So the big question is, “How do you get your Board members to help with fundraising?
A recent report presented by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative found that 60% of nonprofit organizations that engaged their Board in their fundraising efforts reached their fundraising goal for the year.
How do you engage your Board?
Here are some simple, yet empowering, ways Board members can become more involved in the fundraising process:
- Allowing the use of their name in solicitation and on marketing materials. Sending appeal letters and thank you notes signed by Board members is a great way to get them excited about the outcome of a campaign and connect with donors.
- Chairing fundraising events. Make sure the event is one that they want they are passionate about and will want to be a part of.
- Helping develop the fundraising plan. Get the Board’s opinion and ideas as you begin your planning process to give them a sense of ownership and responsibility. Plus, you may get some wonderful new ideas and generate more excitement than if they were just told what you are doing.
- Hosting a fundraising event. House parties, private dinners, football tailgating and wine tastings are all simple gatherings that Board members can host in their own home. This type of event won’t take up a lot of staff time or resources because your board member will invite their close friends and colleagues, current donors and prospects! Brainstorm creative events so every Board member can raise money for your organization.
- Making personal introductions to potential donors. Many Board members are a little intimidated by actually asking for money. But they can be part of the process by inviting you (or another Board member that is comfortable soliciting donations) to meet with a potential donor. Better yet, the Board member can join you and the prospect for lunch to make the introduction in person and help drive the conversation.
- Securing sponsorships from companies. This is where many Board members can shine. By utilizing their current business contacts they can bring in sponsorships, matching gifts, auction items and wish list items for your organization.
- Seeking contributions from friends. It seems like a simple request from a Board member, but remember that some Board members may be uncomfortable with the idea of asking their friends for money. Be respectful of their feelings while giving them everything they need to make the Ask. It is important they do something to help you grow your donor database and raise money (like sharing their contact list), but don’t push them to the point that they feel guilty for not doing more (I’ve seen it happen and it can lead to a hostile environment.)
- Thanking donors. This is one of the easiest, and most fun, ways for Board members to become involved in the fundraising process. Whether it’s writing thank you notes or making thank you calls, talking to donors is rewarding and reinforces why they joined the Board in the first place.
As you can see, there are numerous ways to get your Board engaged in the fundraising process. But you have to remember that great Boards and engaged Board members don’t just happen. They are created, empowered, educated, supported and nurtured. And that’s your responsibility.