Among the basic responsibilities of a governing board is participation in fundraising and advocacy. A high level of board participation in fundraising sends a positive message to constituents about the board’s commitment to the institution.
Board members, like presidents, come to enjoy fundraising the more they engage in it and the more success they have.
Below are four tips for presidents for engaging the board in fundraising.
- Educate the board about fundraising roles and expectations. Few board members look forward to raising money, but the task is less onerous—and even rewarding—when they understand the many contributions they can make, from brainstorming prospective donors, to hosting events, to joining you on prospect visits or making solicitations.
- Remind board members that giving comes before asking. Be explicit about the importance of individual giving from board members, and let them know that full board participation sets an essential example for others to follow.
- Get to know board members individually. These relationships can link you to prospective donors, generate specific ideas for fundraising strategy, and give you a sense of board members’ interests and capabilities. And when you match members with meaningful assignments that use their experience, talents, and contacts, overall board performance benefits.
- Give board members the knowledge and support they need to succeed at fundraising. Start with focused training on fundraising goals, needs, strategies, and techniques. Expose them to research on fundraising trends and results in higher education. Ensure that the chief development officer reports regularly on fundraising results.
Remember, as board members gain experience in their roles, they will internalize the vision, mission, and goals of the institution and become clear and convincing advocates.