Whenever a board member or other leader among your constituents is leaving your inner circle – moving, making a career move, shifting his primary support from your organization to a new one, or “slowing down,” be sure to glean all that you can.

First, you’ll want to take the person to lunch, in order to show your appreciation for how valuable they’ve been, and acknowledge “publicly” their service. Not only is this the nice thing to do; it’s smart if you’re in the business of friend-raising. Including another influencer might also be a nice touch.

If appropriate, invite them to continue with your organization at a different level. Perhaps they will serve on a campaign committee, continue to accompany you on selected major gift visits, or refer you to their peers whom you might not know.

Reap the harvest. Ask what advice they would have for the organization, what they’ve noticed that might work better, or perhaps an audience you’re missing. This senior constituent holds years of experience working with you and yours; they may have seen administrative or societal changes and, because they are now leaving, may be willing to share insights they wouldn’t previously.

Suggest to the group that they might honor the person leaving and acknowledge the impact of their contributions of service.

Ask if you may contact them in the future concerning the area they’re an expert in, and make a note to yourself to check in with them in six months – both as a friend and as one who values their input.

This person is a treasure you have nurtured. Don’t say goodbye without learning all you can.

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