One of the biggest complaints I hear from Executive Directors and Development staff is that they want more from their Board when it comes to fundraising.

They want their Board to not only participate but also get excited about it.

Is it just wishful thinking to want that much from your Board?

I don’t think so.

I believe that with the right training and support, ANY Board can become a fundraising Board.

Here are four tips for helping your Board join in on the fun of fundraising:

  • Set the expectation when you recruit new members that they will need to give a personal gift AND participate in fundraising. Your Board prospects know exactly what they’re getting into, and you’ll avoid a bunch of mess later on.
  • Be clear with Board members about what you want them to do. They aren’t mind readers. They more specific you can be, the easier it is for them to say “yes” and follow through.
  • Set your Board members up for success. Make it as easy for them as you can to get a “win” from a fundraising task. This will encourage more participation. Give them the tools or training they need. Show them that fundraising doesn’t have to be scary. Make sure they have a fact sheet about your organization and that they know a story or two that they can tell.
  • Help them find where they fit in. For those who don’t want to do direct Asks, have them make Thank You calls to donors or ask them to host dinner parties in their home to share with their friends about the good work your organization is doing. Lots of people are terrified of actually asking for money, but they’re more than happy to thank donors. The most important thing is to help your Board members find a place where they can contribute to your fundraising campaign and still be comfortable in their own skin.

And don’t forget to celebrate successes with them!

Positive reinforcement will help shore up their new skills!



  1. Hi Sandy-

    I’ve been following your sage advice for quite some time!

    Exquisite Safaris Philanthropic Travel (ESPT) was founded to support humanitarian 501c3’s in the destinations our philanthropic clients visit.

    Engaging the Board of Directors has been an essential component of creating 4profit/non-profit strategic fund raising Philanthropic Donor Tours.

    Leading by example is an effective strategy that works in all kinds of organizations, so it follows that engaged stakeholders are key to generating educational, inspirational and financially empowering fund raising experiences…

    With gratitude for your advice,


    Best Practice: Leveraging the 1:1 Personal Fundraising Power of Philanthropic Travel

    Our (probono) May 2009 Americans helping Americans Fund Raising Philanthropic Travel Donor Tour seeks to raise $50,000 to benefit the Appalachian Media Institute (AMI) a 501c3.

    ESPT & The Make it Real Foundation seek philanthropists who are interested in matching our donations and sponsoring the 2009 AMI Scholarship Summer program in one of the most economically and environmentally devastated regions of the USA.

    Learn More:

    Appalachian Media Institute (AMI):

    Make it Real Foundation:

    Philanthropic Trip Itinerary:

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