Success in Fundraising Starts With the Board of Directors
The last decade was characterized as a time of plenty in the charitable arena: plenty of good causes, plenty of organizations, plenty of government support, plenty of corporate and foundation money, and plenty of individual giving.
Well, guess what? The party’s over. Unquestionably we are in the midst of a worrisome rebalancing and readjustment of charitable dollars. To succeed in this and the impending economic climate, nonprofits must renew their commitment to the basic fundamentals of fundraising. It starts with the board of directors.
Make sure that your board members agree to adopt best practices with regard to their responsibilities. In the area of fundraising, this means that the board must insure that the culture of philanthropy and the commitment to the case for support of the organization start in the boardroom. Before board members can turn to their loyal donors and new prospective donors, they must clearly and unequivocally demonstrate their own support of the organization. This has never been more important than it is right now.
Donations are down, government funding is tentative and foundations have less money. At the same time, the demand for services, scholarships, programs and advocacy is soaring. Funders are asking, “Is your organization a good investment for me?” Potential donors are asking organizations to demonstrate how they have planned to meet the needs of the community and simultaneously positioned themselves to survive possible funding cuts. It is vital for board members to publicly demonstrate their confidence in and financial support of their own organizations.
Following are some tips for creating and maintaining the most valuable kind of board for your organization.
1. Board member giving
One of the key responsibilities of every board member is to ensure sound resources and finances for the organization. That means the board is responsible for seeing to it that the organization has the funds to carry out its mission. Before board members can begin to fundraise externally, each must make a personal financial commitment. The old ideas — “I give my time, so I don’t have to give my money.” “I’m on a lot of boards, so I can’t give much.” “You should appreciate me for my good ideas ... that’s enough.” — are out. O-U-T … out. Each and every board member must make a financial contribution annually that is personally significant and meaningful.