So what do you do when your board simply won’t help with your fundraising efforts?
Pull out your hair?
Gnash your teeth?
Recently I had the opportunity to speak at the Foundation Center in NYC. The topic was How to Engage Board Members with Fundraising. While I shared several methods to engage board members, here are three surefire ways to transform your board members into fundraising fanatics.
1. Change Your Board’s Culture
If the culture of your board is one of non-giving and not helping with fundraising, it’s time for a culture change. Your board members were likely recruited without the expectation of giving and getting (i.e., helping with fundraising), so turning things around will take some time and effort.
Here are three steps to steer you in the right direction:
- Start by identifying one or two board members who understand the need for change. Speak with them in private and ask them to bring up the issue at the next board meeting.
- Next, institute a policy of 100% participation. One hundred percent means that every board member contributes financially. If you have board members who don’t want to contribute, let them know that they are hurting your chances of raising money from others. If they continue to resist, offer them other opportunities to volunteer at your organization as non-board members.
- Finally, make sure your bylaws include term limits. If all else fails, any resistant board members will rotate off eventually.
2. Recruit and Train Your Board
In order to truly change the culture of your board, you’ll want to recruit new board members with the understanding that they are responsible for giving and helping with fundraising. This new wave of board members will ultimately become the leaders of your organization.
Create a written board member job description. Include specific expectations, including giving and fundraising.
Training is an important part of engaging board members. Hold an annual board retreat and include fundraising, not only planning, on the agenda. Also plan to include fifteen minutes of fundraising training as part of each board meeting.
3. KISS it
KISS stands for Keep It Simple, Silly!
It’s important to remember that your board members have other priorities in addition to your organization, including family and career. If you want them to help with fundraising, you need to make it easy.
Give board members a small number of specific tasks and provide them with tools they need to accomplish those tasks.
For example, ask them to call five donors to thank them. Provide them with a sample script with key bullet points. Also give them the name and contact information of the people you would like them to call.
Watch the Video
The video of my presentation at the Foundation Center in NYC will be available shortly on their website. Watch it to discover even more ways to transform your board. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook and you’ll receive updates whenever any of my videos become available.
Do you have other ways of engaging your board members? Let me know in the comments.