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The Fundraising Habits of Supremely Successful Boards
A 59-Minute Guide to Assuring Your Organization's Future

by Jerold Panas, 106 pp.

Jerry Panas has counseled more than 3,000 nonprofit boards. He knows EXACTLY what a board must do to raise money. In his book, The Fundraising Habits of Supremely Successful Boards, Jerry identifies 25 habits that are essential to raising big gifts.

This isn’t guesswork. It isn’t theory. This is Jerry’s hard-won experience and observation over a 40-year career. The more habits your board adopts the larger the payoff. And, fortunately, these fundraising habits are easy to adopt. In many cases, it’s simply a matter of shifting your perspective. When you do, the “Aha” moments come fast and furious.

Without a doubt, your board will take to this 1-hour book. Why? Because it’s short, it’s entertaining, and because Jerry inspires like no one else in philanthropy. It’s said that good habits, once established, are as hard to break as bad habits. That bodes well for your board and your next campaign.

Asking

ALSO BY THIS AUTHOR

Asking: A 59-Minute Guide to Everything Board Members, Volunteers, and Staff Must Know to Secure the Gift, by Jerold Panas

Jerold Panas understands the art of asking. He knows what makes donors tick, he's intimately familiar with the anxieties of board members, and he fully understands the frustrations and demands of staff. He has harnessed all of this knowledge and experience and produced a landmark book. What Asking shows is that nearly everyone can become an effective fundraiser if they follow a few step-by-step guidelines.

About the Author

Jerold Panas is among a small handful of the grandmasters of American fundraisers.

He is considered one of the top writers in the field and a number of his books, including Asking and Mega Gifts, have achieved classic status. His book, The Fundraising Habits of Supremely Successful Boards is also published by Emerson & Church.

Hailed by Newsweek as "the Robert Schuller of fundraising," Jerry is a popular columnist for Contributions Magazine and a favorite speaker at conferences and workshops throughout the nation.

He is executive director of one of the premier firms in America and is co-founder of the Institute for Charitable Giving. The very term "philanthropy" would mean less without Jerry's influence.

He lives with his wife Felicity in northwest Connecticut.

Table of Contents

  1. It Starts with Integrity
     
  2. Mission is Everything
     
  3. Why People Give
     
  4. It Doesn’t Just Happen
     
  5. Room at the Bottom
     
  6. The Courage to Dare
     
  7. A Roaring Advocate
     
  8. Deadly Offenses
     
  9. The Future Isn’t What it Used to Be
     
  10. Avoid Meddling
     
  11. Pass It On
     
  12. The Right Stuff
     
  13. You Invest
     
  14. Twice Blessed
     
  15. Back to the Well
     
  16. Beware the Trojan Horse
     
  17. Heartfelt Thanks
     
  18. Being There
     
  19. Do Your Homework
     
  20. You Worry
     
  21. Wear Your Business Hat
     
  22. Husband the Funds .
     
  23. Keep an Eye on the Fat Boy
     
  24. Ask for Help
     
  25. No Money, No Mission

Excerpt

This article is excerpted from Jerold Panas' book, The Fundraising Habits of Supremely Successful Boards, ©Emerson & Church, Publishers. To obtain reprint permission, please call 508-359-0019 or email us.

Beware the Trojan Horse
 
Not all gifts are what they seem
 
We were in the middle of a campaign at The Asheville School (North Carolina) and had reached that point where we needed something big to happen. Something consequential.

We had gotten off to a great start. The board had given sacrificially. A number of major gifts had come in just at the level we hoped. But now we were stalled. Little was happening. And it was painful.

Then Peter calls (you would recognize his real name immediately). He wants to give $7 million! We were singing the doxology.

There was only one hitch. Peter wanted the money to be used to reestablish the small campus lake he remembered when he was a student.

Filled in years ago, the lake had been a maintenance problem and a worrisome safety risk – students loved going swimming at midnight. (That’s what Peter seemed to remember most about his days at Asheville!) Now there was an inviting meadow on the spot.

Peter wanted the lake back. And if it costs a little more than the $7 million, he’ll up his gift, he tells us.

A special meeting of the board was called. Restoring the lake wasn’t part of the campaign. Nor did it figure in any future plans. After hours of discussion, the board decided to go back to Peter and ask if his proposed gift could be diverted to another purpose.

But Peter was insistent. He wanted the lake. And he’d pay for the engineering fees if that was a problem. He also made it clear – no lake, no gift … of any size.

Another all-day special board meeting. Maybe it would be nice to have the lake again, one trustee mused. A few others agreed. “It was a popular spot.” But in the end, the board did the right thing. They refused the gift.

Trustees have a responsibility to determine what gifts might compromise the organization. And believe me, there’s plenty of precedent to guide you.

Take the $20 million that Lee Bass, an alumnus, gave to Yale University. He wanted the school to expand its offerings in Western Civilization. A virtuous and noble cause. There was only one provision.

Lee also wanted to name the professors who would benefit from the gift. After four years of agonizing debate, the eye-popping sum was returned. You can’t make a gift, no matter the size, and expect to hold the institution hostage.

At other times, the right decision isn’t so clear.

I was at a board meeting at Pacific Union College (Angwin, California). Trustees were split evenly about accepting a sizable gift from a local winery. The College is Seventh-day Adventist and Adventists are adamantly anti-alcohol. It’s one of the church’s inflexible tenets.

I watched as Trustees moved to one end of the room or the other to show their position. From both sides, the arguments grew heated and vehement. The chair was having trouble maintaining control. Forget about decorum!

Finally, someone said: “Malcolm, you’ve been quiet the whole time. What do you think about this?” Malcolm was the highly respected president of the University.

The moment was suddenly flooded with thundering silence.

“Well,” said Malcolm, “I think the devil has had this money long enough. I believe it’s time we had it for our use.”

That’s all it took. Trustees voted to accept the gift, and as one board member said “with deep appreciation to the wonders of the Lord.”

You may be familiar with John Steinbeck’s wonderful novel, The Pearl. In it, a poor Mexican fisherman discovers a pearl in one of his oysters. But instead of leading to happiness and treasures, it brings him only envy among his friends and neighbors. And violence to his family. He discovers he can’t even convert his find to ready cash. The pearl turns out to be no gift at all.

Well, life can be like that. And trustees are expected to make the hard decisions. What you thought held great promise may turn out to be no gift at all.

Companion Books

Customers who purchased The Fundraising Habits of Supremely Successful Boards also bought:

Asking          Fundraising Mistakes                 Mega Gifts