A board's status gives it a unique position to drive successful fundraising efforts. Consider these tips to ensure your board raises adequate resources.
Nonprofits rely on donations and grants to fund their programs and operations, and the board of directors plays a critical role in securing those funds. In fact, fundraising is one of the most important nonprofit board responsibilities.
Read on to learn more about how nonprofits can devise an effective board fundraising strategy.
What Is Board Fundraising?
Board fundraising engages the members of an organization’s board of directors in actively raising funds for the organization. It can include:
- Soliciting donations from personal and professional networks
- Planning and hosting fundraising events
- Making personal donations
- Writing grant proposals
- Using other creative nonprofit fundraising ideas
The goal of board fundraising is to leverage the connections and resources of the board members to increase the organization’s funding, support its mission, and achieve its goals. Some boards even designate a subgroup of people as the fundraising board.
Elements of an Effective Board Fundraising Strategy
Nonprofit governance models can influence an organization’s fundraising strategy. Here are some strategies for effective board fundraising.
1. Emphasize Importance of Board Fundraising
Board members may not enjoy fundraising, yet without adequate funding, the board cannot survive and thrive. Board members and other key stakeholders should take the lead on fundraising, but in some instances fail to deliver.
Why? It could be:
Lack of awareness and ignorance
Fear of rejection and embarrassment
They don’t know the ins and outs of board fundraising
Lack of proper governance and accountability
Unsure how to pitch to potential donors
An ineffective board member recruitment and onboarding process that doesn’t clearly explain the board’s role in fundraising
Fortunately, despite these shortcomings, board members can sharpen their board fundraising strategies through:
Investing in a board fundraising toolkit that equips board members with training, skills, compelling pitches, and confidence to face donors and understand the fundraising process
Using board management software to help track donor activity
Creating a board participation policy that emphasizes 100% board member participation, including personal donations
Restructuring the board member onboarding strategy
Assigning roles to each board member
Developing an effective fundraising strategy that involves all board members and stakeholders
2. Establish a Fundraising Committee
A fundraising committee is a group of volunteers, board members, or individuals responsible for planning, implementing, and overseeing the organization’s fundraising efforts. How to raise money for a nonprofit can vary between organizations.
A fundraising committee should:
- Foster collaboration with key stakeholders, such as staff and other committees to ensure the success of the fundraiser
- Provide oversight and represent the board across all fundraising efforts
- Identify potential donors and devise an engagement plan
A fundraising committee is key in helping organizations plan, implement, and oversee fundraising efforts, leading to better results and more successful fundraising outcomes.
3. Monitor Progress Toward Fundraising Goals
By tracking fundraising progress, organizations can:
- Measure the effectiveness of their fundraising efforts and make adjustments as needed
- Keep the board and staff informed to ensure everyone is on the same page and motivated to reach fundraising goals
- Identify opportunities to capitalize on success to maximize the impact of their fundraising efforts
To effectively monitor progress toward fundraising goals, organizations should establish a system for tracking and reporting progress, such as creating a fundraising dashboard or using fundraising software.
Important KPIs to measure include:
- Fundraising Return On Investment (ROI): Highlights the total contributions as a gain or loss against the investments made toward the fundraising campaign
- Online gift percentage: Shows the percentage of donations made via online platforms, such as websites and mobile devices
- Conversion rate: Measures the percentage of people who donated after receiving a fundraising prompt
- Gifts secured: Measures the gifts received over a particular period
- Gift matching rate: Shows the percentage of gifts and donations received through the corporate gift-matching program
- Board member participation rate: Measures the percentage of board members who make personal donations
4. Utilize Corporate Giving to Accelerate Fundraising
Corporate giving refers to donations made by businesses through cash contributions, in-kind donations, sponsorships, or matching gifts. It’s a great way for businesses to demonstrate social responsibility and boost public relations.
Utilizing corporate giving can help an organization fast-track fundraising and build long-term partnerships, which can provide a steady stream of funding for the organization.
Before tapping into corporate giving, it’s best to have a viable strategy:
- Solicit corporate partnerships and sponsorships
- Acquire a corporate matching gift database
- Maintain donor data in a fundraising software or customer relationship management (CRM)
- Plan for non-monetary donations
- Develop your campaign early enough to accommodate the time-pressed employees and volunteers
Board Fundraising Challenges
Nonprofit boards face many challenges when fundraising, including:
Misalignment between the board of directors and employees: Misalignment can occur when the board and the employees responsible for fundraising have different goals, strategies, or expectations. Board members may not understand the day-to-day challenges that employees face in fundraising, making it difficult for the board to set realistic goals and expectations.
Failure to engage past donors: Past donors will likely give again only if they remain engaged with an organization. Nonprofits should ensure they recognize and appreciate past donors and communicate the impact their contributions made using personalized thank-you notes or other recognition opportunities.
Failure to monitor and track progress: Without proper tracking and monitoring, organizations may be unable to identify what is working and what is not working in their fundraising efforts, leading to wasted resources and missed opportunities.
Organizations should have clear and measurable fundraising goals, and use a system to track, store, and analyze data to identify patterns, opportunities, and challenges.
Failure to engage volunteers: Volunteers are an invaluable resource for organizations, as they can help increase fundraising efforts’ reach and impact. However, volunteers need to be appropriately engaged or they may forget about your organization. Nonprofits should have a volunteer engagement strategy that outlines how they will recruit, train, and support volunteers.
How Board Management Software Helps
Board management software helps improve fundraising efforts by providing a centralized platform for tracking and managing fundraising activities. It can also store and track donor information, such as contact information and donation history.
The board of directors can use this information to identify potential donors, nurture and engage past donors, create personalized fundraising campaigns, and track progress over time. In addition, board management software facilitates communication and collaboration, and automates tasks to help boards save time and increase efficiency.
Master Board Fundraising With OnBoard
OnBoard board management software provides a centralized platform for tracking and managing fundraising activities, including donor information, volunteer engagement, and progress toward fundraising goals.
From more informed meetings to task management to keep fundraisers on track, OnBoard’s features make it simple and easy to improve board (and committee) effectiveness, especially during important fundraising seasons.
Meeting fundraising goals requires organization and attention to detail. Keep meetings on track with a detailed agenda. Use OnBoards’ free board meeting agenda template to get started. Or, request a free demo today to check out our drag-and-drop agenda builder.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. How do you Motivate Board Members to Fundraise?
Motivate board members to fundraise by communicating the impact their effort will have on the organization and the community. In addition, the board of directors can recognize and award board members for their fundraising effort through thank-you notes or formal awards.
2. How Much Should Board Members Contribute?
The amount that board members should contribute to an organization's fundraising efforts can vary depending on the organization's size, mission, resources, and the individual’s giving capacity.
About The Author
- Gina Guy is an implementation consultant who specializes in working with nonprofit organizations get the most from their board meetings. She loves helping customers ease their workloads through their use of OnBoard. A Purdue University graduate, Gina enjoys refinishing furniture, running, kayaking, and traveling in her spare time. She lives in Monticello, Indiana, with her husband.
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