Fundraising and how it relates to your young friends board posted 04/18/14

By Ashley Turigliatto

One of the greatest mistakes that we can make as leaders is to underestimate those whom we are leading. It is truly one of our greatest obligations to utilize and maximize the potential of each one of our volunteers and donors.

Start by thinking about this: why do people volunteer?

People volunteer because they want to make a difference, and it is our job to give them the proper tools and guidance to do that.

I often hear people say that young professionals have time and talent, but they don’t have “treasure” (money to give) to support the organization that they have adopted as their cause. I can tell you right now that if that is your expectation, then you are correct. They will not have money to give you. But, it is our job to inspire, motivate and train our young professionals into what we need them to be, and we all need more financial supporters.

Do not underestimate the fundraising potential of these young people who are driven and intelligent, standing by, just waiting to make an impact. It is our job to TEACH them to fundraise.

How to teach “fundraising”

It is true that a 28 year old may not have the same “extra” capital to give to your cause as a senior Board member, but if the financial expectation is clear from the beginning they will take the challenge and most likely, meet it.

Even with more seasoned Boards, members are given the option of giving or raising their annual gift to the organization. Let’s just say that in your young friends board you are going to ask each member to be responsible for a $250 gift each year. Some of your members are going to give you this contribution right when they are asked, and in one lump sum. Make a note of this, as these individuals may have the capacity and desire to support your organization on a higher financial level.

Other members of your group are going to fulfill their commitment in installments, meaning that they may give you $20 every month for the duration of the year. This is actually a great option for anyone giving to your organization, and should be encouraged. As these individuals grow older and more financially sound, their monthly giving will increase, but stay consistent. These are the gifts that keep organizations afloat.

There will be other members of your team that truly cannot part with their own “treasure”. Maybe they are, like me, still paying on student loans, or maybe they just had a baby and all extra cash is now going into a college fund so that their children won’t have looming student debt (No, I’m not bitter!). Whatever the reason may be, they do not feel that they are in a place to give the full $250 gift to your organization. THIS IS OKAY. First, it is up to your board and staff to decide if this gift is a flexible number, and that although it is an appreciated and encouraged amount, that there will be leeway when appropriate.

For example, if you are a children’s organization that serves at-risk youth and you really want a young, freshly educated social worker who is abreast of all of the most recent laws and techniques of the industry on your board, but you know that the annual gift will possibly deter them, you have to decide what is more important to you: their intellectual contribution or their financial one. Once you have made the obvious choice, there are plenty of ways to help this individual fulfill their annual obligations without requiring any of their personal capital. You can teach them to ask for money from someone else.

Fundraising 101

The idea of fundraising can be incredibly intimidating to people who have never done it, and it really does take practice to feel comfortable in the process. It is our job as leaders to make sure that our Board Members, whether senior or young, are trained on how to fundraise for our cause. Here is a great, quick article on how to start this process.

The most important thing to remember when setting financial expectation for our young professionals is to not underestimate their ability and desire to support the organization that they are dedicating their time. If they are willing to invest their valuable time, most likely they are willing to invest their financial resources as well.

Give them options, be flexible, and teach them to fundraise! As soon as you form your young friends group, you are taking on the responsibility to train and inspire our next generation of major donors.

Our organizations’ existence depends on it.

Start building your young friends board today

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