Building a Fundraising Board

board development Feb 22, 2021

Board governance has long been associated with the three Ws, the two Ts, the three Cs, and the way to familiar, three Gs. I would like to offer something more positive. But just to review in case you’re not familiar with all the alphabet soup:

The Three Ws

  • Work
  • Wealth
  • Wisdom

The Three Ts

  • Time
  • Talent
  • Treasure

The Three Cs

  • Cash
  • Clout
  • Contacts

And, the dreaded Three Gs

  • Give
  • Get
  • Get off

The problem with all these philosophies: Do you look for someone who has (and is willing to give you) all three, or do you look for one of these traits in each prospective board member? Ideally, of course, board members would contribute their work, wealth, and wisdom; would happily give you their time, talent, and treasure; would be able to supply cash and clout and be willing to open the doors to their contacts; and would both give and get so you don't have to ask them to get off. I would like to offer a new way to think about the three Gs.

Linda’s New Three Gs

  • Gather
  • Get ready
  • Grow

Try looking at this new way of recruiting and retaining enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and active board members who will embrace their fundraising role.

The First GGather

Gather your board together to determine what the board needs in the way of skills, talents, and diversity, and how these attributes can help the organization.

Often bringing in an outside person to do this assessment is useful. Either a paid consultant or perhaps a volunteer from another nonprofit (one with a dynamic, effective board) can help objectively assess your board's performance.

Have the board do a self-assessment of its performance as a whole, and as individuals. This assessment should be done on an annual basis.

The Second GGet Ready

Once the board has assessed its makeup and performance, it will need to develop a plan for filling any gaps.

Your board resource committee must be in place year-round to coordinate all the activities involved in board development. The best board member you have should chair this committee.

Educate the entire board on the role and responsibilities of board members and the importance of the board recruitment process. It is in the recruitment process that good boards are created or terrible boards result!

Before recruiting new board members, assess the current board’s strengths and weaknesses using the checklist for effective boards.

The Third GGrow

Once a board profile is complete, a list of potential board members who fill the needs required by the board must be developed. It is critical that every board member understand that board recruitment is never accomplished by just one person on the board and that all names must be submitted for approval to the full board before anyone is invited to join the board.

It is also essential that the board position description outlining roles and responsibilities of individual board members is reviewed with each candidate before being invited to serve on the board.

Provide an exciting, compelling board orientation for new board members as well as an ongoing education program for all board members.

The Most Important Qualification of a Board Member

All board and committee members must have a passion for the mission of the organization. If they have that passion, it will be easy for them to help in fundraising. In fact, they will be eager to do it!

If you want to learn more about building a great board and the recruitment process, take my course, Build a Great Board, Sign up here

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