Board members know that fundraising is a critical role not to be ignored. But, too often, fundraising is relegated to the backburner. Even though ensuring financial resources is one of its key functions, board members often don’t take responsibility to generate the funds needed for the organization. This creates a culture in which everyone passes the blame, often to the staff, when revenue falls below expenses.
Uncovering the Underlying Problem
What is the real problem? Who is responsible for inspiring and motivating the board? Most board and staff leaders are in denial about the root of board problems and shift blame to one another. Who is the real problem? You may not want to hear this, but it’s you, the CEO or chief development officer. It’s your job, and that of every staff member at the organization, to be firing up your board’s passion, their “pilot light” to excite and motivate members about the mission. When people have their focus on the possibilities available with enough resources, it drives them to action.
Board leaders should be involved in several important activities to re-ignite the excitement and enthusiasm among board members.
- Inform and Communicate: Keep everyone current with trends and activities by informing them about the organization’s needs. It is important to focus on communication around the mission statement, helping people feel the purpose that drives fundraising activities. Part of the communication should focus on outcome data and how your organization can make a difference for the people it serves.
- Leverage Unique Skills: Engage and utilize the unique skills brought to the team by each board member. This will inspire ownership in a project. Encouraging people to use their own network and skillset increases their likelihood of success, which stokes the fire for ongoing action.
- Ownership: Encourage board members to take ownership of various aspects of the fundraising program. Instead of just responding to leadership’s plans, board members should be proactively engaged in designing action plans.
- Renew Passion for Change: When things start to slow down, look for ways you can renew board members’ passion for change. These people want to make a difference in the world, and they need to remember why they chose to participate.
It can be helpful to bring in an outside perspective from a team that understands the most effective systems for nonprofit organizations. If you need support with fundraising culture and training, then Mirenda & Associates is just a phone call away. We offer personalized training that helps to build the right mindset your board members need to maximize fundraising results. Contact us any time for more information about the available services.