I bet you’ve done it.

I sure have.

We bought right into the myth without even realizing what we were doing.

What myth?

The Myth of Nonprofit Boards.

It goes like this: “Nonprofit Board members are supposed to help with fundraising.”

Well, there’s truth in it. And a problem.

How many times have you been frustrated with your Board because they won’t do their job?

They won’t help with your events. They won’t introduce you to their friends. They don’t seem to want to make eye contact with you when you start talking about fundraising.

You know what I’m talking about. There’s a reason they’re behaving this way. Let me explain.

People who say “yes” to serving on your Board are good-hearted people, and they probably love your mission.  In fact, they probably said “yes” because they want to help you make a difference.

Unfortunately, they don’t know squat about serving on a Board.

That’s right. They don’t know what their job is.

Without a solid understanding, they’ll gravitate to whatever looks familiar, easy, or fun.

That’s why some want to talk about the napkin color for the upcoming gala, and others want to micromanage.  They’re in their comfort zone and they’re not planning on coming out.

When you expect your Board to help with fundraising when they don’t understand how good fundraising works, it’s like chasing a unicorn. You’re never going to catch it because it doesn’t exist.

Want to help your Board become a group of fired-up ambassadors for your cause, and WILLING to help raise money?

It’s pretty simple really. Teach them how.


Fundraising training for your Board

There’s no Board police to show up and write your Board members a ticket for not doing their job. If you want your Board to be the Board of your dreams, you need to take the initiative to teach them how to be great Board members, including how to ask for money.

It starts with education and clear expectations.

Teach your Board members about their roles and responsibilities. Here are 3 ideas to help:

Idea #1: Start each Board meeting with a 5-minute lesson in Board membership 101. Focus on planning or program evaluation or any of the other 10 basic parts of their job. When done well, a short, interactive lesson will short up their knowledge and inspire them to action.

Idea #2: Bring in a trainer to do a short retreat with your Board. Someone who knows what they’re doing can engage your Board members in some engaging activities to fill in the gaps in their knowledge and give them a complete picture of what it means to be a good Board member.

Idea #3: Check with your local center for nonprofits or United Way to see if there’s a class on nonprofit Board basics that you can send your Board members to. These are usually affordably priced and can show your Board members how important their role is.


The Bottom Line

It’s up to you to help your Board members understand their job so they can be effective.

I know you may be annoyed at the thought of training your Board, but what happens if you don’t?  You can keep doing what you’ve been doing, and you’ll get what you always got.

If you want something different, you must DO something different.

I’m convinced that if you want to help more people, you need to raise more money.  And to do that, you need your Board to help.

You CAN have a great Board – a Board that raises money, spreads your message, advocates your mission, supports your staff and is fully engaged and excited about their role with the nonprofit.