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This question has been answered, and points have been awarded.
New Nonprofit Fundraising Committee
Posted by Anonymous on
12/6/2012 at 5:31 PM ET
A nonprofit I support recently created a new committee to raise awareness and support their fund raising efforts. An early issue is our name, Board of Friends. This name often causes confusion during introductions as its shortened to "the new board or board".
As a nonprofit, there is a Board of Directors in place responsible for governance and we'd like a clear break in the word "board".
We'd like a few name suggestions to get our juices flowing that are fun, sexy, and nontraditional yet professional.
What You Should Know:
Our group is made up of men and women ages 30-55. They are professionals (mid career to executive), in a major metropolitan city that is socially conscious and interested in bringing a new level of awareness to the work our nonprofit does.
Our vision is to become a high impact group that provides a new level of support for our nonprofit. We will target men and women, ages 25-50, and income levels of $75k-$200k, for future fundraising events.
A Good Precedent
One example we've identified is the the Red Shoe Society. The Red Shoe Society was created to support the work of Ronald McDonald Charities. Red Shoe is gender neutral and clearly attracts an new audience (younger active professionals) for Ronald McDonald Charities. While most nonprofits create a junior board, I think Ronald McDonald was smart and strategic in choosing the name Red Shoe Society.
One more thing to note is the nonprofits' mission is to empower women and girls through economic empowerment, sexual violence services and other programs. It's been in existence for over 100 years and we'd like to target a fresh group of citizens that are socially conscious and interested in the empowerment of women.
12/6/2012 at 6:12 PM
Good Evening, my first question is what links do you have to the Quakers? (The Society Of Friends).
What are these fresh groups of citizens like? What are your current groups of citizens like?
12/6/2012 at 7:18 PM
I am mindful that words are "skins of living thought" and as such bear an intimate relationship with the thoughts it is meant to express. I don't want to cause confusion nor debate reserved for other forums over my use of the word 'citizen'. Therefore, I rescind the word 'citizen' and replace it with 'people'.
The people were are looking to attract are men and women, ages 25-50, with income levels of $75k-$200k. They may be socially conscious, interested in philanthropy, looking for ways to give back, interested in increased social inclusion for women and girls, etc.
12/6/2012 at 7:29 PM
my apologies for you misunderstand me. I used your terminology since this was how you described the issue.
You have a current group of people who support you; what difference are the people who you want to support you and currently don't? My thoughts are running to the fact that your current supporters will fulfill the criteria you mention, so the people you are seeking to attract will no doubt share these things. Only they will differ in some interesting way from your current ones.
Given that I speak Dutch, German and Danish as well as English, I don't usually have that much interest in the specifics of words, more the general meaning. In a brief comment box, it is very easy to make misunderstandings hence I try to understand a word in as general a form as possible.
12/6/2012 at 7:53 PM
M - Yes, I did misunderstand your original response.
Currently, 90 percent of of revenue comes through large corporations (banks, insurance companies, staffing firms) and public/private grants. 10 percent comes through individual giving.
Our committee will target individuals and small business owners which is different from the current supporters.
12/6/2012 at 9:47 PM
What's the name of the nonprofit? Presumably you'll want a name that refers to that name (just as Red Shoe Society does).
12/6/2012 at 10:10 PM
Thanks for the question. Y W C A.org
12/6/2012 at 11:30 PM
First I would advise while you want to attract a new group of followers, do not abandon the old. Too much a break will alienate them. For example what is going on with JCPenney. The new CEO is totally turning off his main client base in the hopes of making a new company. And its not working.
Next, your target is too large. 25 to 50, and at that income level. Do you have the resources to just broadcast like that?
Red shoes like red hat is overused. I agree that "friends" is non descript.
Sexy? Ladies Friends
The Ladies Friend
Honestly and as someone who's been on NP boards many years-- the name isn't the issue. Its the fundraising. The name while not perfect has a 100 year following.
I protested a name change for an unsimilar org -- they did it anyways, and went back to original name.
A name change won't bring you donors. How you market to those donors will. You have been working with larger groups, essentially tapping only the low lying fruit. Fund raising is a board responsibility. Start there and start tapping that board to bring in the donors at a lower level.
A rose is a rose. Again you can change the name but it won't change your results and maybe hamper them unless you change your tactics
12/6/2012 at 11:38 PM
whoa, am I just missing, you just want a name of the new committe -- of the YWCA? Go with Stilletttos. There isn't killer pair of new pair of shoes can't fix
12/6/2012 at 11:38 PM
whoa, am I just missing, you just want a name of the new committe -- of the YWCA? Go with Stilletttos. There isn't much a killer pair of new pair of shoes can't fix
12/7/2012 at 4:35 AM
As an aside, I presume that this committee or group will be formed independently of your current fund raising activities. This in response to Carol's thoughts.
Now the name is great - it will need some serious backup from a tagline/image if it is to be used effectively as something positive.
It was the Italian murder weapon of choice before firearms - and fashion designers borrowed the name for their long thin dagger-like heels. Indeed if you can make something really dramatic from it by having the image of a pair of stilettos and something like "we won't use it against you" (perhaps some other members can grab this and run?) We don't use Stilettos to stab you in the back - or something to that effect, only please don't use this thought.
A few thoughts:
Stilettos - Helping young women walk tall (my favourite).
Stilettos - for young women to walk tall
Stilettos - Helping young women aim high
Do remember that entrepreneurs are more generous than any other group of individuals or business owners. There is something that goes along with growing your own business from nothing that leads them to be generous with their harvests. Indeed you may want to focus on those who have already failed once as they will know what it is like to be in those young women's shoes. I certainly do!
Over to you.
12/7/2012 at 9:13 AM
The Empower Team
W-Power (Team) (instead of Em-Power)
Yellow F.O.G. (Friends of Girls)
Y We CAre
12/7/2012 at 10:38 AM
I've worked with non-profits on marketing and design projects for 27 years, here in the US, and in the UK. I'd advise against any name that identifies with shoes, hats, and the like because these kinds of names muddy the water, and because they alienate good portions of your potential audience: male committee members may not take too kindly to an association with stilettos.
There is nothing wrong with YWCA Funding Committee (apart from it being less than exciting).
Perhaps YWCA Fund Finders, or something of that ilk will work. The point though is this: donors don't care about committee names. Only committee MEMBERS care about committee names and this mindset in non profits is a rot that needs cutting out.
The committee really does not NEED a name. As a sub-committee of the governing body of Trustees, this committee's role, under the leadership and with the advisement of the Board President and the organization's Executive Director and Director of Development is to make connections within the donor community and to use its individual member's connections to solicit donations IN COOPERATION with the organization's administrative staff in Development, Marketing, Design, and Facilities.
This needs to be done strategically—but seldom is. Simply because Mrs. Gotrocks and Mr. Warbucks THINK the committee needs a name that's fun, sexy, and nontraditional in order to
raise funds does not make it so.
Funding committees do not need to be fun, sexy, and non traditional to raise money, they need to be well structured, well managed, well supported, and well scripted so that the people sitting on them are wrangled in some way rather than being allowed the free rein they normally feel is theirs by right, simply because they have money and connections.
Although it's FANTASTIC that you want to to target a fresh group of citizens that are socially conscious and interested in the empowerment of women, it's not the name of your committee that will do this, it's the committee's MESSAGE, MANAGEMENT, and it's MISSION to MEMORY MATCH.
12/8/2012 at 8:30 AM
We all know the historic ref. but the juxaposition of 'speaking easily' and NOT guarded about making a difference in the lives of women would be a very sticky title. Also remember many local businesses hosted SpeakEasies so, having them now work together to find seed money and NOT speaking quietly but empowering folks to help change the status quo could be a unique starting point.
12/8/2012 at 9:48 AM
Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts.
Carol and Moriaty - Thank you for your comments. Red Society Society was only used as an example. We would like to steer clear of shoe references as our committee has male members. We would not want to offend or alienate them.
I also agree with Carol and Gary that the name is not the issue and that donors don't care about names. The name change is a member lead activity given the early conversations around confusion of the term "board" and the view that a more compelling name is required to match our intent.
Gary, the committee's role that you laid outlined is ideal and the way we operate from a governing perspective. However, in the last two years a number of positions have been eliminated due to decreases in revenue so the headcount to for administrative support is not available. There is one person responsible for development and his focus is on $10K+. The bandwidth to execute on smaller individual amounts is not currently available. Hence, the rationale for creating a subcommittee.
A new name is not NEEDED but, as we think about the short and long term goals of the committee it is something we would like.
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