A Big Give Again

Week two for Oprah’s Big Give and I have to say I thought things improved. Last week I was disappointed in the families that were chosen and didn’t feel that they were representative of people in the States with the greatest needs. This week worked out better. For those of you that did not watch this week each contestant was given 48 hours and $4,800 to give away. In this case each individual had a larger amount of control over where and why they were giving which I appreciated.

After my post last week I have a few really insightful comments and thought this could provide an opportunity for some good continued discussion. I had a number of great comments last week there was an overall feeling that the show made fundraising look easier than it actually is. A comment from last week:

I work for a nonprofit organization that seems to think money is growing on trees and that all the development officer needs to do is go out and pluck it. Nothing could be farther from reality.

Raising money is hard work. Especially for small local nonprofits it can be really hard to build a donor base, secure corporate involvement, and create a major donor program. Wouldn’t it be an incredible day if in 48 hours you were able to call a group of complete strangers and raise over $25,000? But that is not the traditional fund development experience.

How can we work with our boards, executive team and staff to change their perspective on fund development? This is a really hard thing to do, many organizations have a culture that is hostel to the work of the development office and it takes years of patience and trust building to start to break that down. Sit down with your CEO/Executive Director and/or your board chair and explain to them the need to work as a team explain the potential funding that comes through working with board, staff and volunteer’s spheres of influence. This is important, if you cannot secure the support of the executive leaders of the organization you will never be able to build your program or reach the funding potential for your organization (read my post on More About Using Board Members to Fundraise). Ask them if you can start a monthly development committee with board members or high level volunteers.

What did you think of this week’s show? Have you had any negative or positive feedback or change in expectation from your nonprofit employer based on Oprah or the contestant’s ability to fundraise? How have you responded to past criticism of your fundraising work.

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2 Responses to A Big Give Again

  1. Terri Andrews says:

    Though I do think things improved this week, as I was watching, I kept thinking that the ability to introduce yourself with the snippet “I’m from Ophrah’s Big Give” would go a long way to open doors. Companies supporting the Denver Orphanage, for example, got NATIONAL exposure for their contribution. Talk about cause marketing! The three men who chose to work together clearly excelled as a team. Their ability to think strategically and work the phones puts them head and shoulders above the other contestants. They were truly mission focused, and it showed.

  2. Jason says:

    Terri,
    I agree with you 100% I actually started writing the post with that very idea in mind. Next week you will probably see something about that. I recently read another blog post where I responded much the same way:
    http://businessphilanthropycoach.com/2008/03/04/oprahs-big-give/
    Thanks for reading.
    Jason

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