How Board Members Can Help Raise Money

All of the non-profits I work with want their board members to raise money for their organizations. Unfortunately, board members don’t usually have experience in fundraising.

It’s the job of the executive director to give board members specific ideas and strategies to raise money, rather than just asking the board to go out and fundraise. So, this week, let’s go over some of the ways you can direct your board members to fundraise for your organization.

  1. Board members need to give money to the organization themselves. Obviously, the first step is to get the board members committed to making a financial contribution to the organization. More and more private foundation grant applications are asking for the financial amount your board is contributing.
  2. Have the board members make a list of three friends, business associates, church members, etc. that would be willing to meet with the executive director for a luncheon. If you have 10 board members and each one gave you three names you will have 30 new people to cultivate and develop during the next year.
  3. Once a year host a parlor meeting/party in a board member’s home where the board member invites 10 people who they think would be interested in your organization. (For more tips on hosting a parlor meeting e-mail
  4. Have board members call and thank former donors of the organization. Donors don’t expect phone calls and they appreciate receiving a phone call in which the organization is NOT asking for money. In addition, it gets the board members accustomed to talking with donors.
  5. Have board members set up speaking engagements at their church/synagogues, Rotary, or service clubs where the executive director can speak about the organization.
  6. Ask board members to include the organization in their will or planned giving instruments. This is a great way for them to leave a legacy to their favorite charities.
  7. Ask each board member to give you a list of 10 people they would like you to send a direct mail appeal to. Have the board member write personal notes on each letter.
  8. Have board members attend interviews and site visits with foundations, churches, and corporations to whom you’ve sent grant proposals. This is a real empowering tool for the board members and it shows the funder that the board members are engaged and involved in the organization.
  9. Practice and role play a 30-second “elevator speech” so that when your board members meet people at the movies, church, or in the community they know how to explain your organization.
  10. Board members should participate in your fundraising committee. Invite one of the board member’s friends to serve as a volunteer on this committee. These committees are excellent feeders, as they bring new people into the organization (many of whom end up becoming board members themselves).

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