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Boards Of Nonprofits Can Raise More $$$ If They Ask For Investments Instead Of Begging On Bended Knee

San Francisco, CA

Most boards of nonprofits view fundraising as "genteel begging" rather than as the creation of opportunities for citizens to invest in successful enterprises.

Written by Robert Zimmerman and Ann Lehman - leading experts in the field of fundraising and board development - Boards That Love Fundraising: A How-to Guide for Your Board is grounded in the conviction that nonprofits are business enterprises similar in many important respects to for-profit enterprises.

Whether the economy is good or bad, whether the prevailing political winds are liberal or conservative, Americans can be depended upon to make handsome contributions to organizations amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars annually. If so much money is potentially available, why are so many organizations suffering from too little revenue? The answer, quite simply, is that most boards, volunteers and staff don't ask for money effectively or, due to their fear, don't ask at all.

Bob Zimmerman says, "You should make every effort to limit the use of words like 'gift,' 'contribution' and 'donation,' and instead think of fundraising as investments in successful community enterprises." When an individual "invests" in your organization, the "return" is the profit your organization bestows on the community, be it cultural, environmental, educational, health-related, or any of a wide variety of other benefits. During this challenging time board members need to learn to be effective "salespersons" for their organizations. They sell concepts rather than products (e.g. - a healthier environment; better-educated children; cultural enrichment).

Ann Lehman says, "The organization provides a service to the community, and donors pay for that service. It's a quid pro quo arrangement, not 'tin-cup begging." Donors should be proud to invest in your organization! Keeping this principle in mind will enable board members to ask for money as boldly as any business seeking to grow its revenue through sales and investments.

Their new book teaches board members to raise funds without fear, and to stop feeling inferior and embarrassed about asking. It's odd, isn't it: We live in a capitalist society and are bombarded by advertisements that sell products in every imaginable way, yet the most embarrassing subject in our society is money. People love to give away money; it makes them feel good. The money is out there, even in tough economic times; over $241 billion was given to 1.4 million nonprofits in 2002. This book offers inspiring examples of boards transcending their fear and loathing of fundraising to eagerly anticipate their next campaign. The inspiration is followed with practical advice and tools for boards based on the authors' extensive experience working with nonprofits of all sizes.

Copyright 2005 Zimmerman Lehman.

This information is the property of Zimmerman Lehman. If you would like to reprint this information, please see our reprint and copyright policy.


Boards That Love Fundraising: A How-To Guide For Your Board
by Robert Zimmerman and Ann Lehman

Paperback, 128 pages, February 2004, Jossey-Bass
US $28.00, ISBN: 0-7879-6812-9

Order Now at Amazon.com

Also available at a variety of bookstores including:
, Cody's, Powell's, Barnes & Noble


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Copyright © 2005, Zimmerman Lehman