09 Oct Grand Decisions
This year at Rally, I conducted my Fundraising That Matters seminar on Saturday and also led a 90-minute workshop on the same topic on Monday. Monday’s workshop was packed with more than 150 – Eeeek! In both presentations I made my usual pitch for ALL board directors to give $1,000 – it’s not as much money as it used to be and directors are called upon to lead, including in giving. Tuesday night at the Hoedown, I had a follow-up conversation with one of the workshop attendees, and I realized I was not clear about (at least) this important point.
The way my comments got interpreted by (at least) this one person was that land trust boards should be made up of wealthy people. In fact, that’s not at all what I meant to imply.Your board should reflect your service community with all of its ethnic, economic, and gender diversity represented. (By the way – that specifically includes the wealth community.) My experience is that boards do not represent this diversity (half should be women unless your service community is a monastery!), but I’ll save that for another blog.
The case I meant to make is that $1,000 is not a lot of money in today’s world. $84 a month, $21 a week. Think about all the things we buy without thinking that fall into that category: restaurant meals, designer coffee, wine/beer, internet/cable service, and my personal favorite – cell phone contracts. What we’re not used to is making “grand” decisions all at once – writing a check for $1,000. That’s what monthly plans are for! Board members who have trouble writing checks that large could probably write checks for $100 each month, if they were properly cultivated and asked. The result won’t be measured by the few extra dollars in the coffers each year, but rather in the message they send to the donor community who begin to follow their lead.
When wealthy people are on our boards they should be asked to give much more. When “regular” people are on our boards, they should be asked to give $1,000. Let’s move the bar for everyone!
Any other comments on this year’s Rally? Love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Credit: Grandon Harris, courtesy Bayfield Regional Conservancy