I had the pleasure of spending time with the Board and staff of Prescott Area Habitat for Humanity in Prescott, Arizona last weekend.

Habitat is one of my favorite organizations and this group is full of heart and passion for the people they serve.

Here are a few highlights from their Board retreat.

Passion is key. A nonprofit will best be able to serve people and fulfill its mission when the Board, staff, and volunteers are all passionate about the cause.  Our first activity of the day helped reconnect everyone with their love for the organization.

Mission takes money. In order to fulfill your mission, you must have money.  Unfortunately, many Board members are intimidated or downright scared to get involved in fundraising.  When Board members understand that there are lots of ways they can participate in fundraising without actually asking someone for a gift, they start to relax.  Once they understand how fundraising works, they can find a spot where they feel comfortable participating.

When we got to this activity on Saturday and every Board member identified and committed to their comfort zone, I was so happy for the organization I could have popped!  Some wanted to help solicit, others wanted to help thank donors, others wanted to help build relationships.  It was awesome!

People give for a variety of reasons. Part of my Fundraising 101 for Board members helps them understand the myriad of reasons why people give.  We dispelled the myth that people give for the tax benefit alone.

And the main theme for the day:  Good fundraising is based on relationships. Our donors are our partners in serving people.  The better we engage them, the more we develop relationships, which builds loyalty and keeps them involved for the long haul.

If you’d like me to lead a retreat for YOUR nonprofit Board, email me at sandyrees @getfullyfunded.com and we can talk about the transformation I consistently bring to Boards.

  1. Sounds like you all had a wonderful, inspiring Board retreat! Thanks for the wrap-up – what all fundraisers needed be reminded of daily. I came across this quote recently that I think does a great job summing up our profession as fundraisers, “Fundraising to realize dreams should be a welcome responsibility. It shouldn’t be a burden or a job, but a calling and a pleasure.”

  2. You are so great at board retreats! I like the reminder: “our donors are our PARTNERS in serving people.” Sometimes in our busy day we forget that without donors we would not be serving clients. Peace, Charlaine

  3. Good reminders, Sandy. The boards I’ve worked with really DO want to do a great job but their focus often has strayed from these core messages of passion, mission & relationships. I believe, as staff, our role is to keep the focus on these core messages to keep our boards fully engaged.

  4. Sandy, One of the things that I believe was key at the retreat was educating the board members. Until this was done, they could not discover how to apply their passions, skills, experiences, etc. to be most effective at meeting the needs of the organization. Congratulations.

  5. Probably too operational to call your wrap up a “great checklist”, but Sandy, your list is excellent. These are keys for everyone working with volunteers in an organization. Thanks for putting them into a list so we can all revisit.

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