Episode 135 | How to Manage a Board 7000 Miles Away with Dan Hurrelbrink

On today’s episode, I’m joined by my friend and client, Dan Hurrelbrink.  Dan is the director of Barnabas Ministries and is coming to us from Romania.  Dan realized that what he was doing to raise money wasn’t working and he needed to make the necessary changes to be able to meet his fundraising goals.

Barnabas Ministries was founded in 1993, several years after Romania came out from under Communism.  At first, everyone needed help because the country was in such shambles.  They’ve evolved over time and now primarily work with children and their families along life’s path.

Tell us how you came to realize you needed help fundraising and how you found me.

Originally, when I was trained as a missionary I was taught to pray and if the provisions come then you move along with that plan.  As the years go by and you have a ministry that continues to grow, that tactic doesn’t always work, and we found ourselves with a ministry that needed support.  We had to turn away so many people because we just didn’t have the resources to help them. 

One of my favorite meetings we had was when you had one of your board members with you.  Tell us about the experience for your board member.

Working with the Academy for over a year, I was able to clarify what is Barnabas Ministries and determine what direction the ministry should go into the future.  I was able to actually answer the questions that my board member had and that helped to spark the fire under him.  Because I have been out of the country for eight years, there was no personal contact with our board members and the board essentially dried up and went away.  I realized that if we were going to make this ministry work that we needed to have an active board.  I set up a Facebook group and started communicating every idea I had and what was on my mind as well as what I was hoping to see Barnabas Ministries accomplish.  After a while, the board started to communicate and work together.  It was my goal to make sure I communicated with someone every day.  There was a period of time where I didn’t think this was going to work, but I kept at it and one day a member in the Facebook group asked if we could set up a call and every one of the board members was on it.  That’s how I built an A+ board.

Tell us about the specific project you are working on and the fundraiser you put on this last month.

We’re working on is a capital campaign to build a new $500,000 community center that will house an after-school program.  We will also host adult education classes and eventually will have a church in the building as well.  I had always wanted to have a banquet celebrating our successes of the ministry each year.  But because I am so far away, it’s not been possible until now.  Since getting my new board in place, they were able to put on this event and I flew back to attend.  We have Christian camps throughout the summer, and it costs $50 per child for a week at camp.  We added that into the ticket price of the meal. During this meal, we were able to raise more than $15,000.  Since then, we’ve received another $20,000.

What advice would you give the listeners when they are trying to develop their boards?

I realized that I needed to set aside time and make fundraising a priority.  I scheduled time in my day to specifically study fundraising and how to do it.  Everything else in the ministry depends on me to being able find those funds.  Because I live in Romania where there isn’t much initiative to move forward in life, I realized that if I was going to make this thing work that I needed encouragement from outside.  This is what led me to decide to join Fundraising Freedom Academy.  Since we are a group of people on the same path, I made a conscious decision to reach out and encourage them in their journeys and in return, they encouraged me on mine.  I make our scheduled meetings times a priority and try not to miss any of them. 

What do you want to see happen in the next few years for your cause?

I want to see our ministry fully funded and so that I can actually focus on the mission we have here in Romania and help all the people who come to our door, not just a few.  It’s easier now, because my board members are helping to carry the weight of the load of the mission.  My wife and I have been in this ministry for 27 years and we know in the next ten years that it will be time to hand it off to someone else.  We don’t want to hand off an organization that is struggling to survive because no one will want to take that on. 

If you’ve listened to April, Joel, or Dan’s stories and are thinking about how you are going to put on a signature fundraiser, applications for the Fundraising Freedom Academy Class of 2020 are open.  If you are raising $50,000 or more and would like to know more about the Academy, you can apply at http://bit.ly/applyforFRFA.  From there, my assistant will set up a 20-minute conversation with me to see if you’re a good fit and you’ll get the rest of the details on how to sign up. 

If you missed the webinar I hosted last week, you can watch the recording at http://bit.ly/successfulfundraiser

For more information on Barnabas Ministries, go to http://barnabasministriesromania.org/ to learn more.

For more information about Mary Valloni, visit maryvalloni.com and to download our free Fundraising Freedom Roadmap, go to maryvalloni.com/roadmap

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