Editors’ note: This article, first published in print during Jan/Feb 2014, has been republished for Nonprofit Quarterly with minor updates.
Here’s a new tool developed by the Board Development Committee of Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice that provides options for participation, establishes clear expectations, and sets board members up for success. Many thanks to Will and Astraea Foundation for sharing this resource!
BOARD DEVELOPMENT PLANS SERVE SEVERAL FUNCTIONS. They engage the governing leadership in strengthening the capacity of the organization by increasing revenue and supporting fundraising efforts. They also facilitate board members bringing in new donors and members to the organization by helping them plan doing outreach to their respective networks.
Utilizing a board fundraising work plan can help remove what are often personal barriers to organizational fundraising—alleviating fears around asking for money and creating a culture of collective ownership of an organization’s financial health. An effective work plan will set clear expectations for board fundraising and provide a marker to measure their efforts.
Using the Template
An effective board development plan template has to be user-friendly and accessible. The various ways to support fundraising should be easily recognizable, clearly explained, and create space for eliciting a response from each board member. This sample template is just over two pages and briefly articulates each way that a board member can engage in fundraising for your organization.
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Major Donor Prospects
However your organization defies a major donor, several elements remain central to identifying individuals with the potential to provide larger donations. I was trained to determine a donor prospect’s relationship, interest and capacity.
If possible, identify each prospect’s relationship to the organization, its work, and/or its leadership (including your board members), and determine what about your work interests them. The interests can be specific to your organization’s programs or may be more general interest. Finally, research what their giving capacity may be. If they are philanthropic and support similar organizations to yours, it may not be too difficult to find out just how much their other major gift are. You may also have sense of their capacity based on other indicators—such as their jobs, access to resources (earned or inherited), giving history, or size of past gift. The stronger each of these indicators is, the more likely the individual will make a major gif to the organization.
Organizational Fundraising Efforts
Board members are uniquely positioned to increase revenue through organization-led fundraising drives and events. They can provide personalized follow up to individual donors they know to encourage renewal of their support. Board members can also strengthen new relationships for the organization by following up with unknown or new donor prospects to secure a contribution. Equally vital, board members can demonstrate their leadership by reaching out to their individual networks to bring new supporters to the organization. These efforts can be advanced through annual year-end member drives, unique opportunity campaigns, and special events.
With this tool, board members can commit to supporting each of these fundraising mechanisms for your organization. Once committed to supporting the organization’s fundraising efforts, they should be equipped with whatever they need to write, call, email, tweet, Facebook, blog, etc.