Magical Mojo 5 ways to attract board members, volunteers and funders
What is it about some nonprofit organizations that just have a magnetic attraction drawing people and resources to them? Whether it’s attracting volunteers, board or committee members, or funders supporting their work, some organizations just seem to have a magical mojo about them.
What is it?
How did they get?
And most importantly, how can you get some for your organization?
Sometimes it’s hard to quantify exactly what it is that attracts people and resources to organizations. More often than not, it’s not just one thing, but a combination of factors involved that may seem like magical mojo to outsiders.
Here are 5 elements that contribute to creating attraction for organizations. I’m confident that you have one, or more, of these already working to your advantage.
1. Vision obviously tops the list as one of the most compelling draws to an organization or an idea. Think back in your personal life, how many times have you been moved to take some kind of action because you heard someone articulate a vision that resonated deep within you?
What motivated 250,000 people to join Dr. King for the March on Washington in August 1963? As Simon Sinek noted, the dream (or vision) was not just Dr. King’s dream, it was shared by everyone gathered at the Lincoln Memorial along with millions of other Americans. Dr. King was just its most vocal advocate.
George Bernard Shaw summarized one characteristic that distinguishes visionaries from critics, “Some men see things as they are and say why - I dream things that never were and say why not.” Vision is compelling because it points the way to a better, brighter future and draws others who share that vision to join the journey and invest their time, talent, and treasures to see it become a reality.
Does your organization's vision attract people to it?
2. Values have a huge magnetic pull among people who happen to share them. Think of organizations that are clear about their values and how those values draw others into their sphere. While every organization benefits from thoughtfully considering and declaring their values, certain organizations have a unique set of values that are extremely effective at drawing others to them. This works at any point on the spectrum and across a wide range of issues. Values attract people to environmental organizations like Greenpeace or The Nature Conservancy as well as religiously affiliated organizations like the Salvation Army, Jewish Federations, or Catholic Charities.
What values does your organization embrace that might resonate and attract people to your organization?
3. Your Mission or Cause also has a strong pull attracting others to your organization. Individuals, and increasingly companies, have identified missions or causes they want to connect with and adopt as their own. Whether it’s issues like senior hunger, education, housing, homelessness, the environment, youth development, or the commercial sexual exploitation of children, there are individuals and organizations who are passionate about these and may join your team at the drop of a hat.
Consider Habitat for Humanity which was a pioneer in mobilizing civic groups and corporations to collectively support their mission by adopting or sponsoring the construction of a home. HfH now has national partnerships with organizations like The Home Depot, Major League Baseball, and the Citi Foundation and hundreds, perhaps even thousands of local partnerships across the nation.
Kiva is another example of a cause that has connected. In the span of 7 years, they have mobilized over 750,000 individuals to create economic opportunities for people around the world by lending as little as $25 to help individuals launch a business.
Causes attract and connect people and organizations.
How clearly do you communicate your cause and connect with individuals and organizations willing to make your cause their cause?
4. Success is rocket fuel for attracting people and resources to your organization. You’ve heard the saying, nothing breeds success like success. As you promote the successful outcomes of your work, people are naturally drawn to them to help you multiply those successes. Today’s technologies makes this easier than ever.
How are you showcasing your successes and sharing their stories?
5. The People on Your Team are perhaps the easiest way to reach others. Whether they are staff or board members, volunteers, or funders, they know other individuals or organizations who may also have interest in your work and results. As my mom used to say, “birds of a feather flock together”. Find organic ways to mobilize your current network to get others involved.
Who are your greatest fans and most faithful supporters that will readily connect you to others?
Which of these are already creating magnetic mojo for your organization? Are there tweaks you could make that would increase the magnetism of your organization to attract volunteers, board members, and funders?
What else have you found that you would add to this list?