Ruthellen Rubin
& Associates

Consulting for Nonprofits and Philanthropies


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What's New

  • The Impact of an Infographic
    Prospective donors are bombarded with messages. To get through this deluge of information, we have to stand out in the crowd with . . . . .
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  • Tossing Your Cookies: Grassroots Fundraising at its Best
    When asked, "What is your earliest recollection of making a charitable donation?" most Americans respond: "Buying Girl Scout Cookies." . . . . .
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  • Gen Y or Generation Why They Give
    The members of Generation Y were born between 1977 and 1998. Three of them grew up in my house, so I have a fair sense of what makes . . . . .
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Professional Development

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We offer the expertise, resources and personalized attention to help your nonprofit organization realize its full potential. Our team also works with philanthropies to help build strong partnerships.

FUNDRAISING STRATEGIES | BOARD DEVELOPMENT | COLLABORATION | TRANSITION

The Nonprofit Blog

Expand and Diversify Your Board of Directors

The dynamic nonprofit board enforces term limits, rotates leadership and actively recruits new members.  Thereby the board enlarges its circle of influence, attracts new skill sets, expands funding sources and strengthens its organization.

"But how," I am often asked by clients, "do we find new board members?" 

First:  Make some agreements as a board.  Envision a dream team with new skills, varied life and professional experience, and leadership qualities.  Consider potential members of different ages, genders, races and background --- each of whom must be a match for your organization.  Agree to dedicate the time to cultivate new prospects in the same way you cultivate donors for major gifts.

Second:  Look in your own backyard.  Consider donors, volunteers and groupies of your organization.  If you are like most nonprofits, you probably have constituents who know and care more about your mission than some of your own board members.  Don't overlook the obvious suspects.  Consider recruiting past board members who may have had a break but can come back and reinstill some of the values of years past.  Next, cast a wide net and an open search for others in the community.

Third:  Make a commitment to preparing for "the ask," again, in much the same way you would ask for a donation.  Do your reseach, consult with your fellow board members and have a plan before you meet with the prospect.  Speak passionately about your own board service and how it has affected you personally.  You are presenting the board prospect with an opportunity to serve the community and help change lives; it's quite an honor! 

Fourth:  You owe it to your new board members (and your veterans) to conduct a full board orientation at the beginning of each year.  Current board members should recommit to the mission and be inspiring to new members.  At the orientation, take the time to reflect on the board member recruitment process and consider how you can continually improve it.

Finally: In thinking about board service at your nonprofit organization link to the ideals of President Obama in his call to action to help Americans consider how we all can commit to service to our communitites.

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The Role of the Nonprofit Board in February 2009

The Board of Directors is the steward of a nonprofit organization and it is the board's role to ensure that the mission is carried out.  This has never been more important than today - in February, 2009.

Donations are down, government funding is tentative and foundations have less money.  At the same time, the demand for services, scholarships, programs, and advocacy is soaring.  Funders will be asking:  "Is your organization a good investment for me?"  Potential funders will want you to show them how you have planned to meet the needs of the community and simutaneously positioned yourself to survive possible funding cuts.  It will be critically important for the board members to publically demonstrate their confidence in and financial support of the organization.

Remember:  Your community has needs and your organization is in the position to meet those needs.  This is an era for board members to step up to the plate; learn, practice and present the case for support and be spokesmen for your organization and mission.  Invest in board training to help make your board service worthwhile to you and to your organization. 

Take a look at these excellent books:  Fundraising Realities Every Board Member Must Face by David Lansdowne, Asking by Jerold Panas, and The Ultimate Board Member's Book by Kay Sprinkel Grace. 

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All A-board!

Roll up your sleeves nonprofit board members; there is important work to be done.  If you are committed to your organization, believe in the mission and have confidence in your staff, you can stay on board.  If you waver in your financial and emotional support, are unfamiliar with the programs and second-guess the professional staff, you better get off the ship and head ashore.  To navigate the rough waters ahead, your nonprofit organization will need all hands on deck!

During the month of February, The Nonprofit Blog will offer topics for discussion and recommendations for action for your board of directors as they take on the challenge of making preparations for a tough year.

Every nonprofit organization, school, congregation and public benefit group should be actively rethinking their activities and creating contingency plans.  Fiscal Management Associates and the Nonprofit Finance Fund offer tools, checklists, tips and a free webinar from their December 2008 event:  The 2009 Nonprofit Economic Climate:  Managing through the Downturn.  These resources offer a good framework to begin a discussion of the ramifications of increased need for services and programs while adjusting for decreases in funding - how to do more with less.  I recommend you take advantage of these free resources and get some of these topics on the agenda for your next board meeting.

What other board-related topics would you like us to address this month?

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Expand and Diversify Your Board of Directors

 Read more...
 

The Role of the Nonprofit Board in February 2009

 Read more...
 

All A-board!

 Read more...
 


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