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The Simplest Way to Get Board Members to Help with Fundraising

Terry Ibele 01 May 2017 2 comments

board fundraisingThis is a guest blog post by Amy Eisenstein, ACFRE and one of the country's leading fundraising consultants.

When it comes to fundraising, every extra hand helps, so what do you do when a board member isn’t cooperative?

One of my colleagues, Donna, asked me this question, which I’ve heard many times over the years.

“Some of my board members have said they are “hurt and offended” when I repeatedly ask for their cooperation in generating new leads. How do I get them to understand how important this is without sending them into the “fight or flight” response?”

In my experience, I’ve found the simplest way to break down the emotional walls between your board members and fundraising is through stewardship. 

Instead of focusing on tasks your board members are resistant to, have them do something they will love doing — thanking people!

I can’t think of a better board member responsibility than making thank you calls and writing thank you letters. You can also send your board members out to thank people in person. Think of your board members as your Thank You Army.

Learn More: How to Inspire Your Board to Give


Involving Board Members is a Good Thing

Involving board members in your thank you process has a direct result on your fundraising bottom line.

And, there’s increasing evidence that the faster you thank your donors, the more they will give.

So, how can you make this happen?


Create a ‘Thank You Army’

Let your board members know that you expect them to participate in fundraising, and that one of the best ways they can help is to make thank you calls and write thank you letters.

But, there’s a catch. They must do it quickly, because the impact a thank you has decreases over time.

In other words, it’s important to thank your donors while their gift is still fresh in their mind. The last thing you want to happen is to have them wonder — did I even make a gift to this organization?


Give Them the Materials They Need to Succeed

Don’t assume your board members know how to make thank you calls or write thank you notes — give them a script or template.

When making phone calls, it’s okay to leave messages if someone is not available. Just be sure that your board member states their name, that they’re a volunteer board member, and that they’re calling to thank the donor for their recent gift.

If the donor has questions that the board member can’t answer, have a system for getting that question to staff quickly, so you can provide a timely response.


Suggest They Share How the Gift Was Used

Another great way to use your board members is to have them let donors know how their gifts were used. A good time to do this is six or eight months after a gift is made. Have board members communicate by mail, phone, or even in person about the difference that a donation has made to your organization.

I promise, once your board members start thanking people, they will quickly see the joy that giving brings others, and are much more likely to become involved in other areas of fundraising.

How often do your board members thank donors? Tell me about it in the comments.



Additional Resources:

Amy Eisenstein board fundraisingAmy Eisenstein, ACFRE, is one of the country's leading fundraising consultants. She's raised millions of dollars for dozens of nonprofits through event planning, grant writing, capital campaigns, and major gift solicitations. She has a real talent for making fundraising simple and accessible for her clients and followers.

Terry Ibele [Learning Apricot]

Posted by Terry Ibele [Learning Apricot]

Published Monday, 01 May 2017 at 8:30 AM


  • Horace Hunter said:

    Tuesday, 02 May 2017 at 7:35 PM
    This is something I have always tried doing as a leader but never put into words. It makes a lot of sense seeing what you think and knowing someone else feels the same way.
    Thanks for the advise,
  • Terry Ibele [Learning Apricot]

    Terry Ibele [Learning Apricot] said:

    Wednesday, 03 May 2017 at 9:40 AM
    Glad you found it helpful, Horace.
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