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Donor Stewardship Game for Nonprofit Board Members

By February 11, 2015January 15th, 2018Engaging Your Board

At first this may sound like just a silly or simple game. The reality is this is a powerful way to utilize your board members to create a meaningful donor connection and assist you with donor stewardship.

This is a stewardship tool you can use often, at any event throughout the year. It’s simple, fun, and you may want to measure the activity for each board member on your board dashboard or engagement display. More about this next week!
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Board Member Scavenger Hunt 

1. Identify which of your board members will be attending your next event. i.e. gala, graduation ceremony, walk-a-thon, live theater performance, golf event, etc.

2. Identify the top 15-20 donors that will also be in attendance.

3. Assign 2 -3 current donors (a couple counts as one) to each board member attending the event.

4. Make sure to share a little background about each donor: ie. How long they’ve been giving; any program areas of interest; why they are involved with your organization; and so on.

5. Have your board chair or fund development committee chair invite the board members to connect with their “assigned” donors at the event. Here’s what the connection looks like:

  • Thank them for their ongoing or recent contributions.
  • Ask them why they are involved with your organization, if you don’t already know.
  • Be sure to mention being a board member.

6. Watch the connections happen!

7. Provide board members with a short feedback tool to share with development staff what they learned about each donor. This could be an email, Google doc, or a special board portal on your website.

8. Remember to note the connection and the date in your database!

I guarantee when done regularly and done well (meaning the board member is asking questions, truly listening and learning more about each donor) your donors will feel “seen” and also feel as if their gifts really do matter.


Want more tips for engaging your board? Download Mission Possible: Your Workbook for a Successful Board that includes some of my favorite worksheets and templates to help you create an amazing board experience AND cause board engagement all year-long.

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13 Comments

  • Love this, Lori! It’s a win-win: Great donor relations while engaging board members in fundraising. Thanks for sharing.

  • Laura says:

    Great idea that could also help board members reignite their own involvement with the organization.

  • Alyssa says:

    As we are trying to have more staff involvement with our Fund Development Committee especially, I think this would be a great thing for us to do as a bonding and connecting activity with that group!

  • Sarah says:

    I like that this game has enough structure that it is tangible and easy to explain, yet the format is flexible enough that it doesn’t feel like forced interaction, rather just a touch point and opportunity for the donor and board member to share information.

  • Rick says:

    Again, this is Sharon
    I too like the flexibility. The key is being good at asking questions and then listening. Feeling heard is very powerful and important.

  • Angela says:

    Put in this context, connecting with donors sounds like a fun objective. I could even see adding a little competition by challenging board members to learn something new about each donor and sharing that information for “most interesting” new tidbit.

  • Katrina says:

    Good idea for board member/donor connection. I wonder if there’s a way to adapt this for organizations that don’t have many events?

  • CCRIJody says:

    I think this is a great idea. I also like that it is directed by a member of the Development Committee and not by staff. I receive such positive feedback from the board members who make the thank you calls- this is just taking it to another level. Great concept!

  • Diana DuBois says:

    Good suggestion. We typically do not have a lot of large events but we are planning some upcoming events over the next year and will add this idea to our event ‘to do’ list. Thanks!

  • Joan says:

    Facilitating the board member- donor connection is a high priority strategy we plan to enact as a way to more actively engage board members in fundraising. Indirectly, board members will develop greater awareness of the work of our nonprofit so they can be better informed.

  • Jeff Swanson says:

    This is a great suggestion – don’t rely on luck and accidental encounters to engage donors at events. And I don’t think the game needs to be limited to major donors. Long-term donors and new donors would also benefit from more active engagement.

  • Shannon says:

    This is a great idea. We have several events our Board participates in. Am interested to try this.

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