That is 10 hours over 10 months for donor acquisition. One small event, or 10 cups of coffee – each one with a prospect and a key staff member [ED or DD].

    Evaluation: Ask them to reflect on their performance on donor acquisition and cultivation. Give them feedback and manage them toward success.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.