Board membership and fundraising should go hand in hand for nonprofits, but sadly this is not always the case. The truth is, board fundraising often becomes a challenge for both the organization’s staff and the board members themselves. Some board members don’t know how to get more involved. Others will tell you they just don’t like to ask people for money. But whatever the scenario, all board members can be involved in fundraising at some level.
The most important step in asking your board to become more involved in the fundraising effort for your organization is to help them learn fundraising is not just about the money. Instead of starting by asking your board members to come up with a list of names of people to ask for money, ask them what they feel like when they give to a cause or charity they care deeply about. When a donor makes a gift, they become a partner in a cause or project they care about, which usually makes them feel good about getting more involved in the important work of that organization.
Your board members don’t need to be scared or embarrassed about fundraising. If they can shift their perspective and realize donors are happy and joyful when they give, they’ll likely want to raise more money for your nonprofit.
That said, consider these 3 things all board members can and should do:
1. Give Money
Striving for 100% board giving is an important first step in getting your entire board engaged and involved. No matter the size of the gift, a regular commitment from your board will show they are invested. Plus, many people agree it is easier to raise money if you give yourself. This also holds true for the staff responsible for helping to raise money. It is not uncommon for donors to ask if your organization has 100% giving. Your board members’ personal investments in the organization show that people of all levels are leading by example.
2. Give Names (Prospecting)
Fundraising usually begins with the creation of lists of people who have the interest or capacity to give to your organization. Fundraising is a relational process, not just cold calling people who might not have any connection to your nonprofit. Board members’ clout and contacts can be just as valuable as their cash. Ask your board members to come up with a realistic list of people they are willing to ask for support from (or who the staff can approach with board members’ help). Remember to not overwhelm them and ask for too many names or things to do, since you want your board members to feel a sense of accomplishment along with the many other tasks they have as board members.
When board members participate beyond just monthly or bimonthly meetings, they deepen their level of involvement. This higher involvement increases the likelihood of their fundraising efforts. Whether it is participating in thank you calls, signing letters, making introductions or opening doors, or participating at events or speaking engagements on behalf of the organization, there are dozens of ways to engage and involve your board.
Having your board involved with the fundraising can be a very rewarding and exciting process for nonprofit directors and leaders. If you can get past focusing on the money, and really focus on the mission of your organization and the relationships that surround it, you should find board fundraising a much more enjoyable process. Finally, be sure to celebrate and recognize success with your board. All board members want to feel appreciated and encouraged, so find ways to point out some highlights of their participation.
Want to discover even more ways to include your board in fundraising? Check out our webinar, “10 Ways Board Members Can Help Fundraise.”