Give Board Members Something to Say-Help Them Become Personal Advocates for Your Cause


If you are a board member for a nonprofit, we imagine that you’re excited and passionate about your favorite organization.

We’re willing to bet that you joined the board because you really, really believed in the cause.

It meant a lot to you.

But when you chat with your friends about your organization’s work, do you know what to say?

Maybe yes, maybe no.

Lots of board members simply don’t know what to say when they have the chance to spread the word about their organization.

They would love to help their cause, but many are not quite sure what their message needs to be.

This is the ONE JOB ALL BOARD MEMBERS need to do – all the time.

EVERY SINGLE board member needs to be able to spread the word.

And they need to do it  to it willingly and enthusiastically.

Most board members would love to be personal advocates for their organization.

Wouldn’t you love to help create BUZZ in the community about what your organization is up to?  Wouldn’t this be a pretty easy job?

When I serve on a board, I’m always trying to share information about the work with my friends.

I try to drum up support among my networks. I enjoy engaging people in conversations about the issue we are tackling. I try to spread the BUZZ.

But sometimes I don’t know what to say. I grapple for the right words and phrases that convey our important work.

I am always looking for a fact, or something to share that might be interesting to my friend.

We’re not talking about a “pitch” here – we’re talking about how to introduce or open up the conversation.

This is a lot like an elevator speech – but it’s a little more in depth. Here’s a great storytelling exercise for board members – guaranteed to liven up their energy and equip them with a great message.

Here’s how staffers can help train board members on what to say:

Set up a conversation at a board meeting:

  • What IS going on at your organization?
  • What ARE your biggest challenges right now?
  • What ARE you tackling this year in your community, region or the world?
  • Why IS it so urgent?  What IS at stake?

We think this would be a riveting conversation. Absolutely fascinating.

A full-scale discussion of these topics would be an extremely valuable exercise. Right?

And it would give board members “meat” to talk about when they run into someone who might be a potential friend, supporter or donor to your cause.

Staff leaders, why not spend time with all the board working on these messages? I can’t think of more valuable board member training myself.

Turn Your Board Members Into Sneezers!

What’s a “sneezer?” It’s someone who spreads the viral message about your organization.

Remember the original concept of viral marketing? It’s when messages become contagious- and spread like an epidemic.

(See Seth Godin’s important book, “Unleashing the Idea Virus.”)

So when board members “sneeze,” what happens?

They spread a happy viral message all over your community.  They create a cheerful contagious epidemic of good news about your cause wherever they go.

When we run the Fired-Up Fundraising Board Workshop, we tell board members that they get to “sneeze” all over everybody they know.

They get it! And they love it!

BOTTOM LINE: Give Board Members Something to Say

The number one job for a board member is to be a PERSONAL ADVOCATE for the cause.

So help equip board members with exciting stories that share their passion for your cause.

How have YOU helped your board members become better advocates to spread the word?  Leave a comment and let me know here!