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The Fundraising Habits of Supremely Successful Boards

Revised Edition

Author
Jerold Panas

ISBN
1889102261

Cost $24.95 + shipping

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Table of Contents

Read an Excerpt

Read an Interview with Jerold Panas

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Acclaim for The Fundraising Habits

“Instructive, candid, with vivid examples, and above all, completely inspiring. My advice to presidents: First, read Habits yourself; then, get every board member a copy and ask them to read it; next, ask your board chair to call a special board retreat from which all will leave filled with Jerold Panas’ wisdom and passion. Then, watch your coffers grow and your mission glow.”

- Dr. James L. Fisher, President Emeritus, Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)

“Cures for cancer, a cleaner environment, great colleges – all our dreams come closer when board members embrace these fabulous habits that Jerold Panas presents with his special powers of clarity and simplicity.”

- Roger Sullivan, Sr. Vice President, CureSearch, National Childhood Cancer Foundation

“I can’t think of an hour better spent on behalf of strengthening a board than reading The Fundraising Habits. Like all of Jerold Panas’ writing, it is engaging, readable, and most importantly, wise.”

- Judy Jolley Mohraz, Ph.D., President & CEO, The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust (Arizona)

“If you’d like to help the institutions you care deeply about to achieve their fullest potential to change lives and make a difference, then invest 59 minutes to absorb Jerold Panas’ inspiring and highly practical insights.”

- Journey Johnson, President & CEO, YMCA of Middle Tennessee

“Jerold Panas has raised the bar for both philanthropy and board members. Fundraising Habits will change for the better our ability to develop effective board members and raise financial support for our mission.”

- Wayne Antworth, Vice President of Philanthropy, Guideposts

“Get in the habit of reading Jerold Panas’ books. He reveals the secrets of successful fundraisers in a most passionate and entertaining way."

- Frank Hall, Vice President, Resource Development, St. Joseph Health System

 

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The following is an excerpt from Jerold Panas's book, The Fundraising Habits of Supremely Successful Boards.

How Boards Kill Great Ideas

With some organizations, if you want to kill an idea get the board to discuss it. They don’t know what they want – and won’t be happy until they get it.

I've been a consultant to philanthropy for 40 years. In that time, I’ve attended hundreds and hundreds of board meetings — perhaps a thousand (surely a sufficient number to earn me a place in heaven on the right hand of the saints and martyrs!).

Time and time again, I’ve heard the same seven deadly statements that can kill an idea…

"We’ve never done it that way before."

A board that protects its time-vested interests and its precious heritage blocks the route to change.  It is strangled by the status quo.

Take a chance. Seize the opportunity. Some decisions require audacious action. It is impossible to be both consistently bold and infallible.

"It can’t be done."

In these times of explosive change and extraordinary complexity, to say impossible always puts you on the losing side. An organization harboring the attitude, “it can’t be done,” has signed-off on a self-fulfilling promise of failure.

If you believe it can be done— it can. This must be the hymn you sing.

"It’ll cost too much."

Not having funds is a temporary problem … surrounded by creative solutions. To say you have insufficient funds for objectives of consequence bespeaks lowly aspirations.

You hold in trust the mission of your organization and the responsibility for its funding. That is a commitment to be faithfully sustained with unrelenting resolve and intrepid dedication.

Resources must not determine decisions. Your decisions determine resources.

"We’ve been doing all right without it."

It was Will Rogers who said: “Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.”

Those satisfied with today’s progress and pace will eventually fall behind. They're in serious trouble and already more difficult to move than a church graveyard.

"We’ve tried it that way, and it didn’t work."

As a trustee, always consider “what might be” rather than “what is” or what happened in the past. Even the thorniest problem can be an inspiring opportunity when pursued with a belief in the possible. Or as Clement Stone, the father of positive thinking, colorfully put it: “You’ve got a problem. Great!” 

"We’re not ready now."

If not now — when?

TNT must be your creed — Today Not Tomorrow. Move forward and make your decision with a symphony of hard work, persistence, and unwavering commitment. 

"Let’s put it off for now and discuss it later."

Indecision is contagious. It casts an unhealthy pall over each member of the board.

Ross Perot contends that too often an organization says:  “ready, aim, aim, aim, aim.” Perot recommends instead the concept: “Ready, fire, aim.”

The theory is valid.  Most often, it is far better to take action even though all the factors may be unknown, than to take no action at all.

•••

The other day, while waiting in the doctor’s office, I came across an article in an old issue of National Geographic.

You’ll laugh when I tell you the subject – barnacles. But one fascinating paragraph stayed with me.

“The barnacle,” this article said, “is confronted early on with a decision about where it is going to live. Once it decides that, it spends the rest of its life with its head permanently cemented to a rock.”

For some boards, it does come to that!

Thankfully you know better.

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About the Author

Jerold Panas is among a small handful of the grandmasters of American fundraisers.

He is considered one of the top writers in the field and a number of his books, including Asking and Mega Gifts, have achieved classic status.

Hailed by Newsweek as "the Robert Schuller of fundraising," Jerry is a popular columnist for Contributions Magazine and a favorite speaker at conferences and workshops throughout the nation.

He is executive director of one of the premier firms in America and is co-founder of the Institute for Charitable Giving. The very term "philanthropy" would mean less without Jerry's influence.

He lives with his wife, Felicity, in a 1710 farmhouse in northwest Connecticut.

Table of Contents

  1. It Starts with Integrity

  2. Mission is Everything

  3. Why People Give

  4. It Doesn’t Just Happen

  5. Room at the Bottom

  6. The Courage to Dare

  7. A Roaring Advocate

  8. Deadly Offenses

  9. The Future Isn’t What it Used to Be

  10. Avoid Meddling

  11. Pass It On

  12. The Right Stuff

  13. You Invest

  14. Twice Blessed

  15. Back to the Well

  16. Beware the Trojan Horse

  17. Heartfelt Thanks

  18. Being There

  19. Do Your Homework

  20. You Worry

  21. Wear Your Business Hat

  22. Husband the Funds .

  23. Keep an Eye on the Fat Boy

  24. Ask for Help

  25. No Money, No Mission

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The Fundraising Habits of Supremely Successful Boards
A 59-Minute Guide to Assuring Your Organization's Future Revised Edition
by Jerold Panas, 106 pp., $24.95. (Click here for quantity discount information)

“A large part of virtue consists in good habits,” said William Paley.

In his book, The Fundraising Habits of Supremely Successful Boards, Jerold Panas would rephrase that a tad: A large part of an organization’s success depends on its board’s willingness to cultivate certain behaviors.

Over the course of a storied career, Panas has worked with literally thousands of boards, from those governing the toniest of prep schools to those spearheading the local Y. He has counseled floundering groups; he has been the wind beneath the wings of boards whose organizations have soared.

In fact, it’s a safe bet that Panas has observed more boards at work than perhaps anyone in America, all the while helping them to surpass their campaign goals of $100,000 to $100 million.

Funnel every ounce of that experience and wisdom into a single book and what you have is The Fundraising Habits of Supremely Successful Boards, the brilliant culmination of what Panas has learned firsthand about boards who excel at the task of resource development.

Anyone who has read Asking or any of Panas’ other books knows his style – a breezy and irresistible mix of storytelling, exhortation, and inspiration.

Habits follows the same engaging mold, offering a panoply of habits any board would be wise to cultivate. Some are specific, with measurable outcomes. Others are more intangible, with Panas seeking to impart an attitude of success.

Here’s just a sampling:

  • You don’t allow a mission deficit.
  • You never lose sight that your organization is in the business of changing lives or saving lives.
  • You’re willing to leave the comfort zone.
  • You understand that not all gifts are worth accepting.

In all, there are 25 habits and each is explored in two- and three-page chapters … and all of them are animated by real-life stories only this grandmaster of philanthropy can tell.

In a mere 106 pages, about an hour’s read, Jerold Panas has accomplished two feats. He has produced a book that boards will find simultaneously ennobling and instructive. And he has relegated to the recycling bin dozens upon dozens of ponderous and inauthentic treatises on the subject of nonprofit boards and fundraising.

 

Excerpt This article is excerpted from Jerold Panas' book, The Fundraising Habits of Supremely Successful Boards, ©Emerson & Church, Publishers. To obtain reprint permission, please call 508-359-0019.

Fundraising Tenets Aren’t Always True, Says Jerold Panas

“You can’t keep going back to the same well,” declared the trustee.

I was at a board meeting recently at Sewickley Academy (Sewickley, Pennsylvania). One of the board members was adamant: they couldn’t keep going back to the same old donors.
 
And in truth this is a well-worn maxim. It’s as old as fundraising itself, repeated often, and usually with the same satisfying finality as a Bach cantata.
 
The only trouble … it’s absolutely untrue. A hoary saw that’s totally baseless.

You can indeed keep going back to the well. As a matter of fact, that’s where your greatest potential is.

It’s as simple as this: giving begets giving. The more a person gives, the more she keeps giving. And giving. 

What’s really difficult is getting someone to give who has never given before. Or worse, has no philanthropic intent and gives to nothing.

Take Thomas, for instance, in Champagne, Illinois. For years, he made the Forbes’ list as one of the wealthiest men in the country.

When we were working with the University of Illinois Library, everyone insisted we put him on the prospect list. One of the board members said: “Heck, Tom could do the whole darn campaign himself.”

Well, indeed, he could have … with nary a blip in his net worth. The trouble is, he had never given to the University. In fact, as far as we could tell, he had never given to anything.

We should certainly call on him, but I didn’t harbor much hope. It’s what Samuel Johnson said about marrying the same woman twice – it’s a case of faith over experience.

Whereas a group like the Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) are reliable prospects for giving  – especially to another Mormon project. Members are obligatory tithers, a minimum of 10 percent of gross income to the Church. Many are double-tithers. Their generosity is boundless and they give to countless worthy causes. Their well never runs dry.

If you want the real maxim, here it is: Givers give. Which explains why at the end of your campaign if you’re short of goal, you call on those who have already given. You don’t go to those who earlier said “call on me later.” Chances are they’ll put you off again. 

Your organization needs financial support. As a board member you’re willing to ask others for it. You need to know you can indeed go back to the well.

Follow one of Pope John Paul’s last Encyclics to his Bishops: “Go deep, go deeper, go deeper still.”

SPECIAL OFFER: Order 5+ copies of Fundraising Habits and shipping is FREE. Simply put FSFH in the shipping box on the order form. Offer expires 5/22/2102.

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