An Open Letter to the Board of Directors

December 4, 2015 at 10:15 am 4 comments

Dear Board Members,

As your Director of Development, I am proud to raise money for this organization. I know you hired me for this reason.

But I thought this was going to be more of a team effort. I am more than qualified and happy to lead all efforts, but I need your help. When I was interviewed for this job, I thought Board members understood their role in fundraising. Maybe I was mistaken, but I thought you would be willing to:

  • Make your personal gift to our organization – and hopefully it will be one of the top three you make this year
  • Buy and sell tables at our annual event
  • Share lists of individuals you are willing to ask for a gift
  • Learn our elevator speech so you can speak comfortably about our work
  • Make thank you calls to donors
  • Tell all your friends/colleagues/family about our organization and your leadership
  • Recruit others to the Board who will help with fundraising

It was nice of you to quickly approve our 2010 budget and my fundraising plan. I thought when you approved it you understood you have some responsibility in our success (and failure.) In case you didn’t notice, the budget calls for the Board to raise 10% of our income. My fundraising plan offers many opportunities for you to participate and I am here to help lead and support your efforts.

I have attached a pledge form for your personal gift and a spreadsheet you can complete with information on folks you are willing to ask for a gift. I will call to follow up with you in a few days. I look forward to working with you to raise money to support our programs!

Best regards,

Your Development Director

Next Post: Letter from the Board to the Director of Development

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Entry filed under: Board Development, Fundraising, Letters. Tags: , , , .

An Open Letter to Our Director of Development Gratitude – It’s not about the Money

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Diane  |  February 8, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Oh how I wanted to write this letter last year. I was working with a large board that was composed of local, well-heeled individuals who gave somewhat but were unwilling to share lists/names or to make phone calls on behalf of the organization I should note that most had been long-time board members. Some of them were tired and had been board members too long. It seems more of a social get together rather than fulfilling their fiduciary responsibilities. Boards should turnover with new members and new ideas regularly.

    That said. I would have not sent a letter but done a ‘dog and pony’ show at a board meeting and handed out your form. I would have prefaced that with a subcommittee meeting and one on one meetings to ensure everyone was one my side. There is nothing like shooting oneself in the foot even over such an important issue. Support is needed with key board members or alll such efforts will fail.

    • 2. Barbara Talisman  |  February 8, 2010 at 2:54 pm

      Dear Diane,
      Thanks so much for taking the time to read and respond!

      As you know, the letter was more of an opportunity to share lots of conversations I have had over many years with many clients and staff. Just stating what they can’t say face to face with Boards.

      You are so correct that a show and tell at a Board meeting is an opportunity to bring everyone together and often as a consultant I have been a part of the “show”. In tomorrow’s post the Board writes back to the Development Director. There is responsibility on all sides and while most staff and Board members have the best of intentions, we can’t expect what they don’t know or what we have not taken the time to teach.

      Hope you enjoy tomorrow’s response! Thanks again!

  • 3. Mark Sulkin  |  February 8, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Excellent Article! This has already been a big issue and should be flushed out before anyone joins the board.

    • 4. Barbara Talisman  |  February 8, 2010 at 12:56 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to read and respond. Glad you found it useful. Tomorrow the Board responds!


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