Engaging your Board in Fundraising

I’ve talked before about the importance of having those on the Board actively participating in all areas of the work of an organisation, including fundraising.

This post from the Sponsorship Collective covers it again, and is worth reading. In it, as I have said before, Board members usually have good business or friend contacts that can be tapped into to help an organisation raise funds and grow.

The post also talks about trust, ”Lack of trust has got to be one of the main reasons why Boards don’t donate and do not bring you their networks. 

Boards, understandably want to protect their friends, associates and other contacts from being treated badly. They may even have been burned before, having taken the chance to make an introduction to a contact and then find that the contact has not been treated well by the charity.  So help them to feel that they can trust you, but also in the charity, by demonstrating that you understand the process, that you won’t mistreat their friends and business associates and that you have impact in a cause that they care about.”

This is something I have had to deal with, I have introduced organisations to contacts, only to have the people call and tell me not to do it again as they felt pressured to support and also felt that the organisation wasn’t being upfront, they said in referring people I should know more about how they would present themselves. Since then I am more cautious, but I do use my connections where I feel there is a good fit.

Have a read of the full article and take on board some of the points it raises.

Do your Board Members Fundraise?

It’s not my job, we have fundraisers, why should I have to fundraise?

I wouldn’t know where to start, I’d be a burden on fundraising.

I don’t know enough to help with donations.

When board members see, have the attitude that fundraising isn’t part of their role, something needs to be said and done; sadly grabbing them by the shoulder and give them a good hard shake is frowned upon. But something needs doing to get them to see it’s as much their job as it is anyone else in the organisation.

Board members should be encouraged to, where possible spend time with the fundraising team to learn what it takes to get a campaign going, how individuals, businesses and funders are approached. The effort this takes, the skills needed and to see what the results (negative and positive) have on those doing the fundraising.

I’ve seen organisations where the Board are only interested in the income, they’re not interested in how it’s done. But, should income levels not meet targets they dive in and suggest that the fundraising team aren’t doing all the could, they their appriach is wrong.

Say what, if these Board members know so much, why aren’t they roling their sleeves up and help? Ah that’s right, it’s not their job. What a load of hogwash.

Board members, infact (in my opinion) everyone in an organisation should have some involvement in fundraising.
Board members are likely to have business or community connections they could tap into. Sure, there are some situations where this may not be possible; but the least they could do in situations where a direct approach my not be in order, is to at minimum is to give introductions, open the door for others to make the approach.

If written previoulsy, Is your Board on Board, have a read if you haven’t.

Board members aren’t only there because of the need in the Trust Deed or legal requirements, they are their because of skills they have. And, they should also be schooled in all areas of the organisation. (Read) Learn Fundraising.

The next time your board is together, ask ”what can you help with?”. It may scare some, but too bad, it will open discussion on roles, repsonsibilities and opportunities.

You need a Stable Board

Your board, like any other area in your organisation will need to replace or add new members; how you go about finding the right person, introducing them and helping them in their role will have an impact on how they do their ‘job’ and how long they’ll stay.

Like any other function in any organisation, a position description should be put together; outlining what the role is. From this you can’t write a person description, what type of person best suits the role – experience, contacts, abilities; what do they have to have?

Once you have done that, it’s time to start looking; your networks are the first place you should start. Ask around, someone knows someone.

And, like any other role you need to:

Introduce them to the organisation, whether this is possible face-to-face or through other means; ensure they are properly introduced.

Induct them into the organisation, explain the role and all expectations; meeting attendance, availability to attend events etc.

Bring them up-to-date, make sure make the time to tell them where things are at, mid-term goals etc; this will help them hit the ground running.

Some organisation team up a mentor, someone who has experience in the functions of the board and organisation; this is something worth considering especially in larger organisations.

Like all other roles in your organisation, you should be conducting reviews; these are an opportunity for two-way feedback on how the board member is doing, what their take on the role is, and what future plans, goals.

Keep all board members active, involved and encouraged to be part of the organisation; if you want to have a high turnover rate anywhere in the organisation, ignore their views, bore them with aimless tasks and ineffective meetings.

How do you manage new board members? Do you follow the above?

See also:

Does your board expect to be paid

Your board and trustees should be working

Are you supported by your board and staff?

Board Meetings – When do You hold them?