Want Fundraising Board Members?

Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 11:05AM

Hardy Smith, Consultant & Speaker

Nonprofit organizations complain often that their board members aren’t meeting expectations for fundraising performance. On the other hand, my survey, Why Don’t Board Members Do What They’re Supposed To Do? revealed that many board members feel frustration over how fund-raising expectations are communicated. Survey responses to board member assessments I have conducted voice the opinion that too much emphasis is placed on fund-raising. Why is there such a disconnect over the very critical role of board members raising funds for their nonprofit? Here’s a reality check for organizations that depend on direct solicitation by board members to raise money: not everyone is a fundraiser. Not everyone is comfortable asking others for money; and many detest the thought.

Nonprofits counting on board members to bring in necessary funds should stop trying to force square peg non-fundraiser personalities into fundraising round holes.

It doesn’t work.

If your organization needs its board members to be fundraisers, make successful fundraising experience, skill, and willingness to deliver, a priority when identifying prospective board members.

HR 101 says, Don’t hire a problem. Apply the same thinking to filling your fundraising slots. Don’t take on a non-fundraiser.

To ensure that you are getting the right person:

  • Do your homework. What is your prospect’s history with other organizations? Do they deliver on fundraising commitments? Are they presently involved with other fundraising efforts? Do they have room for your cause?
  • Have a candid conversation. Be up-front in clarifying what the organization’s intentions are, and listen for any hesitation or questions that would indicate a reason that an individual is not the performer you are looking for.

Placing a greater emphasis on making sure you are recruiting actual fundraisers will reduce frustration with performance and will significantly increase your fundraising results.


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