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3 Creative Ways to Encourage Board Giving

nonprofit board giving
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Every nonprofit should be consistently asking its board members for gifts. 100% of your Board giving is a critical number for long-term sustainability. Your board should be your most rabid supporters — they need to put their money up as well.

Assuming you’re getting 100% giving from your Board, are you leveraging those dollars at the right time? It’s not enough to just get in those dollars, but to make sure you can use them to spur on more donations from the rest of your donor and prospect list. Below are 3 ways you can leverage those dollars for more:

1. Board Match Campaign

This might be one of the simplest and best ways to leverage your board’s giving. It does take some planning though. Talk with each board member at the beginning of the fiscal year. Ask them what they feel comfortable giving and if they need to spread the gifts throughout the year. If you have a give/get requirement try to get a feel for their split between give/get.

You very likely may have some board members that bring more to the board than financial impact. They might be folks that represent who your organization serves or the community at large. That’s fine, but even those members should be asked for nominal gifts like $1/month or something like that.

Take a portion of the giving from your board members and use it to come up with a match. A good starting place would be with 25 board members take $100 apiece from their annual gifts and run the match during a time you don’t normally ask for money. It’s a quick easy way to earn $5,000.

2. Strategic Project

While a Board Match Campaign is great, my personal favorite is asking your board to fund a strategic initiative that will bring in much more than your initial investment. This could be something like a new CRM or a Prospect Research Screen of your donors.

A lot of nonprofits are still using older, server-based databases. A new CRM could allow you greater insight into your donors. You can use the software to build a pipeline of potential major gift donors (and future board members). You’d also be putting your staff in a position to stop spending so much time with their older system and move into a new era. Finally, you’d also eliminate the need for any managed services contract because inevitably your new system would be cloud-based. The return on a new system will be felt for years to come and should easily eclipse that of a board match of doubling the gifts.

If you’re already in the cloud or have a newer system, you can use your board giving for a DonorSearch screening of your list. Have you been asking the right people for the right amounts? Who on your list would be good to hold an evening soiree for local leaders in the community? Who has a family foundation you didn’t realize was active? You should expect to turn a batch screening into a large return over the next year for the organization, easily eclipsing the cost

Other strategic projects could include funding strategic planning sessions, marketing planning or fund development planning, or event succession planning sessions. Bringing in an expert who knows the best path forward for organizations like yours can help bring impact and guidance to the staff for years.

3. Plan for Fund-a-Need or Giving Day

For some board members, helping with a match campaign or a strategic initiative does not fit with their giving goals. They might prefer to help with a more competitive or public display of their passion for your organization.

Fund-a-Needs are fantastic ways to raise more money at a fundraising event. Knowing ahead of time you have a board member willing to commit to the higher levels of giving often will help others to join the club. The psychological impact of the crowd mentality and keeping up with the Jones’s can be deftly played to your advantage.

Giving Days, especially state-wide or organization specific giving days, can often result in money coming in through prizes not just through the unique dollars given during the day. Use your more competitive board members to set up specific goals or to see if they can be the first donation at 12:00:01 am or the 50th donation at noon. Their smaller gift of $5 or $10 dollars can bring in hundreds more if used strategically.

There surely are other ways to leverage board giving. What has been most successful for your organization?

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