Imagine my surprise when I realized that nobody had yet applied the Kübler-Ross model to fundraising by nonprofit boards of directors! So, here, without further ado, are the Five Stages of Nonprofit Board Fundraising:
- Denial - "I don't think board members should be required to fundraise." - "I don't know anybody with money anyway." - "I was asked to join the board for my other skills." - "Don't we have staff for that?" - "We're a nonprofit, we're supposed to live on the financial edge!"
- Anger - "My friends will hate me if I add them to the mailing list!" - "If I give myself, why do I also have to 'get'?"- "I give so much of my time, you want my money too?" - "If the staff were doing their jobs, this wouldn't be necessary." - "It's the politicians' fault that we can't raise enough money!" - "I never should have joined this board."
- Bargaining - "If I serve on the audit committee, can I get out of working on the event?" - "I brought in my old PC for the intern to use, that's worth something, right?" - "How about if I just mention I'm on the board in my family Christmas letter, that'll save you on printing and postage!" - "Tell you what, I know the name of a foundation that makes grants..."
- Depression - "The economy is going to clobber us anyway, so why bother?" - "We can't compete with all those nationally known nonprofits." - "Nobody really gets our mission anyway." - "There's no point in even asking before the next election cycle, or two..." - "I read in NPQ that even the big guys can't raise any money these days."
- Acceptance - "Do we have any brochures I can bring to my Rotary meeting?" - "Let me find out about my company's corporate philanthropy policy" - "Hey, if we each commit to just a small amount we can close that budget gap!" - "How can we expect others to spread the word and raise money for our cause if we're not willing to do it ourselves?"