Create a menu of choices for board members
- Written by
- Simone Joyaux
- May 28, 2015
Involving your board members in relationship building and fund development begins with the screening interview. You know, back when your organisation interviews a candidate for membership of your board. Right then, the organisation’s leaders communicate what they expect of the candidate. And the candidate agrees to those expectations prior to nomination – or you don’t nominate the candidate.
Here’s what I include about philanthropy and fund development in my standard performance expectations for all board members – no exceptions. No exceptions at all!
Help support the charitable contributions operation of the organisation. Specifically:
- Reach into diverse communities and help identify and cultivate relationships to support the organisation as donors, volunteers and advocates.
- Give an annual financial contribution to the best of personal ability. Consider this organisation one of your top two to three charitable commitments. If the organisation launches a capital programme board members should give to that too.
- Participate in the fund development by taking on various tasks tailored to your comfort and skills.
In addition to these performance expectations, I also like offering a menu of opportunities at the start of each fiscal year. The menu of relationship building / fundraising opportunities reflect the decisions made in the fund development plan.
Some of the menu items are expected of all board members. In fact, I include the bullet points above – part of the board member performance expectations – in the annual menu.
Some additional menu items might be required of all board members. For example:
- Make thank-you calls to donors.
- Attend the agency’s major fundraising event and mingle with and enthuse guests.
- At least once every two years host a cultivation gathering to introduce the charity to those who might be interested.
- At least once per year, attend a cultivation gathering to nurture relationships with donors.
And then I list specific tasks that board members can choose from. For example, things such as:
- Serve on the fund development committee.
- Serve on the ad hoc task force planning the fundraising event.
- Recruit sponsors for the fundraising event.
- Participate in personal face-to-face solicitation with selected donors.
Fundraising staff and key volunteers (maybe the chair of the fund development committee) help board members complete the menu. I also like the idea of tabulating the responses of board members and creating a grid that lists all tasks and all board member assignments. Of course, everyone gets a copy of this grid. The fund development committee and board talk about progress, using the grid sometimes. I figure this helps with accountability.