Secret Ingredients of a Successful Fundraiser – Board Members

Posted on Jun 27, 2013 in Fund Raising, home slider

Board members are the nerve center and life blood of all nonprofit organizations. While the staff do the heavy lifting of day to day work, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and giving shelter to the homeless, Board members set the course for the organization. While it should always be with input from all stakeholders, none the less, the Board holds ultimate fiduciary responsibility for the organization. How then can you engage and support these valuable contributors?

  • Training, Training, Training and it must start before they are confirmed. One of the most effective strategies to use is to have a job description that is part of the interview process for all prospective board members. This document spells out the expectations, including number of Board meetings per year and time frame; committee meetings that generally meet in the alternating months; fundraising responsibilities; the necessity for making a significant financial gift; and making this organization one of their top three charities for the duration of their tenure on the board. You will eliminate the most frequently heard complaints from Board members if this information is explained before you ask for the commitment. People can now make an informed decision.
  • Once confirmed the training must continue. It is helpful to take 15 minutes at each Board meeting and educate members on the variety of ways that they can use their skills, talents, and influence to increase the visibility and financial security of the nonprofit.
  • Not everyone is comfortable asking for a donation but board members should be assured that there are many ways that they can assist the fundraising process.
  • An important role for board members is to introduce their friends to the organizations where they serve as a Board member. Your passion for the organization and the work being done by the nonprofit is one of the most important gifts you can share with anyone.
  • Accompany the Executive Director or Development Director on an “ask.” You are there to lend support or influence but you need not do the asking.
  • Use your influence in the business community to suggest possible event co-chairs, friends or colleagues that you know are philanthropic, and would be interested in sharing in the good working being done, by supporting this worthy cause.

Denise Sheppard is a development consultant who loves helping organizations raise money for worthy causes. She provides mentoring for new development staff; grant writing; board development, and thrives on being part of a team that is organizing a fund raising event.  She can be reached at denisesheppard@comcast.net or 617.755.6001