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Questions I’m Most Often Asked about Boards and Fundraising

By Kay Sprinkel Grace


Boards and fundraising. It’s a hot-button issue for almost everyone—from monolithic hospitals to closet-sized food pantries. In my years of consulting I’ve fielded hundreds if not thousands of questions on the subject. Here, I offer answers to the six questions I’m asked most often.

How can I get my board members to ask for money?

I don’t believe you’ll ever get all of your board members to ask. But it’s certainly possible for everyone to play a role in development, as I make clear in The Ultimate Board Member’s Book.

When I worked with the American Library in Paris, guiding a small capital campaign, one board member was responsible for our raising nearly a third of the goal. And she didn’t ask for a penny herself. Instead, the money came from people she had kept in close touch with over the years. She said she couldn’t ask them herself but was happy to let her friends know we’d be in touch. When I thanked her for her role, she apologized for not being able to ask. “You don’t have to,” I assured her. “Just keep doing what you’re doing.”



Kay Sprinkel Grace is the author of The Ultimate Board Member’s Book, Fundraising Mistakes That Bedevil All Boards (and Staff Too), and Over Goal! She is a prolific writer, creative thinker, inspiring speaker, and reflective practitioner. Her passion for philanthropy and its capacity to transform donors, organizations, and communities is well known in the United States and internationally.


5 keys to an effective online #fundraising campaign

“With record snowfall across the United States this winter, the imagery of melting snow comes with the prospect and relief of warmer temperatures. The thought of spring and summer also brings event fundraising season. Given that online fundraising increased 13.5% in 2013, according to the recentBlackbaud study, nonprofits need to continually look at ways to capitalize on this trend. There are a number of ways that nonprofits can tap into online fundraising. One of the most successful and effective methods is peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising in events like runs, walks and rides…”

Read the entire article at

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Nonprofit Times Topic: Grants

Grants: 6 Six Principles For Acquisition Work –


Facing vast funding demands, nonprofit boards all too often assign the executive director the quixotic task of slaying every dragon with a grant. The roof is falling in? Get a grant. Can’t afford administrative salaries? Get a grant.

According to Barbara A. Floersch, director of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, a successful grant acquisition program can do a lot, but not everything. It’s just one element of what should be a diverse fund development plan. To set your grant acquisition work on the right track, keep these six principles in mind.

1. A grant is a transaction in which your organization receives money to perform an activity that will achieve an agreed upon result. A grant is an obligation, not free money.

2. Grants should respond to needs identified through a planning or assessment process. Successful grants aren’t based on what someone thinks, believes, or assumes. They’re based on facts.

3. To win grants, you need an informed view of what grants can and can’t do. Grants aren’t for erasing deficits or rescuing organizations that are collapsing because board members and administrators have been asleep at the wheel, according to Floersch.

4. A grant acquisition program must be based on solid research on grantmakers and government funding programs. You’ve got to understand what funders are interested in and what they actually support. Spraying hundreds of foundations with generic requests and then praying for results (the spray and pray approach) will get you nowhere.

5. With foundation and corporate grantmakers, relationships matter. The grant acquisition effort should work hand-in-hand with the board and administration to build and maintain targeted relationships.

6. The grants effort requires support from many within the organization–it’s not a one-person job. Administrators, human resources, finance, and program management must be involved.

For more info on grants, go to

How America Gives!


Check out the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s latest giving in America study. 

How are you fairing?


How America Gives!


Check out the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s latest giving in America study. 

How are you fairing?


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