Do Board Members Really Need to Fundraise?
It hit a nerve.
But there it was in black and white. A study by BoardSource reported that nonprofit leaders stated their board members needed to be better fundraisers. The survey of CEOs showed an increase in board giving (up to 85 percent in this year's survey from 60 percent in 1994).
So, why did it hit a nerve?
If you are on a board, you should give your time, talent and treasure to the organization because you believe in its mission. Yes, I believe with a passion that every board member should be required to make a gift. I also believe that the very best board members understand this rule. Oh — and I also believe that every board member should make an annual leadership gift for that organization.
I suppose it really hit a nerve because as the number one job of the board is to hire (and sometimes fire) the CEO, I believe that the number one job of the CEO is to develop the caliber of board that reflects the importance of the nonprofit's mission.
Properly staffing a board is a huge investment of the CEO's (and other senior staff's) time and energy. It can't be properly done simply by email and interaction at board and committee meetings. It requires ongoing formal and informal orientation, training and coaching.
It's the same process for turning board members into better fundraisers. And donors. It means identifying and then recruiting board members with this as a priority. It means nurturing board members and providing them with opportunities where they can be effective and comfortable in fundraising — typically beginning with donor cultivation and stewardship. It's all about setting your board up for successful fundraising.
And nothing calms my nerves more than that.
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.