Engaging the Board of Trustees
The latest e-letter from The Management Centre (=mc), a U.K.-based training and consultancy organization that works exclusively with nonprofit organizations, offers this installation of On the Consultant’s Couch, where =mc staffer Ann-Marie Kelly takes on engaging your board.
I joined a small-medium children’s charity as head of individual giving six months ago. My primary task is to revitalise our major donor fundraising programme.
In my last job, I did something similar, with the support of the trustees. However, I’m struggling to carry this success into my current role. I don’t have a lot of direct contact with our board, and when I do see or speak to them, they don’t seem very interested or engaged. How can I make them see how influential their role is in getting the big gifts we need?
— Name and e-mail address withheld
Ann-Marie says: We work with lots of fundraisers who I know will relate to the challenges that you are facing. Here are a few pointers that will help you succeed:
* Do you and your trustees really know what the money is for and the difference it will make?
Too often, charities want to secure the support of major donors, but they can’t actually explain to donors the impact their gifts will have. It’s not good enough to stress what you need (too often money) — major donors usually want to be part of something that they can make happen. And that goes for the board too; to get buy in from [board members], you must explain the impact they can be part of.
* How much do you need and by when? Your fundraising target and timeframe will determine the size of gifts that you will need to secure. You will need bigger gifts to successfully achieve a target of £30 million in three years than you will if your target is £300,000 per annum. Until you are clear on the size and scale of your ambition, you can’t establish the range of gifts and numbers of prospects you need — and how the board can help.