One of the great calamities in fundraising is when a board member has fundraising ideas, as described at The Nth Factor blog, at When Great Board Members Have Not-So-Great Fundraising Ideas. Here are some pretty typical board member fundraising ideas:
- I don't read long letters, so our fundraising letters should be short.
- Our donors get too much email/mail from us and are starting to tune us out. If we send less, they'll be more welcoming of our communications and will give more.
- Our major gifts program raises so much more than our membership program. We should shut down our membership program and just focus on major gifts.
- We need to do something "different."
- Direct mail is so expensive and everyone gives online anyway. We should eliminate our direct mail program and fundraise online only.
These are things you will commonly hear from board members and other non-experts (including executive directors). It all makes perfect sense ... if you don't have any specific knowledge about how fundraising works.
It's all bad, bad advice. If you go with any of these ideas, you can expect devastating results.
Just because they're on the board doesn't mean all their ideas are good. Successful fundraising is guided by facts and experience, not off-the-cuff opinions of amateurs.
I know it's not easy to ignore the advice of those in authority. Maybe you can show them this blog post and say "The Internet says so." (Which is normally a very bad idea, but might save your bacon this time!)