Your Board of Directors play a role in your organization’s success – especially when it comes to fundraising. Too often we find that Board members are under utilized or ill equipped to really do their job well. (Read more about how to get the most out of your board in this blog).
Are you including your Board in your fundraising strategies? If not, it’s time to start! Fundraising should actually begin internally with the board and then move outside of the organization.
Here are some ways to start engaging your Board (in order of direct involvement):
- Make a personal contribution. Board members cannot ask for money if they have not given themselves. Many organizations have giving requirements for their Board members. Your Board members should be committed to your organization – a gift of both time and funds shows they are sold on the mission and willing to invest in your cause.
- Participate in strategic and development planning. Is your board involved in your planning? Are they helping you set your vision for the organization and making goals?
- Provide prospective donor information. Ideally, when choosing your Board of Directors, you are considering many characteristics of the individuals. 1) What skills and expertise does the individual bring to the organization? 2) What network can they help the organization tap into? A well-connected Board can give your organization exposure to a whole new network of potential donors.
- Add names to mailing lists. Use your Board members’ connections to broaden your contact list. Whether you send print pieces in the mail or a monthly electronic newsletter, include your new contacts in all communications as you tell your organization’s story.
- Write personal notes on solicitation letters. Personal touches go a long way when fundraising. Utilize the relationships your Board members have to make unique asks.
- Introduce potential donors to members of the organization. A Board member can help get a donor through the door. Fundraising is all about relationships. Determine who has the strongest connections and utilize those individuals to facilitate conversations with potential donors.
- Write a support letter to a government agency, foundation, or corporation. Testimonials from individuals who aren’t on your payroll can make a huge statement at a local, state, or national level. We talk often with clients about their “why.” Use support letters as an opportunity for Board members to share their motivations for giving to your cause.
- Cultivate relationships with potential donors. It typically takes multiple “touches” before a first time donor writes a check to a cause. Each touch takes time. While necessary, your staff may not have the capacity to invest in each donor appropriately. Enlist your Board to get involved!
- Make a solicitation call with other volunteers and/or board members. As mentioned above, multiple “touches” go a long way towards getting a new donor committed to your organization. One simple way to build donor relationships may be a phone call. Write a script and hand off your calling list to a Board member or volunteer committee.
- Write personal thank you notes for gift acknowledgement to donors. It is vital that you show appreciation for every gift (go beyond a thank you note with our tips here). Again, we know these tasks can take up valuable staff time. Look to your Board for support.
Board engagement in fundraising is a partnership between the staff and the Board. Both staff and Board members are bringing something valuable to the table. Here is a breakdown of the division of work:
At TCG, we want to help build your capacity. This could include fund development support and/or board development. Do you need help empowering or training your board to play a role in your fundraising goals? Let us help!