Fundraisers are not meant as a function to send students out to sell and then the board members sit back and wait. It takes an effort from everyone involved to result in a successful fundraiser.
Below are ten realistic fundraising responsibilities of each and every board member, regardless of his or her wealth, connections, or ability to talk to others.
Make Regular Donations
Whether yearly or with each fundraiser, be sure to financially support the organization. It doesn’t need to be a giant gift amount, as long as you help out the best that you can. And make yourself available to buy those chocolate bars, ticket books, or whatever else your organization is selling!
Think of it this way, if board members don’t support their own organization financially, then why should anyone else?
Understand the Fundraising Program & its Strategies
Many board members don’t understand the strategies used to generate contributions or how fundraising truly works. Take the time to explain the fundraising program, the purpose and goal of raising money, and exactly where that money is headed once it is raised. Break down a profile of how much is needed, why, and for what. Once the board members truly understand the program, they will better be able to support it.
Be Able to Communicate with Donors About the Organization
Every board member should know the organization inside and out. They should be able to discuss the fundraising program fluently with whoever asks about it. Additionally, they should know some interesting stories and a few statistics about the organization, and why someone should consider donating.
Since board members represent the organization, they should each be a personal advocate for it. They should be ready to encourage a donation, even when it’s not fundraising season. They should be ready with a short explanation of what the organization does, its goals, and its needs, for whenever the situation arises. You never know when you might run into a potential donor!
Identify Prospective Donors
Speaking of potential donors, board members should be able to identify prospective donors and be prepared to introduce themselves and make their organization known.
Donors should not only be prepared to talk about the organization and its fundraising needs to strangers, but to family and friends as well. They should constantly be considering just who might be the individual with the next large gift or just what the next big fundraising project should be.
Consider hosting parties and social gatherings where board members and prospective donors can meet and just discuss the possibilities.
One of the easiest, but often forgotten, aspects of fundraising is thanking the donors. It’s important to spend time showing your gratitude for donations, or donors may not feel appreciated. Your organization relies on the generosity of others, and there is no surer way of ensuring future gifts than by thanking donors for current donations.
Encourage board members to brainstorm for new and fun ways to thank donors, thereby creating a sustainable fundraising cash flow.
Ask for Contributions
Not everyone will be good at asking for contributions, but some of your board members will be born to solicit donations. Let these members shine and allow the others to take necessary steps elsewhere in the organization.
Take time to explain when to ask for contributions, and when not to bring up the subject. There is a specific timing involved in the process, and you don’t need to be formally trained in sales to understand the process.
Support the Organization in Ways Other than Financially
What does it say when the board members don’t attend events or encourage team members or students? If board members are not active within the organization, there is no precedent for potential donors, parents, or the students themselves to become involved.
Be the first in line at sporting events. Attend the fundraising car wash. Personally congratulate the individual who sold the most. Be involved in the organization on every level, not just on the fundraising and business side of it.
Ensure that the Organization has the Fundraising Resources it Needs
Whether you are hosting a pre-made fundraiser, such as discount cards or booklets, or you are managing a do-it-yourself fundraiser, it is essential that your organization members are well-equipped with everything they need for a successful sale.
Without adequate resources, a fundraising operation will surely flop. Make sure events are well-staffed and that participants have the required tools and time to ensure a successful fundraising activity. Also consider offering rewards for the highest level of donations received. This encouragement is especially helpful for younger participants.
Fundraising activities and events do not need to bring stress to all involved. Simply encourage your board members to take an active role in the success of your fundraising. Be there for your board, and they will be there for your organization.