Monday, July 20, 2015

How to Get Your Board to Fundraise

In her excellent book, Engaging Your Board in Fundraising, Kathy Hedge first points out six significant mistakes nonprofits make when they attempt to get volunteers engaged in fundraising.  She developed this list through interviews with nearly 50 nonprofit leaders from across the country:

*We forget that board members are volunteers.  They are busy and don’t live the day-to-day reality of the nonprofit like staff do.

*We are waiting for board members to mobilize themselves and take initiative around fundraising.  We don’t realize that they are waiting for staff to lead so they can assist.

*We don’t set clear expectations about fundraising with individuals before they join the Board.  We are reluctant or vague about it.

*We start the conversation about fundraising at the wrong place and at the wrong time.  Rather than jumping right into a fundraising conversation, we need to start with need and mission.

*We use a “one-size-fits-all” approach.  We need to realize that different Board members will engage differently.

*We don’t know how to “manage up.”  The inverse power relationship of a Board member who is of higher authority can be tricky when staff are trying to get them to do things.

In six easy to read chapters, Kathy explains how we can overcome these mistakes and empower our Boards to fundraise effectively.  My favorite is Chapter Two, “Connect to Mission.”  This includes ideas like making sure to include “mission moments” at Board meetings – a story of mission accomplishment or example of an impact you have made.  Another great tip – hold some meetings at a location where you are carrying out your mission to make your impact real.

There are lots of other great ideas in the book and I highly recommend it.  It takes focused work, but you can get your Board members to fundraise and further leverage their Mission Impact.

For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site at   You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.

1 comment:

  1. I've really enjoyed reading this article, you've included some great information on fundraising. I've recently discovered Tony Charalambides fundraising blog - you should check it out!