I was sorting by topic the publications on association management and governance that I have acquired over the years when I saw this ASAE booklet, “Fundraising without Fear: A Board Member’s Guide to Raising Money” by Karla Taylor. I thought the concise and useful content of this guide is worth sharing to associations.
Why raise funds? As an association’s work and advocacy evolve and expand over time, there is need to raise money for initiatives that membership dues cannot cover, e.g., research, scholarships, visibility campaigns, and other projects to ensure that the association is able to serve better the industry or profession it represents.
Why does fundraising emanate from the Board? Generally speaking, when it comes to making the case for an association, no one is more convincing to raise funds than the Board member who is a keeper of the organization’s mission and a role model in giving, and has a vast network of potential donors.
Experience also shows peer-to peer request for money is more likely to be successful and that the management staff can only do preparatory and limited solicitation work.
What are the steps to solicitation success? While some asks are as simple as filling out a pledge form, others require longer preparatory time to cultivate leads and to organize face-to-face meetings. A successful solicitation begins even before you ask a prospect for money. A few tips to consider:
1. Understand the case for giving: Explain why the money is important to your association, what will the money fund, and why it is a good deed or good business sense for the donor to support your organization.
2. Know how much you’re asking: Conduct a prospect research to ascertain that your request is not wildly high or disappointingly low, and propose a specific figure or a range of amounts from which the giver can make a decision.
3. Learn the donor’s history of giving: Recognize your prospect’s interests and involvement with your association. For instance, it’s one thing to ask the prospect to underwrite an awards program, it’s another to know that the prospect has attended an awards gala or has volunteered for the awards committee. Remember also that in most cases, people are more comfortable giving to those they know and with whom they have a relationship already.
4. Recognize what the prospect cares about: Know what’s in it for the prospect and link the association’s needs to the prospect’s reason for giving. Pay attention to the clues that the prospect gives you about what they like to support and why.
5. Be on the same page in the script when with a partner: Know your part on the solicitation discussion when partnered with a staff or another Board member just to be sure that both of you know who’s saying what.
If you have questions about the fundraising responsibilities you have, talk to your chairperson and/or your staff. Keep in mind this acronym to sum up what your association hopes to receive from you: 4Ws for wisdom, work, wealth and wiring (connections).
This article was published by the Business Mirror on February 24, 2022 and may not be reproduced without prior consent from the writer and Business Mirror.