Even the most seasoned board member will always have new things to learn about fundraising. With a generation of philanthropists and donors aging out and millennials finding their own ways to support favorite causes, today’s board members operate between traditions of long-term relationships with foundations and established donors and the new age of mobile giving and new patterns for prospect engagement.
In Gail Perry’s Fired Up Fundraising site, she lists her take on what board members should be doing.
Here are some highlights
Times have changed. Relationships are still at the heart of the ask, but planning and data are tools to set up successful asks.
Nurturing recurring and lapsed donors is time well spent. Fight donor attrition by keeping the donors you have. Focus on new prospects as well, but don’t be fooled that your total number of donors is adequate when past donors are no longer counted in your active contributors. Donor retention should be a priority.Customer service supports sustainability. Best practices likewise create the setting for more “reliable cash flow from fundraising,” Perry says.
Use diverse strategies. Mix it up and track your most profitable means to raise a dollar. While board members may like parties, golf outings, or printed solicitations, do those attract new donors as much as other digital options? Follow the success of other organizations similar to yours and share your research with board members to get their blessing on fresh tactics.
Big ROI. Yes, when you invest in development staff and fundraising tools, you should notice…more income! Look at the higher education model where development specialists focus on foundations, corporations, alumni, future alumni, and parents. If there’s a capital campaign needed, hire the expert and don’t let the board figure they can help you do it “in-house”, for example.
What your MO? Perry reminds us to know what works about our existing strategies in order to expand and improve our fundraising programs. Know what’s holding you back from raising more money.
Set a Good Example. In order for board members to lead sustainable and planned giving solicitations, they should be able to say they are participating themselves. As Perry says, “Put your money where your mouth is.”
Understand your duties. All board members are legally and fiscally responsible for the nonprofit they serve.
Be excited about raising funds. Enjoy the ride. Celebrate your donors. Create a culture, says Perry, in which your nonprofit can thrive.
Happy revenue generating!