Tips for Engaging Your Board in Fundraising

If you want to frontload your organisation for maximum fundraising success, then you really need to get all your ducks in a row - and that includes the big ducks on the Board.

Getting your Board involved in fundraising is an important - and potentially financially rewarding - resource that you cannot afford to ignore in these tough times. Board members typically posses the high- level experience, the contacts and the relationship building skills that are so key to successful fundraising. You therefore may wish to consider the following suggestions for getting your Board on-board with fundraising for your organisation:
 
  1. Recruit as You Mean To Go On - when it comes time to recruit new Board members, make sure that you make potential candidates immediately aware of the core importance of fundraising to their role. And, of course, ensure that you are only shortlisting those who possess the most relevant and interesting skillset that you can put to work for the greater good.
     
  2. Find Your Champion - if your Board is not due to change its composition in the immediate future, then you will of course have to work with what you have got. So, one of the most effective methods of encouraging your Board to adapt to new actions is to identify the Board member(s) best positioned to champion the new actions (in this case fundraising) and then to task them with driving the momentum forward.
     
  3. Support Your Champion - so, now you've identified the Board member you think will be the most effective advocate the issue of getting your Board members to fundraise for your organisation. Your responsibility now is to facilitate their advocacy. Do they need fundraising training? Are they fully up to speed with your fundraising plans for the future? And are they already putting what they have learned into practice (e.g. by soliciting corporate donations for your organisation)? And, most important of all, are they then also sharing their positive experiences and knowledge with the rest of the Board?
     
  4. Keep the Momemtum Going - now that you have created a fledging culture around fundraising for the Board, the goal should be to keep the conversation (and the action) in motion. So, suggest a Board fundraising sub-committee be established, or ensure that the issue is discussed (and that goals are set) in each meeting.

In time, with a little bit of encouragement and practice, it is quite likely that once reluctant participants will soon turn into enthusiastic fundraising advocates. And once you have your Board fundraising for your organisation, the sky is truly the limit (which is doubly true for ducks, big or small!)

Additional Resources:

The Ireland Funds - Philanthropy ToolkitIt looks at many key fundraising areas, including board development, etc. Click here for more info.

Boardmatch: if you are seeking to recruit for your Board, then Boardmatch can help you find the right candidates, based on their skills and experience. The service is free for non-profits. Click here for more info.