You may have a handful of board members who meet or exceed your fundraising expectations. Good for you! You’re in the minority. This continues to be an ongoing challenge according to the Board Source Leading With Intent Study.
You need your board to rise to the occasion – too many people in the community are counting on you to do your great mission work.
So how do you reverse the board fundraising slump?
Here are the top 5 reasons board members aren’t fundraising the way you need them to and how to reverse that trend:
1. Fear. They don’t want to be rejected. That’s no fun! What if someone says no?? Aargh.
Solution: Help shift their thinking. Explain how the most important thing they can do is tell the story of your good work. When they do that well, it’s ok if the person declines to participate. They may just be saying not now, not for that program, not that amount. Rarely do they say no never but even if they do – there’s now one more person aware of your work. Just tell the story. It’s another way to measure success.
2. They don’t know how. Some of your board members are motivated to fundraise but don’t know what to say or don’t know when or where to reach out.
Solution: Train them. This one is easy – it’s a matter of skill building. And be sure to focus on the individual person’s needs. You may do a group training but the follow up is where the magic is. How can you facilitate their personal success? Different people bring different strengths and perspectives….tap into them. Teach them how to tell your story and give them the tools to do so.
3. Culturally, it’s not nice to talk about money. We don’t ask people how much money they make, or what they paid for things so how can we dare ask them to give us money?!
Solution: Help expand their thinking. It’s philanthropy and therefore not about money. It’s about caring for the people you serve. So instead of a financial transaction where they are “asking for money,” teach them how to create opportunities for people to “invest in your cause.” This shift in mindset and language can change everything!
4. No expectation. Phwoops. Did you undersell the role of a board member when you recruited them and didn’t explain their philanthropic responsibilities?
Solution: This is a touch trickier. However, assuming your board members are there for the right reasons, you can still apologize, clarify and educate them. I bet you’d get less resistance if you have a peer involved in that conversation. And go back and update your recruiting and orientation strategy and documents!
5. Don’t understand the need. It’s not clear to them why you need more money or how the money will be used.
Solution: Educate them. You need a solid case for support every time you conduct any fundraising activity. Be specific and show the impact the donations will make in the community. This is an important part of how to equip your volunteers for success.
As you can see, none of this is super complicated. It does take a commitment for staff and board leadership to effectively reverse the slump though. And it’s a bit of an art and a science.
Are you willing to make the investment to empower your board leaders so they can raise more money?
If you need help getting started or have a particular challenge, schedule a complimentary coaching call with me to work through it.
Your community is counting on you to successfully fund your mission and meet their needs.