What it feels like

Think about that moment when your Board members (hopefully) introduce you and your nonprofit to new potential donors.  What’s your caricature of that conversation between your Board member and your next big donor?

My vote: “(whisper) Pssst.  C’mere.  There’s something I want to tell you.  I want to let you in on a secret.”

A secret.  Not an obligation or an “I’m sorry I’m going to ask you to take a meeting.”  It should feel like sharing a stock tip, the fast track on a deal, something special that this person is lucky to learn about.

Now wind the tape back, back to way before that conversation, before you asked your Board member to make some new introductions.  What kind of relationship do your Board members need to have with your organization, with its mission, with its work on the front lines?  How deep must that connection go?  How strong must their conviction be?

When Board members don’t feel comfortable reaching out, what we must ask is not “why aren’t they doing more?” but rather “why aren’t our Board members more connected to our work?  Why don’t they feel like it’s so special that they know something that other people don’t?”

What can we do to address that?

Our goal, a few months down the road, is to see new green shoots sprouting in the field.   We can jump up and down about buying and planting more seed, but the real work is tilling and preparing the soil.

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