The Accidental Fundraiser

Does Your Nonprofit Board Think $4 Million is a Lot of Money?

Is $4 Million dollars a lot of money for your board? Well, it certainly is a lot of money to pay for a dress, a pair of earrings, a pair of golf clubs. Is it a lot to pay for a condo? A 12 family apartment building? A payroll for 80 employees?

I asked this question during a retreat, “What would it take to deal with this problem for the entire city.” Someone came up with the figure $4 million.” To most of the people in the room, it could have been $4 billion. Only one person said, “Is that all?”

Every board needs someone who is used to dealing with big numbers and has a comfort level with them. The member doesn’t have to have the money, but a familiarity and comfort with thinking big and expanding the horizons of the group. (Although if someone would be able to write the $4 million check, it would have been interesting to see what the reaction would have been!)

I did a retreat for a group where more than 51% of the group were on disability. The CEO’s salary was so low, it wasn’t even on the chart on the Association of Fundraising Professionals Salary index. No one in the room, including the CEO, had a clue. If something happened to her, she could not be replaced for anywhere near this salary. No one was financially literate about salaries. Good, caring people. But NO ONE knew how underpaid the CEO was.

If you can’t talk about the big numbers, you can’t ask for them. Every nonprofit does not have to be large, but if there are people you want to serve and aren’t, get someone in the room who doesn’t think $4 Million is big bucks!

Carol Weisman, MSW, CSP, Asking big, but shopping the sale rack

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November 19, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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