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Boards Training | Fundraising

Since a large portion of nonprofit revenue comes from fundraising, the board of directors play a major and specific role in that activity. One of the board of directors responsibilities is assisting with the development of an assortment of resources that ranges from people power to donated services to cash donations.

According to an article published by Non Profit Pro, there are several components to doing this:

  • Commitment
  • Embracing the role and setting up processes that enhance it
  • Vetting candidates
  • Training
  • Consistent support

Board members are volunteers who are dedicated to a nonprofit’s mission and donating their time to support it. They also share wisdom and specific talents that support the vision and intention of the nonprofit. For example, a lawyer may not want to serve as a pro bono attorney but rather, steward the organization to ask questions on how to find legal advice. As a board goes about the process of identifying new members, it is imperative that there is a front-end conversation about roles and responsibilities.  This will avoid confusion and misunderstandings as you decide to move along with the process. A key part of this is having honest and open conversations about how money is raised for the nonprofit and the board’s established role in it.  Many nonprofit boards require a ‘give or get’ policy for all members.  This is a very important conversation for the board to have to understand the place for such a policy.

Many people do not like to talk about money, let alone ask for it! Board members are people too so setting them up for success in fundraising is critical. Bloomerang recommends finding opportunities with a solid likelihood of a ‘yes!’ as an approach to build confidence and comfort. Other approaches include using the Kay Sprinkel Grace AAA Way to Fundraising method: Advocates, Ambassadors, and Askers. Basically, every board member is at least one of these and is assigned the role.  The Askers are ‘matched’ with donors that have been pre-qualified by staff as very interested in investing in the work of the nonprofit. Eventually, each member should be comfortable with taking leadership in all three categories but starting with just one and taking an incremental approach makes all the difference.

Perhaps a board member may not enjoy making an ask but there are other ways they can be part of the collective effort:

  • Write three thank-you cards
  • Make phone calls
  • Forward an email
  • Share on social media
  • Invite someone for a tour or to volunteer

Another way board members can help with fundraising is with sharing their stories.  By sharing why they volunteer for your nonprofit, they are conveying a passionate testimonial for the work you are doing in the community.  In turn, this can be leveraged to use in your fundraising messaging to encourage others to donate. 

Although it is the executive director’s job to lead many discussions about fundraising with the board, it is best to tap a designated board member as a champion of that message.  This can be done with the creation of a development committee with very clear roles established as far as areas of responsibility. The chair of that group can work closely with the staff on communicating with and motivating the board to do their individual and collective parts in helping raise money for the organization. 

Finally, recognize board members’ work.  Check in with the chair to do some sleuthing on how each member wishes to be recognized for a job well done and be sure to take the time to recognize those wins on a regular basis.

The bottom line is this:  in order to motivate your key volunteer leaders to do the important work of helping with fundraising, you have to set them up to succeed. Open discussions, access to tools, and accountability are key to that success.

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Posted in Board Training.