To really excite your board about fundraising, focus on a transformational fundraising strategy rather than a transactional one. If your board is reluctant to fundraise, you may be giving board members transactional fundraising tasks to oversee, like asking for money and monitoring revenues. Instead, show them the transformational power of fundraising. Don’t worry about them overseeing specific fundraising activities. Show them how they are contributing to the progress of changing people’s lives rather than the task of raising money.
Emphasize Progress, Not Work
Think progress versus work. Work is comprised of the tasks you complete to get a job done. There may or may not be anything exciting about them. Just completing tasks is not very motivational. And completing tasks in and of themselves does not lead to feeling a part of a larger purpose. If you’re asking your board to give because they signed on the dotted line, oversee fundraising activities because they raise funds, or ask their network to give because your nonprofit needs money, you are asking them to perform work.
And your results will probably be less than optimal. Board members may become disengaged, not feeling a part of a larger purpose. Or become so worried about the finances that they cannot focus on much else.
On the other hand, if you show them how their giving will enhance community giving, oversee the organization’s financial and mission growth, and give their network an opportunity to provide life-changing experiences, you ask them to contribute to progress. Seeing progress is motivating. It shows people how what they do fits into the big picture. It gives them a sense of purpose.
And your results will be more than you hoped. Your nonprofit will raise more money. You will be able to advance your nonprofits mission. Board members will see how they are changing the world. They will be engaged and enthusiastic. Board relations will improve. And your life will be easier.
Always emphasize progress over work.
Show Them What They Did
The trick is reporting back to them the success of their efforts. Let them see how they are contributing to progress. Be specific. Make solid connections between what they did and the results you’re seeing.
For example, you can say something like, ““Thank you for introducing me to Mrs. Smith. She had such a good time during lunch and was so impressed with the impact we can make with one donation, that now she’s interested in supporting out cause by giving a significant gift to us and getting her friends involved, too.” Specific statements like this show board members how they are helping move the cause forward. They see the progress the organization is making through their efforts.
Or you can say something like, “Because we have 100 percent board giving, ABC Foundation considered our application and we were approved. You just helped 100 kids graduate from high school through expansion of our tutoring program, to be funded by ABC Foundation.” Such a statement directly connects their giving to progress in improving lives.
Give them purpose. Show them the progress they are contributing too. Excite them about what they can continue to accomplish.
Let’s talk about how you work with your board to fundraise and what you can do to increase their engagement. Just schedule a complimentary, thirty-minute strategy session. During our time together, we’ll clarify the issues you want to overcome and explore possible solutions.
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