If you are one of the hundreds of Milwaukee-area business leaders who advance causes close to your heart by serving on the board of a local nonprofit, a recent discussion at the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ education luncheon might help you maximize your role as ambassadors to the community and ultimately drive more visibility to your organizations.

Julia McGuire and Melissa Berliner of consulting firm Campbell & Company described several board fundraiser personas that when harnessed appropriately can bring a ton of value to an organization. Any of these sound familiar?

“Avoidance Amy” board members have great intentions about contacting donor prospects but discover reasons not to follow through:  they don’t want to bother people, feel others are better suited, or question the timing.  These board members will do well to remember that nine-tenths of the job is just explaining why they’re believers. The support will come.

“Negative Ned”-types tend to criticize the plan and its chance of success, suppressing the enthusiasm of others.  These individuals often have valuable insights and could maximize success by offering critiques as process-improving suggestions.

For “Financial Felicity” board members, fundraising is mainly math (“To raise our $50,000, we just need 50 donors to give a thousand each…or maybe a thousand donors to give $50 each…”).  We all must remember that fundraising is the art of getting each donor to give the gift that’s right for them.

With the best of intentions, “Rogue Robs” solicit donors impulsively or make similar no-turning-back moves.  At times, this can spoil strategies carefully designed to maximize a gift.  Rob’s energy is a strong asset – as long as it’s channeled within the system.  Fundraising is a team sport!

At the core of each persona is something that nonprofits treasure – Amy’s willingness, Ned’s critical thinking, Felicity’s systematic approach, Rob’s self-starting fearlessness.  Every personality type brings tremendous value to an organization. And your organization’s fundraising team is humbled by the time and dedication you provide.

Written for the April 7 Milwaukee Business Journal

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