Create a menu of choices for board members

Written by
Simone Joyaux
Added
May 28, 2015
Involving your board members in relationship building and fundraising begins with the screening interview.

Involving your board members in relationship building and fund development begins with the screening interview. You know, back when your organisation interviews a candidate for membership of your board. Right then, the organisation’s leaders communicate what they expect of the candidate. And the candidate agrees to those expectations prior to nomination – or you don’t nominate the candidate.

Here’s what I include about philanthropy and fund development in my standard performance expectations for all board members – no exceptions. No exceptions at all!

Help support the charitable contributions operation of the organisation. Specifically:

  • Reach into diverse communities and help identify and cultivate relationships to support the organisation as donors, volunteers and advocates.
  • Give an annual financial contribution to the best of personal ability. Consider this organisation one of your top two to three charitable commitments. If the organisation launches a capital programme board members should give to that too.
  • Participate in the fund development by taking on various tasks tailored to your comfort and skills.
Create a fundraising menu to help your board members to raise much-needed money for your organisation.

In addition to these performance expectations, I also like offering a menu of opportunities at the start of each fiscal year. The menu of relationship building / fundraising opportunities reflect the decisions made in the fund development plan.

Some of the menu items are expected of all board members. In fact, I include the bullet points above – part of the board member performance expectations – in the annual menu.

Members of your board should be prepared to attend events that will involve possible donors with your organisation.

Some additional menu items might be required of all board members. For example:

  • Make thank-you calls to donors.
  • Attend the agency’s major fundraising event and mingle with and enthuse guests.
  • At least once every two years host a cultivation gathering to introduce the charity to those who might be interested.
  • At least once per year, attend a cultivation gathering to nurture relationships with donors.

And then I list specific tasks that board members can choose from. For example, things such as:

  • Serve on the fund development committee.
  • Serve on the ad hoc task force planning the fundraising event.
  • Recruit sponsors for the fundraising event.
  • Participate in personal face-to-face solicitation with selected donors.

Fundraising staff and key volunteers (maybe the chair of the fund development committee) help board members complete the menu. I also like the idea of tabulating the responses of board members and creating a grid that lists all tasks and all board member assignments. Of course, everyone gets a copy of this grid. The fund development committee and board talk about progress, using the grid sometimes. I figure this helps with accountability.

About the author: Simone Joyaux

Simone Joyaux

Simone P Joyaux, ACFRE is described as ‘one of the most thoughtful, inspirational, and provocative leaders in the philanthropic sector’. A consultant specialising in fund development, strategic planning and board development, Simone guides countless organisations and professionals through her consulting and coaching, teaching and writing. She teaches in the graduate programme for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, in Minneapolis, USA. Her books include Keep Your Donors, Strategic Fund Development and Firing Lousy Board Members. As a volunteer, Simone founded the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island, a social justice organisation. Currently she chairs the advisory board of the Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy at Plymouth University in the UK and the board of cirectors of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. Simone and her life partner have bequeathed their entire estate to charity.

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