Mobilizing Your Board of Directors

Mobilizing Your Board of Directors

Mobilizing Your Board of Directors 3840 2160 Deryle Daniels

One of the most common challenges that nonprofit organizations face is how to effectively utilize members of the Board of Directors. Approximately 87% of nonprofit board members nationwide are engaging with organizations as volunteers. That means that their primary focus lies elsewhere. While they certainly care about the mission, they are not staff members. So, how can we make the most of their time and skills? I have listed a few suggestions below.

5 Tips For a More Engaged Board of Directors

  1. During Board recruitment, write a job description as you would for any other hiring. Highlight needed skills at the moment. Your fundraising chair just completed his/her term? Let that be a skillset you’re seeking in a board member.
  2. Establishing an expectation of giving prior to accepting Board members is critical. That expectation could include a minimum amount or strictly participatory. Regardless, each Board member should donate. Asking others for support is difficult when your most important stakeholders are invested.
  3. Encourage Board members to make introductions to potential donors. Not everyone is comfortable making monetary asks. That is understandable. There are Executive Directors who have not been trained in the art of the ask. To expect someone who is not being compensated or trained to know how to effectively solicit major dollars is often farfetched. But a warm introduction is easy, right?
  4. Invite Board members lead a service-oriented event. There is nothing like working on a passion project where you are able to use your gifts to help others become better. Your Board members joined to help, so let them help. They should mean more to you than money and exposure. Tap into their talents.
  5. Have your Board make some thank you calls and write notes for the organization. This not only gives them a task that they can easily complete but it takes some of the weight off your development staff, whose efforts could be better spent elsewhere.

Why You Need an Engaged Board

When your Board is engaged, you don’t just have volunteers. You have a team of people who are investing their time and talents in your organization’s success. Those people take ownership and want to see your impact increase. They are the ones who will go out and brag for you. They are your storytellers. When out for drinks (or on Zoom) with their coworkers, they’re telling your story. When at the grocery store, they’re wearing the crewneck that tells potential donors about the work you do. They truly are walking, talking advertisements for your mission.

I am excited to bring this and more ideas to your next Board retreat. Click here to contact me. Let’s see how we can work together to strengthen your Board of Directors’ effectiveness.

The Short Game That Can Go Long: Building Your Annual Fund

The Short Game That Can Go Long: Building Your Annual Fund 1452 808 Deryle Daniels

Many development professionals will tell you that major gifts are the bread and butter of your fundraising efforts. And those professionals were right in previous generations. But, with millennials taking on more workforce responsibility, their giving habits should be taken into consideration as philanthropic culture shifts. A major gifts plan should play a defined role in an overall development strategy. Still, most everyday millennials are not dropping millions of dollars to have their names on buildings (yet). Collectively, well-educated millennials seek authenticity over elitism. Your annual fund should serve as a pipe line to: 1) identify supporters of your mission 2) develop relationship that will lead to the major gifts from current annual fund donors.

The annual fund is both a short and long game. In the short game, you need operating dollars right now. Annual funds, which are more often than not geared toward general operating expenses, provide those dollars. Whether you have a file cabinet full of university students in financial need or a small nonprofit that is hoping to transition a part-time role into full-time, you can’t make it without consistent annual giving. Having dollars given that aren’t earmarked by the donor for a specific project or initiative (like many grants or gifts from major donors are) is helpful as Executive Directors look to navigate moments of financial uncertainty.

Looking at annual fund as a long game, it is a way to secure information on donors that will allow your prospect research team, development professional, or office manager to determine giving propensity and gauge long-term capacity.

This year, the youngest millennial is 24 years old. Let me paint a picture of her life with your organization.

Who is Lisa?

24-year-old Lisa has an entry-level role at a regional corporation, as well as a budding side hustle. She is single and earns $43,000 per year. She volunteered with your organization throughout college. When she saw the end of year appeal, she committed to give $20 each month. That is her sacrificing an evening out with her college friends. With every raise she gets, she increases her gift because your organization communicates consistently.

By 34, Lisa is married and has a son but she still gives. She is not a major donor but she is consistent. She has launched her own business and her income is well-over $100,000. Her annual gift reflects that. Your development professional has stewarded this relationship well. He knows that she can turn the corner from making annual gifts of $2,400 to pledging $50,000 over a 3-year period.

How Do We Pivot?

Your organization won’t get the $50,000 over 3 years without investing in a development strategy. Build authentic relationships with your donors. That way, when you sit down for dinner and ask them to sponsor a new initiative for 5- or 6-figures, you’re not blindsiding them.

Together, we can develop a strategy to build right now dollars while funneling today’s consistent supporters into tomorrow’s major donors. Click here to contact me now.