Board Fundraising | At one time or another, all executive directors likely feel their board members could be raising more money for the organization, but dealing with these situations can be tricky. However, it’s important to keep these individuals engaged because they are integral to the success of the organization.

The importance of the board

A 2012 survey from Nonprofit Research Collaborative found that organizations with boards actively involved in fundraising are more likely to meet their goals. Sixty percent of organizations were able to meet fundraising objectives in 2011 with the help of board members and just 53 percent of nonprofits without board members actively participating in fundraising efforts were able to say the same.

Working with a board-level development committee increased fundraising success as well. Out of respondents working with such a committee, 63 percent met fundraising goals compared to 52 percent that didn’t.

In a press release, James Yunker, Chair of Giving USA Foundation, and a member of NRC said 78 percent of survey respondents ask board members to assist with fundraising.

“That simple step is probably the single most important thing an organization can do to engage board members in fundraising,” Yunker said. “It is associated with meeting fundraising goals for all sizes of organization, proving again that fundraising is all about relationships.”

There is a misconception that board members will be expected to give themselves. While many do, their more important role is to facilitate gifts from others. The report found less than 20 percent of respondents required a minimum gift from those serving on boards. Still, facilitating gifts from others is a significant part of what board members do, and when they aren’t accomplishing this task, overall fundraising efforts can suffer.

Using data to make a difference

When board fundraising efforts are lackluster, they may just need a gentle nudge to improve their performance. According to Guidestar, putting together an anonymous report that details the amount each board member has facilitated could be a good incentive to get them moving. Utilizing data for reporting is important for all aspects of nonprofit life, why not internal performance?

When putting together the data, think about each gift that a board member made possible, whether it was by making an introduction to a key individual or participated in a fundraiser, Guidestar recommended. This number can include personal donations but should focus more on the dollars the board member helped to facilitate.

Once you’ve organized the data, board performance will be more evident. Presenting the anonymous results can generate useful discussion about what board members can do to improve their efforts.

Feedback is important throughout an organization, and the nonprofit sphere is increasingly utilizing data to make improvements both internally and externally. With business intelligence platforms, combined with donation management systems, nonprofits can generate a better picture of performance and use it to strategically change operations for the better. This could mean using analytics to determine how specific projects are functioning, or internal practices related to fundraising. Investing in business intelligence can help nonprofits work toward positive changes at all levels.