I had the privilege of hearing my friend and colleague Gail Perry present at the Virginia Fund Raising Institute recently.

Gail is a wonderful speaker and has a way of making her audience feel at ease so they can soak up all the information she shares.  I thought I’d share some of my notes from her presentation called “Fire Up Your Board!”

1. Help nonprofit Board members reconnect with their passion for your organization.  Give them opportunities to practice talking about the organization and their experiences.

2. Redefine fundraising into friendraising.  So many Board members don’t want anything to do with fundraising.  Help them see that you are simply connecting people with the work you are doing through their gifts.  You’re developing friends who will be there to stand beside you for years to come.

3. Put them to work in easy, no-ask jobs.  Give your Board tasks to do that count as fundraising, but don’t require them to ask anyone for money.  Examples include inviting friends for a tour of your facility, calling to thank donors, and talking to friends in the checkout line at the grocery store about your mission.

Gail said, “We all get the Boards we deserve.”

Translation:  we get out of our Board what we put into it.

Don’t expect people to show up to sit on your Board and already know how to be a great Board member.  It won’t happen.  You must support people and teach them how to be a great Board member.

Thanks for a great presentation, Gail!

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