Overcoming Why Board Members Don’t Fundraise

Is your board excited about fundraising?

Mine wasn’t. When I first became an executive director, one of the first things my board said to me was, “We are not a fundraising board. That’s why we hired you.”

Ugh. I knew I had my work cut out for me if finances were going to improve.

If your board is not excited about fundraising, the first step is to understand why. Ask yourself, why are they reluctant? What are the obstacles they face?

In general, board members are often reluctant to fundraise because:

  • They are afraid of rejection.
  • They think they will have to reciprocate in the same way they are asking the donor to give.
  • They don’t understand that 90 percent of fundraising is not about the ask.
  • They don’t have a good role model to learn from.

 How do you overcome these roadblocks?

Not by trying to change their minds. Don’t argue with them about what they think or feel. Instead, give them alternatives that are not so intimidating.

For example, ask them about why they got involved in your agency. What attracted them to your cause? And your organization in particular? Why do they stay involved? These types of questions get them in touch with their passion for your cause.  

Then capture that zeal. Direct board members to talk about what excites them, rather than something distasteful to them. Let them exude passion. Their genuine enthusiasm will be infectious. And others will join them in advancing your cause. You or your development director may be the one asking for a donation. All you need board members to do is make the connection and tell their story. Let their fervor speak for itself.

Of course, they may still be nervous. Let them practice telling their story to one another. Set aside time for the exercise at a board meeting, give them prospects that are ready to approach, and accompany them on visits. And schedule time at subsequent meetings to report on their results. Let them debrief and talk about their experiences. I guarantee that most will have been positive. Which gives hope to those who are more reluctant. And the positive energy leads the group forward even more.

It is important that board members take the lead in fundraising. Which doesn’t necessarily they ask for money. And it definitely doesn’t mean they plan events or wordsmith the annual appeal letter. No. Rather, you need board leadership that promotes your nonprofit to the community and gets people excited about your mission. That’s the crux of fundraising. 

Next Steps

 Let’s talk about where your board members are in their fundraising journey and what your next steps are.  Just schedule a complimentary, thirty-minute strategy session with me. During our time together, we’ll clarify the issues you’re facing and explore possible solutions. Click the button below to spend some time with me. I look forward to getting to know you!

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