This week, a couple of our resident experts have chimed in with some ideas of how to engage your board in fundraising.

From Sandy Rees with Get Fully Funded:

The best way to get a Board  member involved is to ask them to do something simple and specific.  Often, Board members don’t know what to do when you ask them to “help with fundraising.”  But if you ask them to invite 3 people to the Open House next month or bring a friend for a tour of your facility next week, they can manage that.

From Kent Stroman of Stroman & Associates:

  1. Fundraising – Ask one Board member, “Kirsten, who do you know whose gift could be impactful on our mission?”  After she responds ask, “Would you introduce us?”  There is no more meaningful way to get the Board involved that allowing them to be personally active in fundraising – with prospects that they know personally.
  2. Governance – Choose one Board member and ask them to lead off the next board meeting with a 3 minute summary / explanation / briefing on a topic of interest or concern to the NPO.  For example, if the group is out of touch with the bylaws (or doesn’t understand why they matter), ask something like this “Kirsten, would you give the Board a 2-3 minute briefing on our bylaws’ prohibition of private inurement and the ramifications of the same (on page xx-yy of our bylaws)?”  The same can be done as it relates to financial statements (how would you assess our financial health and what is one change we could make to improve it), policies (please brief the other Board members on our Conflict of Interest policy and one example of how neglect in this area could damage the Board’s reputation), etc.
  3. Programs – Take board members inside a program.  For example, Big Brothers Big Sisters in our community holds an annual appreciation dinner.  Nothing fancy but the very best part is an on-stage dialogue between a Big Sister and her Little.  They describe their activities together and then talk about what the relationship means to each other.  It’s to moving!  Or ask the Board member to accompany the CEO for a food distribution, a pet adoption interview, etc.  Connecting board members emotionally to the programs and constituents becomes a powerful involvement lever.

And from Kirsten Bullock with Growing Your Donors:

Being specific is absolutely key. You can also make it a little less scary. While many people are fearful of fundraising, they may be open to being an 'advocate' for the organization. Asking for a gift is only about 10-15% of the fundraising process. Board members can also open doors and follow-up with donors to say thank you after the fact. And sometimes, Board members starting with these non-asking tasks can grow into your organization's best volunteer fundraisers!

Hope you have a great week!