My past blogs have spoken about defining board responsibility, developing strong boards and creating a highly functioning board. Hopefully, your board is somewhere along that continuum, because you’re going to need strong, engaged leadership, decisive decision making and full board involvement throughout this difficult period. Many of you will face similar challenges, so allow me to suggest how your board can function successfully to get your organization through the crisis.
Meet with your board chair and executive committee. Be totally transparent and explain to them how this is going to impact the organization. If you have a fundraising event that is or will be cancelled, give them an action plan. First, ask them if they can make a special gift in addition to their annual gift. Have them personally call your event sponsors and table donors and ask them to not cancel their support, but to make their commitment into a gift.
Have them lead with your mission and how this event is a major component of your organization’s budget, and which important programs will have to be curtailed or cut. Provide them other kinds of recognition and benefits on your website, your social media platforms and written materials. Point out to them how critical their support is right now and that you will have a very difficult time without it. And, hopefully, this will be a one-time event, and that their continued support in the coming years will be important for your organization to becoming financially stronger.
To board leadership and members: your unflagging leadership and support, right now, will never be more important to your organization. The truth is, that many small, underfunded (and that seems to be a huge number of them) nonprofits will close. They will not survive an extended period of constriction and those they serve will either have to go elsewhere or go without it.
You, as the group responsible for ensuring the financial resources of your organization, need to step forward in several ways. First, if you can, make a stretch, one-time, extra gift. Then, even though most of you find fundraising distasteful and intimidating, you must volunteer to call on your top donors and ask them for their support now, during this crucial period. If the entire board doesn’t accept that role, it will not be living up to one of its most important responsibilities of ensuring the viability of your organization, and that would be tragic.
Mirenda & Associates stands ready to assist you in any way necessary during this unprecedented period. Write or call us, and we will provide you with successful strategies honed over four decades of helping nonprofits flourish. We can help you succeed now.