4 tips for getting your nonprofit board to participate in fundraising

Approach your board with multiple fundraising strategies.
Date Published
06/25/2015

Board members should assist their nonprofit in its fundraising efforts. An organization’s board already has a lot of responsibilities but adequate funds will help accomplish the nonprofit’s goals and make leadership duties easier in the long run. Here are four tips on how to get your board involved in your donor outreach and fundraising events:

1. Communicate nonprofit needs
If you want your board members to participate in fundraising programs, you have to ask them. Organizations should talk to their board about contributing sooner rather than later.

You want your board’s participation in fundraisers to be a standard practice not a sometimes event. GuideStar, a nonprofit information service, stated that too many organizations make the mistake of approaching leadership for fundraising help only when the situation becomes dire. If board members begin advocating for funds under high-stress situations, they are most likely going to see the process as difficult and burdensome.

Approach your board members about fundraising participation well before the need for extra funds presents itself. The introduction to the process should be a casual exchange of ideas. You want to listen to what they have to say on the topic and inform them on how their participation will aid overall performance. 

2. Share information
A nonprofit’s board is a very important part of the organization. The board is concerned with their duties, however, and they may not be aware of day-to-day operations or other information that donors will inquire about.

Stand Your Ground, a campaign for nonprofit board advocacy, suggested board members tend to focus on certain organization operations and ignore others. They have a habit of “going inside,” focusing on the internal processes such as finances and accountability. You should provide your board members with “outside information.” Show them how the mission influences the wider community and share future goals for fundraising.

A nonprofit software system can provide visibility to every level of the organization. Daily schedules, finances, donor information and fundraising results are collected to a single information source. Board members who utilize the software will be able to speak to donors with all the data they need and answer questions as they occur.

3. Give them multiple strategies
Fundraising is more than just asking people for money. Your nonprofit should employ several strategies to encourage donor support. It’s important you don’t approach board members with a single, narrow idea on how to raise funds.

The Beth Kantor blog shared the example of a board asked to become advocates for its community nonprofit. Board members were asked what issues concerned them as individuals and then they were provided with tools to address those issues. After speaking with the board, it was decided that by carrying a simple “business card” with crucial information and adopting social media solutions, the members could become greatly beneficial to their organization.

Fundraising strategies must provide options that speak to each board member’s strength. Maybe they have friends in the local business community that could become donors. They may be educators or community leaders who can drum up a volunteer force to fundraise on the organization’s behalf.

4. Show them results
Whatever strategy is employed will create visible results. When board members become fundraisers, you should be able to show them the effect their participation has on the nonprofit’s mission.

Board members aren’t always aware of the necessity of meeting fundraising goals. The Nonprofit Hub indicated that demonstrating how crucial donor donations are to your mission’s success will encourage involvement. The same software tools that provide information on your organization will show board members how raised funds are being utilized.

A consistent data system makes the effects of fundraiser efforts visible. Information collected after each program is compared and contrasted to prior efforts. This documented history is also important when you first sit down with your board members and discuss how they can help. The successes and mistakes of prior projects informs your board members on exactly how they will contribute to meeting fundraising goals.

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