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A Board Member Must be a Volunteer and a Donor

Thursday, October 06, 2016 10:00 AM | Katena Cain (Administrator)


Katena Cain

Nonprofit Management Consultant

Katena@nonprofnetwork.org




The board's role in fundraising is to provide leadership, financial support, and connection to donors and potential donors. The board must be structured to meet the primary needs of the organization. And it needs to be prepared to effectively pursue the fundraising goals it establishes in support of the organization. The board works in conjunction with the staff to bring great influence and strength in support of the organizations broader fundraising plan with the staff driving the day-to-day execution of most activities.


Preparation for fundraising is greatly aided when all board members participate in the planning process, reading and providing feedback on development of the case for support, understanding the development strategies being planned, and understanding their collective and individual roles.


Advocating on behalf of an organization is an important early part of the fundraising process. Board members bring two critical forms of leverage to the process: reach into the community through their own spheres of influence and the collective volume of their connections. Board members should look for opportunities to introduce others to their organization and to educate them about the importance of the mission. As advocates, board members should always be ready to tell the story of the organization and articulate the mains points of case for support. It is not necessary for board members to walk around with every detail and statistic. A few key statistics and a story or two illustrating the good work of their organization, combined with the board member's passion are more than enough to initially engage the prospect.


While there are many opportunities for individual board members to participate in fundraising, they can be most effective in securing major gifts. As leaders for whom the nonprofit organization is a priority, board members begin all fundraising efforts with their best prospects - themselves. Understanding that in the nonprofit arena time is NOT money, board members make their cash gift first in order to be comfortable asking others to do the same. 


Is it realistic to expect others to do something that you are not willing to do yourself?  


Board members who cite time as their gift are in a good position to ask others for time. Time does not pay staff, utilities or the other hard expenses required to operate the organization. 


An individual who gives time is a volunteer. An individual who gives money is a donor. A board member must be both a volunteer and a donor.


Nonprofit Network’s mission is to strengthen nonprofit governance and management and we do this in a variety of ways.  Reach out to us to learn how to become a better volunteer and donor for your organization. 




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