Positioning Your Board for Effective Fundraising
Weisman said she often hears board members say things like, "But we have staff. Why should I be doing the fundraising?" She stresses to them that it's a partnership, like "a truffle hound and a farmer." One sniffs out the gift, and the other picks it up. "The job of staff is to make the board effective and vice versa," she said.
Some ideas Weisman shared for increasing fundraising involvement by your board members include:
1. Make fundraising a part of every board meeting. Have a "mission moment," celebrating a victory, sharing a need, etc. Be deliberate about it.
2. Make fundraising training a part of your annual board retreat. And budget for board leadership to go to relevant conferences.
3. Ask yourself these questions:
- How are you training your board in fundraising? Weisman talked about the "checkers vs. chess" school of board management. Don't treat board members like checkers, as though they all have the same abilities, she stressed. Treat them like chess pieces, with different skills and strengths. Find out how you can use board members' skills effectively by sitting down and talking with each of them once or twice a year.
- Do you have the "right" people on your board? Be sure to tell board members what you expect of them. If you don't have one, your organization needs a board commitment letter that you give to each board member that includes an attendance policy, financial expectations, committee assignments, details on length of term, assignment of a board mentor, a description of the board member's role in special events, and a suggestion of a planned gift.
4. Explain the process of fundraising. There's a reason it's called "development" and not "quickie," Weisman said. It's a process that involves:
- The ask
Given the current climate, assume that you'll need to put more time and effort into cultivation and stewardship.