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10 Ways Board Members Can Help Their Nonprofits Raise Money

Nonprofit board members and raising money–the two are not often described as going together like peas and carrots.

But when board members receive the right tools, encouragement and knowledge to feel good about fundraising, it’s a lot easier for them…and for everyone. Can you talk with your board about raising money as a privilege and an honor–sharing with others the enormous benefit your nonprofit offers our community? This perspective helps us to see the responsibility as a noble one, which it is!

Team of superhero kids

We can start by giving board members tangible ways to make that difference, while helping them understand that asking for money is only part of a successful development process.

The development process includes identifying prospective donors, qualifying donors (determining if they have the capacity to give), cultivating donors, and stewarding donors after they give. Each part of this process will ensure that loyal followers will keep giving or that new people keep coming to support the mission and results.

We’re sharing a list of 10 easy ways board members can support, enhance and grow fundraising:

  1. Make an unrestricted gift every year to the organization without being asked. Give an amount that is meaningful to you.
  2. Invite your friends or neighbors to an informal gathering at your home (or to the nonprofit) that includes a 15 minute update about the organization, along with easy ways they can get involved or contribute.
  3. Ask the chief executive how you can be the most helpful with fundraising. These supportive conversations can open a window of opportunity to take some pressure off of the CEO and provide effective ways to roll up your sleeves.
  4. Send a hand written thank you note or email to 10 donors. Don’t ask for anything.
  5. If you know someone with the ability to give and a passion for or connection to the mission, introduce them to the organization. A tour, a cup of coffee with the chief executive or development staff, or a Zoom with a program leader are great options.
  6. Set up a meeting with your professional advisor and the chief executive so they can learn about the impact of the organization.
  7. Visit a program in action so that you have a real, sensory experience of the difference the organization is making. Reflecting on what you experienced is far more compelling than memorizing an “elevator speech.”
  8. Show up at the organization’s events or gatherings–virtual and in person–and invite others when appropriate. Ask the staff to put you to work.
  9. Include the organization in your own charitable legacy plans. This could include leaving a percentage of your estate to the nonprofit or making the organization the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, for example.
  10. Be brave. Get comfortable doing something that may not come naturally to you, such as asking people to consider making a gift to the organization. People give to people they know and like. You are wild enough about the organization to give your time, talent and treasure to the mission. Others will be too. If you need guidance, ask the staff team. They can help you with approaches.

Of course actually asking for money is important.

There’s a right person for each ask, and a right amount based on research and time with the donor. Some board members will feel right at home doing this, while others likely never will.

If each person plays to their strengths and is willing to push themselves just a little, their combined efforts will accomplish the work the board as a whole should being doing.