Friends in Kitchen

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Benjamin Case

Benjamin Case

I help nonprofits raise more money.

Inviting the Right People Into the Kitchen

The people you invite into your kitchen are those you know well – people who feel almost like family. They are the people who know you and whom you trust. In the end, “the kitchen” of a nonprofit is where the open and honest planning and communication about the organization’s work happens – where those who know it best come together to help it move forward, be they board members, major donors, or members of the nonprofit’s staff. 

To identify which people to “invite into the kitchen” of a nonprofit, I use what Jerry Panas referred to as “the Four W’s”:

  • Work
  • Wealth
  • Wisdom
  • Wallop.

These qualities are important and easy to remember, but there are other elements that can help you be selective and deliberate about the people you invite to join in your nonprofit’s mission. 

Of the 10 attributes I use to identify people who would be most likely to enhance the work of an organization, these 5 rise to the top:  

  1. Integrity: You want to make sure those you approach pursue excellence with integrity. That’s not to say that they’re perfect. In fact, people who think they know everything and have all the answers can be a red flag. But try to determine that they pursue excellence with the kind of self-awareness that leads to integrity.  
  2. A shared vision: Sometimes this must be developed over time, but there has to be a connection—some existing enthusiasm for your work. It is your job to identify the connection and develop that enthusiasm. The closer they are to fully sharing and understanding your vision, the better. And your goal should be to increase their enthusiasm about your organization’s vision over time to the point where it also becomes their passion. 
  3. Influence:  Do they have a network of people they can bring to the table to help you achieve your nonprofit’s vision?  
  4. Great communication skills: Are they able to tell your story? When they share your vision and have influence, you want to be sure that they can successfully share with other people the story of what your organization does. It is your role to coach them and provide them with the materials required to tell your nonprofit’s story successfully.  
  5. They share your worldview: You want people on board who understand and respect your organization. If you’re a faith-based organization, they should understand and respect your faith. That’s not to say they must have the same faith as you, but they have to understand and respect you as a faith organization. If you’re an educational institution, they don’t have to be an educator or even a graduate, but they should understand and value your worldview as an educational institution.


Highly successful fundraisers begin identifying donors who meet the 4 W’s and who possess the above attributes. Applying these criteria will help you focus deliberately and be selective about whom to invite into your nonprofit’s kitchen.  

By the Numbers

Consider the recruitment opportunities for your organization that these stats indicate:

  • About 63 million Americans (25% of the adult population) volunteer their time, talents, and energy to making a difference.
  • These people spend an average of 52 hours/year volunteering.
  • 72% of volunteers are involved with only one organization, while 18.3% are involved with two.

Random interesting stats presented monthly from various sources.