You want to succeed in your fundraising. One of the best places to begin is with your nonprofit board of directors. It’s not essential who serves on your board—every board can support and get motivated to raise money. Also, all boards have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure the sustainability of a charity. So, leading the giving efforts is a great place to start.
Learn five practical ways to help your nonprofit board of directors to undertake their responsibility successfully:
Show Me the Money
It’s a mistake to delegate the fundraising of a nonprofit only to the fundraisers on staff. It doesn’t matter who serves on the board and whether or not they “like fundraising.” When someone serves as a nonprofit board member, they assume specific responsibilities. And again, one of the most important ones is financial oversight. Therefore, nonprofits should make sure to build-in ways to make all nonprofit board members comfortable with fundraising and finances. Meaning, every board member has to have a good understanding of revenue and how money gets spent. In turn, financial literacy allows nonprofit board members to know how to speak to people when making an ask confidently.
What Is Your Nonprofit Board Annual Gift for The Year?
Your nonprofit board should support the nonprofit where they serve. And, it doesn’t matter what type of board you have, with board minimums or not. All board members should expect to get asked each year to support the organization financially. So, if your board does not have board minimums, consider changing it. For example, have a conversation with new board members or at the start of a fiscal year with current board members. Ask for a specific amount based on ability using your best judgment. Know this; many boards work effectively with those of more significant means giving more than those of lesser financial means. However, what you want to tell any funder who asks about board giving is that you have 100% board giving.
A Great Way to Say “Thank You”
One of the easiest ways to get your nonprofit board members involved in fundraising is to have them make calls to major donors. Remember, board members serve as a link between a community and a nonprofit. And, they do not earn a salary and get involved typically for altruistic reasons. So, there is no better person to call major donors to thank them for gifts than board members. As a matter of fact, doing so accomplishes two things. First, it shows major donors that your nonprofit appreciate their leadership gift. So your nonprofit thought it essential that a board member personally calls to acknowledge it. Second, calling major donors gets board members engaged in fundraising and helps them feel comfortable.
Train the Nonprofit Board Each Year
Most board members at a nonprofit do not come to the job knowing what to do on a board of directors. And, even if they serve on other corporate or nonprofit boards, don’t expect they fully understand their roles at a nonprofit. Therefore, your group should develop a practice to train the board each year. For instance, many nonprofits make an annual weekend retreat for one or two days. At the retreat, they deal with strategic issues, including board development. Also, remember that it’s always best to have these types of board activities facilitated by an outside expert. Bringing outside counsel helps lend importance, credibility, and a new perspective to the proceedings.
Help The Nonprofit Board of Directors With the Ask
No matter what you do, some people will never be comfortable asking for money but would like to help. If you’re the executive director or fundraiser for a nonprofit, you likely have someone that fits the description. But, a motivated board member who wants to help you but doesn’t know how to ask for money is an opportunity. So, work closely with this person and mentor and coach them. Help the board member build relationships with crucial major donors who would be an appropriate match. Allow the board member to be their charming self and help promote your nonprofit. And when the time ultimately comes to make an ask, work with the board member on how the process will unfold. Allow the board member to shine in expressing his or her thoughts about the programs of your nonprofit. Then, as the nonprofit leader and executive or fundraiser, make the ask.
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