How To Get Your Nonprofit’s Board Involved In Donor Relations

Tina Jepson
Tina Jepson

Board members love your organization and are completely committed to making it thrive. But, ask them to fundraise and you’re likely to have a good percent of your board uncomfortable with the task at hand.

If you have a handful of board members that just can’t see themselves as fundraisers, don’t pressure them! Instead, give them some development-friendly tasks that are fun, not tedious or nerve wracking.

Try encouraging your board members to engage with your donors. Sure, this tactic takes facilitation and preparation on your part, but it is bound to be a positive experience for both your board and donor base.

There are a number of reasons why you should ask your board to engage with donors. Here are just a few:

  • Engagement helps with retention rates of current donors
  • Takes some pressure off of over-worked staff
  • Gives board members a job that they are comfortable doing and that they may enjoy
  • Adds a sense of community and teamwork

3 Ways Your Nonprofit’s Board Can Help With Donor Relations

1) Thank You Phone Calls

Donors should be thanked after providing a gift. Scratch that- they need to be thanked.

We’ve talked at length in previous posts about the importance of a timely and personalized thank you note. But, let’s not underestimate the power of a phone call.

Nowadays, many nonprofits don’t have the staffing, time, and resources to give every donor a phone call. But, with the help of your board, you can make the effort to call each donor. After all, one staff member calling 100 donors is a lot more difficult than 10 board members making 10 phone calls each.

Create a good script, give your board a list of donors to call, and be prepared for a positive response from both your donors and board. After all, there’s nothing better than a quick and positive phone chat.

2) Campaign Oversight

Do you run an annual giving campaign? Regardless of whether it is an online crowdfunding campaign or an extensive mail drive, who oversees it?

Chances are, it’s your staff, and that’s okay.

But, have you considered recruiting some of your board members to assist with campaign oversight?

By having board members join your campaign cabinet, campaign oversight committee, or whatever you use to manage the campaign, you are giving them at up-close and personal look into your day to day operations.

Give your board members some of the workload (within reason, of course). Have them come with staff to collect a big check from one of your most loyal donors, or maybe they would like to talk with donors to collect feedback about their experience donating.

Either way, you’ll be engaging your board and your donors at the same time.

3) Assist With Donor Appreciation Events

Nonprofits that host donor appreciation events are doing something right–they are adding yet another way to thank their donors to the calendar. However, this is also a great opportunity to involve your board.

Staff should plan on running the overall event and handling the logistics, but place some of the responsibility of mixing and mingling on the shoulders of your board members.

Consider handing them a list of folks they should seek out, or just give them space to casually meet donors and thank them for their gifts.

No asks need to be made. No stress needs to be present. This is just another way to bring your board and donors together.

Some folks are cut out for fundraising, but others may not feel comfortable in that role. Don’t stress out your board of directors. Use their skills in another capacity by having them help you engage with your current donors.

It’s a win-win for everyone involved!

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