The Board’s Role in Fundraising

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I recently wrote a series of posts detailing ways nonprofit organizations can ensure effective and engaged board members. How to Ensure Effective and Engaged Nonprofit Boards I would like to expand on this a little and discuss the board’s role in fundraising.  


Board members should know their fundraising requirements before they join the board. These requirements can include giving a contribution, getting others to donate, and attending fundraising and cultivation events. Whatever requirements you have should be included in your organization’s board agreement, which the member will sign before joining. Board Expectations and Requirements The amount of money you expect the board to raise should also be included in your annual fundraising plan.

Board members should make a donation
Even if you don’t have specific fundraising requirements, board members should give a significant donation, depending on their financial means, to your organization. Board members have chosen to serve on your board because they are passionate about what you do. They should want to donate. As ambassadors of your organization, they need to support you in any way possible, and that includes a financial contribution. Another motivator, grant funders like to see 100% giving by the board.

How much should board members give?
As I mentioned above, it should be a significant contribution. If they have the means, board members should give at the major donor level. Depending on the organization, that could start at $250, $500, or more. One way to make larger donations easier is to have board members give a monthly gift. A $500 donation may be more feasible if it is spread out over a year. Of course, if a board member is unable to contribute at a higher level, they shouldn’t be expected to, but they still need to give something.

Development Committee
If your organization relies on fundraising revenue, you must have a Development (aka Fundraising) Committee. The role of the Development Committee is strategic. They design and implement your fundraising plan, which will be carried out by the whole board and staff.  Here is more information on the role of this important committee. Role of the Nonprofit Board Fundraising Committee

Major donors
Board members who have connections to major donors should be involved in soliciting them. Securing major gifts is not something that can be done overnight and involves research and cultivation. If board members are meeting with prospective funders, they need to be well prepared. That includes being trained in fundraising and knowing how to talk about your organization. Here are some  ways your board members can help identify major donors. How to Get Your Board Members To Help Identify Major Gift Prospects

Annual appeals and events
Not all board members will know potential major donors, but they can solicit annual appeal donations. Encourage them to send a personalized annual appeal to friends and family. They should also encourage friends and family to attend or donate to your fundraising events.

Thanking donors
Donor relations is an important part of the development process. A great way to involve the board is for them to make thank you calls to donors. Donors are impressed by these calls, but nonprofit staff rarely have time to make them. The link below highlights examples of how making donor thank you calls can be successful and how to prime your board to do it. How Your Board Can Increase Donations by 39%

Other ways to get the board involved in fundraising
There are plenty of ways for the board to be involved that don’t include asking for money. They can identify prospective donors. They can also accompany the Executive Director, Development Director, or other board member when meeting with a prospective funder. I mentioned earlier that grant funders like to see 100% giving by the board. They also like to see board involvement. These links include additional ways your board can be involved in fundraising.


Your board needs to be involved in raising money for your organization. In whatever ways they are involved, they should know what is expected of them and be well prepared to carry that out.

Here is even more information about boards and fundraising.

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