There’s a bogus belief that exists in the minds of nearly everyone who works in nonprofit.

It’s unfortunate, because it causes a lot of problems.


I call it the Myth of Nonprofit Boards. And it goes like this:

“People who sit on nonprofit Boards know how to be good Board members and they know how to help with fundraising.”

Think about it: how many times have you been frustrated with your Board members because they won’t do their job?  They won’t help get sponsors. They won’t open up their rolodex. 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.

I believe that the more you understand what’s really going on here, the more you can do something about it.

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 and they want to make a difference.

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

Without any education, they will 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 operating in a vacuum of knowledge.

Want to fix it?

It’s pretty simple really. Teach them what their job is and what it means to be a good Board member.

There’s no Board police to step in and show them what to do, so if you want your Board to be different, you need to step in and give them the tools they need to do their job.

Teach them their basic roles and responsibilities.  Explain fundraising to them in some simple terms that they can grasp. Show them you’re there to support them to be successful.

I know you may be annoyed at the thought of training your Board, but what’s the alternative?  You can keep doing what you’ve been doing, but 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. In fact, you need a fundraising Board.

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.

And it all starts when you stop believing the Myth of Nonprofit Boards.