An organization’s effectiveness is directly tied to effectiveness of the Board of Directors. One of the primary responsibilities of a board is to ensure the non-profit is fiscally healthy. A big part of that is in the area of fundraising. Newer executive directors and founders will often ask if their board needs to be a fundraising board. The answer is YES. But it doesn’t mean every board member has to be constantly soliciting donations. There are several ways a board member can help and as long as each is significantly contributing in some ways, the organization should have a healthy stream of revenue.
Here are three ways board members can participate in fundraising. A good rule of thumb is every member should be actively doing two of them.
This first way is obvious. The Board of Directors can help ensure the organization’s fiscal health by giving to it. It’s a good practice to require the entire board to be giving some type of gift regularly to support the mission. But some can provide significant gifts and be one of the major donors of the organization. Not everyone can do this or want to do this but this is one way they can support the fundraising effort.
A board member can also meet with donors and work with the executive director to “make the ask”. It’s a lot of unnecessary pressure for the executive director and the development director (if the organization is established enough to have this position) to be solely responsible with cultivating donors. Not every board member will be comfortable doing this (there is training available for this skill) but this will greatly increase the organization’s development capacity.
Finally, a board member can help the organization fundraise by connecting the organizations with potential donors and partners. This is a great way to increase constituents and build a healthy fundraising foundation. Since this doesn’t always immediately yield major gifts, organizations often overlook the importance of this aspect of development.
Board members are often intimidated by fundraising. But when you break down the process into these three parts and don’t ask them to do everything, it suddenly becomes attainable. The staff (executive director and development director) can’t be solely responsible for fundraising. Every board must be a fundraising board. If your board needs training in fundraising please contact me.