The question I hear repeatedly is how do I get my board members engaged in fundraising? Normally, the question is followed by a frustrated sigh from the CEO/ED.
There are three keys you can use to help your board better understand your nonprofit’s fundraising challenges and opportunities: Education, Mindset, and Engagement.
A nonprofit board is only as strong as the education and direction that they receive. Working with input from the board the CEO/ED should determine the board’s education gap and build consensus about what training is needed.
Once training needs are agreed upon, 15 -20 minutes should be designated on each board meeting’s agenda for training and education. This is an opportunity to do some skill building with board members on such topics as fundraising, roles & responsibilities, telling our story, etc.
So, CEO/EDs stop assuming your board members understand fundraising, or how to talk about your organization. Board education will ensure they have a solid understanding of the underlying philosophy of fundraising — which is building relationships with donors who will stick with your organization over the long haul. Board members need and deserve first-rate support from staff.
Board members must make a shift in their mindset and embrace a culture of philanthropy. The word philanthropy translates from the Greek to mean love of humankind.
They must think philanthropy, not fundraising. Philanthropy focuses on building relationships with donors as opposed to a one-time transaction.
Also, boards must shift their mindset when it comes to board recruitment strategies. When recruiting for or changing the board they can’t have a scarcity mindset. How many times have you heard this, “How would we replace them? We don’t have a prospect in the pipeline.” Remember, serving on a board of directors is a privilege and should be treated as such. There are those who will “serve” on the board and not just “sit” on the board. Your nonprofit must find them.
When board members are truly engaged, they will become your nonprofit’s best ambassadors, advocates, strategists, and supporters.
An engaged board is a forward-thinking board that strives to have a collaborative partnership with the CEO/ED. They will partner in fundraising and policymaking. An engaged board “works” between board meetings and attend meetings well prepared.
It is the role of the CEO/ED to find what their board members are good at and keep them involved with areas of interest. Find the right committee for them, let them share their professional expertise with the nonprofit, if they so desire or if they want to do something completely different as a volunteer from what they do in their everyday job, honor that.
Board engagement is a direct result of the kinds of experiences board members have worked together. When they are working together on a mission that is both stimulating and challenging, engagement is high.
I hope this helps. Comments are welcomed. Sharing is Caring.
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