By Sarah B Lange under Boards, Fundraising on March 25, 2021

Did you know that in study after study, executive staff cite under-performing boards as one of the top 3 challenges they face?

And in study after study, board members cite meetings, paperwork and minutia as the things they enjoy least (notice: fundraising did not make this list!)

Seems like neither party is happy.

Is change possible?

And if it is, why bother undertaking a Herculean effort?

There are two primary reasons:

  1. 63% of the nonprofits in the US have budgets of under $1M, which means there is usually not enough money to hire a development staffer. Training your board to raise money exponentially expands your fundraising capacity, which can mean a world of difference to your bottom line – and to the people/animals/environmental issue you’re in the business of solving.
  2. A well-trained and engaged board of directors can help you raise more money than you thought possible! These are people who care about your organization, its mission and the problem that you were born to tackle. They are taking precious time out of their day to work on your behalf. But most board members aren’t told it’s their job to raise money and even if it is a clear expectation, they may not know the 1st thing about fundraising!

It’s our job to take this well-intentioned (but often ill-informed) group of dedicated people and mold them into fundraisers. This requires ongoing education, training, coaching and support! It also requires that we plug them into our fundraising efforts in a way that matches their talents, time and skills. If we want our board to help us reach new fundraising heights, we need to invest in them.

I’ll give you a few examples of the difference a fundraising board can make:

Last year, I worked with the board of a small nonprofit to learn how to raise funds. Over the course of the year, I taught them learn how to formulate an effective appeal, how to craft their elevator pitch, develop a list of individual and corporate prospects, chart a plan for pursuing them, and add a fundraising angle to two events they already had in place. The results are in and through the board’s involvement, they increased their fundraising by ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FIVE PERCENT! In case you think this level of fundraising isn’t possible for your organization, think again – they have a part-time staff person and the board is comprised of 8 people!

In September 2019, I started working with an organization to raise $830,000 for a new building. So far, we’ve raised $275,000. In a pandemic. With one full-time staffer and a board of 12 who have little to no experience with fundraising. It may take another year or two to raise all the money we need, but we know we’ll get there. Why? Because we’re investing resources in board training, education, coaching and support. The board, in turn, is becoming a bunch of rockstar fundraisers!

Your board – when properly trained and engaged – can help you significantly uplevel your fundraising game.

If you want to learn how, join me for: Boards and Fundraising: Yes They Can! on March 27 from 9:30 – 12:30 EST. Even if you can’t attend, register – I’ll be sending out a recording to everyone who signs up.

To learn more and register, click here. 


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