Board volunteers bark back: Part 1 of 3

Yesterday’s blog post titled “Hey board members: Sit – Lay Down – Roll Over” looked at board members who agree to “sit” on non-profit boards but don’t seem to understand they’ve been asked to “serve” on those boards. So, I developed an online survey and randomly emailed 32 board volunteers. In that survey I asked questions about their non-profit’s board development practices and their opinion on how to recruit more engaged board volunteers. I want to thank the 17 individuals who took a little time out of their day to respond to the questionnaire. I will share the results of my unscientific questionnaire with you today, tomorrow and Thursday.

My first question to board volunteers was: “Does the non-profit board on which you serve operate with a board-approved, written Board Development Plan?” Here were their responses: 14 said YES, 2 said NO, and 1 said I don’t know.

I don’t know about you, but my heart is uplifted to see so many “yes” responses because non-profit agencies will NEVER recruit engaged board members to “serve” on their boards without a written strategy in place. In my opinion, organizations need to have a written board development plan that spells out how to identify, prioritize, recruit, orient, recognize, and evaluate potential prospects and actual board volunteers. I am reminded of this old proverb, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”

My second question to board volunteers was: “Does the non-profit board on which you serve evaluate board volunteers every year?” Here were their responses: 9 said YES and 8 said NO.

These responses tell me that many board development plans probably only focus on recruiting and very little else. Board development plans that don’t have an annual volunteer evaluation component are missing an opportunity in my opinion. I suspect the biggest reason many plans don’t call for annual evaluations is because people hate to be judged. I suggest metrics such as: board meeting attendance, committee meeting attendance, fundraising participation (cultivation, solicitation and stewardship), and volunteerism.  The annual board volunteer evaluation doesn’t have to be judgmental . . . it can be designed as a way to: 1) look back and celebrate their contributions and 2) ask them how it is going and what needs to change in the upcoming year for their volunteerism to be meaningful and rewarding. I’ve personally found that volunteers who are disengaged typically use their annual evaluation meeting to quit or make the necessary adjustments to engage at a higher level.

My third question to board volunteers was: “If you answered YES to the previous question, please check all forms of evaluation that your organization uses to evaluate board members.” Here were their responses:

  • 8 respondents said: Every board volunteer completes a self-evaluation once per year”
  • 8 respondents said: “The Board Development Committee completes an evaluation on each board member once per year”
  • 4 respondents said: “Every board member is asked to complete an evaluation focused on the entire board’s effectiveness”

Multiple board evaluation tools are effective. Self-evaluation allows volunteers to take a good hard look in the mirror at themselves, and peer evaluation provides an external point of view. When done in conjunction with each other, the evaluation process can be powerful. When only one form of evaluation is used, it is like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the peanut butter.

Tomorrow I will share a number of respondents’ answers to this question: “How would you answer the question posed in the Facebook message from my non-profit friend? As a reminder, her question was “What can we do to help shift that mentality – to help professionals and individuals with the means to give that it is a SERVICE to the greater good, not just a spot to occupy around a conference room table?” Stay tuned because I assure you the answers are interesting!

If your organization uses an annual board volunteer evaluation process, what are your evaluation metrics? How do you conduct your year-end meetings? Who is involved? Do you think it is effective and why do you think that? Please use the comment box and weigh-in because we can all learn from each there.

Here is to your health!

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

Hey board members: “Sit – Lay Down – Roll Over!”

Have you ever been at a meeting of your board of directors, looked around the table as they methodically plowed through the agenda, and come to the conclusion that no one was really engaged? Maybe you thought … “Ugh! They’re just sleep walking through the board meeting and regurgitating whatever had been fed to them in the days prior to the meeting.”

A few weeks ago, a non-profit friend of mine sent me a similar Facebook message with an interesting question:

“While on a CEO call today at a rather large, rather highly respected law firm, I noticed that the ‘Head Cheese’ stated (more than once) that the partners and associates in his firm ‘sit’ on non-profit boards.  It struck me that they have the expectation to sit, not SERVE on boards.  Attorneys are notoriously conscious of the words they choose to use. So, it struck me as interesting the first time it came out of his mouth.  Then he said it again.  And again.  What can we do to help shift that mentality? To help professionals and individuals with the means to give that it is a SERVICE to the greater good, not just a spot to occupy around a conference room table?”

I thought this was a GREAT observation! It conjured up the image of my dog, Betrys (who is the featured picture in today’s blog post), sitting around a non-profit boardroom table. Being an obedient dog (most of the time), I imagined her doing exactly what she was told by the executive director and agency staff.

I highly doubt that any of us would like a boardroom full of obedient dogs responsible for the future of our non-profit organizations.  However, I am left wondering “how many of our non-profit organizations have constructed boards with volunteers whose expectation is to just ‘sit through meetings’ and occasionally pitch-in when told they are needed to do something?”

So, out of curiosity, I put together an online survey yesterday and emailed it out to 32 random non-profit board volunteers in my address book. I asked them questions about their agency’s written board development plan. I also shared the Facebook message from early in this blog post and asked them how they would answer my friend’s question. Over the next few days as I collect responses, I will share them with you here in hopes that we can all learn from each other.

In the meantime, please use the comment box below to weigh-in with what you think the answer to my friend’s question should be. What do you do at your non-profit organization to ensure you don’t have a bunch of dogs sitting around your boardroom table? How do you prospect new board members? What criteria do you use to evaluate those prospects? What does your recruitment process look like? Is there an orientation for new recruits? Do board volunteers get ‘evaluated’ on an annual basis and what does that look like? What role (if any) do donors play in your board development process? Is there a role for donors here?

Here is to your health!

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

Tips for surviving a double dip recession

Yesterday I blogged about my neighbor Larry and how I see his handyman business as an economic indicator and proof the economy is dipping again into recession. I also cited recent survey data indicating that donors are planning to tighten their belts in the coming months. If you didn’t get a chance to read that post, click here and then come back for today’s follow-up post.

While there is nothing any of us can do to stop the economic tides from rising and falling, I submit that there are things we can do to prepare for such occurences and the following are a few tips you might want to consider:

Tip#1: Get closer to your donors and not farther away.
Donors are part of your non-profit family. During tough times, families pull together. They don’t ignore each other. Your instinct might be to give donors space, solicit them less, and be respectful of limited resources. Even though these are good intentions, the message you’re sending is that donors are only your friends during prosperous times when they have money. Don’t send the message that donors are only ATMs in your eyes. Find ways to engage them.

Tip #2: Tell donors what you are doing to help your clients get through tough economic times.
Donors like to see “return on investment” when they make a charitable contribution. When recession-thinking permeates our donors thoughts, lets embrace the moment and show them how their contributions are making a difference in the lives of others. Don’t use “guilt messaging” to solicit. Use “we’re all in this together” and “neighbors-helping-neighbors” as part of your stewardship messaging.

Tip #3: Invest in volunteer management and promote volunteerism like never before.
There will be people who want to support your mission, but cannot do so financially during tough times. Providing people an opportunity to support your mission by donating their time will: 1) help you pull them closer and not push them away (see first tip), 2) cultivate future donors (because the recession will end one day and they will be able to donate again), and 3) help your agency’s staffing budget as you might be considering budgetary cuts.

Tip #4: Invest a lot more time in re-building or manicuring your board of directors.
Your case for support will never be greater than now. As you approach board volunteer prospects, they won’t need any convincing that you need as many talented people around your board room table to help make difficult decisions and weather an economic storm. Find the time! Figure out how much time your organization spent on board development in 2010, then double or triple the amount of time you spend on it going forward. Doing so will help you survive and position you to be very strong on the other side of this recession.

Tip#5: Don’t stop soliciting individuals.
Individual giving is where it is at in charitable giving. Spend most of your time cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding individuals and less time on foundations, corporations and government. This is a great time to invest in building your annual campaign or annual fund drive and dial back a little bit on special events. Think about it for a moment . . . during tough times people eliminate “frills” like entertainment. Many of your donors probably see their special event contributions are “nights out on the town with a charitable angle”. I assure you that they look at their annual campaign pledge very differently. Don’t eliminate all of your events, but now might be the time to kill old and tired events.

There are literally two or three more handfuls of tips I would’ve provided, but I’m running out of space. So, I encourage you to use the comment box below to weigh-in with your thoughts, tips and current strategies. We can all learn from each other!

Here is to your health!

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

Who should we blame?

In yesterday’s blog, I talked about philanthropy in other countries and it generated a comment from a reader that got me thinking. She said that other more “socialist” countries reduce the need for philanthropy because they tax their people heavily and provide those services. As I chewed on this comment, it got me thinking about the role that government funding has played in the USA for countless numbers of non-profit organizations, and I started worrying about the future.

I cannot think of many non-profit organizations (except for churches and maybe the Boy Scouts of America) who didn’t jump on the government funding bandwagon back in the 1990s. Government tax roles were healthy and there was talk of surpluses. It became easy for non-profit leaders to cozy up to their local politicians and secure a bushel basket full of government funding, which made it easier to expand services and dial-back the breakneck fundraising pace some organizations had set for themselves.

When the human body stops using certain muscles, those muscles atrophy and turn into saggy fat. I am left wondering how many non-profit organizations got used to government revenue streams and lost their edge with regards to resource development and fundraising.

As you know, I just returned from a European vacation and they are in the exact same boat as the USA with regards to debt, deficits and economic pressures. I believe we can look at what is happening in Europe as a preview of what is about to happen in the USA with regards to government spending. I can sum it up in one word . . . “AUSTERITY” . . . which means cuts to government services.

I read a front page newspaper article while in London about how a neighboring city was eliminating curbside garbage service for their residents. Our Canadian dinner couple on the cruise ship also shared with us that their hometown of Toronto was looking at similar proposals around garbage pick-up, closing parks and museums, and increasing student-teacher ratios.

I really don’t think that it is a jump in logic to assume that there will be many non-profit organizations here in the USA who will see their government funding eliminated or substantially reduced in the upcoming few years.

Since you can’t just turn on and off the fundraising spigot (remember that fundraising all about relationships which often take time to develop), I recently have heard a number of my non-profit friends talking about service cuts and downsizing . . . and downsizing means people losing their jobs and clients losing services they depend upon.

So, who is to blame for this situation?

  • Should we blame the government and our politicians for creating an unsustainable situation that created an environment of entitlement throughout the non-profit community?
  • Should we blame non-profit CEOs and resource development professionals for securing government funding without realistic sustainability plans to replace those revenue streams?
  • Should we blame non-profit board volunteers for allowing their staff to “do whatever it takes” to secure funding without asking the tough questions pertaining to sustainability? Or for possibly shirking their fundraising responsibilities because government funding made it easy to do so?

Maybe I am just grasping at straws here, but perhaps the creators of the television cartoon show, “South Park,” got it right when they suggested we should all just “Blame Canada“. Click on the link to enjoy Robin Williams’ performance.  LOL

All kidding aside, I know that the blame game is typically a dumb activity, but I seriously wonder what you think? Who do you think played a bigger role in digging many non-profit organizations into this hole? And the better question is: What do you think those “overly-dependent-government-funding” organizations need to start doing today to avoid hitting the iceberg that is in front of us all? Please weigh-in and share your opinion because we can learn from each other!

Here is to your health!

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

From the mouths of donors: Part 2

After more than 60 posts to this blog over the last few months, I’ve decided that many of you are probably tired of hearing me pontificate day-in-and-day-out. So, this week I am changing things up a little bit. Last week I launched an anonymous online survey via various social media channels and my email address book. I’ve picked four really awesome responses to share with you this week that I think provide excellent lessons for non-profit and fundraising professionals. Enjoy!!!

Again … the survey was anonymous because I wanted the truth, the whole truth and nothing up the truth. Here is what the today’s highlighted survey respondent said:

Question: Using the comment box below, please write a paragraph or two answering some of the following questions. Of the charities to whom you currently donate money, which one is your favorite?  How did you first learn about this charity? Why did you make that first contribution? Why are you still contributing? How do you know that your contribution is making a difference? What does the charity do to demonstrate it is having an impact?

Answer:  My favorite Charity is Boys & Girls Club of Elgin.  I am still contributing to BGCE because they keep the kids off of my lawn.

Question: Understanding that these are tough economic times and no donor’s contribution ever should be taken for granted, what does your favorite charity need to do (or show you) in order to renew your support and/or increase the size of your contribution?

Answer: I know it is a buzz word, but “sustainability” [is something I want to see in order for my gift to be renewed].  I mean that in a holistic sense.  Can they find the next great CEO, can they keep up the good fundraising work, and can they take their fundraising to the next level?

Hmmm … how interesting that this donor is looking at their charitable contribution as an investment? Here is what struck me about these responses:

  1. I am reminded that every donor has a unique reason for giving, and it doesn’t always match-up with your marketing and stewardship messages. Here is where listening to your donors might allow you to become a more donor-centered organization. I bet this donor would love to see some outcomes data on how after-school programming reduces juvenile delinquency and improves school behavior and performance.
  2. In this donor’s second response, I am reminded that one reason organizations that are seen as being “poorly run” (and I am looking at both board and staff) don’t do as well with fundraising because donors don’t like to throw their money away.

How does your organization demonstrate sustainability to donors?  What tools do you use to measure and then report your organization’s health? Do you track how successful these tools are? If so, how did you do that? Please use the comment box below to share because we can learn from each other.

Here is to your health!

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

I quit

A few days ago, an Executive Director friend of mine from Indiana emailed me a link to an article in Philanthropy Journal titled “Exodus of Executive Directors Expected“. I encourage everyone to read this article in full because it is deeply disturbing. It is also very telling about the state of the non-profit sector.

According to a survey cited in the article, 67-percent of respondents said they plan on resigning their executive director position in the next five years. While there are many reasons cited, I found it most interesting that many of the reasons deal with the board of directors. I suspect much of this originates from conflicts such as:

  • board members not engaging enough in fundraising and resource development
  • board volunteers having unrealistic expectations of staff
  • disagreements over how to address economy related issues (e.g. can we cut our way out of this budget hole versus let’s roll up our sleeves and do some fundraising)

We can go on and on with possible examples, but let’s stop here because all of this really isn’t the issue. There are two bigger problems

  1. Only 17-percent of organizations who participated in the survey have written succession plans.
  2. Fundraising is ALL about relationships and when human capital starts leaving your organization it can impact the relationships your organization has with volunteers and donors.

So, there are a few options I suggest you start considering:

  • Be proactive and ask your organization’s HR Committee (or set-up an ad hoc committee) to start working on written succession plan. Here is a link to some great resources published by The Foundation Center.
  • Roll up your sleeves and start doing the hard work associated with engaging and reinvigorating your board. I blogged about this a few weeks ago. Click here if you want to re-read the post I titled “Really? An Exhausted Board?”
  • Ask different board members and fundraising volunteers to engage in stewardship of your existing big donors. When your most important donors have multiple relationships with board and staff, they are less likely to be upset when their one and only connection to your organization quits.

While it is almost impossible to prepare for someone’s resignation, there are things you can do to get your organization in the best possible position to deal with it when it arrives. And keep your fingers crossed that it doesn’t come in the form of a YouTube video like this one “The BEST EVER way to quit a job!! HOAX“.

Do you sense frustration out there among non-profit staff? Do you agree with the Philanthropy Journal article? Do you think there are ways to avoid the exodus or best prepare for a scenario like this? Please use the comment box below and share your thoughts. We can all learn from each other.

Here is to your health!

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

I will survive

With more than 15-years in the non-profit trenches, I’ve come to the conclusion that non-profit work is incredibly difficult and demanding. This probably explains why most of the “non-profit lifers” I know seem to have a theme song that defines their non-profit spirit and serves as a motivator during the tough times.

My non-profit theme song is none other than “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor. Click here to enjoy a few tracks from this iconic song.

The reason Gloria found her way into my head this morning is because of a conversation I had with a dear friend about services I’m thinking about including in the business plan for my new consulting practice. She said something that really concerned me about the state of our non-profit community. Of course, it was Gloria that used to get me through troubled times, which is why she probably returned this morning to soothe my troubled non-profit soul.

Specifically, the thing she said that still has me in its grips is that most non-profit organizations she works with or watches are in “survival mode” and they don’t seem to have the time or resources to engage in capacity building, technical assistance or training. She went further and shared her observations that non-profits are mostly engaged in budget trimming, downsizing, and complaining about the economy and their “fate”.

On a “personal note” … if this is true, then my new business will have more than a few challenges. It is a good thing I LOVE challenges!

On a “bigger picture note” … if this is true, then we (the non-profit sector) have a bumpy road ahead of us because I’ve always thought that “survival mode” was a euphemism for a slow and painful death. Lou Holtz said it best when he said, “In this world you’re either growing or you’re dying so get in motion and grow.”

So, here I am stuck with many questions in my head and thought I’d pose them to my blog subscribers and anyone listening out there:

  • Do you share this opinion that non-profits are hunkered down in survival mode and not investing in revenue growth, board development, program development and expansion?
  • If any, what technical assistance services do you see other non-profits investing their time, energy and money into?
  • Where do you think non-profits should be focusing their time, energy and resources that will give them the best chance to survive over the long-term? Board development? New donor cultivation efforts? Current donor stewardship efforts? Planned giving? Endowment building? Annual campaign development? ePhilanthropy? Strategic Planning?

Please use the comment box to weigh-in with your thoughts. Your input will help me with my business plan, but I think it can also help others get a better idea on how to “survive” during tough economic times. Because if we fail to see that we can’t “cut our way to better health,” then I will have to alter my version of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” to something that looks like this … click here to see this ugly alternative ending.

Here is to your health!

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

Who’s on first?

Since I quit my job and started work on opening a consulting practice, I decided to take some time-off this summer to work on “me” which included getting involved in a few volunteer opportunities and miscellaneous projects. I am so glad I decided to do this because it has served as a gentle reminder that well-run meetings and a sense of organization is critical for any non-profit organization to engage and inspire volunteers.

Have you ever found yourself sitting in the middle of meeting thinking that you are in the middle of this very famous Abbott & Costello sketch titled “Who’s On First“?

Well, I have felt this way on a few very recent occasions and it can be very frustrating, which is why I thought I’d share some thoughts today on how to stop chasing your volunteers from the room. Here are just a few simple ideas:

  • Develop an agenda — this way people know what is being discussed and decided.
  • Send the agenda out in advance of the meeting — this way participants can formulate and focus their thoughts and not just organically babble.
  • Recruit a volunteer leader who can stick to the agenda — this minimizes time “down the rabbit hole” and keeps people’s time from being wasted.
  • Take meeting notes — meeting notes with a section focused solely on “action items” will remind participants who agreed to do what and by when. It will also ensure we didn’t just meet for no reason and keep us focused on actionable tasks. Send the meeting notes out immediately after the meeting as a reminder rather than handing them out at the beginning of the next meeting.
  • Honest recruiting — be clear in writing with a volunteer job description during the recruitment process. There is nothing worse than showing up to a meeting and finding out it is something very different (and more involved) than what you thought you had agreed to do.
  • Find painless ways to coordinate schedules and schedule future meetings — Try setting a future meeting date/time while you have everyone in the room. If that isn’t possible, use easy and free technology tools like Doodle or Tungle.  Stop the endless and confusing email threads.

As the Baby Boom generation retires (e.g. potential volunteers) and the volunteer-minded Millennial generation comes of age, non-profit organizations need to get better at volunteer management. Those who fail to do so will fall short in the following areas: board development, program/operations, and fundraising & resource development (e.g. annual campaigns, special events, etc).

Here is one interesting handbook resource I ran across online from the University of Texas at Austin titled “An Executive Director’s Guide to Maximizing Volunteer Engagement“. I thought I’d point those of you toward this manual just in case someone you know wants to stem the tide of volunteers who have been seen running and screaming after meetings.

The ideas in today’s post are only the tip of the iceberg. Please use the comment box to share how you have dealt with a frustrating volunteer opportunity. If you are a non-profit professional, please weigh-in with additional engagement strategies or things to avoid. We can learn from each other!

Here is to your health!

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

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

Really? An exhausted board?

I opened a LinkedIn message from an old friend yesterday who asked me the following question: “I’ve got a board member that wants to give a challenge gift. What is the best way to present this to the board of directors that is exhausted of giving?”

In my response, I encouraged him to engage the donor as well as a few key board members in answering this question. However, this email weighed on my mind during a sleepless night and I awoke this morning both tired and with many more questions such as:

  • How exhausting can it be to open a checkbook and write a check? It isn’t like running a marathon! You have to watch this YouTube video on “Marathon Exhaustion“. If this is what your board looks like during any of your fundraising campaigns, then we have to talk soon! LOL
  • Who is responsible for situations like this one? Is there shared blame between volunteers and staff? Or can this quite simply be a case of bad staff leadership?
  • Is it possible that a “challenge gift” can solve a board burnout issue? What should be done to inspire and engage board members to once again become enthusiastic donors and volunteer solicitors?

After giving it some thought, I came to the realization that I’ve seen situations like this too many times. Oftentimes, this is what is going on:

  • Both staff and board lose sight of mission and they skip from fundraiser-to-fundraiser. It almost sounds like that “It’s time to make the donuts” commercial that Dunkin Donuts ran forever ago.
  • Board and staff start taking each other for granted and the tension builds.
  • Apathy sets in … board volunteers fall short on a few fundraisers and staff somehow magically find solutions by either trimming expenses or going out on solicitation calls by themselves. This creates a negative feedback loop and the cycle has begun.
  • Everyone has gotten too cozy with each other and board development efforts have been put on ice. New volunteer prospects aren’t identified or they come from the same old inbred circles. Volunteer training opportunities are not invested in. Annual board volunteer evaluation systems are shelved.

While I can make a living by blogging on this topic alone, let me just share a few things for you to think about. There are 9-keys to inspiring your volunteers and you need to be firing on all nine cylinders to be successful: 1) maintain mission-focus, 2) involve everyone in planning, 3) create a sense of “positive” urgency, 4) develop accountability tools, 5) celebrate ALL efforts (both successes and failures), 6) bring a sense of organization to everything, 7) make sure all meetings are well run and important, 8 ) set expectations up front during the recruitment process (stop ‘soft selling’ people), and 9) invest both time and money in training opportunities for volunteers. I want to thank Boys & Girls Clubs of America for teaching me these 9-keys because they have forever changed my life.

Here are two additional articles on this subject that I thought were pretty good:

So, if the shoe was on the other foot, how would you have advised my friend? Do you have any thoughts you’d like to share? How have you dealt with similar sitations at your organization? What have you done to put the “FUN” back in fun-draising? How have you continually kept mission-focus? Please use the comment box to weigh-in. We can learn from each other!

Here is to your health!

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