Nonprofits think their board members could use some improvement, according to a new report. The study, which was created by BoardSource, asked CEOs and board chairs to grade their boards. Overall, most boards received a B minus. While things could be worse, they could certainly be better.

The report card divided the ratings between those given by the CEO and chair. Overall, the grades assigned by each were roughly equal. When it came to their commitment to the nonprofit’s mission, boards received high marks. However, they averaged a B in financial, legal, and ethical oversight, as well as CEO evaluation and support and strategy. According to CEOs and chairs, boards need the most improvement in community relationships and fundraising.

Board fundraising was the area CEOs and board chairs were least happy with, the report found. Only 42 percent of board members identified donors and provided names for contact. Also, only 22 percent of these groups met with potential donors in person. Finally, only 26 percent of board members had asked others for money.

On the other hand, boards have increased their giving over time. In 1994, 60 percent of nonprofits reported their boards gave. In 2014, the number jumped to 85 percent.

The responsibility of nonprofit boards in fundraising

According to Grant Space, boards play a key role in fundraising. In fact, one of their top responsibilities is to make sure the nonprofit has the resources to meet its mission. As a result, board members are either encouraged or required to participate in fundraising efforts. Because this is such a significant role, it’s often discussed, and board efforts are frequently deemed insufficient.

When boards are engaged in fundraising, nonprofits are 17 percent more likely to increase fundraising revenue and 7 percent more likely to reach fundraising goals, according to research from Nonprofit Research Collaborative cited by Nonprofithub.

There are ways to breathe life into your board of directors to raise more money. According to the research, the approach should be different for larger and smaller nonprofits. For smaller organizations, board members are most effectively used when they increase the audience of potential donors, such as providing names and contact information and asking friends to give.
At larger nonprofits, board members can use their public influence to gain more attention to the organization, its mission, and financial needs.

For all nonprofits, requiring board members to make boards to make a gift (of which 57 percent do) can help these individuals establish a public commitment to the cause and create a culture of fundraising. Nonprofits may want to increase the minimum gift requirement over time. Another reason to consider this approach is that some grants have a requirement that all board members give to an organization.

Many elements contribute to successful fundraising. Encouraging board members to participate in your efforts is just one piece of the puzzle. Utilizing donation management software to maintain relationships with previous donors and store their data more effectively is also important.