Does Your Nonprofit Want Fundraising Board Members?

If you want fundraising board members–

Get fundraisers!

Here’s a reality check for organizations depending 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 fundraiser round holes. It doesn’t work.

If your organization wants board members to be fundraisers, make successful fundraising experience, skill, and willingness priorities when identifying board candidates. Placing a greater emphasis on making sure you are recruiting actual fundraisers will significantly boost your fundraising results.

When fundraising is the priority, it is important to understand that passion doesn’t automatically translate into fundraising willingness or ability. Not every person who is passionate about a cause is a fundraiser. I see this often. Some just don’t have the necessary skills, experience, or contacts to successfully ask others for money.

To ensure that you are getting the right person, incorporate these two critical elements into your board recruitment process.

  • Do your homework. What is the history of your prospects 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. I can’t overstate the importance of effective communication with board prospects regarding fundraising expectations. Be up-front and clear about the organization’s needs and intentions, and listen for any hesitation or questions that would indicate a reason that an individual is not the performer you are looking for.  Of even greater importance is getting a confirmation that the expectation is accepted.

Here’s another important cautionary note. Good fundraisers may or may not be your best governance-related board members. Sitting through board meetings, dealing with organizational policy, and involvement with other routine board business may not be how some high-level fundraisers want to spend their time. Organizations might consider a structure that allows fundraisers to fundraise and those better suited for governance roles to assume positions of oversight.

Your board recruitment screening process should identify individuals who will fit your board fundraising expectations If it’s money you’re looking for, select board candidates who are proven and willing fundraisers.

How do you make sure candidates for your board are willing to accept your fundraising expectations?

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