3 Secrets to Inspire Board Members to Be Successful Fundraisers
Of all the tips I give board members about how to become successful fundraisers, by far the most important is this: Make your own passionate commitment first.
Making this commitment entails just three simple things. And these things just happen to be the three secrets to being the most kick-ass fundraiser on the planet.
Plus, they have absolutely nothing to do with technique. There’s nothing scary about these three strategies. Nothing to really learn or master. Nope.
It all boils down to one simple thing:
What board members say and do is not as important as how they say and do it.
It’s your board members' passion that rules—and that will be key to their success.
It’s your job as a staff member to help your board members connect with your mission in a manner that connects with their own values. To inspire them to connect with and lead from their personal passion. Doing your job is easy if you remember these three simple things:
1. Get Board Members in Touch With Their Passion
Talk with them about why they got involved with you. Ask them why they stay involved. Connect them to stories of your nonprofit’s impact. Help them to see, hear, feel and touch your positive results. Here’s what to tell them:
Know your values and inspire yourself. Remind yourself what drew you to this organization and cause in the first place. What about it do you value? Did it help you and you’re now giving back? Are you fulfilling a moral or religious obligation? Dig deep, and do whatever you must to understand the why of your involvement. Perhaps for you it’s reading scriptures, or inspiring quotes, or meditation, or walks in nature, or talking to friends, or singing, painting, dancing—whatever reveals your profound beliefs, joys and passions.
If you’re going to preach religion, you’ve got to get religion. Once your board members have got it, and are in touch with their values, then...
2. Inspire Board Members to Enact their Passion
Talk with them about what would happen if your nonprofit ceased to exist. Demonstrate the need for their passionate philanthropy. Ask them to make a specific, passionate, stretch gift. Ask them to lead! Here’s what to tell them:
Passionately enact your values. Make your own gift, and make it at a passionate stretch-level. If board members don’t make leadership gifts, then why would anyone else do so? It’s important to put your money where your mouth is and lead by example. There’s simply no substitute for this. “Social proof” is a big persuader. Board members provide the seal of approval that this is a worthwhile and effective organization worthy of philanthropic support—and others will look to see what they’re doing before they’ll make their own commitments.
If you’re going to talk it, you’ve got to walk it. Once they’ve made their own passionate gifts, and are ardently practicing their religion, it’s time to...
3. Teach Board Members to Ask Others to Join Them in Their Passion
Tell them to stop keeping their involvement with you a secret, and ask them to share it with their friends. Tell them not to be stingy with the joy they’ve found in being associated with your cause. Give them the training and tools they need to feel comfortable asking for philanthropic gifts. Here’s what to tell them:
Ask others to join you. This should be a no-brainer. You’ve found love. Don’t you want others to find love as well? It’s really no different than asking someone to join you in a book group you enjoy, at an exciting new restaurant, at a church or synagogue group, at a yoga class or at a great new movie. Unless you’re trying to keep your cause a secret, why not share?
Don’t keep this organization the community’s best kept secret! Once you help your board members to overcome the “fundraising (money) taboo,” and understand their job is simply to enable philanthropy and help people find joy and meaning in their lives, then asking becomes a natural outgrowth of their involvement.
It’s that easy!
Would you agree with these three simple steps? Do you have others?