Fundraising RX

Prescriptions for fundraising success

This is a new series from AC Fitzgerald, addressing many of the most common issues we see everyday in our fundraising work. We’d love to hear what you think, and if you’re facing these issues, we’d love to help you find your solution!

BOARD GIVING

AILMENT

“We have a great board, made up of knowledgeable experts, but most don’t donate money. On the one hand, I think we should be content with their commitment to policy issues, programs, and organizational growth. On the other hand, I’ve heard it’s a best practice for all board members give. I’m also afraid that if I start asking for money, I’ll lose good people.”

SYMPTOMS MAY INCLUDE

Board members who:

  • Don’t make financial contributions.
  • Don’t participate in discussions about development.
  • Ignore appeals for support.

POSSIBLE CAUSES

  • You have assumed board members can’t or won’t give.
  • The expectation for financial support was never communicated to board members when they joined the board.
  • Board members haven’t been cultivated like individual donors.
  • Board members haven’t received a clear and compelling request for their support.

THE CURE

Your organization will be stronger if 100% of the board supports your mission with financial contributions. After all, if the people closest to the organization don’t give, why should other donors have confidence in your work?

  • Engage your board chair (who, hopefully, provides financial support) to begin the conversation about board support at the next board meeting.
  • Arrange one-on-one meetings with board members to inspire them and solicit their support.
  • Don’t require a certain giving level but ask for a gift that is “significant” to them.
  • Prepare a list of expectations – including expectations for giving – to use when welcoming and onboarding future board members.

And, while we’re on the topic, here are a few more general thoughts on nonprofit boards we’ve published in recent years: