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5 Creative Fundraising Methods for New Nonprofit Board Members

If you’ve just been granted a position on a nonprofit board, you probably want to hit the ground running. A great deal of being a nonprofit board member lies in fundraising. Not only do you have to be comfortable putting yourself out there, but you also need to be creative. When it comes to creative fundraising methods, variety is almost always an important component.

5 Creative Fundraising Methods

Following are five creative fundraising methods you should try as a new nonprofit board member looking to make an immediate impact and a great first impression:

1. Turn to Social Media

Fifty-one percent (51%) of high-wealth donors prefer to give online. Social media is one of the best methods of fundraising today, but it requires an authentic, delicate touch. If your nonprofit doesn’t have a strong social media presence, you can make a difference by building out a proposal. Consider:

  • Sharing posts about the nonprofit and its work on social media regularly, to build a following of people who truly care about the nonprofit’s mission.
  • Creating regular “challenges” for your followers to meet, that result in real, tangible benefits that you can show them.
  • Linking to a “donation” page on your nonprofit’s website, so followers are exposed to the option to donate more frequently.

All of these things will spread your nonprofit’s mission and encourage new people to become donors. Social media transforms followers into stakeholders: people who have a personal emotional connection to the nonprofit and feel morally invested in its success.

Many react very strongly to personal stories on social media, and they are more than willing to give to a good cause. They just want to see the end results of their donations, so they know that they’re truly making a difference rather than just contributing to a company’s overhead.

2. Host a Sales Event or a Silent Auction

If you need a fast infusion of cash into the nonprofit, consider hosting a sales event or a silent auction. In a sales event, board members can sell off some of their unused thingslike a garage sale, but for a good cause. In a silent auction, you can connect with local community businesses, asking them to donate goods in exchange for being mentioned.

Silent auctions help local businesses by giving people exposure to their goods: for instance, a local bakery might give away some of their chocolates. Sales events and silent auctions both have the benefit of being an exchange. Though people do come to donate, they also receive something back that shows them that their donation was appreciated. This is also a good way to interface with local businesses and begin to forge relationships with them.

3. Look for Government Grants and Funding

When it comes to creative fundraising methods, government grants and funding programs are too often ignored by nonprofitsespecially smaller nonprofits that may not have grant writing expertise on their panel. You don’t have to become an expert grant writer over night, but you can look into programs that may be applicable to your nonprofit. There are grant proposal writers for hire for very little compared to the amount of money a government grant may offer.

Many government programs are for multiple years. Investing some time into applying for a government grant or program-related funding could secure funds for several years to come, letting your organization focus on other, more important things.

RELATED: Grants for Nonprofits: Using Free Resources to Find Foundations 

4. Give Your Donors a Personal Touch

Don’t turn every event into a fundraising event. Instead, consider hosting a meet-and-greet, reaching out individually to donors, or just letting your friends and family members know about the nonprofit you’re working with. When you put less pressure on to donate, you can create more interest in the nonprofit itself. You may even get a few volunteers.

Meet-and-greet events are important for strengthening a nonprofit organization’s bonds with the community. When every event is a fundraiser, donors can feel pressured or start to avoid the nonprofit. The more positive engagements a donor has with a nonprofit, the more likely they are to actually donate. (RELATED: Don’t Forget These Donor Follow-Up Ideas!)

5. Consider Options Outside of Fundraising

Finally, fundraising doesn’t have to be the only way to “raise funds.” It may be time to think outside of the box. Other ways to improve your nonprofit’s bottom line include:

  • Negotiating lower prices with your vendors.
  • Streamlining your business processes to reduce your overhead.
  • Upgrading your business technology to improve operations.

Many nonprofits may have areas of higher-than-necessary spending simply because no one has had the time to look at business processes and business technology, review them, and propose alternative solutions. If you can create a well-researched proposal, this may be just as good (if not better) than just raising funds.

As someone new to the board, you likely don’t want to “rock the boat” too much. However, coming to the table with new, innovative ideas is one of the best ways to leave your mark and establish your value. By using some of the above creative fundraising methods, you can quickly show that you’re fully onboard.


Have you joined a new board and discovered they could use some modern upgrades to their communication and meeting-planning practices? Consider making an immediate impact by making a recommendation for more effective use of technology to manage and engage the board.

Boardable is a software platform that centralizes all communication between you and your board. It can even assist with new board member training by allowing new members to access all of the required documents and even the full board directory right through our board portal. Learn more by clicking below to schedule a demo with a member of our team.

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