Whenever a Board member or other leader among your constituents is leaving your inner circle—moving, make 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, 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, 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, an audience you’re missing.  This senior constituent holds years of experience working with you and yours, may have seen administrative or societal changes, and, because he is now leaving, may be willing to share insights he wouldn’t previously.

Suggest to the group he’s leaving that they might honor him and acknowledge the impact of his contributions of service.

Ask if you may contact him in the future concerning the area he’s an expert in.  And, make a note to yourself to check in with him in six months, both as a friend and as one who values his input.

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

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