Role of the Board & Successful Fundraising Techniques

The rollercoaster ride that nonprofits have experienced since the beginning of the ‘great recession’ has been anything but fun!

Although the great recession began in 2007 according to the National Bureau of Economic Statics, the reality of its effects on nonprofits really hit home the day the venerable brokerage firm Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in September ’08. Pretty soon nonprofit leaders and staff came to realize that how nonprofits managed their fundraising would be changed forever.

The Nonprofit Finance Fund provides financing, funding and advocacy services to nonprofits and funders nationwide. For the researchers among us, they are a fount of data. Their “Guide to Navigating Changing Times” provides answers and resources to help weather these difficult times.

An October 11 blog posting from David King, president Alexander Haas highlights “10 Lessons Learned from the Great Recession.”

  1. Relationships matter more than causes
  2. Serving on a board in not an honor, it is a real job with real responsibilities
  3. If you stop fund raising, you will stop raising funds
  4. Endowment is not an insurance policy against declines in earned and donated revenue
  5. Take donors for granted and they will take their donations elsewhere
  6. Financial acumen is, in fact, a requirement for nonprofit executives
  7. Your next campaign does not “have” to be larger than you last campaign
  8. We have a new definition for what we “need”
  9. The donor pyramid has been pinched in the middle (think hour glass)
  10. Fear of multi-year pledging has reshaped how capital campaigns are executed.

I have always been committed to a fundraising board. Last year I was asked to do a presentation on the “Role of the Board & Successful Fundraising Techniques.”

This presentation is a Call to Action for nonprofit boards to encourage ownership and enthusiasm for fundraising.

You are welcome to share with your nonprofit’s board of directors. I’d love to hear from you to learn of their response.

I know this is an extremely busy time for fundraising. We at Creative Solutions & Innovations wish you the very best in your quest.

Building a Successful Fundraising Board

Building a Successful Fundraising Board

I’ve been asked to do a presentation on the Role of The Board in Fundraising, and I’m thrilled. Board involvement is the heart and soul of good fundraising. Committed leadership is a nonprofit’s greatest strength.

But, moving to a fundraising board is not always easy. The shift is wrought with tension between the members of the board and staff.

Throughout my years of working with boards in transition, I have heard a lot of reasons why board members do not like to engage in fundraising. Each concern is legitimate and needs attention.

“If I ask, I’ll have to give.”  – Board members are usually asked to engage their family, friends and colleagues. Quite often they are asked to reciprocate and give to their contact’s favorite nonprofit. This could be a problem for board members with limited means.

“No one told me I would have to raise money.”  People join boards for different reasons and work on various projects and programs. It is, however, a board responsibility to raise resources to support the organization. A smart practice is to include fundraising expectations in the board orientation.

 “It’s embarrassing to ask people for money.”  Make sure your organization provides fundraising training. Understanding the development process is important and will assuage a lot of discomfort. 

Should all board members be involved with fundraising? Absolutely! That isn’t to say that everyone will be engaged in the same way. There are many elements that go into successful fundraising.

To get started, walk before you run. Ask each board member to give to the extent of his or her ability. Match talent and comfort levels to the type of fundraising activities in which the organization is involved.

Some board members will be much more comfortable working on a special event than face-to-face solicitation. Some will have the technical savvy to grow interest in their organization through social media.

Remember, people give to people. The main reason a person makes his or her first gift to a nonprofit is that the right person asks. So, successful fundraising goes hand-in-hand with building relationships. And who better to build those relationships than leadership?

You know you have a fundraising board when members are asked what they do for their nonprofit and they say “We raise resources and influence for our organization.”

Now you know you’re on the road to success!