Many nonprofit staff approach me saying, “My board won’t fund raise! I’m so frustrated, I don’t know what to do about it!” If you are lucky, your board will be open to participate in a board fundraising training, where they can learn to get over “the fear of the ask.” It CAN be done. I’ve seen the shyest group of board members turn into fundraising super heroes with the right training including learning short scripts, being able to tell stories, and role-playing. However; sometimes there just is no way to move board members to do this important work. Making asks makes them extremely uncomfortable.
John Haydon, a fantastic nonprofit marketing guru I admire, said in his weekly email this week that if asking your board members to fund raise feels like pulling teeth, why not ask them to do other tasks? I can’t agree more. What can you ask them to do? Here’s what John and his participants in his weekly live Hump Day Coffee Break had to say – board members can:
- Thank donors by sending a handwritten card or making a phone call
- Host a fundraising party
- Identify prospects for development
- Identify potential event sponsors
- Challenge them to raise a small amount – like asking 10 friends for $10 each to get to $100, or more.
- Ask those who golf to get their golf friends to donate…
Here’s a few more I’d like to add to the list-
- Make introductions to decision makers in companies they work for or do business with
- Ask for a collection at their house of worship
- Hold a multi-family yard sale and donate the proceeds
- Ask individual board members what THEY think they could do to help, given a “menu” of ideas!
The seasoned fundraiser knows that fundraising is all about relationships. If your board won’t fund raise, ask them to help you build relationships, and brainstorm as a group about how they can help make this happen.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!