Board Fundraising
Three Ways Your Board Can Be Your Secret Fundraising Weapon

By Dustin McKissen, October 21, 2015

It's calendar year-end for nonprofits, and that means it's "do or die" time to raise the money needed to meet your yearly budget. It's a stressful time for Executive Directors, Development Directors, and all of the stakeholders who believe in your mission. And, while everyone in the organization feels the impact of failing to meet your fundraising goals, the burden of meeting those goals often fall on one person.

Maybe it's the Executive Director.

Maybe it's the Development Director.

Maybe it's a specified volunteer.

Whoever it is, having one person lead the charge at calendar year-end is not the best strategy. It can lead to burnout, which is part of why the development field has some of the highest turnover rates in the entire nonprofit sector. It can lead to missed opportunities when one person or even two people are spread too thin. And it can lead to a failure to achieve your fundraising goals, which is why you need to unleash your secret weapon:

Your board of directors.

Here are three ways you can unleash the fundraising talents of your board:

1. Make sure you connect the money being raised to programmatic impact.

Most board members didn't volunteer to ask their friends and professional contacts for money. Board members join to make an impact on a cause or organization they believe in. When you task a board member to fundraise, arm them with a message focused on the difference a donation makes, not on the funds needed.

When that board member reaches out to their personal and professional contacts, make sure they know exactly how many meals for the economically challenged will get served or pets will be rescued as a result of someone's donation.

Make it so the "ask" for them isn't about asking a potential donor for money, but instead is about asking that potential donor to be part of a special mission.

2. Know your directors strengths, and put them in a position to succeed.

You should have a diverse set of experiences, skills, and personalities on your board. That diversity will make you a healthier organization, and give you insight and vision that you don’t get with a more homogeneous board.

It also means that not everyone will succeed if given a particular task. Chances are good that you have more than one evangelist on board. Those evangelists need to be out in front of potential donors, singing the praises of your organization and the good work you do.

On the opposite end of the spectrum your board probably has more than one introvert. These directors take time making a decision, weigh all factors before they moving in any particular direction, and are essential to your organization taking a strategic approach when it comes to threats and opportunities.

There isn't a "right" or "wrong" personality profile for a director. Again, you need a diverse set of people and personalities. Just make sure that you deploy your Directors in a way that utilizes their strengths.

3. Make sure your board has the capacity to fundraise.

Your board of directors should be focused on strategic tasks, like setting the vision for your organization, providing strategic insight, and fundraising. However, board members generally have businesses and careers of their own, and as a result have a limited amount of time they can dedicate to your organization—even if they really, really believe in your cause.

Making sure your directors aren't involved in day-to-day operational duties, or bogged down in administrative tasks will free them to help raise the money you need to meet your calendar year-end fundraising goals.

Interested in learning more about making your board better fundraisers?

 Watch our free webinar, "
Training Your Board in Fundraising",
hosted by Governance and Fundraising experts Thomas Bakewell and Carol Weisman

- or -

You can schedule a demo and learn more about how BoardPaq can help you create a more efficient, effective, and strategically focused Board through paperless meetings!

Back to Search Results
See the full list of articles

Dustin McKissen is the founder of McKissen + Company, an association management and marketing firm. He is a Certified Association Executive and has served as an executive or consultant to a wide variety trade associations, professional societies, and nonprofits.
Search Blogs