Nonprofit organizations rely heavily on the support of their board members to achieve their missions. While many board members give freely and openly of their time and talents, getting board members to engage in fundraising can be challenging. The four keys to build a fully invested board are: educate them about the organization’s needs, shift their mindset, engage them in meaningful ways, and recognize their role in fueling the mission.
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1. Educate Your Board on What You Need
Education is the key to getting board members to fundraise. Many board members may not understand the complexities of fundraising or how to effectively communicate the organization’s message to potential donors. It’s essential to identify knowledge gaps and provide regular training sessions to help develop these skills.
One way to do this is to incorporate training into board meetings. At least 20 minutes of the agenda should be dedicated to education and training, such as role-playing exercises, making calls to donors, or even guest facilitators. These training sessions will help board members feel more confident in their fundraising efforts and ultimately improve the organization’s fundraising outcomes.
Another way to educate board members is to provide regular updates on the organization’s progress and challenges. By sharing success stories and discussing fundraising challenges, board members will develop a deeper understanding of the organization’s needs and be more motivated to help.
2. Shift Mindset from Fundraising to Cause-Raising
Mindset is the second key to getting board members to fundraise. It’s important to help board members shift their mindset from fundraising to philanthropy. The focus should be on building relationships with donors, rather than asking for donations. They need to understand that only 5% of fundraising is asking for money, while 60% is devoted to building relationships with donors. Approaching fundraising through a cultivation lens will help your board feel more relaxed and comfortable engaging in donor care.
Board members should also understand that philanthropy is about supporting a cause that aligns with the donor’s values and beliefs. Encouraging your board to share personal stories about why they are passionate about the organization’s mission can help potential donors connect with the organization on a more emotional level.
This same emotional connection to your mission should also be present in building your board. When it comes to board recruitment, it’s important to avoid a scarcity mindset. Instead of worrying about how to replace board members, the focus should be on finding individuals who are passionate about the organization’s mission and willing to contribute their time and resources to help the organization succeed.
3. An Engaged Board Does More
Engagement is the third key to getting board members to fundraise. Engaged board members are motivated and committed to the organization’s mission, and they are willing to go above and beyond to help.
To engage board members, it’s important to find out what they are passionate about and the skills they bring to the table. For example, if a board member is a marketing expert, they could help develop a fundraising campaign or create marketing materials to promote the organization’s mission.
It’s also important to keep board members informed and engaged in the organization’s activities. Regular updates, newsletters, and invitations to attend events can help board members feel connected to the organization and motivated to contribute to its success. Storytelling is a great way to reinforce an emotional connection with your mission. Make sure your board is invited to hear first hand from those impacted by your work.
4. Don’t Forget the Recognition
Like donors, it’s essential to recognize and appreciate board members’ contributions. Recognition is the final, but critical, key to getting board members to fundraise. Celebrating their successes and thanking them for their efforts reinforces the value of their contributions and keeps them motivated to do more to support the organization.
In conclusion, getting board members to fundraise requires a multi-faceted approach that includes education, mindset, engagement, and recognition. By providing regular training, helping board members shift their mindset from fundraising to philanthropy, and engaging them in meaningful ways with continuous gratitude, nonprofit organizations can leverage the power of their board members to achieve fundraising success and fuel their missions.
Sabrina Walker Hernandez, President & CEO, Supporting World Hope
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