What We Learned — Part Two.

There were many interesting insights from our recent forums with BoardSource at The Columbus Foundation and the Columbus Metropolitan Club. Last week we shared lessons learned. This week, we look at a few data points, outlined below.

Three measures from:

  • Measuring Fundraising Effectiveness and Your Development Plan; Why Cost of Fundraising and Number of Donors Isn’t Enough

Three poll results from:

  • State of Nonprofits: The State of the Board; Nonprofit Board Governance: What’s Working, What’s Not, and What We Do About It

Three Measures

The BoardSource model for measuring fundraising effectiveness is based on the belief that only looking at the cost to raise $1 is not an adequate measure of success. A better way to assess the health of an organization’s fundraising efforts is to collect data and analyze total fundraising net and the dependency quotient in addition to cost of fundraising.

These three measures give board members and staff leaders a window into fundraising operations to inform decision making and budget forecasting. BoardSource’s tools to help nonprofits run these calculations are free to use.

Three Poll Results

To best understand the audience at our State of Nonprofits forum, we used the Poll Everywhere app to ask questions. The answers surprised us.

1. Are you primarily here today as a nonprofit board member, staff member, donor, volunteer, or other?

There were nearly as many board members in the room as staff members, but very few who primarily identified as a donor or volunteer. That means almost 70% of the audience are in the trenches of nonprofit leadership. They are doing more than simply giving their time or resources. They are doing the hard work of the missions they care deeply about, which is heartening.

2. If you are serving on a board, or have served in the past, is or was the experience amazing, positive, so-so, negative, or awful?

The answer to this question was really surprising as 85% of the audience had either an amazing or positive experience. Only 13% gave a neutral answer, 2% said negative, and no one answered awful. Given how often we hear complaints, the overwhelming sentiment is the opposite. Chief executives should feel empowered by these results. Keep focusing on building relationships with your board members because they are happy to support you and the organization.

3. Is the state of nonprofit boards healthy, complicated, promising, dysfunctional, or unsure?

No one said dysfunctional. While 67% said complicated, 25% said promising. Board governance is complicated and while it can be easy to focus on the “what’s not working” part of the conversation, it is much better to spend energy on “what we do about it.” When nonprofit leaders use board meetings to discuss how to solve challenges and leverage opportunities, it builds engagement and moves the organization forward. And when that happens, nonprofits and the communities and constituents they serve are healthier.

To watch the State of Nonprofit forum, visit the CMC YouTube channel. Although the poll is closed, how would you have responded to the three questions?

Thank you, again, to my colleagues Michael Bongiorno of AECOM, Deborah Aubert Thomas of Philanthropy Ohio, and Andy Davis of BoardSource; and, to our hosts, the Columbus Metropolitan Club and The Columbus Foundation.

Article by: Kerri Laubenthal Mollard, Founder & CEO

2020-01-23T19:19:35+00:00