While almost anyone can learn how to raise money, there will always be at least some of your board members who will resist asking for one reason or another.
So how can you involve your “non-asking” board members in your fundraising?
One of the best ways is to ask them to open doors to your organization. In other words, ask them to leverage their networks on your behalf.
6 Ways Board Members Can ‘Open Doors’ to their Networks
Here are a six quick examples of the kinds of things your board can do to introduce your nonprofit to their social and professional circles:
- Invite a friend or colleague on a tour of your facility.
- Ask friends and colleagues to volunteer.
- Host a reception in their home where they introduce their friends to your organization.
- Post announcements about your nonprofit on their social media channels.
- Arrange one-on-one meetings with your board chair and/or executive director.
- Invite friends and colleagues to your nonprofit’s events.
None of these activities require the member to make the ask themselves! Instead, they’re all part of your board members’ responsibility to act as an ambassador for your organization.
Fundraising is about relationships! So, when your board members introduce their friends and colleagues to your organizations it is much more powerful than being contacted directly by the organization. In other words, your board members’ contacts are much more likely to respond favorably to an invitation from a person they know (the board member) than to someone they don’t (the executive or development director).
Benefits of Board Members ‘Opening Doors’
Getting your board involved in forging relationships between their contacts and your nonprofit is good for everyone involved:
- Your organization will benefit by having a broader base of fundraising prospects, volunteers, and prospective board members.
- Your board members will gain valuable networking (and other) experience that will translate well to their professional and personal lives.
- The contacts that your board members bring to you will enjoy the opportunity to make an impact on your mission through their monetary gifts and other involvement.
And, of course, at least some members of your board will want to go beyond opening doors and solicit their contacts as well right from the get-go.
In addition, it’s not uncommon for board members to grow into an active fundraising role because of the confidence they gain in their role as ambassadors. But whether any particular board member raises money themselves or “just” makes it possible for your executive or development director to do so, everyone still wins!
This Week’s Task
Your assignment for this week is to consider the different ways that your individual board members might be willing and able to leverage their networks for your nonprofit. One member might love hosting events, for example, while another may be a social media whiz with a horde of followers.
Contact each board member and have a discussion about how they might help “open doors” for your organization. Ask them to introduce you to at least three new people this year.
What have you done in the past to have your board members leverage their social networks? Share your experience in the comments.
This post is part of my Year of the Fundraising Board series. Check out the entire series to learn how to create a stronger, smarter, and super motivated nonprofit board.