Throwing new members “overboard”

July 23, 2015       The NonProfit Times      

During the 2014 Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) International Conference, Theresa Pesch, president of the Children’s Foundation of the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, stressed the importance of extreme engagement, getting those board members and volunteers involved in a way neither they nor the staff would have thought possible.

This process can be referred to as on-boarding. Support the board, and it will support the organization and the mission.

How then to deepen the engagement experience? Here are a few methods:

  • Prepare, prepare, prepare. Create powerful experiences, such as with tours.
  • Plan for success with a written statement of expectations.
  • Put a role with the ask.
  • Create personal philanthropic plans. Evaluate the history of giving and customize a stewardship plan. Put regular tough points around the plan. Track progress. Evaluate the plan.
  • Devise questions for plan creation.
  • Powerful and memorable board meetings.
  • Training and coaching. The concept of volunteer fundraising intimidates many people. There is often a lack of understanding of cultivation. There can exist poor understanding of mission, programs and plans, and there is often limited strategy around prospect development. Be prepared to address objections. Position the board in the marketplace.