The Board of Directors’ Role in Fundraising

A nonprofit board of directors sitting at a table discussing the nonprofit they represent.

Having a strong organizational structure is crucial to the success of any nonprofit. The governing body of your nonprofit, or the board of directors, is a key elements to this structure. While board members primarily advance the overarching mission of the organization, nonprofit board members have various vital duties and responsibilities—of which fundraising is paramount.…

Having a strong organizational structure is crucial to the success of any nonprofit. The governing body of your nonprofit, or the board of directors, is a key elements to this structure. While board members primarily advance the overarching mission of the organization, nonprofit board members have various vital duties and responsibilities—of which fundraising is paramount.

Fundraising is Everyone’s Job

Whether motivated by passion or practicality, everyone who works for or volunteers in a leadership position for a nonprofit has a vested interest in its financial sustainability. Because board members have an intimate overview of the nonprofit and its organizational goals, who better than these dedicated individuals to lead the way when it comes to fundraising? Every board member should be willing and expected to roll up their sleeves and tap into their personal and professional networks to identify and introduce prospective donors to the organization. While not every nonprofit places fundraising high on the board of directors’ responsibilities, organizations whose board members do focus heavily on raising new funds ensure their nonprofit’s financial stability and are more successful than those who do not.

Have a Well-Defined Case for Support

Since board members should help raise funds for the nonprofit, having a clear, unified message can help make the process easier. As part of its “onboarding” process, every organization should provide tools and training designed to help board members and other leadership understand and articulate the organization’s mission and impact. By convening the board to develop a concise “elevator pitch” that each member can utilize, your nonprofit obtains consistency in their message and arms board members to more efficiently conduct fundraising activities. Picture this pitch as a “script” that can be used by all the board of directors to lessen the anxiety that sometimes arises with soliciting donations.

Setting an Example

No matter the focus of your nonprofit organization, all eyes are on the board of directors as role models. Therefore, every board member should set an example by making their own gift first before soliciting gifts from others. In fact, nearly 70% of US nonprofits have a mandatory giving policy requiring board members to make an annual donation. This personal gift should be reflective of the board member’s capacity and their leadership position with the organization, and the entire board should be kept updated on their collective progress toward each year’s goal for board giving.  Consider that, even if a board of directors is striving for or meeting the gold standard of providing a tenth of total donations, your nonprofit won’t be able to rely on this .

Keys to Fundraising Success

By ensuring up front that board members understand that fundraising and making a personal donation one of the greatest responsibilities they have, your nonprofit can achieve 100% buy-in when it comes to fundraising. Furthermore, a board of directors’ role in fundraising should involve a superbly crafted message and pitch and assume a “lead from the front” mentality to ensure that your nonprofit organization meets its financial goals.

Developing Your Nonprofit’s Board of Directors

A strong board of directors makes for a strong base for a nonprofit organization.  With the help Redbird Strategic Resources’ credentialed and experienced fundraisers, you can learn to recruit and develop a board of directors that will help drive your nonprofit to success!  For more information about our nonprofit consulting services, contact us online or give us a call at 865-212-4867.