Summer is the season for nonprofit board retreats. We’ve been asked to facilitate a few recently, with a focus on the board’s role in fundraising. Our clients want to know tips, best practices, and specific ways that board members can increase their involvement. With this column, we share three suggestions you as a board member – and you collectively as a board – can take.
Know your nonprofit.
Before you begin fundraising, learn the nuts and bolts of the organization you serve. Make sure you can answer questions about programs, advocacy, impact, staffing, revenue and partnerships. Do you know the executive director’s vision for the organization? Do you believe in it? Are your individual actions in sync with their vision? Is the board collective organized to advance it? Most importantly, do you know the organization‘s current fundraising goal and how funds raised will be used?
Know your role and your board members.
You need to know why you were recruited to the board and the role that your fellow board members and the executive director expect you to fulfill. Are these in sync with your understanding? Have you received written information about your role and responsibilities? If yes, have you read it recently? If not, ask for this. Take time to contemplate and document why you are serving on the board. What skills, experience, resources and relationships do you bring? How and when are you willing to share these?
Personally get to know your fellow board members. What are their interests and experiences? What do they think about the mission of your nonprofit? How can you work together? Consider using the “buddy system” where board members create teams, define a fundraising goal, and work together to reach it. Benefits include increased accountability between and fellowship amongst board members.
Make your own gift first, then ask others to join you.
Once you know why you are giving, it’s easier to ask others to give. Talk with people you know, sharing why you give and ask them to make a similar gift. Using the buddy system, host a home or office event to introduce your nonprofit. Ask friends and family to give in honor of your birthday. Set a goal for how much you want to raise and spend time each month cultivating and soliciting gifts. Download our How To Solicit A Gift free worksheet as you prepare to fundraise (http://bit.ly/MakeTheAsk).
Copyright 2018 – Mel and Pearl Shaw
Mel and Pearl Shaw welcome the opportunity to work with you and your board. Call us at (901) 522-8727 to explore how we can support your work as a nonprofit board.