News

What To Do If It's Just You: Managing Your Board

Mon, February 08, 2016 9:10 AM | Deanna Tharpe (Administrator)

By Susan Black, CFRE
Allene Professional Fundraising

(This is the second of a 3-part series about one-person fundraising shops.)

Last time we talked about the importance of passion for development professionals who are in a one-person shop.  I mentioned that sometimes passion may be the only thing keeping you going!  Lack of passion may lead to burn out and burn out starts when we feel overwhelmed.  That's easy to feel when you are by yourself.  To avoid burnout when you are a one-person show, focus on two things: your board and your donor communications.  We'll tackle the latter next month. For now, let's take a look at your board.

In essence, you will need to make your board your de facto development staff.  Start by making sure there is a functioning development committee on the board.  This group will be able to help you make key decisions and set short and long-term goals; they can also run interference with the rest of the board to help your initiatives take hold.  Managing this group will not be easy, but hopefully you can hand-pick the members and build individual relationships that will help you get the support you need.  

The second step is to ensure that all fundraising projects have their own committees, including your annual fund. The committees do not have to be comprised entirely of board members.  In fact, it's a great way to recruit potential board members by introducing them to your organization on an event or project-based committee.  Then your job becomes managing the people on these committees and empowering them to undertake all the main fundraising projects of your year. Ideally, work with each special event committee beginning a year in advance of their event and help in whatever ways they need, but do not do all the work yourself!  Empower them to do as many aspects of the work as possible.  This can be tricky because many committees believe it's their job is to tell you how to do yours! But with the help of a champion on each committee, by giving the members specific tasks and deadlines, managing them through reminder phone calls, and holding them accountable for their assignments, they should rise to meet the expectations you have set. Sometimes it will seem like it would be easier to do the work yourself, but it will be worthwhile in the end when the group takes ownership of the project and you see your base of support grow.


Susan Black is a respected fundraising consultant and one of the many great presenters you'll find at the upcoming 2016 DSAIA Leadership Conference. Learn more about her at www.allenefundraising.org.

See Susan's sessions as well as the full agenda of offerings here


I want to tell you what WONDERFUL time I had at the conference. I learned so much and came away with lots of ideas for our organization. -Barb Waddle, The Upside of Downs of Northeast Ohio

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