Recently, a charitable organization approached us with a confession of their board members. They shared with us that they continue to receive hollow promises from the majority of their board members.
Unfortunately, we hear this challenge quite a bit from several nonprofits.
While we like to remind the organization that their board members are volunteers, they do have a commitment to uphold to their organization. Furthermore, the board members have a fiduciary responsibility to the nonprofit in which they are serving their board position.
The approach we recommended to this organization, and one we recommend to others that share this same challenge with us is this:
We suggested they create a menu of fundraising activities (no matter how big or small the activities may be) and allow each board member to choose their role in fundraising. This allows the board members to select something that they are comfortable being involved with and allows them to buy into the activities.
Some of the options we suggested were:
1. Hosting a private event or reception in their home for long-time donors or top prospects 2. Calling donors to simply say thank you for your support 3. Accompanying staff on fundraising calls and donor visits 4. Writing personal letters to peers asking for a contribution 5. Reviewing proposals to a funder
Once each board member indicated how they would support the organization’s fundraising, we developed a board matrix of involvement to track their engagement. Picture your child's report card. The matrix looks similar to a report card and tracks their activity of choice and their follow through.
At each meeting every board member can review their progress based on their report card. You may be asking, "why do you share this at board meetings? The answer is simple, really...because disappointing you as staff is one thing, but board members are not crazy about disappointing their peers.
We would love to hear from any of you that choose to implement this approach. Share with us how your board responds and what they like/dislike from the menu of fundraising activities.
The Rayvan Group / www.therayvangroup.com