Friday, February 19, 2010

Stop complaining about your Board of Trustees and help them

Last fall at a fundraising retreat our board of directors made a commitment to create a list of ways they could each contribute to the organization. There was a menu of options created and everyone was to pick from the menu. We made sure there was a diverse list to choose from to accommodate all circumstances and financial ability. The goal was for the board to take responsibility for the organization starting by making a personal commitment. You can see the menu we used here.

Yesterday I received an email from one of our newest members. I have her permission to share with you her commitment, although she would prefer to remain anonymous so we will call her Marie. This is an actual real email from the fundraising trenches - not an example of what we should 'strive' for.

Marie wrote:

Good morning Kimberley

I have been doing a lot of thinking about the Menu of Opportunities.

I have made Ontario Nature a priority for my annual charitable giving. I have a huge box of requests from other very worthwhile charities that I normally give to each year, and I plan to write and tell each of those charities that my priorities at this time are concentrated on a charity on which I am a Board Member.

And I do believe in the importance of the work of Ontario Nature. We have a unique niche and an essential job to do to protect Ontario’s Wild Species and Wild Spaces!

As to including Ontario Nature in my will. That is definitely something that I will consider. When my husband died, Ontario Nature was suggested as a memorial charity for friends to donate to.

I have informed both my Great Lakes West contacts as well as my Stratford Field Naturalists about the upcoming Ontario Nature Green Tea, and have invited them to join me as I plan to attend. It sounds like a terrific event and I’m looking forward to it.

I am happy to make thank you calls or write personal thank you notes to donors.

I would be willing to visit a prospective donor with another staff or board member.

While I find it difficult to ask for money, I am open to possibilities. I joined the Ontario Nature Team in September for the Scotiabank Marathon Challenge Charity Walk/Run, and was inspired by the sheer numbers of participants and the event itself. It was a challenge for me to ask people to support me and I found it interesting to see who donated and who didn’t. I don’t feel that I can keep asking my friends and family on a regular basis as they each have their own charities that they feel are important too.

Fund raising is not always easy, but it is an important part of supporting Ontario Nature. As I said, I’m open to possibilities.

Best wishes,


It is our responsibility as staff to stop complaining about our volunteer board of directors and to provide them with the tools and support they need to be successful.

(I've written more about this issue in a previous post and in this Civil Society article.)

Thank you for spending time here.

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