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Klein & Roth Consulting E-Newsletter

Issue #5 – October 2011

Dear Friend,
Whether you are a new subscriber who's joined us since the last issue or you've been with us for the past few issues, welcome! 
 

Sad News from the Klein & Roth Team

We are very sad to announce the tragic loss of Naima Kali Liu-Fernandez, daughter of Senior Consultant Rona Fernandez, who died at the age of four & a half months of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) this past August.  Rona is currently on leave from Klein & Roth Consulting.  We will let you know when she returns.  Our hearts continue to go out to Rona and her husband Henry.  


Rare Opportunity for Fundraising Training with Kim Klein
Kim is teaching a weekend-long course, "All Weather Fundraising: How Your Nonprofit Can Survive & Thrive in the New Normal" at the Rowe Camp and Conference Center in Rowe, Massachusetts, October 14-16.  This is one of the ONLY times you will have the opportunity to participate in an intensive training with Kim, as she has cut back significantly on her traveling and training work.  For more information and to register, click here.  
 

Tax Quiz
Organizations call us all the time needing fundraising help.  Many have lost government funding and are in a downward spiral of trying to do more and more with less and less.  We believe that government has a role to play in funding nonprofits and Kim Klein is hard at work on a project called Nonprofits Talking Taxes to encourage nonprofit staff to become involved in tax policy.
 
Meanwhile, we all have to learn a little bit more about taxes in general, and Kim Klein and Jan Masaoka of Blue Avocado developed this very fun quiz.
 
Take it and see how smart you are!  


How I Became a Fundraiser (and tips for helping others get there too!)
By Stan Yogi, Senior Consultant, Klein & Roth Consulting

I was not born a fundraiser.   Few people have an innate knack for asking others to contribute financially to an organization.  When I started working with non-profits more than 20 years ago, I focused, like many of you, on generating  grant income. 
 
It wasn’t until 1993, when I joined the board of the Horizons Foundation, the San Francisco Bay Area’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community foundation, that I came to value the importance of building and growing a base of individual donors.  That’s when I learned how to become a fundraiser.
 
Horizons depends on contributions from individuals concerned about the well-being of LGBT people.  The community’s needs in the early 1990s were great:  AIDS was ravaging the Bay Area.   Gay seniors were isolated.  And LGBT youth were prone to suicide.  But government grants were not an option, and few foundations were willing to fund LGBT groups.   So, we had to take care of our own.   And that meant asking individuals for contributions.
 
When I joined the board, I was apprehensive about soliciting donations.   I had sold candy for school fund drives and asked friends to sponsor me for walk-a-thons, but I had never gone out and asked people for large gifts.  My Japanese American cultural upbringing—to communicate indirectly, especially about delicate subjects like money—heightened my anxiety.   Would I be imposing by asking people for contributions?  How would I deal with rejection? 
 
The Horizons Foundation provided me an ideal opportunity to learn how to raise money from individuals.  Here are some organizational elements that helped me to become a fundraiser:
 
1.        Culture of Fundraising:  It was a given that all board members would raise funds.   That was made clear when I was interviewed before joining the board.  And once I was on the board, organizational leaders reinforced that responsibility through monthly board meetings and their own example.
 
2.       Board Giving:  Horizons introduced me to the idea that all board members should make a personally significant contribution.   I had given modest amounts to non-profits since I was in college, but Horizons taught me about giving exponentially larger gifts through monthly contributions.
 
3.       Training:  Fortunately, I joined the board when two development professionals also served on the board.  They led an intensive training on the value of developing relationships with donors, the importance of keeping supporters up to date on the organization’s efforts, and how discussing a donor’s financial support is a natural part of building and deepening relationships with them.
 
4.       Identifying New Donors:  Meeting with strangers daunted me, so I was much more comfortable with the idea of asking my friends, family, and acquaintances to support Horizons.  Since I had existing relationships with these people, if they chose not to support the foundation, I knew that my relationships with them would continue regardless.  It wouldn’t be a personal rejection.
 
5.       Structure:  Board fundraising took place within a structured campaign, with set goals and timelines.  Board members were assigned existing and potential supporters to contact. 
 
6.       Support:  There was dedicated time at board meetings to share fundraising successes, challenges, and advice.  Horizons’ Executive Director (the sole staff member at the time) provided logistical support, and board members spurred each other on to reach our collective goals.
 
I served on the Horizons Foundation board for five years and introduced dozens of friends and family members to the organization and met many other existing supporters.   My experience with Horizons showed me that board members can overcome their trepidation and can channel their passion to raise funds to fulfill an organization’s mission.   

I wasn’t born a fundraiser.  But with training, structure, and support, I became one.

We welcome your feedback on any of our posts, so let us know what you think.  And we hope you’ll remember to take some deep breaths and take care of yourself in the fundraising rush of the coming months.  We’re trying to do so ourselves!

All the best,

Klein & Roth Consulting

 

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