Fundraisers and nonprofit leaders often express frustration with their board members. My first question is always the same. “Is your board trained in best practices of nonprofit operation and in their role as fundraisers for resource acquisition?”
Usually, the answer is “no.”
Board members are not just in charge of nonprofit governance and oversight. They should be the front-line ambassadors for the nonprofit, well-versed in the programs, goals of the organization, strategic planning, and much more.
“But my board members don’t have the time, and when we ask for help, they don’t respond.”
Let me break both parts of this statement down to demonstrate how to can turn the situation around. Board members often have full-time jobs, family demands, and other activities – just like anyone else (the busy part) and, saying “we need help” isn’t specific enough to move anyone into action-mode, is it?
Board members need some training to go from “good” to “great,” specific tasks presented to them in bite-sized chunks that they feel comfortable with completing, and a clear understanding of their role beyond nonprofit governance.
Next time you need their help with getting guests to a gala, introducing their friends to the organization for a tour, or any other task, try sending them the exact language they can copy/paste into their own email, personalize, and send. Sometimes just giving them the direction and suggestions of how to go about it will be all you need to do to get results.
What techniques have helped you work better with board members? I’d love to hear your thoughts.