Just the mention of the word “fundraising” can make many nonprofit board members a little nervous. But there are ways we can change their minds about fundraising. Here are 10 important steps that can re-energize your board and engage their hearts and minds for fundraising.
ONE: Re-awaken their vision and passion.
If your board members actually are bored, they certainly won’t be willing to tackle fundraising. Board meetings are an important tool in keeping them involved — they’re your board members’ principal point of contact with your organization. Design your meetings so they set up discussions about issues that can affect your organization’s future.
Let your board members do the talking. Meetings should be 70 percent board members talking and 30 percent staff talking. Use consent agendas to reduce the unimportant, routine business of the meeting.
Be sure to have at least one good discussion question prepared for the board for every meeting. And for a change, try a “fireside chat” with the executive director or development director in lieu of a regular meeting once in a while. Don’t let Roberts and his Rules of Order create a dry, passionless meeting focused on minutiae that misses the important — and exciting — issues.
TWO: Give them what they want.
It’s important to remember that board members are giving up their valuable spare time for your organization. They’re choosing to spend time with you, and they want to help your organization achieve its mission in the world. You have to set up opportunities for them to be involved and actually help or they’ll wonder, “What’s the point?”
And remember that they’re also joining the board for social reasons. Help them meet the other board members. Always, always use name tags at meetings to facilitate introductions.
Build in social time to help your board create friendships. How can board members function as an effective group if they don’t know each other? The most valuable time at the meeting could be “coffee time.” Time for casual, social conversations helps create much-needed collegiality and a better sense of teamwork.