6 ways to encourage your board to fundraise
Your nonprofit board members likely have strong connections to the community and solid networking skills, which can be highly effective to help your organization raise funds. Board members who share your values and vision can make great advocates in fundraising; it’s a matter of getting them on board and giving them the tools to help you grow your efforts. Coach your board to connect to current donors, build lists of prospective donors and share their passion for your organization with those around them.
Here are six ways to enlist, educate and encourage fundraising participation for your board.
1. Set SMART goals for each member
Establish SMART goals and expectations from the start. You want your board member to join your cause with a clear understanding of what their responsibilities are. The best way to build a strong board is to choose members that take their responsibilities seriously and who will participate in fundraising as part of their role in the organization. Set your board members up for success with a SMART work plan—Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based. These can be set up quarterly or couple times a year. Dedicate time at board meetings to discuss financial goals and your nonprofit fundraising strategy. Provide board members with a full grasp of the organization from financials to difficulties to successes. This can spark new ideas for growth.
2. Provide board member fundraising training
Asking for a gift may not come easy to your board. Educating the on best practices and providing them with the tools to ask for these gifts is a way to combat reservations. Take time during a board meeting to have an experienced fundraising professional speak to the group in an open dialog about how to ask for donations. Develop key learnings to teach your board about your fundraising process. This can be something you revisit for a few minutes at the beginning of each board meeting. If you have a board that is comfortable working on fundraising with you year-round, you can assign them each a list of donors to engage with and track. This doesn’t always have to be in a monetary way—they can reach out to provide volunteer opportunities, invite them to special events or be their guest at an upcoming meeting that may be open to the public.
3. Enlist board members in the thank you process
A timely thank you is very important to the future of the organization. One way to engage not only your donors, but your board, is to have your board members make personal calls to donors. These members can talk personally with your donors about why they are a volunteer, what the current programs look like, and how individual donations are helping to shape the future of the nonprofit. These personal phone calls can help build relationships and open the door to future donations.
4. Ask board members to provide content for your digital channels
Your donors will appreciate hearing from key individuals and board members. It shows that the internal team is not the only group promoting the nonprofit and gives a bit of an outside perspective. Ask your board members to be a part of an interview that you can use on your website, blog, emails or social channels. Questions can be program-specific or general as to why they are a part of your organization. This also provides recognition to your board members and is a nice value-add to showcase leaders within your nonprofit. In creating content that utilizes your board, they can share these pieces with their network and, ultimately, continue to spread the word about the great things you are doing (and the funds that are needed).
5. Make it fun.
Stretch goals, contests, and themed events—think about how you can encourage and recognize the fundraising work that your board is doing. At the beginning of each year, set clear expectations and goals for each board member related to funds brought in. Track those goals throughout the year and recognize those accomplishments along the way.
Remind your board that they don’t have to ask individuals for gifts–they can make it a group effort. Give them a list of “fun ways to fundraise” so they have a starting point of ideas. The first is as easy as making their own gift! Others could include:
- Making the company holiday party a fundraiser
- Asking their boss (or company) to match their gift
- Reaching out to the local Lions or Rotary Clubs for support
- Host a chili feed or pork chop dinner at their church
- Coordinate a fundraising night with their favorite restaurant (a portion of sales go back to your organization)
- Invite friends to buy tables at an upcoming gala
- Give out branded containers (e.g., piggy banks) to those they know and ask them to save their change for a year
6. Include your board in celebrating accomplishments
When you hit key milestones, include your board members in the celebration. This not only includes the physical events and celebrations but internal team emails or updates on how close you are to reaching certain goals (or when you’ve attained those goals). This helps maintain great relationships with your board members and shows them the value they bring. Make it exciting when goals are reached; we all love to celebrate a job well done. It’s part of what keeps us motivated to continue the momentum.
Your board members are a part of your nonprofit because they want you to succeed. Inviting them to be a part of your fundraising process and giving them the tools to make the ask is important. Look for the right people to serve on your board who are willing to go that extra mile (and maybe even step out of their comfort zone) to not only provide consulting for the structure and process of your organization, but for the money that comes in to make it viable.