Friday reflections on another week of Generous Matters

Can you hear me now? In an article posted on ECFA’s Governance of Christ-centered Organizations blog, consultant John Pearson (my buddy in an M. J. Murdock Trust-funded project on governance and faith-based organizations) addresses the “nothingness syndrome.” He defines this organizational malady as “the tendency of board members not to respond to communiqués from the CEO.”

But don’t expect sympathy from John. He tells forlorn leaders to stop sulking (my words) and try other means for getting their messages through to members of their boards. He writes:

You may need to do some fact-finding to determine if some of your board members are “listeners” instead of “readers.” Listeners prefer to get their board reports—if truth be told—via a recorded message (with an audio link sent via email perhaps). Listeners comprehend and remember verbal messages more effectively than written messages. Others might prefer a 10-minute telephone conference call to get an update. (You can also record the call and email the link to those who missed the call.)

In other words, being heard begins with listening.

When the board member rings. In a short flick from Movie Mondays, Penelope Burk, president of Cygnus Applied Research, tells us that a thank you call to a first-time donor by a member of your board can increase that donor’s next gift by as much as 35-40%.  Not a bad return on five or so minutes of a board member’s time.

If you doubt it’s really that easy to work such fundraising wonders, Penelope has the research to back up her claim. She also has sample words to assist fundraising adverse or otherwise tongue-tied board members with their calls.

P.S. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. If you haven’t yet subscribed to Movie Mondays, do so now. I’ve never been disappointed in the content.

Lights, camera, action. Click on over the See3 Communcations website and cast your vote in the 2012 DoGooder Nonprofit Video competition. The entries are fantastic examples of organizational statements in visual form. A couple of the videos made me laugh, others made me cry, and they all made me think.

The award program, now in its sixth year, “is designed to recognize the creative and effective use of video to promote the work of the nonprofit sector in catalyzing social good. “ The winning nonprofits receive cash prizes, great products, and the chance to strut their message in front of a world-wide audience via youtube.com.

Hot off the press (almost). In early April, Christian Leadership Alliance will release the second book in its Nonprofit Leadership in a For-Profit World series, entitled Becoming a Steward Leader: Fundamentally Change the Way You Think, Lead and Live. This latest volume focuses on resource development, long a hallmark of CLA content.

Authors include Scott Rodin, Wes Willmer, Bishop Leslie and Natalie Francisco, Gary Hoag, Mark L. Vincent, Gary Moore, and yours truly — ME.  My chapter revisits themes that Thom Jeavons and I explored in Growing Givers’ Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry and includes material I’ve featured here at Generous Matters.

You can purchase Becoming a Steward Leader  at the CLA website immediately following the CLA National Conference in Orlando, April 10-12.  Start saving your pennies now so you can buy the book then.


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