You have three minutes…

It’s a warm evening, and the room’s malfunctioning HVAC isn’t helping matters. You wipe a slight smidgen of sweat from your hands onto your jeans and clear your voice. In syncopation, you review your opening statement at light-speed inside your head.

The proposal you slaved and lobbied over for nearly a month (or more) is finally getting its time at your nonprofit board’s monthly meeting. You documented your notes on a separate agenda to keep your speech on track. You even went to the bathroom 10 minutes before the meeting so nothing would interrupt your time.

Quick, pop quiz:

  • Did you bring enough copies of your proposal for every board member to review?
  • Have you anticipated additional time for questions and answers?
  • What if they think your plan stinks?
  • Do you even know who sits on the board?

Your heart jolts with an extra adrenaline shot after you review the questions in your mind (you might even feel the urge to bolt toward the bathroom again). Suddenly you’re not so sure your nonprofit board members will receive your proposal with open arms. They might even wait another month (or five) to put it to a vote.

Even the most hands-on of board members are incredibly, ridiculously busy people. This goes double for large nonprofits with employees who have umpteen to-dos before noon, and triple for small nonprofits who rely almost entirely on volunteer efforts.

But remember: your mission is the reason why you’re all there in the first place.

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