How to Turn your Board Members into Fundraisers

Often, the biggest obstacle to board fundraising is their fear of the unknown. Many do not know how to fundraise and or understand the process. It’s the job of the Executive Director to educate the board.

You can turn your board members into fundraisers by explaining to them how and why fundraising works.

First, let’s acknowledge that raising money is not always about the ask. There are many roles a board member can play when participating in fundraising.

Door Opener — Board members can participate in the fundraising process by opening the door to the eventual ask. They can tell prospects about the history of the organization and share their enthusiasm for the organization’s mission to encourage giving. This provides your organization with instant credibility.

Many nonprofits overlook the importance of leveraging their board members for donor referrals. Board members tend to be influential public figures who have achieved success in their career paths and are well connected to lucrative potential donors. Don’t be afraid to ask your board members to reach out to their personal connections to start the cultivation process. If your board has trouble identifying their referrals use this tool as an exercise during a board meeting.

Cultivator — It is true what they say, “people give to people.” Donors want to trust and like the individuals at the organizations they support. Cultivation is about building relationships before asking for money. They can connect the organization to cultivation by making personal contacts with prospects. Using the 5 x 5 cultivation plan board members can “touch” 5 donors each a minimum of 5 times in a year. Whether that is soliciting their advice, inviting them to an event or a tour, setting up a coffee, breakfast, or dinner chat, or simply making a telephone call. This is an important process in fundraising that cannot be skipped.

Asker — Board members can contribute to fundraising efforts by accompanying staff members on face-to-face solicitations.

The staff should schedule an ask meeting and let the prospect know in advance he or she will be receiving a visit from them and a board member who is very passionate about the organization and who will ask for a generous donation. Therefore, the board member should be passionate about the organization.

Special note: Those who attend must prepare and practices before the meeting. The board member should know the prospect’s interest, giving history, and the appropriate amount to ask for; don’t ask for $5,000 if the prospect can give $5 million.

Stewardship — An organization’s fundraising responsibilities are not over once it has received a donation from a donor. The final stage of fundraising is stewardship — thanking the donor and maintaining a relationship that keeps the donor connected to the organization. Initially, board members can send donors a thank you card or make a thank you call. Also, board members should let the donor know the gift was appreciated and that it made a difference to the organization. They should keep major donors involved with the organization through invitations to special events or periodic updates from board members or senior staff members. By maintaining a relationship with previous donors, the organization increases its chance of receiving future gifts from these donors.

I hope this helps. Let me know in the comments. Sharing is Caring.

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