Resetting Board Members’ Fears

on in Fundraising

Board member fundraising commitment sheets. Cultivation opportunities. 1-1 ask role plays.

There are many good strategies to support board members taking their first, tentative steps in fundraising. Proven tactics that work, time and time again.

So why isn’t every board member at the table? Why are board members still resistant, when presented with all the “steps to success”?

Because they’re afraid.

And we have to address that fear before any of the myriad tools and best practices of the field will be useful.

 When fundraising is seen as standing on a street corner with a tin cup, it’s naturally distasteful. Who would want to do that, by choice?

And when it’s viewed within a quid pro quo lens (I’ve given to your cause so you should give to mine), there’s a horse trading aspect that’s equally awkward.

The first step in building a board culture of enthusiastic fundraising is exploring why people give – and most especially, what’s at work when donors give joyfully, not grudgingly.

When board members understand that asking someone for a donation is offering them the opportunity to make a difference in the world, for a cause that they care about – the stakes change. Who doesn’t want to be part of making the world a better place?

Especially today, with all that’s been going on since the election, people are ecstatic to be able to do something – anything – to counter the effect of policies being announced and enacted. Giving to nonprofits is one way to foil the implementation of an agenda that’s anathema to many Americans.

But giving to any cause, anti-Trump related or not, is a way to effect important social change, to make constructive things happen in the world.

Transforming board members’ ideas about fundraising from tin cup rattling to collective action can reset board members’ understanding of philanthropy as a powerful, positive act. That metamorphosis sets the stage for board members to learn the “how” – once they’ve absorbed the deeper “why.”

While this shift is not as easy to effect as pulling a few resources off the web, if what you’re after is board fundraising transformation, it’s an essential first step.

Last modified on