How to increase board giving and fundraising

Part two of a two part series

Should board members give? Our answer is “yes.” And, they should fundraise. That doesn’t mean you don’t need fundraising professionals. You do. But don’t think for a minute that they can be successful without a partnership with an engaged board.

In part one of this series we shared complaints that executive directors and board members have of each other. We also shared some “food for thought” – things for everyone to consider when thinking about the topic of board engagement and fundraising.

With this post we share a few specific things you can do to increase board giving and fundraising. Here we go:

For executive directors, presidents, and development directors:

  1. Be honest. Tell the truth, don’t paint a rosy picture that somehow overlooks current or anticipated challenges.
  2. Ask for guidance and input from your board.
  3. When meeting with potential new board members, communicate giving and fundraising expectations. Share a copy of board member roles and responsibilities as they relate to fundraising and development.
  4. Clearly communicate the organization’s priorities and how fundraising goals tie to these: be clear on what you are raising money for and why.
  5. Share the following:
    • Past fundraising results, plans, opportunities and challenges
    • The type of support that available to board members from staff and each other
    • Past results of board giving and initiatives
    • The types of data and reports that will be shared with them throughout the process
    • Sample pledge forms and commitment forms
  6. Provide fundraising orientation and coaching sessions
  7. Meet with each board member to talk about their fundraising history, things they would like to do, as well as things they are not comfortable with. Ask about resources and skill sets each has or may have access to through their friends, family and associates
  8. Talk about accountability
  9. Pair each new board member with another board member who is “seasoned,” experienced and successful at fundraising

For board members:

  1. Propose an awareness or fundraising event that you would take the lead on. Invite others to join you.
  2. Recruit individuals with fundraising experience to join with you to implement your fundraising projects
  3. Poll your fellow board members to learn their skill sets and what they are comfortable with as it relates to fundraising
  4. Don’t expect everyone on the board to actively engage in fundraising. Define supportive roles for members to play that will impact fundraising.
  5. Seek out resources and in-kind services that will support your fundraising efforts
  6. Discuss the types of support and tools needed for members to be successful
  7. Explore ways to make fundraising fun and meaningful. Encourage socializing after meetings and in-between.
  8. Celebrate accomplishments! Acknowledge and reward short term successes and milestones.
  9. Stay focused on long term projects, and what it will take to be successful.

Here’s what we know: everyone has to work together to ensure the financial health, vitality and sustainability of an organization.

Copyright 2018 – Mel and Pearl Shaw

Mel and Pearl Shaw are authors of four books on fundraising available on For help growing your fundraising visit or call (901) 522-8727.

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