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How to Overcome Board Fundraising Resistance

board relations for executive directors Jun 13, 2022

As I state in The Sustainable High ROI Fundraising System, “Fundraising is a charged word, and there are different perceptions of what it means. Many of them are negative and tinged with the fear of asking for money. Board members are no different. In my experience, most board members cringe when you ask them to raise money. Some refuse outright.

“My suggestion is to not call it fundraising. Instead, break the fundraising tasks you want to accomplish down to their lowest denominator and ask people to complete those tasks. All your board members need to do to help fundraise is to be enthusiastic mission ambassadors for your organization.

“For example, don’t ask your board members to recruit new donors. Ask them to talk about your agency’s mission with their friends and colleagues as the situation arises. Then you can periodically check with them about who was excited about the mission and would be a good person to reach out to. Don’t ask your board members to ask for money. Ask them to talk about the agency’s progress in meeting and growing its mission. Again, refer interested people to you. You can work with your fundraising staff to reach out and make the ask. You don’t have to ask your board members to do something they don’t want to do. Ask them to do something they love to do—being involved in meeting the agency’s mission.

“That’s not to say board members don’t support staff efforts to reach the goals the board has set. They do. For example, personalizing appeal letters with a handwritten note or participating in a donor thank-a-thon are excellent ways board members can support staff efforts. Thanking donors is a great task to ask board members to do. The donors feel appreciated being contacted top leadership, while board members get a real sense of why donors donate and what excites them about being involved with the agency. Usually, board members are rejuvenated by such feedback. Just make sure that you, as executive director, capture that information and share it with your development staff.”

Having board members focus on strategically funding the mission instead if getting bogged down in fundraising operations, as we talked about in How Do You Get Board Members to Participate in Fundraising?, helps too.

Read The Sustainable High ROI Fundraising System in its entirety to see how you can get your board willfully engaged in fundraising and raise the kind of money you dream of.

For One-On-One Support

To talk getting your board to participate in fundraising, any resistance you face, and map out your next steps, schedule a complimentary, thirty-minute strategy session with me. During our time together, we’ll clarify your issues and explore possible solutions.

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