Fundraising Good Times: Ingredients of a Quality Meeting

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Column, Mel and Pearl Shaw

We recently received a request from a reader wanting to know how to get the most impact from meetings with her supervisor. “Each week, I am given full responsibility for what is discussed. It is the one opportunity where I have my supervisor’s undivided attention and think I should be more strategic in our discussion.”

We are glad you asked, here are our suggestions.

In advance, know how much time is allocated to the meeting. Ask if anyone else will be attending. If you think someone else should participate, make the suggestion. Most importantly craft a draft agenda and send it to your supervisor in advance.

Here are suggestions for your agenda. Highlights of your last meeting including status of action items. A progress report summarizing your accomplishments for the week. Your priorities for the coming week, and how each ties to the goals of the department or organization/institution. Include time to review people your supervisor has met with over the past week: you want to know who are the prospective donors you should follow up with. Talk about outstanding items and get these resolved as quickly as possible. Try to ensure items don’t carry over from one week to the next. Always communicate where you are in relation to your fundraising goals and how you are advancing the organization’s fundraising plan. Leave time for open discussion, and end with agreement regarding next steps.

During the meeting you want to clearly communicate your progress and challenges. Consider including the following during your conversation: one new thing I learned this week; trends I see developing; and things I am concerned about. Ask questions. If you don’t have direct access to fundraising data, always ask “how are we progressing towards the annual goal?” You need to know this information. Consider asking, “is there anything I need to be aware of that can impact fundraising in a positive or challenging way?” Most importantly ask for whatever it is you need to do your job well. Always ask “How am I doing?”

Share collateral under development or collateral that underscores points you are trying to make. Share quantitative information such as number of new suspects/prospects identified; number of suspects qualified; and number of calls, solicitations, gifts, moves, or declines. Never make excuses. Always send meeting minutes by end of day.

If you don’t yet have a weekly meeting set with your supervisor, we hope you can get one set up. You don’t want to be surprised by a negative job evaluation and the organization doesn’t want to be surprised by unmet revenue goals.

Send your questions to news@saadandshaw.com.

Copyright 2016– Mel and Pearl Shaw
For more fundraising and nonprofit management suggestions visit www.saadandshaw.com. When you are ready to work with fundraising counsel call us at (901) 522-8727.

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