Dear Board Members,
Most of you are parents, so I'm pretty sure you've read (and read and read and read) that classic of children's literature, Green Eggs and Ham by Doctor Seuss.
On the remote chance that you haven't read it, here's what happens: A creature of indeterminate species named Sam-I-Am harasses another creature of possibly the same indeterminate species (and nameless), trying to persuade it to eat green eggs and ham. The unnamed creature does not like green eggs and ham, and refuses them despite a bewildering array of dining scenarios proposed by Sam-I-Am.
Finally, though, the unnamed creature takes a bit of GE&H and discovers he likes them. He exclaims that he'd eat them anywhere, including in a box, with a mouse, in a tree, etc.
The moral, and forgive me for stating the obvious, is that you don't know something until you participate in it.
One thing this means to you is this: Your opinions about your organization's fundraising are meaningless.
Worse than meaningless, actually.
When you say you dislike (or like) something your organization is doing to raise funds, you are no different from the creature loudly proclaiming that he doesn't like green eggs and ham. You don't know what you're talking about!
Have you proclaimed that telephone fundraising is bad, because everybody hates it? Wrong.
Do you tell your fundraising staff not to write long messages because nobody has time to read them? Wrong.
Have you taken a stand against urgency and emotion because it's just so corny? Wrong.
I could go on. The fundraising professionals on your staff know what they're doing. (I hope.) You should assume they are working from a position of knowledge, not ignorance. It can be confusing that something like telephone fundraising works when you personally hate it.
But think of it this way: As a board member, you live on a steady diet of green eggs Benedict. It's a little richer than the green eggs and ham that a more typical donor gets. They like green eggs and ham. You would too, if you were them.
But you aren't them. So please, suspend your opinion. Give your fundraisers the chance to tell you what they're doing and why. And accept the fact that it may not sound delicious to you.
Sincerely, Jeff Brooks
P.S. Sorry to scold you like this. You really deserve a lot of thanks for all you're doing. Here and there and everywhere.