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  • Jay Goulart

One Of The Worst Questions The Board's Development Committee Asks

It's around this time of the fall, each year, when boards begin to ask very similar questions to many other organizations I've worked with and for. And I've pretty much heard this 100% of

the time. And here's the question:

How are we doing compared to last year?


The development team responds, the board hears we're either ahead or a little behind, or about the same as a year ago. It is an interesting point but meaningless without the right follow-up questions. In 25 years I have never heard a follow up question. To be fair board members are trying to do their very best and have relied on national associations to provide guidance. But truthfully there has been little adjustment to key metrics in 5 decades.


Board Should Know

  1. What was the number of donors that generated 80%-90% of last year's annual fund?

  2. How many do we anticipate renewing?

  3. How many are targeted for an increase?

  4. What is the total increase target?

  5. With the renewal projections, how many new leadership donors will need to be acquired to hit the goal?

  6. What will the new leadership donor average gift need to be?


The board has the responsibility to plan financially for the organization they serve. If they stop at "Where are we compared to last year" regarding the annual fund, they do not have the

correct information to make any logical data-driven decision.


Where is your board compared to last year in asking the right questions?




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