You believe community involvement can lead to business. You’ve joined a small local nonprofit in your area. It’s prestigious. It has a noble mission. It’s run almost exclusively be volunteers. They even invited you to join the board.
These people are generally polite. They won’t vote you out, boo or throw rotten vegetables. Instead, they can exclude you or work around you. Here’s what not to do
1. Take over. You realize they are nice people, but haven’t a clue how to raise money or run a business. You tell them. You try to force through changes.
Outcome: They freeze you out.
Why: The Old Guard may not be good at running an organization efficiently, but they are masters at getting rid of someone they don’t like.
Instead: Look and listen. Identify relationships in place. Get close to one of the Old Guard leaders. Ask questions. Make suggestions. Try to get support for your ideas before you voice them publicly.
2. Volunteer, then never follow though. You join committees. You don’t show up. People think you are all talk and no action.
Outcome: They assume you joined to get some nonprofit experience onto your resume. They marginalize you, not taking you seriously.
Why: You’ve demonstrated you don’t follow through.
Instead: Pick one project you’ve carefully thought through. Bring it to a successful conclusion. Build your reputation.
3. Prospect every board member. You ask each one “I would like to go over your finances sometime. What time is good for you?”
Outcome: They look at you funny. No one wants to have lunch or socialize.
Why: They think the only reason you joined is to get business. You are marginalized.
Instead: Tactfully ask the board member who got you involved: “I would like to raise my professional visibility. What do you suggest?”
4. Talk about your clients by name. “You want to do business with me. Everyone else does. I just did a great job for Charlie. Ask him.”
Outcome: They will not become clients. Ever.
Why: You violated client confidentiality.
Instead: “I can’t disclose or talk about my clients. However, the rule doesn’t work both ways. Clients are certainly allowed to talk about their advisor. We hope they do! If you ask around in town, you can probably get some feedback about me.”