Board fundraising: Writing a check is only the start

checkThe board of directors has the ultimate authority and responsibility to ensure a nonprofit organization fulfills its mission.  The board’s responsibilities include establishing the organization’s mission and direction, ensuring appropriate leadership and resources, and providing fiduciary oversight. Fundraising is a key component for fulfilling a board member’s role to ensure appropriate resources are available to the organization.

5 strategies to involve a nonprofit board with fundraising:

  1. Ask for a donation:  First things first… it is important to ask each board member to make a donation and invest in the organization’s mission.  Board giving demonstrates a personal commitment, encourages other funders to give, and creates board member ownership.  The first step of board fundraising is asking each board member to make a monetary donation to support the organization.
  2. Equip board members to be ambassadors:  Provide opportunities for board members to be ambassadors for your organization.  Sharing the organization’s mission exposes board members’ networks to the great work of the nonprofit organization.  By being an ambassador and increasing awareness, board members can open new doors for fundraising.
  3. Encourage donor cultivation:  Asking for a donation only occurs after cultivating donors; engaging board members in the donor cultivation process is an outstanding way to involve board members in the fundraising process.  Provide opportunities for board members to make personal contacts with prospects, host a tour of the nonprofit’s facilities or invite a potential donor to a program event.  These opportunities enable board members to share their enthusiasm for the organization with prospective donors.
  4. Contribute to the solicitation:  Provide a variety of ways for board members to make the ask for a donation to the organization.  Invite board members to submit names and addresses for a direct mail piece, join a staff member for a face to face ask, and sell special event sponsorships and tickets.  By providing a variety of strategies and vehicles for board members to make an ask, you can maximize the fundraising results.
  5. Engage in stewardship:  Stewardship involves maintaining and growing relationships with donors through thanking, recognizing and engaging donors.  Board members can contribute to the stewardship process by writing hand written thank you notes to donors, making phone calls to thank donors for their contribution, and visiting donors to personally thank them for their donation.  It can be a very rewarding experience for a board member to thank a donor (and it is often less intimidating than asking for a donation).

For board members, writing a check to the organization is only the start of their fundraising responsibility to the organization.  By getting involved in various parts of the fundraising process, board members can contribute to the strength of the organization and its ability to fulfill its mission.

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Related posts:
Questions Board Members Should Ask
Steps towards board leadership
What to know before you join a nonprofit board
Are you ensuring you have the right board on board?
What your board needs to know


About Dr. Sarah Wolin Mackey

Putting theory into practice at nonprofit organizations.
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