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3 Essential Board Member Tools
Make sure your board of directors is well-equipped.

Putting together a capable board of directors with the grit, determination, and dedication to make a difference is an accomplishment. However, inspiration is fleeting and requires effort to maintain. Too many nonprofit organizations are left holding the bag as uninspired fundraising efforts leave the cause underfunded. Be sure to provide the following crucial three board member tools.

Even if you recognize a lack of inspiration, it can be hard to fire it up again. Fundraising consultant Joe Garecht identifies three key ingredients that can keep your board of directors from becoming bored of directing. They are: Right Knowledge, Right Motivation, and the Right Tools.

Yes, those might sound a bit generic at first. But when you give your board members the knowledge, motivation, and tools for your particular charitable niche, you’ll see a big difference.

tools board members need
 

Knowledge

Some of your board members may be under the impression that actively seeking donations is dishonorable or distasteful. You need to dispel that myth right away. Make sure your board members know and accept that you are raising funds to promote a worthy cause.

Funding finds its way from the generous to the needy through the work of board members. The generosity of the people in the communities where they exist fund cancer research, specialty schools, poverty alleviation programs, and homeless shelters. You board members are the critical go-between that bridges the gap. (RELATED: Unconventional Board Member: Why Your Organization Needs Them )

Be sure that new board members receive a thorough orientation, and that fundraising expectations are clear upfront. Provide regular updates on the progress of the board and organization. Finally, there is no better board member tool than experience. Always pass the secrets of fundraising and the knowledge of those who have a record of success to new board members. Make certain that your board members have enough rapport and trust to ask each other for help.

Motivation

With everything written about the duties of board members, we hope this would not be the case, but it is possible that some members do not know your organization needs to raise more money. Fundraising is always an urgent matter, especially with nonprofit charitable organizations. To some of us, the need for ongoing fundraising may be so obvious that we loathe saying so out loud on a regular basis. This could leave new members with the wrong idea. Sometimes, the best board member tool is simply clear expectations.

The one thing your board members should understand is that they need to raise money and they need to raise money continuously. This should be a part of board culture from the day new members join. You can make it competitive– offer fun titles and rewards, for example. But whatever you do, members should know that raising donations is the name of the game.

Keep everyone connected to the mission by showing them regularly what the organization is accomplishing. This could be done with a “mission moment” during every board meeting, or scheduling a meeting in a location to see some daily operations. Nothing is more motivating than knowing that effort is making a real impact. With a strong mission connection, there will be less “pressure” to fundraise, and all the urgency will come from a true desire to help more.

Tools

Now that your team is properly motivated, and understands that fundraising is a necessary part of running a successful nonprofit, you don’t want to turn them loose just to watch them bang their heads against the wall. You can get them revved up and facing the right direction all you like. If you don’t provide the board member tools to actually get the job done, you still won’t get anywhere.

Give your board members the right tools. These are tangible implements to motivate others to donate to your cause:

  • Stories: Time-tested stories about your organization can be great conversation starters when your members approach potential donors.
  • Scripts: Getting through the sometimes stressful task of asking for money can be made much easier by using pre-written scripts that make it easy to explain what your organization does. Think of it as an elevator speech. It should be quick, clear, and memorable.
  • Literature: Handing people a brochure or pamphlet is a great way to get your message across and provide contact information. Most importantly, it exudes professionalism.
  • No-Ask Events: One of your primary tools should be creating fun events to bring possible donors on board. Members should always have an event on the horizon to invite potential donors.

Whatever tools you find most helpful to board members, the important thing is that you are mindful of setting them up for success. Ask for regular feedback from them about their needs, concerns, and what would be helpful to them. With clear communication and thoughtful preparation, you can help everyone advance the mission.


Interested in how to make your board of directors more productive through the effective use of technology? Boardable is a software platform that centralizes all communication between you and your board. Find the best meeting times, securely store all of your documents, archive discussion threads and more—all in one place. Click below to schedule a demo with a member of our Boardable team.

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