Friday, October 23, 2015

Governance toolbox: Creating curious, thoughtful board fundraisers

Why, yes,  I'll find a way to connect the important dots offered by the three resources shared this week!

5 ways board members can raise money -- Gail Perry's shared wisdom in this video, starting with the recognition that there are many ways to participate in the fundraising process, should be a reassuring gift to both board members and the organizations they serve. I've long appreciated how she acknowledges the humans behind our fundraising expectations. Recognizing that, and respectfully helping them to find their best contributions to the process, goes a long way. Start with sharing this video with your board and asking members how they can work with the five tips Gail shares. Oh, and follow Gail's example: thank your board members for their service. That can go a very long way to motivating them to step up when you ask them to do things that fall outside of their comfort zones.

How to develop feelings of curiosity -- We can always count on Dan to offer a great leadership how to, on a pretty much weekly basis. This week, his topic is sparking curiosity. Curiosity, inquiry, questioning - whatever we call it - we generally get more, better contributions from people if we find ways to build their interest and investment in what we are asking them to create. We need appropriately curious boards, who question and explore and reflect. We need to reap the benefits of curiosity that he raises in the post. We need leaders wiling and able to generate that in others.

3 problems with a bias for action -- Okay, so the context of this one has nothing to do with nonprofits or their boards. But the challenge it addresses - a(n inappropriate/premature) bias for action - is one that will ring familiar for many boards. We're community leaders. We want to make a difference. We proudly proclaim that we are "a working board." We act. Even when "acting" consists of passive activities like approving treasurer's reports and affirming committee recommendations. Yes, obviously, we need our boards to step up and fulfill their responsibilities. But we also need thoughtful, curious boards that don't leap too soon on the first problem discussed here (acting too quickly on what feels like the "right" thing to do), if we don't consider the second problem (not considering the range of potential consequences) and especially number three (stopping dead in our tracks because we can't see past today's limitations).  We must have this conversation with our boards.

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