The Board Fundraising Diet

Fundraising can be akin to healthy eating: If you diet regularly, you likely dread Diet’s Eve, when you say to yourself, the diet starts tomorrow.” But if you modify your habits and eat well regularly, the diet becomes more palatable—a regular part of your behavior. A culture of philanthropy infuses fundraising into your daily board diet. It makes fundraising palatable.
Contrary to popular belief, new board members should not be running out to ask all their friends for thousand-dollar checks. Fundraising is the process of empowering those who take interest in the mission to support a cause they love. Most of them are looking for a worthy organization where they can invest their charitable dollars. That’s right, they are already planning to make philanthropic gifts this year and want to invest their money in the smartest way they know. They are shopping around for the right opportunity.
So, how can board members best inform those charitable shoppers?

  • Make a personal financial gift. There’s no better way to demonstrate your own faith in your organization.
  • Serve as an ambassador. Talk about what drew you to this organization—whenever you get the opportunity.
  • Find and cultivate new supporters. Engage and invite your circles to attend a program, tour the facility or attend an event.
  • Monitor the budget. Ensure that income streams are on target to make budget goals, the basis for a fundraising plan.

If you’re dying to ask people for money, work with the staff and board leadership. They will be thrilled to partner with you. But assuming that you are like most people and not exactly tickled about that process, rest assured that there is plenty that you can do to affect fundraising by simply being a good board member. A healthy fundraising diet consists of much more than asking directly for gifts.

About Susan Schaefer | Partners Newsletter

Susan is a consultant, writer, and speaker, and founder of the nonprofit consulting firm, Resource Partners LLC in the greater Washington DC area, and author of many books and her newsletter, Partners, all written with a mission to help nonprofits excel. Sign up for the Partners Newsletter here and find Susan's fundraising consulting books here.