Dear board volunteers . . . Your community isn’t as UNIQUE as you think.

mardi gras mask13DonorDreams blog is honored to be hosting the May 2013 Nonprofit Blog Carnival. The theme this month is “Dear board volunteer . . .” and the idea is “If you could write an anonymous letter to a nonprofit board about something they do that drives you crazy, what would that letter look like and what suggested solutions would you include?” If you are a blogger and would like more information on how to participate and submit a post for consideration, please click here to learn more.

I wanted to expand the Nonprofit Blog Carnival concept in May. So, I reached out to real non-profit people and asked them to also write an anonymous letter to their board volunteers. These folks are executive directors, fundraising professionals, board members, donors, community volunteers, consultants and front line staff. I promised everyone anonymity in exchange for their submissions.

We will celebrate May’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival on Wednesday, May 29, 2013. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this real look at real issues that our community deals with on a daily basis.

Here is today’s letter:

Dear board volunteer:

If I hear you say one more time, “This process may work everywhere else in the country, but it won’t work here because we are different. Our community is unique.” I think I am going to explode. Guess what…you’re community isn’t different because in the end it is made of people and people are more or less the same wherever you go.

You have the home grown people that have been in the community for 50+ years and know everyone. You have the implants that have been in the community longer than they have been out, and the newbies; both groups who will say that unless you are from here, you are treated as an outsider.

You have people who are political, people who are generous, people who are mean, people who need your services, people who are religious, people who don’t care, people who are leaders, people who are followers, people who say they will do something and don’t, people who will take action, people who say they will take action and don’t, people who work and people that don’t work.

I go crazy when a board volunteer says, “that is great that you can raise that kind of money in that community, but you can’t do that here because we are different.” You’re right; you can’t do it HERE with that attitude.

If you would only realize that because something DOES work somewhere else, with the right leadership and strategies, IT WILL more than likely work here.

So, please  quit being the one putting on the brakes and get off the bus.

I know that change is not easy, but we need to push forward towards a solution. Here are just a few simple suggestions that I have: 1) let’s move a few of our more resistant board volunteers off of the board and onto another task force or advisory council; 2) let’s shake up our board leadership; 3) let’s add a few fresh faces by recruiting two or three new board volunteers; and 4) let’s find a donor who is willing to make a challenge gift that is tied to implementation of our original plan.

Your friendly neighborhood Spiderman

If you have some advice for the author of our anonymous letter, please share it in the comment box at the bottom of this post in a respectful manner.  If you want to submit an anonymous letter for consideration this month, please email it to me at the address in your signature block below.If you are a blogger looking to participate in this month’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival and want to learn more, then please click here.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847

About DonorDreams

Erik got his start working in the non-profit field immediately upon graduation with his masters degree in 1994. His non-profit management and fundraising experience numbers nearly 20 years. His teachable point of view around resource development is influenced by the work of Penelope Burk and those professionals subscribing to a "donor centered" paradigm. Donors have dreams and it is our responsibility to be dream-makers because donors are not ATMs.

Posted on May 23, 2013, in Board development, Fundraising, nonprofit, resource development, volunteers and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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