Engaging Your Board of Directors in Fundraising



If you’re like many of my nonprofit clients, you’ve experienced changes to how, when, where, and by whom donations are made. You’ve updated programs to serve those who need it most. You’re establishing new goals. How you get to those goals is dependent on volunteers and your Board of Directors. This begs the question of how to engage your board in fundraising.

Afterall, it’s their fiduciary responsibility to the nonprofit.

Today’s Donors

The donors of today aren’t like those of yesterday. The pandemic has changed how, where, and who donates, making attracting new donors a hot topic.

The days of writing letters and mailing them with a donation envelope is becoming obsolete.

Sure, there are donors who love this communication, but are those your donors?

(Nerd Alert!)

It’s important to review donor lists to see how they’re donating. If it’s online through your website, on an app, at an event, or via check, get to know your donor base. This will help you and your staff set fundraising goals and guide the board of directors in their fundraising efforts.

Grow the Board.

If the current members are not engaged in fundraising, find members who are engaged in not only serving the community, but also serving on the board, and in fundraising.

To find new board members, reach out to engaged volunteers. Ask existing members and staff for referrals. Post on social media, website, and e-newsletter. Ask other nonprofit leaders for their referrals. Work your network like you would if you were seeking a new employee.

Set expectations.

Before adding new Board members, update the description for board positions and be clear about expectations, including fundraising. This will (hopefully) weed out those not as interested in making a funding commitment. You want people who are enthusiastic about your organization AND who are willing to make the ask.

Engaging Board Members in Fundraising

Your Board of Directors are volunteers so the more information you can give them, the better they will be in serving. An approach I like to recommend is to create a menu of fundraising activities and allow each board member to choose their role in fundraising. These include:

● Hosting a private event or reception in their home for long-time donors or top prospects

● Calling donors to simply say thank you for your support

● Accompanying staff on fundraising calls and donor visits

● Writing personal letters to peers asking for a contribution

● Reviewing proposals to a funder

● Speaking about the organization's fundraising opportunities at community events.

● Creating content for the organization’s website

● Attending events with staff and volunteers

This allows the board members to select something that they are comfortable being involved with and allows them to buy into the fundraising activities. They may be unfamiliar with how to make the ask so getting them involved, even on a small scale, can grow their confidence.

Engaging your board of directors in fundraising takes a bit of time and effort (but what doesn’t in our world, amiright?), but the payoffs of relationship and community building can be great. Let’s not forget the impact to fundraising too!

If you’re struggling to engage your board, I’d love to talk to you! Contact me today.