Deep down every single board member knows they need to be a financial supporter of the charity whose board they sit on. This becomes more apparent every year because of the increasing need to fund the mission of the charity through fundraising dollars.
In fact, it’s now virtually common practice to discuss such giving as part of the board recruitment process and to even require the signing of a commitment letter of some nature when first coming onto the board.
So, if it is discussed, and even documented, then the following reasons for ensuring the actual pledging of the commitment, or better yet the payment of that gift happening during the first month of any new fiscal year, should be easily garnered.
However, this is often far from the case.
Perhaps the following five key reasons can help make this 100% among your board members!
1. The Fundraising Staff’s Time is NOT Spent All Year Cultivating/Ensuring Every Board Member’s Gift
If we all know it is going to happen anyway per the recruitment and commitment process as mentioned above, then why would we want the valuable time of the fundraising team to be spent discussing or making the ask.
Plus, we all know it is much better relationship building to be thanking the board members and involving them with the successful solicitation of others for the next eleven months!
2. Such Early Gifts can be the Basis for Grant Requests
Every single grant giving organization and foundation in the nonprofit world deeply appreciates, if not downright requires, 100% giving by the board. Why make the fundraising team wait for the bulk of the entire year to proudly state this.
This allows them to clearly state that their board was 100% during the very first month of the year. Talk about building confidence and differentiating yourself from other charities!
3. Every Donor Approached Throughout the Year Can be Assured that the Board Fully Supports the Charity’s Mission in Unison
Can you imagine what the impact of being able to state 100% board giving in the first month has on other donors being contacted about major gifts and gift upgrades early in the fiscal year?
Just think of the extra confidence the individual board members will have talking about their peers when they are part of any of the donor meetings.
Add to the above, how proudly this can be announced at each and every event held throughout the year. This truly becomes a win to the third power in your fundraising efforts!
4. The Revenue Budget is Spread More Evenly Throughout the Year
The difference a more even spread can be on cash flow and therefore mission spending could be enormous. Since many of the board members are among the largest supporters this might even allow some smaller charities to “front load” their cash flow.
Should there be a surprise of a key board member not supporting at the level expected or at all, then the organization has time to adjust or compensate in some manner. If this happens in the last month of the fiscal year such adjustments are difficult to make.
5. It is Much Easier to Grow Your Fundraising Dollars with a Strong Start
We have all been there. You set a goal to lose weight and you lose more than expected in the first month thereby allowing you to achieve an overall higher goal.
The same is true when a sporting team begins the season with an unexpected string of wins that ultimately leads them to a championship season.
Fundraising is no different. Beginning the year with a strong start build confidence and then allows the rest of the organization to be eager to jump on the bandwagon. Such participation can easily create a donor-centered culture of success.
One can certainly surmise that each of the five key reasons listed above could be cause enough to implement the tradition of early board commitment and giving. Taken together, they should leave little doubt about what the next board meeting strategic discussion should center around.
Have any of you already implemented this tradition? If so, please share with us how you did and the ensuing results in the comments below.