SIX: Give them the right tools and training.
Many board members simply don’t know what to do. They need to be educated about fundraising — what it is, how it’s done, the best practices and, most importantly, how they can help. Do they know about fact sheets and elevator speeches? Do they really know how to use them? Try setting up exercises for them to practice talking about your organization. This is a great way to liven up a dry board meeting.
SEVEN: Set clear, high expectations.
Many board members are confused about their roles and frequently disheartened about their perceived inability to make a real difference. Give them one thing to do at a time, and clearly let them know what you need for them to focus on now. For example, the board needs to “own” the annual gala for about three months to make it as successful as possible. Each board member should have an assignment that helps the gala succeed.
Expectations, of course, start when the members are enlisted to join the board. Be sure you explicitly let all new members know that help in fundraising is required.
EIGHT: Put fundraising up front on your agenda.
How fundraising is presented at board meetings has a lot to do with its visibility in front of board members. Don’t present this report without telling them what they can do to help it succeed. Fundraising results and plans should be up front at every meeting. It could be the most important
discussion of the evening. Your board members need to understand your organization’s fundraising program, its challenges and opportunities.
NINE: Make sure everyone gives.
This basic rule never goes away. Board members have got to understand that they can’t, in good conscience, ask others to support the organization unless they do first. Also, they need to know that giving is an expectation of board membership.