In my role as a fundraising consultant, the question I’m asked most often is, “How do I get my board to raise money?”
I bet you’ve asked it, too – perhaps dozens of times.
The next question is also pretty predictable. “They offered to help, but they won’t follow through. What do we do now?”
First, remember they’re volunteers
Board members serve as volunteers. Most have busy lives outside your organization: families, jobs, pets, friends, chores, and other commitments.
Some are caring for children or other relatives. Others may have health concerns.
Accept that you’re competing for their time and attention, and that other needs may feel more important than your annual appeal or fundraising event.
Try to honor their best intentions, even when life (or maybe avoidance behavior) prevents them from completing their assignments.
With that in mind, here are three tips you can use to create and encourage better board follow-through.
Option 1: Develop a board fundraising agreement
Be explicit and detailed. Here’s a sample that itemizes three baseline expectations:
- Give money
- Suggest names of potential donors
- Participate in fundraising by choosing tasks from your fundraising menu.
Note the space for signatures of your board member and board chair. This isn’t a legally binding document, but when people sign it, they tend to take their responsibilities a little more seriously.
Option 2: Create line items for board giving and board fundraising
When the annual budget is prepared, trustees must ask themselves, “How much can we collectively give? Are we a $2,000 board? A $10,000 board? Is $25,000 a good goal?”
Debate the number, set a target, then hand out pledge cards. At board meetings, each budget review serves as an indirect reminder to those who haven’t yet fulfilled their pledges.
The second line item, board fundraising, includes the money they raise beyond their own personal giving. Once again, the board debates a goal, sets a dollar target, and reviews progress at each meeting.
If board and staff do something together – for example, they team up to meet with a major donor – credit the gift to your board. Since your overall goal is promote follow-through, it helps to reinforce positive behavior.
Option 3: Invite your donors to talk about why they give
Once or twice a year, dedicate twenty minutes at a board meeting to hear from your most loyal supporters.
Organize an informal donor panel. Ask them why they care about your work, how they liked to be approached, etc.
Actual conversations with real live donors help to demystify fundraising and make it less intimidating.
Want more? Join us for a webinar!
On June 6 at 3:00 pm eastern time, we’re hosting our latest webinar, Stop Nagging Your Board! 12 Strategies to Improve Fundraising Follow-Through.
We’ll discuss how you can help your board members hold each other accountable and become more successful fundraisers.
It’s affordable – only $20! – and accessible. Hope you can join us!