You can help your board of directors put money in your nonprofits’ pocket.

I often hear executive directors complain that the board of directors just isn’t fundraising, and it is their responsibility. “Things would be fine if the board were doing their job and raising funds,” They say. “I need more board fundraising.”

So what is the scoop on board fundraising?

Finger pointing usually occurs when cash flow is low, and the finger is often pointed at the board by the executive director. I have heard it all too often and my answer is always the same. “Yes, it is the responsibility of the board to assist in fundraising, but the buck stops with the executive director.”

The fundraising buck stops with the executive director! What does that mean?

Ultimately, fundraising is the responsibility of the executive director. It should be in concert with the board; but it is the executive director’s responsibility to help the board fundraise and to set them up to win.

It means you must assist boards to help them raise funds. They are volunteers after all.

Boards need hand holding and spoon feeding. Don’t assume that boards just raise funds without prodding. They need materials and training, and often they need leads. Training is a must. Role playing helps. Here are some tips to help Board Fundraising.

  • Write the letter for them or send them an email they can forward.
    Have something ready for them to sign after a board meeting or show them an email you will send that they can simply forward to their contacts. Make it easy on the board member to just add a handwritten note or to customize an email and send away.
  • Provide a prospect list to the board.
    Provide a prospect list and see if they know of any of the individuals on the list or someone in the company. See if they are willing to open the door for you, provide an introduction or ask for a meeting and go with you to that meeting.
  • Ask if they have a list of their own prospects.
    See if they will give you their list of contacts with addresses and then you can prepare and send the letters after they have signed them.
  • Provide training.
    Your fundraising materials should have some type of case statement for raising funds. Make sure to go through this with the board so they have a feel for the flow of telling the story and how to make an ask.
  • Provide background for prospects.
    What have they given in the past? How long have they been giving? Why are they a possible donor? Who else have they given to in the past. What are their interests?
  • Provide board members with the main talking points.
    Provide an outline for how the conversation should go and the main points they might want to make for the prospects you are providing. What are the person’s hot buttons? What should be emphasized. How much should they ask the prospect to consider for a gift? Is it a one-time gift or a gift over multiple years?

These are just a few ways you can help a board succeed at fundraising.  Good luck and good fundraising!

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