How board members can help nonprofit fundraising efforts

Board members can be great advocates that help drive increased donations into a nonprofit.
Date Published
08/28/2014

One of the ways a charitable organization can increase its nonprofit fundraising efforts is by ensuring that its board members are actively involved in the process. Of course, this doesn’t mean that these individuals need to be hands-on with respect to the day-to-day efforts commonly undertaken by staff members assigned to work closely with donors and encourage them to give. However, those comprising the board of a 501(c)(3) organization must take an active role in spreading the message of the nonprofit or foundation to individuals in their personal networks and encourage them to contribute. Doing so can open a previously untapped donation channel.

Unfortunately, many people who make up the board of a nonprofit don’t understand how to do this, and in many cases, may not be sure of the ways in which they can help increase the donations that flow into a charity’s coffers. However, the Getting Attention blog outlined a way to teach and encourage board members on how to become better advocates, contributing to the success of the organization and helping it achieve its foundational missions.

Dubbed the “Why Do You Care?” exercise, Getting Attention suggests posing thought-provoking questions to members of a nonprofit board, such as how they discuss their emotional connection to the work of a nonprofit with others, or how they respond when someone asks them why they serve in the first place.

From there, board members are then encouraged to share their answers with their organizational peers in 30-second increments in four separate rounds of interaction with others in the group. Once the activity is completed, members are then asked to comment on the experience, allowing them to reflect on how impactful their personal stories about the organization can be when told to others.

Expecting a nonprofit board to be a primary donation driver is a little far-fetched. However, their advocacy can be advantageous when it comes to encouraging those in their individual social circles to support the mission of the charity they serve.

Other nonprofit fundraising strategies
Despite encouraging board members to do more with respect to convincing contributors to give, a nonprofit still needs to craft compelling campaigns that encourage people to offer their financial support.

The Guardian reported on ways to build an effective nonprofit campaign from the ground up and offers a number of helpful suggestions for 501(c)(3) groups that may be struggling in this area:

  1. Clearly outline why the charity needs financial support: The best way to compel an individual to give is to let them know why their help is needed. In order to accomplish this goal, nonprofits should let potential contributors know what the intended outcome is, the difference that will be made should it be accomplished and the consequences of failure. This can create an emotional response that could encourage a potential donor to give.
  2. Target the giving audience: Nonprofits receive financial support from many different channels. However, there are some that routinely contribute more money than others. A carefully crafted campaign that targets the biggest supporters can work to the advantage of a charitable organization.
  3. Ask for specific dollar amounts: Many times, contributors want to support the work of a nonprofit from a financial standpoint, but may be unsure of the amount that is deemed to be acceptable. Charities should take the guesswork out of this process by letting donors know how much money would be of help to its mission.

These are just a few suggestions that a 501(c)(3) can use to establish strong donor pipelines and making its nonprofit fundraising efforts streamlined and efficient. 

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