September & October is conference season, and I’ve spent time during the month on the road in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Washington.

In one single day, I overheard – THREE times – nonprofit staff make the comment that “they don’t have anyone that does fundraising” at their respective nonprofits.  And they are small shops that don’t have the resources to hire a development director.

If this is something that resonates with you, I’m here to blow your mind.  You actually have LOTS of fundraisers at your shop!  Whom? You may ask?  Your Executive Director, for starters.  And your board, natch.

First things first. We’re all ambassadors for the nonprofit we’re a part of, even if “fundraising” isn’t a part of your staff job description. Before you vomit a little in your mouth, think about this. Anyone who works at a nonprofit group is part of the fundraising team. As a board member, financial viability is a core tenant of your role – and fundraising comes part and parcel as a component of your board service.

We all are organizational storytellers.  The more stories that are shared about the impact of your work, lives changed, obstacles overcome – the easier it is to ask others to join you in support of this work.

If you don’t have dedicated fundraising staff at your shop, this “fundraising” work is even more important to spell out for the board and your executive director. Some of you may have execs that will buck at this news – fundraising wasn’t talked about when they were hired.  Some of you may have board members that bristle at the thought of fundraising.  It’s our collective job to ensure that both the board and the executive have the tools to accomplish this important task.

Let’s change this narrative  – and the accompanying scarcity mentality – this fall.  Have an honest conversation about fundraising and its role at your nonprofit in the next couple of weeks.  Getting clear about this and the tools you need, will ensure you close out the year in a financial viable position, and set the stage for a healthy 2020.

 

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