Have you ever struggled to engage your board in fundraising? If yours is like most of the groups I’ve worked with, your answer to that was probably something like “you mean there are organizations who don’t struggle with that?”
There are two sides to this issue. First is the need of the organization – money is needed, and, in the field, we generally agree that fundraising is one of the core responsibilities of the board.
On the other side are our board members. They have (typically) not studied fundraising. It is an unknown. While they are experts in their own fields, fundraising can be intimidating. And too often, we don’t define what we mean and what exactly we’re asking when we say we want board members to become involved in fundraising. It continues to be this vague unknown.
The 2011 Cygnus Donor Survey confirms our generally accepted idea that donors will give more when asked by volunteer leadership. In addition:
- Board Giving: 52% of board members serving organizations with fundraising staff said it was required. This dropped to 27% for those on boards of organization with no staff fundraisers.
- Board participation in fundraising: One in three board members surveyed said participation in fundraising activities was required.
- Board fundraising evaluated: 18% of Boards represented in this survey evaluate their performance in fundraising.
- Board orientation: 40% of respondents indicated that had an orientation program when they joined the board.
- Training in fundraising: 49% reported having access to training in fundraising.
What difference would it make in your organization if you offered a road map for your board members by clearly defined expectations (giving, participation in fundraising efforts and define what ‘participation’ means), and then provided training and guidance?
Try it. And let me know how it goes!