When fundraising isn’t a core strength

April 14, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

The dynamism of a board is integral to nonprofit success, but the fact is that boards are comprised of people, and people bring a wide variety of strengths, backgrounds and interests to the table.

Ideally, that strength for some or all of the members will include fundraising, but the plain fact is that it is possible to have a board that does not have fundraising as its core strength.

In his book “The Nonprofit Fundraising Solution” Laurence A. Pagnoni suggested several actions that can be taken to shore up this important area. Here they are, in their preferred order of execution:

  • Recruit a fundraising professional for the board. They can be found at conferences.
  • Put a development fundraising plan in place. This itemizes each area of current and prospective revenues and gives a glimpse of what can be improved.
  • Establish gift acceptance policies and use them. Gift acceptance tends to go astray because of an absence of policy or because nobody reads existing policies.
  • Develop the necessary committee structure. This is an essential step in tuning up any board.
  • Prepare an annual return on investment (ROI) report. This is an excellent way to engage leadership and staff.
  • Direct volunteers toward fundraising activity. Whatever activity is on the agenda, board members must learn to ask what that activity’s underlying fundraising component is.