Success in Fundraising Starts With the Board of Directors
2. Annual board orientation
No matter how mature, well-heeled or experienced your board is, there should be an Annual Board Orientation scheduled every single year. Ideally, this is when you bring in your new members, so everyone can start the year on equal footing. This is the time for a review of the responsibilities your organization has set forth for board members, reaffirmation of your board giving policy, agreement to a strategic fund development initiative and, above all, a recommitment to the mission of your organization.
3. Board expansion and diversification
The dynamic nonprofit board enforces term limits, rotates leadership and actively recruits new members. Thereby the board enlarges its circle of influence, attracts new skill sets, expands funding sources and strengthens its organization. The responsibility for new-member recruitment must be shared by all. Each board member should be an ambassador for the organization and dedicate the time and energy to cultivating new members in much the same way you would cultivate a prospect for a major gift.
4. Contingency plan
Every nonprofit organization, school, congregation and public benefit group should be actively rethinking its activities and creating contingency plans based on the new economic realities. Fiscal Management Associates and the Nonprofit Finance Fund offer tools, checklists, tips and a free webinar from their December 2008 event: The 2009 Nonprofit Economic Climate: Managing Through the Downturn. Take advantage of these free resources, and put these topics on your agenda for your next board meeting.
5. Board training
Budget and plan for training sessions for your board members to continue to build the skills needed to create and articulate the case for support (the elevator speech won’t be enough in this environment), and learn how to be strong ambassadors for your cause. Training will help them learn how best to support your organization’s fundraising initiatives and ensure your development office has the resources and technology needed to succeed.