4 Foolproof Ways to Get Your Board to Fundraise

21 Feb

A board can make or break an organization, especially when it comes to fundraising. Boards focused on fundraising succeed: they get community buy-in, whether it be on the golf course, at a trivia night, or manning the phone lines. Their example and personal donations set the tone for the rest of the organization and communicate to donors that they believe in the cause and are willing to put their money where their mouth is. Boards who don’t focus on fundraising can have a huge dampening effect on the fundraising efforts of the entire organization.

What’s the key to getting a board to fundraise? There are several:

1) Set clear expectations from the beginning about the responsibilities of board members

If you want your board members to spend 80% of their time on fundraising efforts, make that clear before they sign on. Have it in writing. If you expect them to make a significant donation to your cause each year, ensure that they’re aware of that. Take a few minutes to read a story about establishing expectations by leadership expert Stephen Covey.

2) Frame the problem correctly

The language and emphasis you use needs to change. The overarching purpose of a board of directors is not to raise money; their purpose is to ensure that the organization can fulfill its mission both now and in the future. Could any board members disagree with that statement? No. What’s one critical way to ensure an organization’s viability in the future? Raising money. Linking fundraising to the mission and cause of an organization will bring it home. Here’s an interesting article about Steve Jobs, explaining how he takes a topic, re-frames it, and changes the entire landscape of the debate.

3) Teach them how

What is fundraising? Many people have the misconception that it involves constantly running around begging their friends for money. Help them see that in reality, fundraising involves a lot of development activities that don’t involve a direct ask. It’s making a phone call to thank a donor, showing appreciation to someone who made a referral, mixing and mingling with potential donors. You could invite a potential donor to join you for cocktails after work. Think of fundraising as FRIEND-raising.

4) Start them small

Theory has its place, but a guided foray into the world of fundraising will be much more effective. Compile a list of names for a board member to call and thank. Set up a tour of your facilities and arrange for one of your board members host it. Assign a board member to work the room at a fundraising event. Challenge them to meet five new people, get their contact information, and reach out to them after the event to thank them for their attendance. As they slowly begin to expand their network and their comfort level, fundraising will increase.


You’re not alone. Your organization is not the only organization whose board isn’t fundraising. Follow the steps listed above, and you can help your board members develop into social fundraising machines.

We also invite you to see how Fundly’s online fundraising software can help you meet your fundraising goals. Sign up for a free account or join us for one of our weekly product demonstrations.


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