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How to Maximize Board Giving and Empower Asking

How to Maximize Board Giving and Empower Asking

So your board engagement is lower than you’d like, board generosity is lacking, and board asks just aren’t happening. Sound familiar? You can turn all of this around and transform your board into an inspired team of fundraisers by following these steps.

Assess and cultivate your board-fundraising climate

If you want things to improve, the first step will be to assess your board’s current giving habits and attitudes. It’s likely that your board members possess some negative views and feelings about fundraising that need to be addressed, but not confrontationally. If you can identify and address these attitudes in your members, you will not only be relieving their anxiety, but inspiring trust and new passion to serve their cause, both key factors in a successful board transformation.

Something you should also strive for is to create a culture of accountability for annual financial contributions. Instead of feeling like these financial offerings are a burden, your board members should have a strong sense purpose as team members profoundly invested in their cause.

Empower board members not to solicit, but to share their passion

Again, you will probably need to help your members shift from a selling to a sharing mentality. While it is common for people to feel like beggars when they go to their friends and family asking for financial support of any kind, this couldn’t be further from the reality of fundraising for your cause. When you ask your community to work with you to accomplish a dream that will make their world a better place, you are sharing a gift with them: the opportunity to be a part of that dream.

To change the world in ways they can’t accomplish alone.

Everyone wants to live a purpose-filled life. Once you show your board members the beauty of asking, they will go from being embarrassed to being empowered to invite members of their circles to contribute funds to their cause. At this point, you will want to offer them some peer-to-peer fundraising tactics for doing so.

  • Ask without asking. This is accomplished through article sharing and in conversation with friends and family, and may feel most natural for members not used to making asks. The key to this strategy is promoting awareness of your cause to those closest to you without ever explicitly asking for their support. Eventually, your passion will likely prove infectious.
  • Explicitly ask through storytelling. Encourage members to make asks by sharing why they particularly care about the nonprofit they support. This will profoundly change the way people respond to their asks. When Suzy litters her friends’ Facebook feeds with incessant pleas for financial support for a women’s prison ministry, they feel at best dismissive, and at worse, irritated; but once she starts sharing about the lives of the women she works with and the difference they’ve mutually made in each other’s lives, her friends develop understanding and appreciation more likely to inspire generosity. Stories turn solicitous content into meaningful asks from loved ones, making this tactic a win for everyone.

For a fuller introduction to peer-to-peer fundraising, check out this blog post.

Streamline the fundraising process for your team with the right technology

To truly optimize board fundraising, you will need to provide them with the right tools to share their mission online.

Streamlining your communications and engagement through your website and keeping your site up-to-date is key, as your board members will be referring their peers to this site. Using the right applications, strengthening and maintaining your online presence will be easy, cost-efficient, and definitely worth the investment in the long run. A study conducted in 2015 found that online giving increased 13% from the previous year, further indicating that adopting an integrated online fundraising strategy is no longer an option in the modern world.

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