4 Simple Ways to Encourage Your Board Members to Help in Fundraising
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Do your board members think that fundraising equals asking people for money? Do they avoid the whole idea of fundraising?
Everywhere I go, board members are nervous about fundraising. They don't understand it, and they don't want to help. Try these ideas to get them to loosen them up and perk up their energy for your work:
- Give them practice talking about your organization. I bet they would not know what to say if they had the chance to spread the word! Try this exercise: Pull them into small groups and let each group craft three interesting facts about your work. Then debrief. This would be fun — and educational!
- Help them understand why someone should give to your organization. Try this exercise: Organize them into small groups. Ask each group to come up with five reasons why someone should give. You might be surprised that they start to get more and more energized about your work — and about fundraising!
- Help them each craft his or her personal elevator speech. Every board member needs to know why he or she personally cares about your organization. Try this exercise: Set up board members to talk two by two. Ask each pair of board members to share with each other: "Why I care about our organization." Then have everyone change partners. Shift partners several times. Your board members will emerge with new confidence and enthusiasm.
- Help them understand the numbers. Every board member needs to understand where the money goes. Why does it cost so much? How much does it cost to help one kid, one client or one student? How much does it cost to put on one performance? How many people are you turning away and why?
When board members understand why we need to raise money, and what to actually say about your organization, they just might start opening doors and engaging their friends in this important conversation.
E Gail Perry Author's page Gail believes in parties first, rabble-rousing second, and having fun while changing the world. Gail Perry CFRE is an international fundraising coach, speaker, trainer and thought-leader. She is a leader in a new breed of fundraisers who are on the cutting edge of fundraising today. Her Fired-Up Fundraising approach, developed over the past 25 years as a nonprofit philanthropy expert, has helped organizations raise hundreds of millions in gifts. Gail's practical and refreshing approach to raising money in today's world is based on the very latest innovative fundraising strategies. An inspirational and popular speaker, she leads energizing fundraising workshops and board retreats around the globe. She particularly enjoys working with nonprofit board members, introducing them to a new perspective on fundraising and ways they can be successful at it. Gail's book, Fired-Up Fundraising, has been called the "gold standard guide to building successful fundraising boards." Gail got her start in fundraising at Duke University, and then went on to lead fundraising at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. You can read Gail's weekly blogs at FiredUpFundraising.com, and also find her provocative articles at FundraisingSuccess, Guidestar, and Capital Campaign Magic.