Boards & Fundraising

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Board Member Expectations and Fundraising
Howe, F. (1995). Welcome to the board. San Francisco: Josse-Bass Inc.  pages 53-55

Fisher Howe, in his very helpful book “Welcome to the Board”, states that “it is commonplace for board members to be reluctant, sometimes even resistant, to participating in the fundraising activities of the foundation. Many people associate fundraising with preying on friends or begging; others fear being turned down.” Often when it comes time for board members to make a commitment, they often procrastinate, so he suggests the following fundamentals to help board members overcome this fear:

  • People give money because they want to. In raising money you do not need to twist arms or beg.
  • People want to give money to worthy and successful endeavors that are making a difference. You must believe your organization does make a difference.
  • People give money to people, not to ides. The personal relationship underlies most contributions, especially major gifts.

Howe lists several other activities, many can encourage the prospective board member to become more involved in fundraising.

  • Making a personal contribution: Donors are almost always more supportive of an organization than non-donors. All board members should be donors.
  • Strategic planning: This activity encourages planning and involvement in identifying the current and future needs of the organization. The excitement, understanding and encouragement this activity brings to members often helps to break personal barriers to fundraising.
  • Identifying and evaluating prospects. Board members are the peers of important prospective donors and their help in doing this important work is invaluable.
  • Cultivating prospects. A board member who becomes identified with the organization can speak for you in the community and can help interest prospective donors.
  • Introductions: The most difficult part of a solicitation may be gaining the first introduction, especially to corporations and foundations. Trustees, because of their familiarity with the corporations and their stand in the community, can make the all-important introduction.

To be continued next week, including a fundraising self-exam for board members.