Posted , by Wendy McGrady. Topic: Board Development.

Earlier this week Keith and I led a workshop during the Virginia Association of Museum’s Annual Conference. As part of our session, entitled Making a Successful Major Gift Ask, we recruited our friends and clients, Page Hayhurst, Executive Director, Carolyn Cuthrell, Director of Development, and Joe Witt, Board Member, from the Virginia Living Museum to sit in on a panel discussion.

The candid dialogue brought about some excellent points that are worth repeating. One of the most important points that Joe talked about was in regards to his role as board member. When asked, “What do you expect from staff?” His answer was a quick and assured, “preparation and follow up.” He gently explained that he has a full-time job. When he steps into his role as board member, he is volunteering his time. Use it wisely and utilize the skills that he, or any board member, might be able to provide. “Make sure that I have all of the arrows in my quiver, so that when I go out on a call, I will hit the bulls-eye.”

Joe provided the audience with seven tips to think about. (1) Create a real sense of urgency to motivate people. (2) Failure is not an option. (3) Assemble a team with passionate leaders that will share their enthusiasm. (4) Create a sense of ownership. (5) Keep your message simple and clear. (6) Keep goals clear. (7) Personalize solicitations, take the time to tailor the ask.

Stay tuned for our next blog post where we will share the staff’s perspective from this panel discussion.

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