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The Nonprofit Blog

Nonprofit Board Fundraising Made Simple

Now that more and more boards of small and mid-size nonprofits are taking fundraising seriously, an obvious question arises:  What percentage of annual fundraising income should, ideally, come from the Board of Directors?  It's a fair question and it reflects the board's understanding of its leadership responsibility.  Obvioulsy it depends on a number of other factors that reflect the maturity of the fundraising activities of the particular organization.

However, there are a few basic steps all boards can take to ensure that they are exhibiting gold standards and best practices.  Rather than focusing on the question of percentage, I urge all boards to focus on the following:

1.  When working with the development professionals to set fundraising goals for next year, agree to lead the effort by meeting those goals as a board.  For example, if your organization has a goal to increase fundraising revenue by 20%, the board members must agree to raise their own personal giving by (at least) 20%.

2.  Don't take up your development staff's precious time making them solicit you.  As board members, step up to the plate, make your gift early and public so that your development staff can leverage your donations to raise more money.

3.  Clearly discuss and adopt a board giving policy every year.  Make sure every board member understands the obligation, whatever it may be, agrees to it and follows through.  Be sure to properly orient prospective board members before they join the board as to their fundraising obligations.

4.  Commission your staff to create a twelve-month develpment plan - with goals, initiatives and methodologies.  The plan should include how the board will be involved to help insure success of the plan.

5.  Once accepted, adhere to the development plan.  Give your development staff the time, the resources and the support to achieve success.

Simple, right?

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