Are you frustrated by board members who won’t help with fundraising?
If so, you’re not alone.
As a consultant working with many boards, I know the frustration you’re feeling. When I was a nonprofit executive, it was the expectation that every board member would fundraise. When they didn’t, I would be irritated. Why don’t they do their part? Don’t they know that it takes everyone? Do they even care? Questions like this would play on a loop in my head. I would advise you what I told myself – take a beat, adjust your expectations, and educate your board.
If you are lucky, expectations started at the board recruitment process where they were informed of the expectation to give (make a personal donation) and get (help with fundraising) and they just need to be reminded. Remember board members are busy professional people. Although, they believe in your organization you are competing with family, friends and work so give them the benefit of the doubt.
So, how can you remind them of their expectation? During your next board meeting, review the board member job description and annual performance plan that board members sign each year.
If you currently don’t use these tools with your board, no worries. Download this simple job description and annual performance plan and introduce it at your next board meeting. To ensure buy-in, make sure you have the support of your board chair before introducing any new process.
Keep in mind even if you move forward with all the right tools you will still need to educate your board on how to raise money. Like you, board members weren’t born knowing how to fundraise.
Start at your annual retreat and continue throughout the year, at each and every board meeting.
Commit to providing at least 15 minutes of fundraising training at each board meeting throughout the year. Training can be formal or informal. It can be as simple as engaging in a generative fundraising related discussion or tying it back to your organization’s strategic plan. I will say, again, your board members are busy people so you must do your part and present a concise agenda in order to include these 15 minutes. Check out this 1.5-hour board agenda template.
Also, be reminded that not all board members will make the “ask” but that does not mean they cannot participate in the fundraising process. Board members can serve as door openers. Opening the door and introducing you to prospective donors. They can assist with cultivation by inviting potential donors on tours of your organization. They can assist with stewardships and send thank you cards or make thank you calls. All these functions are key in the fundraising process.
I hope this helps. Let me know in the comments. Sharing is Caring.
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