Recruit Fundraising-Focused Board Members
The 2017 calendar year is well underway. I cannot believe we are quickly approaching the one-third mark of the year. Many nonprofits are just finding their calendar year groove, while others are either at their half-way point or three-quarter mark. Regardless of where you are in the fiscal year, you should be constantly looking for new volunteers and potential board members. These individuals, if chosen correctly, can bring much needed new contacts, finances and open doors for future possibilities to your organization. These individuals are also hard to find with a constant focus on fundraising.
Here are three major trends in nonprofit in 2017 via Forbes:
• Humanize your marketing for improving engagement with audiences and donors.
• Use mobile technology to simplify donations and provide new social media platforms for engagement.
• Seek fresh perspectives and a human connection by looking year-round for board members who can provide fundraising and networking expertise.
You may want to recruit board members with fundraising expertise, but not know how to do it correctly. According to Carol Weisman, people join boards for a variety of reasons. To get the right people in the boardroom, you need a recruiting plan targeting individuals who will help you achieve your goals.
Weisman’s nine tips are:
- Start with a clear fundraising strategy and recruit board members who coincide with your plan.
- Have a letter of commitment that clearly outlines expectations.
- Choose your nominating committee wisely.
- Never be afraid to cold call a community leader.
- Create a list of potential board members and keep it going year-round.
- Recruit a diverse board.
- Do not make deals.
- Promise and deliver on fundraising training.
- Clearly define fundraising.
Where do you find potential board members with talents in the fundraising arena? GuideStar had their readers in the profession share several ideas for finding these important individuals:
• Start by evaluating your current volunteer base for prospects.
• Consider reviewing your donor lists for prospects.
• Consult with your current board and staff for recruits.
• Reach out to people beyond your organization, such as youth, other organizations, the public or board or volunteer recruitment sites. Do a self-analysis of what you need before you begin to recruit. Let potential board members know what you expect of them up front, such as fundraising duties. Create a job description and a board handbook.
• Use board or volunteer recruitment sites.
Create ways groups and individuals can connect with your organization, such as a meet and greet or a special event. Always ask key movers and shakers in the community for potential board members or ask board members’ spouses if individuals may be interested in learning more about your organization. Look for volunteers with fundraising success in other organizations and recruit them if appropriate for your organization.
If you secure volunteers for the board with the understanding that their job will be fundraising related, use volunteers in different ways such as the following, as suggested by William Moran, JD:
• Make a leadership gift commensurate with their capacity to give.
• “Open doors” for solicitation calls.
• Participate in sessions to identify and rate major gift prospects.
• Accompany staff on solicitation visits.
• Host special events, such as small group luncheons.
• Serve as an advocate in the community.
• Lend other skills and resources as needed.
At the end of the day you need to ask this question: How board members can become effective fundraisers? Tom Poderis states board members must be provided with a fundraising “road map” and know their organization. They also must be committed to the organization; be the first to step forward to raise the money; be a member of a development committee and make their gift first; avoid solicitation errors; be fully equipped with plans and tools; plus understand their primary role is fundraising.
Nonprofit professionals must generate time, talent and treasure on a constant basis. You cannot do it alone for long. Seek to recruit, train, orient, cultivate, solicit and steward potential fundraising board members as you would donors. Going forward, I strongly suggest you place this task as a very high priority on your expanding to-do list today.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.