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Articles, white papers, and advisories authored by Bentz Whaley Flessner’s team of philanthropy experts.

Engaging Nonprofit Boards

Engaging Nonprofit Board Members in Work That Matters

Boards Play an Important Role in Fundraising

Boards play incredibly important roles in helping organizations fulfill their missions. One of the most important of these roles is helping organizations raise money. A recent study by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative found that active fundraising by nonprofit board members was positively correlated with organizations meeting their fundraising goals.

Our clients frequently ask us, “How can I get my board more engaged, especially in fundraising?” As professionals, we need to look at how we are engaging our board members in the fundraising process. What are we doing that works? What things could we be doing to enhance our board members’ engagement?

Engaging nonprofit board members by taking the time to ensure that each becomes personally engaged in the mission of the organization will result in board members who will be your organization’s best ambassadors, advocates, and supporters.

Five Tips for Engaging Nonprofit Board Members

5 Tips for Engaging Nonprofit Board Members

5 Tips for Engaging Nonprofit Board Members

  1. Effective orientation. Design a quarterly orientation process for board members and focus on specific topics for each orientation session. This will allow board members to understand in greater detail your organization’s complexities. Assign each new board member an experienced board member to serve as a mentor. Be sure to include top leadership and front-line staff in the orientation presentations.
  2. Set clear expectations. Provide each board member with a list of responsibilities and expectations. Then, provide opportunities to meet these expectations. Giving requirements, or setting the expectation for giving, should be included in these responsibilities.
  3. Educate the board. Provide ongoing education on current initiatives and roles board members can play in raising funds for these projects. Keep board members apprised of project status and provide them with case statements. Starting each board meeting with a mission moment can keep your mission at the center of each and every conversation. Bringing in a patient, student, faculty member, or program manager to share his or her experiences and work can be an excellent opportunity to educate board members in an engaging manner.
  4. Fundraising tasks. Give every board member a fundraising task. For example, invite members to get involved in thanking donors. Conducting a thank-a-thon, hosting in-home events for long-time donors, or writing personal notes are impactful gestures. Make sure to let your board members know who your donors are, so if they see them in a social situation, they can thank them and let them know that they share an interest in the same organization. Assigning realistic but measurable goals is incredibly important, such as assigning five donors for each board member to cultivate and steward throughout the year.
  5. Evaluate engagement. Develop metrics to keep track of board member involvement and share results at board meetings. Ask board members to complete an annual self-assessment and involve them in developing their individual fundraising goals.

Finding an approach that works with your board is important to sustaining engagement activities. By creating meaningful engagement opportunities, board members can contribute their expertise to help the organization fulfill its mission.

Contact Bentz Whaley Flessner today to discuss how we can partner with you to develop a more meaningful engagement plan for your board. Together, we transform philanthropy.

Originally published November 3, 2016

Copyright © 2016 Bentz Whaley Flessner & Associates, Inc.

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