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Pursuant Blog Pics 10.24.009On the scale of top fears harbored by the general public, fundraising is near the top of the list.  I’d say that’s about right. Ninety-nine percent of the nonprofit professionals I meet are frustrated by their board’s unwillingness to raise money. After 20 years in this industry, I have only met one person who boasted that she had a strong fundraising board.

5 Reasons Why Your Board Is Not Fundraising

Do you ever think about why your board members don’t want to fundraise? Here are five reasons:

  1. They believe that’s the only reason you asked them to serve.
  2. They’re afraid to make the ask.
  3. They lack information or insights to help them.
  4. They worry they will be rejected.
  5. The lack the right perspective.

These are the reasons why fundraising is the “f-word” to many board members. But there is one solution to each of these fears: You. As nonprofit leaders or professional fundraisers, it’s our responsibility to set board members up to win.

Help Board Members Overcome Their Fundraising Fears

How we invite our board members to be a part of fundraising is everything. Consider your invitation. Asking a stranger to open up their wallet and write a check can sound scary.  Spending quality time getting to know a community leader, or entrepreneur, and what they are passionate about sounds like a lot more fun.

The first step in getting board members to be excited about fundraising is framing it the right way. Here are five ways to help board members overcome some of the awkwardness and fear:

  1. The world is full of generous people who want to give. For proof they need not look any further thank the recent ALS Ice Bucket challenge.
  2. 95% of fundraising is cultivation. The ask is the shortest part and literally takes minutes. Help your board members keep from being overwhelmed.
  3. Donating money is a pleasant experience that feels joyous to the giver.
  4. Remind them that they are just sharing their passion. They are just trying to help make the world a better place.
  5. Being asked makes donors feel important. Remind your board members that being asked to give isn’t always a nuisance.

5 Steps to Make Board Members Fundraising Superheroes

Once you’ve helped board members overcome the initial shock of fundraising, it’s time to turn them into fundraising superheroes. Here’s how:

  1. Cultivate them just like you would a major donor. Your board members can be one of the most valuable assets for your organization if you treat them that way.
  2. Get them up close to the mission to see and feel it in action. When your board members see the impact your organization firsthand, they gain a whole new perspective and purpose when it comes to asking others to support your cause.
  3. Give them meaningful, tangible work. Empower your board members to become a significant part of your development strategy. However, you don’t want to put too much on their plate. A good rule of thumb is to never have more than three donor prospects to manage at a time.
  4. Make them feel like active contributors. Let them be the heroes of your story.
  5. Build their confidence in fundraising. One simple way to do this is by having them make phone calls to thank donors personally for their gift.

The winning formula is simple: Board members feel connected + they get inspired by your work and your need = they want to have an impact and engage others.