Is Your Board On Board?

So you’ve decided to fundraise but the Board still aren’t convinced that it’s worth it?  How do you get them behind you?

Fundraising is a long game.  There aren’t any quick wins but often it’s seen as the way to earn a fast buck.  It isn’t and you need to spell this out to your board.  Fundraising is about relationship building and that doesn’t happen overnight.  Often a board member – or other staff in your organisation – will see you working for months for very little return.  What they don’t see is that with every event, every meeting, every phone call, you’re building relationships and networks, getting your organisation’s name out there and helping to make people understand your organisation when there may have been no awareness before.

It’s difficult to quantify this and, as a result, board members often feel that it’s not worth the effort.  But you have to speculate to accumulate for most things and fundraising is no different.

You can’t expect it to be cost free either.  Now I’m not suggesting that you break the bank to try to raise your target but you will need to make some investment in fundraising, even if it’s only the cost of the time of the person doing the fundraising whether that’s an employee, a freelance fundraiser or a fundraising consultancy.

If you are having trouble convincing your board, set out clear objectives (preferably SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound) which they can see you making tangible progress against.  You should factor in:

  • How much you need and what it will fund

  • How you will raise the money e.g from trusts, companies, individuals – and how you are going to do this e.g. direct mail,

  • The timeframe you hope to do this in,

  • How many people you expect to meet,

  • How many approaches you intend to make,

  • How many proposals you will submit and so on – and you can’t expect all of them to pay off.  You may need to make approaches to twice as many prospects as those who finally end up becoming donors – and this is a conservative estimate.  It could be many more.

 However, once you’ve started to grow your fundraising, you will have a base of donors who will not only convince others that you are a worthy cause simply by their association, but who will introduce you to their peers, lend their weight to appeals and, ultimately, continue to support your organisation over the years, provided you continue to deliver the goods and look after your donors.

Are you having difficulty convincing others in your organisation that fundraising is a worthwhile investment?  Or have you managed to overcome their concerns?

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