Giving Tuesday Ideas to Engage Your Nonprofit Board
We're close, again, to another Giving Tuesday event. Year-end and holiday fundraising, including Giving Tuesday, are exciting times for nonprofits. Your donors and supporters feel the holiday spirit, and that means there's a lot of generosity going around. But there's one group that you want to ensure helps you the most with your Giving Tuesday ideas.
If you're a fundraiser, the first group of people you have probably thought about is your board of directors. Unfortunately, many nonprofits suffer from boards that don't step up in leadership roles for fundraising efforts. No worries. There are solutions out there, and you can help your board evolve their leadership style. If you find yourself in this situation, let's explore several ways you can engage your board in fundraising.
1. Promote Giving Tuesday to Your Board
By now, many people in the nonprofit sector know about Giving Tuesday. However, what some people don't know is that the idea of Giving Tuesday is not limited to a single day. Yes, there has been a designated day for Giving Tuesday on the calendar since it started in 2012. But in reality, the spirit of Giving Tuesday can take up the entire holiday season, because it can complement year-end giving. The essence of Giving Tuesday is more about a movement than it is about fundraising for a single day.
2. Understand the Primary Reason Your Board Doesn't Like Fundraising
People who serve on nonprofit boards want to help charities. Meaning, they have good intentions. Still, despite good intentions, the lack of board fundraising is something that many fundraisers have to face. So, it’s your job to understand the reason why your board members don't want to step up for fundraising on Giving Tuesday — or any day.
The reason many board members don't want to fundraise is because of fear. Once you realize this, you can then move to support them in overcoming their fear of fundraising.
3. Make Giving Tuesday Ideas for them Simple
Many nonprofits prepare their Giving Tuesday ideas well in advance of the season, which is excellent. But working with your board, you want to make things as simple as possible. Remember, board members volunteer for your group, and they do lead busy lives.
Coming up with ways — and doing as much as possible for them — is the best approach. A simple and easy idea to get your board fundraising, especially those that don't like it, is to ask them to make thank-you calls to donors on Giving Tuesday.
Another approach for year-end fundraising is to ask them to join you in soliciting one to five donors. With your support, these two tasks will help them get more comfortable with the idea of fundraising.
4. Train Your Board Members on Fundraising
This fourth point is like the elephant in the room. Often, there's a simple request from fundraisers to board members to go and solicit to their sphere of influence. But the problem with that is that many times, board members don't understand the art (or science) of fundraising.
An excellent activity to add to your Giving Tuesday ideas (and also for year-round fundraising) is training. Fundraising training for your board should be a staple in your activities scheduled at least once a year. Think about creative and engaging ways to help them understand and get comfortable with fundraising.
An ideal way to do it is with an outside consultant. BoardSource provides great board resources, including on this page, where you can find tools and templates if you'd like to do it on your own.
5. Ask Your Board to Step Up on Giving Tuesday
There's an old fundraising adage that goes a little like this: “Do you know why the donor didn't give? Because they weren't asked.”
Remarkably, one of the areas where fundraisers sometimes fail is in asking their donors to help their nonprofit. It can be especially true with nonprofit boards. For instance, a board member will say that they can help in any way — but fundraising. And a lot of times, this is accepted.
Work closely with the board and fundraising committee chairs to educate your board on their fundraising roles and to develop a concrete fundraising plan for all board members. Giving Tuesday and year-end fundraising is a great time to get all of your board raising money!
Wayne Elsey is the founder and CEO of Elsey Enterprises. Among his various independent brands, he is also the founder and CEO of Funds2Orgs, a social enterprise that helps nonprofits, schools, churches, civic groups, individuals and others raise funds, while helping to support micro-enterprise (small business) opportunities in developing nations and the environment.
You can learn more about Wayne and obtain free resources, including his books on his blog, Not Your Father’s Charity.