If I had a nickel for every time I heard a board member say they don’t want to “badger friends for money” or for every time I heard a nonprofiteer talk about their board not bringing in the dollars, I’d be one rich lady.
Often board members are very passionate about your mission (great!) but not very comfortable asking for dough (bummer). But you and I both know that for our board to reach its full potential we need them to help us rake in the cash. (What? Your board members don’t know that? Start with our Get Your Board on Board guide to overcome that doozie of a hurdle.)
To get those hesitant board members more engaged with your fundraising efforts, here’s five easy, no-pressure non-ask activities you can ask them to help with.
- Say thank you. After your special event or after you receive any major gift, have a board member call the donor just to say thanks. This is not, I repeat, NOT an ask. It is a thank you and maybe a little conversation about why the donor and your board member both LOVE your organization. And it is greasing the wheels for the next time you go to that donor for a gift (because you know retaining repeat donors is more effective than constantly acquiring first-time donors).
- Start prospecting. For well-connected board members, ask them to sit down with you and brainstorm people in the community who might make good major donors, board members or committee members. If your board member isn’t well-connected, ask them to flip through the society pages of your local newspaper and pick out people who look like they might be a good fit for your organization. Get a little info on the prospects such organization memberships, past employers and alma mater. No matter which way you get your prospects, add them to your CRM with as much detail as possible.
- Tell their story. In your newsletter, on your website or even in video, feature a board member’s story about why they are connected to your organization. Imagine the power of “I’m John, a husband, father, five year cancer survivor and board member for the Oncology Network…”
- Go public. At your next special event, ask your board members to make a point of making a gift during the at-event ask. Even if they only pledge $5 at that time, their neighbor at the table won’t know that but they will feel a little more pressure to jump on the giving bandwagon if they see someone next to them stuffing that little white envelope. This also works with live and silent auctions if your board members can make the first bids to get the auction rolling.
- Make an introduction. This one is a little closer to making the actual ask. Encourage your board members to introduce you to major donor prospects over lunch or at an event you are all attending. They don’t need to ask for cash but an introduction along the lines of “Have you met Susie? She’s my dear friend and the ED of the local United Way, you know where I’m secretary of the board” can go a long way.
Now tell your board members to help you make some money. You’ve got a mission to fund!