As a businessperson, you are among the most sought-after volunteers for support of non-profit organizations. Officials of non-profits want you to take leadership positions with them because:

  • They know that you are a natural leader and a strong advocate for charitable groups and their causes
  • They know that as a good corporate citizen you are aware of their problems and needs and are sensitive and responsive to them.
  • They are aware that you are able to help them gain support from other business and civic leaders because of your own stature in the community and through your friendships and contacts.
  • They recognize that involvement in charitable organizations is in your own self-interest and that the networking opportunities they provide for you is good for your business.

But where and how to you find the time to best serve those non-profits which look to you for your leadership and involvement?

You look again at your watch and you finally say, “It’s time for me to go back to the office and help raise money for my own company.” You say this as yet another fund-raising meeting comes to an end for one of the several charities with which you are involved as a volunteer fund-raiser.

This is a common dilemma for business and industry executives. It’s hard enough to balance the demands of career and family, much less those of the many worthwhile non-profit organizations that want your time and energy even more than they need your money.

But successful businesspeople most often do feel the need to make such contributions of their time and efforts. So the issue of creating balance and of succeeding in the non-profit sector is critically important to them.

In your case, it means the added responsibility of regular meetings and phone calls to raise money for the organizations which do so much good for the community in which you live and work.

Before you take on that next community project, here are some pointers to consider relative to evaluating a non-profit organization and how you will get the job done:

  • The process of raising funds for non-profit organizations differs very little from any well-organized commercial sales and marketing campaign. Being aware of those similarities can help you to be far more efficient in carrying out your volunteer responsibilities.
  • To be successful, non-profit organizations must have a well-defined mission and serve an identifiable constituency. Their programs and services must be of the very best quality and delivered in a timely and efficient manner.
  • Potential donors must be solicited personally by knowledgeable and dedicated advocates of the organization, and supporters must be made to feel important and appreciated.

So far, this should seem familiar to anyone who provides a high-quality product or service to a known market and employs salespeople to call upon potential customers. To meet those objectives in a non-profit setting, the organization for which you’re raising funds must provide the same information and resources you use in your own business.

What to Expect and Demand from Your Favorite

Nonprofit When They Ask You to Help Raise Money

  • Know the organization’s strengths and, more important, its weaknesses so you won’t be hindered by unexpected obstacles. You need to be assured that earned revenues have been maximized to lessen the requirement for contributed income—because it’s easier to raise money for new initiatives at a growing organization than just to keep the doors open at a struggling one.
  • Ask to provide input or at least give your informed consent to the organization’s campaign plans.
  • Request a detailed job description of the volunteer position you are being asked to fill and the length of time you’ll be expected to serve.
  • Know in advance that you will be given the necessary staff assistance and resources to succeed in the task at hand. Often, people are asked to join boards and campaigns because they are perceived to have such resources available through their companies.

Whether you are working to put bread on your own table in a commercial business, or providing for others in your non-profit community, knowledge and commitment are your most powerful tools. With knowledge, you can present a credible case to those asked to support you. With commitment that comes from full understanding, you will maximize the results of your time and hard work.
Those are my views on the subject. What are yours? I welcome your comments and suggestions.