A nonprofit’s board is in place to steer a nonprofit in a direction that complements its mission, and most of the time, members of the board of directors are expected to fundraise as a part of their duties. Some board members will be more comfortable than others with talking to the people in their networks and asking for money (whether directly or through a softer, more subtle method). For those introverts on the board or inexperienced board members, making them well-equipped to become fundraisers is a matter of making them feel supported and prepared. Here’s how to do that.
Lots of Info
Prepare plenty of information for them about your organization so when they talk to someone about making a gift, the board member feels knowledgeable and prepared. A fact sheet that includes a short history of the organization, the demographics of those helped by the nonprofit, a list and description of key programs and some important needs that need funding to be fulfilled is a good place to start. Make sure this fact sheet also includes some successes from the past year. Was a program expanded? Were more people reached and helped than ever before? Put numbers with those successes to pack a bigger punch.
Organize Sponsorship Prospects
Put together a list of sponsorship opportunities for businesses in the community. Include specifics and list them from biggest sponsorship level to least. With each level, include all the benefits associated with that level.
Prepare a Leave-Behind
Make sure board members have leave-behind information for potential donors: a calendar of upcoming events, an invitation to purchase tickets for the upcoming gala or a brochure that outlines your nonprofit’s programs.
Set aside time as a board to have a fundraising kickoff meeting. Have board members pair up and role-play being a fundraiser and a potential donor. Then, switch roles and keep the conversation going. Having anticipated the questions a potential sponsor may ask a board member will help board members be ready with an answer.
Cold Calling –> Warm Introduction
Cold calling can be intimidating. Have a board member scour your local Chamber of Commerce directory for target companies. Put together a list and send it around at your next board meeting. Those board members with a direct contact at one of the target companies should commit to reaching out to begin building a relationship between your nonprofit and that company.
Practice safety in numbers. When a board member has landed an appointment with a company’s decision maker, send your nonprofit’s executive director, program director or development director along. With at least three people in the room, conversation will flow more easily and each person affiliated with the nonprofit can speak to the needs of their specific area.
Has your board had fundraising success? Tell us about it.