5 Tips for Successfully Soliciting Your Non-Profit Board posted 12/11/15

By Julie Mann

For many non-profits, contributions provide a significant portion of total revenue. Contributions come from many sources and one common source shared by most non-profits is their board of directors. Opinions vary regarding whether or not board members should be asked to make a financial contribution, but that’s another topic entirely. For purposes of this article, let’s assume we are planning to solicit the board. Now how should we do it?

1. Align Organization’s Programs with Board Members Interests

Perhaps the easiest way to get sizable contributions from the board is to make sure board members are aware of all the programming the non-profit is currently offering. If a member makes a connection with a particular program, he or she is more likely to give larger amounts. Board members can also be a source for new program ideas. If they come up with a program they would like to see implemented, they might be willing to give a large contribution to get the program started.

2. Create a Board Giving Policy

Board giving policies can be somewhat controversial, but, if done correctly, can be a very useful tool. The first step in implementing a successful board giving policy is to involve board members when the policy is written. No one board looks the same as another board, so the giving policy should be tailored to fit the individual board. The ability of each member to give should be taken into account and while some boards may want to set a minimum giving amount, others may choose to include language such as “a level that is meaningful” or “a generous amount” to describe the expected contributions.

3. Set Board Contribution Goals

As an alternative to a board giving policy, having the board set contribution goals both individually and as a group is a good tool to motivate them. These contribution goals may include their individual contributions but can also include contributions they are planning to solicit from other sources. When non-profits have a board who actively fundraises, it takes pressure off the development staff to solicit 100% of the organization’s contributions. If goals are set, frequent updates on progress need to be provided to maximize the potential for success.

4. Make Giving Easy

Board members are typically chosen because they are involved members of the community. Being involved also means they may be very busy which means the non-profit needs to make it easy to give by offering several times and ways the board members may give. Not many people carry check books with them so look into other ways to collect their contributions. Mobile credit card machines, the organization’s website, or pledge cards and addressed envelopes included in their board packets can make the giving process easier.

5. Acknowledge Their Gift

There are many ways to acknowledge the board, but every organization needs a way to formally acknowledge their board’s contributions. Large contributors may be added to a donor wall or recognized at the annual meeting. If the board as a whole obtains 100% participation in giving, it should be acknowledged both at the next board meeting and publicly. Obtaining full participation can be used as a general fundraising tool because some outside donors look for 100% board participation when choosing a non-profit to support.

The biggest thing to remember when soliciting your board for contributions is to tailor your ask to your particular board and potentially to each individual board member. Get to know your board members and increases in donations will come naturally.

Start building your young friends board today

Challenged getting young professionals involved in your nonprofit? Download our free guide to start engaging your future leadership today.

Download free guide

Leave a Comment