I’ve been asked to do a presentation on the Role of The Board in Fundraising, and I’m thrilled. Board involvement is the heart and soul of good fundraising. Committed leadership is a nonprofit’s greatest strength.
But, moving to a fundraising board is not always easy. The shift is wrought with tension between the members of the board and staff.
Throughout my years of working with boards in transition, I have heard a lot of reasons why board members do not like to engage in fundraising. Each concern is legitimate and needs attention.
“If I ask, I’ll have to give.” – Board members are usually asked to engage their family, friends and colleagues. Quite often they are asked to reciprocate and give to their contact’s favorite nonprofit. This could be a problem for board members with limited means.
“No one told me I would have to raise money.” People join boards for different reasons and work on various projects and programs. It is, however, a board responsibility to raise resources to support the organization. A smart practice is to include fundraising expectations in the board orientation.
“It’s embarrassing to ask people for money.” Make sure your organization provides fundraising training. Understanding the development process is important and will assuage a lot of discomfort.
Should all board members be involved with fundraising? Absolutely! That isn’t to say that everyone will be engaged in the same way. There are many elements that go into successful fundraising.
To get started, walk before you run. Ask each board member to give to the extent of his or her ability. Match talent and comfort levels to the type of fundraising activities in which the organization is involved.
Some board members will be much more comfortable working on a special event than face-to-face solicitation. Some will have the technical savvy to grow interest in their organization through social media.
Remember, people give to people. The main reason a person makes his or her first gift to a nonprofit is that the right person asks. So, successful fundraising goes hand-in-hand with building relationships. And who better to build those relationships than leadership?
You know you have a fundraising board when members are asked what they do for their nonprofit and they say “We raise resources and influence for our organization.”
Now you know you’re on the road to success!