Major Donor Fundraising: The one thing I said that caused the board member to yell at me

Major Donor Fundraising

A local CPA firm asked me to speak to a room of nonprofit board members.

I started my talk by saying that fundraising is really about messaging.  This simple statement upset one particular board member because his definition of fundraising was wrapped up in his personal negative experiences where his time and money weren’t valued by other organization.

It was clear to me that this guy didn’t like fundraising. He had been hurt or angered by his previous fundraising or giving experience.

This board member reminded me why most board members, executive directors and program staff are uniquely unqualified to think about fundraising clearly.

  1. They know too much about your organization, so they have a hard time “keeping it simple.”
  2. They bring their personal feelings and opinions to the fundraising discussion – they want your fundraising to move them, not your donors.
  3. They don’t understand that most donors to your organization don’t know much about your work and need a simple problem they can solve with their giving.

The key takeaway is to remember that board members matter, their opinion matters, but their opinion should not drive your fundraising strategy.

Jim Shapiro
Jim Shapiro

Jim Shapiro is the fundraising coach you always wanted, the proven Sherpa who can help you get to the top of the mountain. He has 20 years experience raising money, including serving as the VP of Development for a $300m nonprofit. He then co-founded The Better Fundraising Co. to help small-to-medium nonprofits raise more money. Jim is married, serves his community by coaching high school football, and has three children.

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