Tuesday, July 15, 2008

GuideStar - No-Ask Fundraising: Six High-Impact Jobs for Board Members

Guidestar continues to provide great information in their monthly newsletters (sign up here) This month features a number of useful articles. I especially liked the piece on fundraising with board members without asking for money. Among the 6 ideas is one I have used often, I didn't realize it was a common practice:
3. Open the Door with Advice Visits

We all know that within our board members' social networks there is a gold mine of potential friends and donors. But how do we help them open the door to these contacts? What is a "nice" way to introduce their friends to their favorite cause? A soft-sell way that is "low pressure but high intention"?

A personal one-on-one meeting is a wonderful way to introduce a person to your organization or cause. It's an "Advice Visit," because that is truly what we are after—advice.

Advice Visits are based on the old fundraising adage "If you want money, ask for advice. If you want advice, then ask for money." They are treasure hunts, because when you get together personally with someone for an exploratory conversation, you are not certain what you will find. But you always end up making a friend for your cause.

This is a perfect opportunity for a board member to promote your cause in a direct, personal way. Our only goal for visiting this person is to ask them what they think of our project and ask for some serious guidance. This visit is emphatically not about money.

People are usually flattered when someone approaches them just to ask for advice. You would be surprised at the number of doors that will open if you just ask for advice. People want to help nonprofit causes, because they care about their communities, their country, and their world.

Board members love Advice Visits because the other person does the talking. They are relieved that they don't need a detailed presentation. The important points are to share their personal passion and excitement for the cause and why they are personally involved. Here are questions to ask:

* What do you think about the project?
* What about the need in the community?
* What interests you personally about the problem we are addressing?
* Who else would be interested in hearing about this?

This is a great way to start developing supporters. Try it some time. A little investment of time might return a great new level of support.