Boards: The Secret Superheroes of Fundraising
Let me end with a story of my own: When I was consulting with the Orange County Rape Crisis Center a few years ago, I dragged my boyfriend to its annual fundraising auction. It was on a Sunday night and wasn't a big social event, but it was a nice, happy gathering.
I told my boyfriend, who had plenty of money, to bring his wallet because these were good people. I dragged him around deliberately and pointed out items that I liked. Well, bless his heart, he bought all this stuff that night.
Then the next day I was sitting in my office around 1 p.m. and got a call from him.
"Gail," he said, "you won't believe what just happened!"
He was clearly wrought up.
"What?" I replied anxiously.
"I'm speechless," he said. "I just got a phone call from a board member of the Rape Crisis Center thanking me for … for … for being the largest donor at the auction last night!
"I just can't believe it!" he gushed. "I've given money all over the country, and I've never gotten a call from a board member!"
I could feel him beaming over the phone. He was absolutely thrilled.
The next year, he was asking me, "Is the Rape Crisis Center having its auction this fall? I haven't gotten an invitation yet."
That year, he bought an entire table and hosted the president of the largest foundation in North Carolina at it. I think the Rape Crisis Center has him for life now!
To take away
Every member of your board is there for a reason. The key to having a relationship with your board members that is productive is to keep them enthused about and interested in the work you do, discover their individual strengths and embrace them, and don't define "fundraising" too narrowly as simply making an ask. FS