How do we get board members engaged for our cause?
How do we get them to raise funds?
Board members play a vital role in helping an organization drive its mission forward. And in most instances, board members want to fulfill their responsibilities and contribute positively to the work of the nonprofit they serve. When a member is not actively participating, it’s often due to a lack of understanding of what is expected or not having access to the tools necessary to participate effectively.
Actively involve your board in the development of strategic plans, including fundraising plans. A board can be a significant resource in terms of making introductions. In fact, they often have the business expertise that can be useful in developing a sound plan.
The board is responsible for ensuring the financial health of your organization. Getting them involved at the planning stage helps boards understand their fundraising responsibilities, builds excitement toward implementation and increases the likelihood that members will want to engage in actionable activities.
If you sense resistance, you may want to conduct a session with the board to discuss any reluctance to being involved in fundraising. Such a session may reveal the source of hesitation so you can address it.
Providing the board with outside training in fundraising strategies and techniques will help mitigate such fears, as will setting up a structure for successful fundraising that may include partnering board members with other board members, volunteers or staff members.
Tips to get members moving.
Gail Perry, the author of Fired Up Fundraising: Turn Board Passion into Action, suggests the following four steps:
- Work with the board chair to get your board members involved in developing an annual fundraising plan. Put numbers on your program objectives, such as how many kids you’ll send to camp or how many meals you want to serve to a needy public.
- Communicate the community impact of the results of your efforts. Talk to your board about benefits in real terms, such as “We’ll help kids who go to camp be healthier, have better self-esteem, and do better in school.” Or “We will help hungry people get nutritious meals right here in our community.”
- Create an action plan and give each board member a job. Ensure all individuals understand their role and how it relates to results. How is each board member going to help make the plan a reality? For example, some may seek out sponsors, some may enlist volunteers and some may serve on committees to strengthen community and government relationships. Be sure to tie all responsibilities back to your cause and your fundraising goal.
- Communicate regularly with your board members to keep excitement up and momentum going. Keep in touch weekly or monthly and keep them informed of your success. Board engagement is strongest when members’ interests match those of the organization.