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Fundraising. Not My Job!

By September 4, 2013September 19th, 2015Engaging Your Board, Fundraising

Have you heard your board, key staff and other volunteers say this out loud? If you have, you are not alone.

As I work with social profit organizations around the world, this statement is one that doesn’t seem to change even in different cultures.

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So, whose job is it to raise the money? Ask for financial support?

My answer might surprise you.

I believe the job of raising funds from others, actually soliciting a gift of financial support, is the job of only a few people: CEO, Development Director, Grant Writer, Major Gift Officer, Planned Giving staff, Board Chair, Fund Development Chair and possibly one or two others who LIKE to ask for gifts.

I don’t believe it’s the entire board’s role to ask others for money.

First of all, most don’t know how.

Second, most often they don’t want to learn how.

And finally, why would we have people who are unprepared, untrained and unwilling do something so very important to the financial stability of our organization?

Because we’ve been told to, right?

What if, just think outside the box for a moment here… what if you offered your board ways they can be involved in raising awareness and welcoming others in to the organization, but they DON’T have to ask others for money?

I can hear a collective sigh of relief from board members right now.

And I just felt the shoulders get tight and heads shake from development staff and CEOs.

So what to do? It’s quite simple really. When I act as an engaging, passionate board member I speak clearly about our mission AND my passion inspires others. Then the staff or designated volunteer can make the “ask.”

Part of the board role is to raise awareness and engage others but that does not have to mean asking for money.

Here’s my list of ways board members (and others!) can be involved in Fund Development and not have to ask for money:

  1. Make a personal financial gift.
  2. Invite others to give something. Time, talent, stuff or for some, and for some, financial gifts.
  3. Truly act as an “ambassador & advocate” by knowing your top donors and greeting them at events & in public.
  4. Thank recent happy donors.
  5. Participate actively in raising awareness: Share a client story.
  6. Participate actively in raising awareness: Talk about the money it takes to do your work. And KNOW how much there is left to raise this year.
  7. Hold each other accountable to do what they said they would do.

Build an army of engaged board members who talk passionately about your work…and the money will come. I promise.

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