Boards: The Secret Superheroes of Fundraising
5. Most board members can be terrific "sneezers," spreading the viral message around your community. Just make sure they practice what to say in a comfortable, natural fashion.
What you can't count on
1. You can't expect them to be good at soliciting. That's a special skill and personality type. Frankly, I don't even want all my board members out there soliciting, because some of them would not be very good at it. Treasure the board members who are good at soliciting, and find other productive jobs for those who are better at other things.
2. You can't expect them to show up at every event. You need to tell them what your priorities are — what's essential and what's optional. Then, when they have a clear idea of what you need from them, they can give it to you.
3. You can't expect them to know exactly what to say. You might think they know the mission, vision and case for support, but they need practice, practice, practice putting it into their own words.
4. You can't expect them to maintain their passion on their own. It's your job to keep them pumped up and excited about the cause. If you do, you'll have an enthusiastic, fired-up team helping you spread the word and make connections.
5. You can't expect them to keep coming to boring meetings. Busy people will flee if they feel their time is not used well. If you liven up your meetings, then you'll also liven up your board.
So set your own expectations correctly, provide the leadership and support your board needs, and you'll be rewarded with a high-performing team.
But what about fundraising?
However, even the most highly motivated board can fall flat when it comes to fundraising. Remember that most board members are afraid of fundraising because they're embarrassed and fear rejection. And they generally are not sure what your expectations are of them.