Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

It doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day to find 24 reasons to love nonprofits

Alyce Lee Stansbury, CFRE, Notes on Nonprofits

Valentine’s Day is almost here so I decided to reprise a previous column on all the things to love about nonprofits plus a few new ones.

  1. I love it when board members aren’t afraid to ask questions when they really don’t understand the financial statement, or an issue being discussed at board meetings. In many cases, someone else has the same question and everyone will benefit from discussing the answer.


  1. I love board meetings, retreats, and workshops that start and end on time. Valuing people’s time is a powerful way to value them.


  1. I love people who ask before they donate goods to nonprofits. Not all nonprofits can handle the volume of used items that often come with wonderful intentions. In case you missed it, please read last week’s guest column by Kelly Otte on this topic.


  1. I love fundraising done right which is about teaching people the joy of giving. No arm twisting, no begging but, rather, taking time to find out what people love about what the mission and asking them to support that.


  1. I love boards who recognize the importance of having effective committees and develop processes for actively engaging and supporting that work.


  1. I am partial, in a very loving way, to board members who do everything they can to attend every board meeting and when they can’t notify the chair or executive director as soon as they know there is a conflict. Too often board members will email the morning of the meeting to say, “I’m out of town.” Better to email before you go.


  1. I love nonprofits who implement a Thankful Thursday campaign to intentionally thank board members, donors, staff, and supporters every week.


  1. I love board members who can be relied on to do exactly what they say they will do.


  1. I love talking with donors. Years ago, I spoke with a donor who donates five figure gifts to several nonprofits who said, “I’m so tired of being presented to. I want to be engaged.” What a powerful call to action for anyone raising money for a worthy cause. Money follows engagement.


  1. I also loved it when the donor said, “I appreciated the hand-written note from the board chair because it sounded like he wrote it and really meant it. What I didn’t like was realizing he probably knew how much I had given which made me feel uncomfortable.” I love this reminder to honor donor privacy and confidentiality.


  1. I love boards that achieve quorum 100% of the time so the business of the organization is never interrupted.


  1. I love hearing from my former students who are founding nonprofits, leading fundraising teams, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars, and pursuing their fundraising credential. You make your former professor very proud.


  1. I love it when donors and funders recognize staff salaries are critical investments in nonprofit success. There’s no impact or return on investment without committed, skilled staff members on the front lines doing the work.


  1. I love what Ian Adair, mental health advocate and wellness advocate, said on this topic: “our people are the magic behind our impact.” Ian also reminds us that “the health of our employees is just as important as the health of the people we serve.”


  1. I love this statement from The Tenacious Fundraiser, “you have the board you cultivate.”


  1. I love the phrase “ostrich fundraising” which means ignoring expert advice, not studying research, or following best practices while complaining the money never increases. Keeping your head in the sand will not result in more dollars raised.


  1. Along the same lines, I love this wisdom from a board member who said, “nonprofits aren’t going to cut their way to prosperity.” When cash flow is tight, the answer is more revenue.


  1. I love Executive Directors who recognize they aren’t the only leaders in their organizations and that the best leaders need to be good followers.


  1. I love the nonprofit sector because it’s filled with people who give voices to the voiceless, save the last best places, and bring music and beauty to the world.


  1. I love this statement from a board member who said, “Telling our unique story gives our fundraising wings.” What a perfect way to describe why every nonprofit needs a case for support.


  1. I love it when the nonprofit, private, and public sectors work together to solve a problem and serve the community. Each depends on the others to be strong and healthy.


  1. I love hosting the weekly Notes on Nonprofits Live on Facebook with Felina Martin and invite you to join the conversation.


  1. I love the Tallahassee Democrat for recognizing the importance of providing information to the community about the nonprofit sector and supporting this column for a very long time. Special valentines to Martha Gruender and William Hatfield for their steadfast support.


  1. Most of all, I love the readers of this column. Thank you for asking thoughtful questions, sharing your insights, and providing valuable feedback. This column is for you.

Notes on Nonprofits is a column in the Tallahassee Democrat produced by Alyce Lee Stansbury, CFRE, President of Stansbury Consulting, and includes resources, responses to reader questions, guest columns, and timeless topics. This column first appeared on Sunday, February 13, 2022. Please send your comments and questions to [email protected].

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