Your board should be fundraising. Your board should be fundraising. Your board should be fundraising.
You hear it all the time yet maybe you aren’t quite sure how to get them started. Maybe they are just set up for failure because they are enabled to sit back and not raise funds.
How so? Let’s start with 3 Do NOT’s of Board Fundraising:
1. Don’t allow them to NOT donate.
Many nonprofits still allow their board members to not give a dime if they choose. This is unacceptable. The nonprofits that do the best job with board fundraising have board members that put their money where their mouths are.
Not only that, but many funders now ask what percentage of the nonprofit’s board are donors. If it isn’t 100%, they may reconsider the grant.
This doesn’t mean that the bylaws must include a required amount. Many nonprofits use language in their bylaws that require board members to give a financial donation that is “personally significant.” Therefore, someone who doesn’t have a lot to give can still give some. Others require that if a board member doesn’t give, he or she should be responsible for soliciting a significant gift. And others set a financial goal for the entire board allowing who gave what amount to be anonymous.
2. Don’t make excuses for potential donors.
A well-connected board member can be a huge financial benefit to an organization, as long as the board member isn’t constantly counting out potential donors before they’ve had a chance to ask. I hear excuses like, “That company just gave a big check to another nonprofit so they won’t want to give to us now,” or “That bank CEO just retired so I’m sure he’s saving his money now,” or “I’m sure they already decided who to give to in their will.” Of course it is good to do your research on a potential donor, but that research is meant to empower the conversation, not stop it before it starts.
3. Don’t let them be just a “smile and nod” board.
Many board members don’t even know that it is their responsibility to ensure the financial resources of the organization for which they serve. Be sure they get annual training by an outside consultant and that new members are told before they join the board what is—financially—expected of them.