Your Board Should Help

Your board members can increase donor generosity and loyalty by making a few phone calls without asking for money or a gift.

Most board members are reluctant to fundraise. Primarily because they think fundraising is all about asking for funds. As you know, when cultivation is done well, asking for funds in unnecessary. A well-cultivated donor gives before being asked. It is one of the ways to measure the effectiveness of your cultivation efforts.

Asking someone to make a contribution is one of the least important fundraising activities for a board member. It is nice when they do, but you have other volunteers and professionals who are responsible for asking.

Before you ask your board members to help with fundraising and donor cultivation do the following:

Divide your donor base, especially the high-value donors, across all of the board members

Create an outline of a script you want the board members to follow loosely

Train the board members to use the script outline but customize it for their personal style so it is genuine and natural

Decide which one of the three possible topics should be discussed with the donor during the phone call

Ask the board members to call all of the donors on their list three times each year

The board member’s task during each phone call is to introduce a topic, listen to feedback, and answer any questions the donor may have.

The three topics you need to prepare the board members to share with the donors are:

Thank You – After introducing him or herself (“Hi, I’m Don. I’m a member of the Your Organization’s Name board.”), thank the donor for his or her recent or continuing support, ask if there are any questions about the mission, and end the call.

Invite – After introducing him or herself to the donor, invite the donor to attend an upcoming event, ask if there are any questions about the mission, and end the call.

Feedback – After introducing him or herself to the donor, tell the donor about an issue or idea, ask the donor for their thoughts or input, and end the call.

It is that simple. The donor will feel like your organization truly cares about him or her because one of the senior volunteers contacted them. This is true whether they talk or if a voicemail is left expressing the interest in talking. Either way, the donor feels like they are valued and their opinion is valued.

Next Step:

Train your board members to engage with your donors

Remind the board members when it is time to contact the donors

Follow-up with board members to ensure they contact the donors

Collect the feedback from the donors

The process is also beneficial to the functioning of the board. The feedback from your supporters will help your board make better decisions. Over time, it also creates a personal relationship between the board and the donors, which humanizes the donors and keeps them from being an anonymous group of strangers. As a result, the board will make better fundraising and donor-management decisions.

Engaging the board and donors does more than cultivate the donors. It increases the sustainability of your funding stream and your mission. In addition, it helps to establish the uniqueness of your nonprofit.

Take It Further:

Encourage your board members to meet and talk to the donors they call at the various events

Encourage your board members to take the high-value donors to lunch, dinner, or coffee at least once a year


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