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The #1 Reason Boards Fail (and 10 Ways to Fix it)

Five businesspeople at boardroom table“Just ask Oprah!” The board member gleefully instructed the development director. Inside the development was fuming. What she wanted to say was, “Great, can you set up a meeting?”

Almost every organization I meet is frustrated with their board. In every webinar, classroom training or custom training I do, I hear about lackluster boards. The number one complaint is always the same: “They aren’t fundraising”.

This problem is so monstrous I’m dedicating a 3 part-webinar series to help you solve it. Today I want you to give you 10 ways to fix it. The bonus part? They don’t include a board member even making an ask!

1. Make their own gift.

Bottom line: EVERY board member should be a current and generous donor to your organization. The amount they gave should be significant to them based on their capacity. Wealthier board members can and should give more but everyone should make a gift that is meaningful to them.

2. Call donors to thank them.

Think this doesn’t have an impact? Think again! In one study by Penelope Burk donors receiving a thank you call from a board member within 24 hours of making their gift gave 39% more. Fourteen months later those same donors were giving 42% more than donors who didn’t get the call and they had a 70% retention rate. Set your board members up for success! Give them sample thank you sentences, background on the donor, details on their gift and sample discovery questions they can ask to learn more about them.

3. Name your organization in their will.

4. Invite 10 of their key contacts to a private tour of the organization.

5. Host an intimate cultivation event in their home.

6. Get assigned 2-3 donors to cultivate.

Cultivation is key AND it sets up the next ask. Board members can regularly and personally call the donors to update them on how their gift is making an impact. I recommend assigning no more than 3 donors to each board member. Three is a realistic number for them to handle at a time.

7. Take on a project to increase community awareness about the organization.

Write letters to the editor, a series of blog posts, or use social media like twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram to raise awareness. Or they could craft, send or follow up on press releases sent to media outlets.

8. Share how money makes an impact at the organization.

What a great way for them to teach other board members, the community, donors and prospects about how they can have an impact on the mission!

9. Collect and share client testimonials.

10. Write an article for your newsletter or blog on why your organization is important to them.

If you are ready to work smarter, not harder managing your board I hope you will join me for a three part webinar series “Get Your Board on Board”. As a special thank you, we’re giving Guidestar readers $50 off!

You’ll master how to recruit the right board members, craft the perfect board contract, nd how to gracefully show lousy board members the door. You’ll get tools, templates and guides like The Only Board Contract You’ll Ever Need.

Hope to see you there!

Rachel Muir Rachel Muir

The preceding is a guest post by Rachel Muir, CFRE & Vice President of Training at Pursuant where she transforms individuals into confident, successful fundraisers through classroom, custom and online training. When she was 26 years old, Rachel Muir launched Girlstart, a non-profit organization to empower girls in math, science, engineering and technology in the living room of her apartment with $500 and a credit card. Several years later she had raised over 10 million dollars and was featured on Oprah, CNN, and the Today show. Follow Rachel on Twitter here and Pursuant on Twitter here.

Topics: Nonprofit Leadership and Practice