Reprinted from Kivi's Nonprofit Communications Blog
Want your board members to get more involved in marketing and fundraising? Give them jobs they may actually enjoy, and make it happen when they are already planning to give you some of their time: at your board meetings.
Here are three agenda suggestions that will take only 10-15 minutes of time.
1. Handwritten Thank You Cards
Give each board member in attendance five note cards and assign them five names. If you can supply gift date and size, great, but if not, don't worry about it. All they really need is how the card should be addressed, e.g., Dear Jane, or Dear John and Jane, or Dear Dr. Smith.
Have them jot down just a couple of sentences of thanks and sign their names legibly, with "Board of Directors, [Your Nonprofit]," under the name. Stuff the envelopes, seal, and hand back to you for mailing.
Seven board members attend on average? That's 35 donors who will feel extra special when they get that handwritten note the week after your board meeting!
2. Thank You Phone Bank
Even better than a personal note is a personal phone call. Everyone has a phone on them, so take a break from the meeting and send everyone to a quiet corner with a few assignments. Ask them to say something like, "Hello Ann, This is Fred. I am on the board of XYZ Nonprofits and I am just calling to say Thank You! Your donation means so much to us!" It's important to get that all out at once so the person doesn't think it's a solicitation call.
The board member can then share a quick story or ask for a quick bit of advice ("We are thinking about moving our gala to a new location, what do you think?") and then report back on the conversations.
3. I Love Serving Because ...
I learned this exercise from Gail Perry and have since adjusted the questions in many ways. It works—trust me! Have your board members stand up, and pair up. They will take turns with the exercise, which you will time. For one minute, one person in the pair completes the sentence you pick, such as
I love serving on this board because ...
I agreed to serve on this board because ...
I donate to this organization because ...
and they don't stop talking for a whole minute, until your timer goes off. You reset the timer, and the second person in the pair takes their turn, answering the same question.
Then you ask everyone to find a new partner, and repeat the exercise again, with the same question, and with you giving each person one minute.
I recommend that you do a third round too.
Then debrief. How did their answers change from the first round to the third? What nuggets did they borrow from what they heard others say to incorporate into their own answers?
This always helps board members feel more comfortable talking about the organization and is an excellent alternative to asking people to remember a stiff elevator pitch.
Why not add one of these as a standing agenda item, or rotate through them?
Kivi Leroux Miller, Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com
© 2013, Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com. Reprinted with permission.
Kivi Leroux Miller is president of Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com, where she writes the top-ranked blog on nonprofit communications and teaches a weekly webinar series on nonprofit marketing, communications, and fundraising. She is the author of The Nonprofit Marketing Guide: High-Impact, Low-Cost Ways to Build Support for Your Good Cause.