For a nonprofit organization, an active Board of Directors is a necessity. Often Board members come together initially to form a nonprofit because of their passion for the cause. But they may not realize that as Board members, they also should have a role in fundraising. In fact, part of the role of a Board member is to raise funds or develop relationships that will lead to increased funding.
So how does an Executive Director ensure that the Board members are on board with this responsibility? Here are some tips to help Board members acknowledge and embrace their role in fundraising:
- Recognize that most people are uncomfortable with the idea of raising funds, even for an organization they are passionate about. But fundraising is not about asking for money per se, but rather about giving others the chance to support a cause that is they are passionate about, too. Presented in this light, the act of “fundraising” actually becomes an opportunity presented to someone who wants to be a part of the greater good your organization provides.
- Help board members make connections with others they know who believe in the cause. Simply by having regular, healthy discussions about the organization’s goals and strategies can help spark ideas about whom to approach for funding support. Board members may know of corporate leaders or individuals who would like to support a specific project or sponsor an event for the organization. These connections to the greater community are vital, and they come about when Board members share their passion with their friends and colleagues.
- Use fundraising committees to help make the process easier. Ask Board members to choose which projects or strategies they’d like to work on specifically and create small ad hoc member committees who can then brainstorm about connections and visit potential funding partners together. Sometimes just having someone to work with makes the process much more accessible and fun.
- Think strategically about which projects and strategies are your true funding priorities, and focus at first on those. Smaller successes with specific projects can lead to greater funding opportunities for the organization itself or its larger initiatives later.
Board members may have become involved because they prefer an advisory role, but everyone on a board has a responsibility to ensure its fiscal health and growth, too. By systematically approaching the fundraising process from a partnership point of view and supporting Board members in their efforts, nonprofit leaders can ensure the future of their organizations.