Board Members: Some Ideas About Fundraising That Might Surprise You!

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superwoman board member

If you are a nonprofit board member, does this sound familiar?superwoman board member

Your organization needs more financial resources.

And you are not sure which path to take:

Should you:

Help launch another fundraising event?

Invite your friends people over for coffee and ask them for support?

Organize a campaign for major gifts?

It can be confusing to know which direction to go. What works best? What will work best for your own unique organization?

Here are some ideas that might surprise you about fundraising:

1. How Fundraising Really Works Today.

These days fundraising is pretty well researched and professionalized. There’s lots of data now about what works and what doesn’t work to raise money.

It’s no longer a guessing game driven by people’s personal ideas and preferences.  Fundraising is now based on lots of data, analysis and planning.

Many board members think that fundraising is “asking people for money.”  That has all changed, too!

It’s much more about building long term relationships with supporters.

2. Where Sustainable Fundraising Really Comes From

We all want to see reliable cash flow from fundraising. And you know where it comes from?

From developing die-hard loyal supporters who will stick with you in the long run.

How do you develop these amazing long-term donors?

By giving them wonderful “customer service” after they make a gift.

Why? So they will give again.

Tending to your CURRENT DONORS after they give is more important than you could ever realize.

3. What Does Terrific Customer Service Look Like to Donors?

Think about the “post-gift donor experience.”

It’s a perfect thank you letter.

It’s inviting them over for tours, events and engagement.

It’s something we call in the business –  “Donor Love.”

It’s what ever it takes to make your donor feel like you love and appreciate him/her.

4. Where the Easy Money Is in Fundraising Today.

Now, we all obsess about donor retention and donor attrition. This is the new language of fundraising today.

The data show that most nonprofits are losing about 50% of of their donors each year!!

That’s donor attrition – all your donors are slipping away like they are in a leaky bucket.

Are you losing your current donors like a leaky bucket?

Are you losing your current donors like a leaky bucket?

Renewing current and lapsed donors is the easiest money you’ll ever raise.

Why? Because these donors are already pre-sold.

They’ve already voted with their own money that they like you a lot.

5. Fundraising has a Significant Return on Investment

There’s a real ROI in fundraising.

This means that your organization’s fundraising staff and programs are NOT a “cost center.”

Instead they are a “revenue generating machine.”

What’s best, when you invest more dollars in your fundraising program – by hiring extra front line fundraising staff, and investing in the back office,  professional direct mail writers and designers, or an upgraded data base system – you can expect to see an increase in new revenue.

6. Why It’s Important for Board Members to Make Their Own Annual Gift

Board members need to put their money where their mouth is.

If they don’t support fundraising for their organization, your organization has absolutely no credibility to ask others for gifts. Period.

Every board member needs to make their own proud, personal gift each year.

And also consider a bequest in your will – or make your nonprofit a partial beneficiary of your IRA. Right now.

7. Board Members’ Responsibility.

As a board member, you are legally responsible for your organization (!).

It’s probably a good idea for you to educate yourself thoroughly.

Be willing to ask the tough questions – especially when it comes to finances.

And do be willing to invest in fundraising. It’s a very smart move!

When fundraising is adequately funded, and staffed, your organization will enjoy a nice sustainable cash flow.


I find that most board members are really interested to learn more about fundraising. It really is a fascinating subject.  (I’m biased, of course!)

There are so many research studies and data out there that will help you make thoughtful decisions about how and where to invest in your fundraising program.

And you’ll see significant profit from those investments. Good luck!