Boards and Fundraising: Common Complaints and Proposed Solutions

Is Your Board a Fundraising Board?

Is Your Board a Fundraising Board?

We hear a lot about boards and fundraising.  Below are comments and questions we hear from leadership and staff of organizations and from board members.  Do these sound familiar? Take a look.

Common staff comments and questions:

  1. How can we get our board more involved with fundraising?
  2. We give them a goal each year, but they never meet it.
  3. We can’t get 100% of our board to give.
  4. Our board is more interested in policy than in fundraising.
  5. Everyone agrees on our fundraising plan at the board meeting, but board members just don’t follow through.

Common board comments and questions:

  1. We are willing to get involved, but the goals are unreasonable.
  2. I didn’t join the board to raise money.
  3. They keep changing the fundraising goal – I need a strong and consistent case for support before I introduce my contacts to the institution.
  4. The CEO is unwilling to meet with prospective donors.
  5. I keep asking for training but I really haven’t gotten any yet.

It is always easier to point the finger at someone other than ourselves when we fall short of our goals. Here are some actions for staff and board members to take that can help increase collaboration in the area of fundraising. Circle each of the actions you are willing to take.

Staff Actions

  1. I am willing to meet individually with each board member to review our fundraising goals and objectives and to ask each board member how she or he would be willing to help us meet these goals.
  2. I am willing to let the board determine its fundraising goal.
  3. I am willing to secure ongoing fundraising training for the board that includes time for role playing, time for the board itself to agree upon a fundraising goal, and time for the development of strategies regarding how board members will achieve their agreed upon goal.
  4. I am willing to integrate quick and fun activities into all our board meetings that build the fundraising skills of the board.
  5. I am willing to work with the board president to learn how she would like to personally solicit each board member. I am willing to provide her with support, coaching, materials and training as needed so that she can take ownership of the board solicitation process and ensure 100% giving by all board members.
  6. I am willing to create a culture within our organization that is accountable, transparent and responsive to donor questions and requests.

Board Actions

  1. I am willing to make a gift to the institution that represents one of my largest annual philanthropic donations.
  2. I am willing to engage in fundraising as part of my responsibility as a board member even if feels uncomfortable to me.
  3. I am willing to invest the time it takes to become conversant in the mission, goals, programs and strategic plan of the organization I serve.
  4. I am willing to ask those I know whose values are in alignment with those of the institution I serve to make a gift to the institution or to a specific project.
  5. I am willing to ask questions of the organization’s leadership so that I can best respond to questions that other people may have about the organization. I am willing to ask the difficult questions that people talk about privately but won’t address publicly.
  6. I am willing to take the initiative to make sure that our board meetings always include active discussion and reporting by board members on the topic of fundraising and what we are doing to fulfill our agreed upon fundraising agreements.

It is always easier to point the finger at others. Our question is this – what are you willing to do?

Saad & Shaw provides organizations and institutions with creative and engaging board workshops. If you would like for us to work with you, please let us know. An easy first step is to work with How to Solicit a Gift: Turning Prospects into Donors. This book is written for fundraising volunteers. It walks the novice and the professional through the process of preparing to solicit, as well as guidelines for making the ask, and following up.


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