How to Get Board Members Involved in Fundraising

Have you ever wondered how to empower your colleagues to help with your major gifts fundraising? You are not alone.

This was one of the key skills registrants for our upcoming Major Gifts Intensive wanted to learn. They asked: 

  • How does each person or role in the organization play a part in securing major gifts?
  • How do I engage my advisory board?  
  • How do I establish a culture of philanthropy on our board of directors where everyone is comfortable making conversational asks?

These are the right questions to be asking! Major Gifts fundraising is most effective when done as a team. It’s the difference between a paddleboard and an eight-person rowing team – I’m talking speed and power!

These three questions will help you know if you’ve put enough muscle behind the oars of your major gifts plan.

1. Choose trusted insiders for your major gifts fundraising team.

Of course, you want everyone in your organization and on your board supporting fundraising efforts. 

But it also helps to have a smaller team of carefully selected, trusted insiders who are laser focused on major donors. They should be people who understand how to work with high net worth donors, how to open doors, and how to approach donors correctly. 

You can engage your CEO and other fundraising colleagues to join the major gifts team. In addition, perhaps there are a couple of board members or volunteers, who understand the sensitivity and confidentiality of this work.

These are your best true believers who want to see your organization grow its impact and raise the money it needs to be successful.. 

2. Does every fundraising team member know their role?

Now that your boat is full, it’s time to get moving. But just like a rowing team, every member of your team needs to be synchronized and doing their part to get to the finish line. 

Above all, you want to pull the team together at least monthly for a Prospect Review Meeting. You’ll review progress, examine the prospect list and determine the next steps for each of your lovely major donor prospects.

With each meeting, you can clarify who will be doing what, set clear goals and clarify each person’s assignments.   

Why do you need a monthly Prospect Review Meeting? Checking in with each other regularly helps provide accountability and maintains that essential magic ingredient called momentum. 

Have you ever heard the coxswain on a rowing team yelling instructions? Don’t worry, we’re not going to yell at our dedicated team members. But we are going to involve them, encourage them and celebrate wins. That’s what will keep everyone feeling excited about making progress.

3. Have you provided your fundraising team with the training and resources they need?

How do teams go from good to great? They learn from their coach and then they practice their skills. 

The same goes for your major gifts team. It’s essential to educate everyone in the appropriate steps we typically take to engage donors and close gifts 

What’s more, investing in the right training, education and coaching can get everyone working together confidently and efficiently.

Imagine what would happen if every person on your team knew how to: 

  • Identify whether someone is a suspect and or a true prospect. Reach out to donors to set up engagement activities and meetings.
  • Move the conversation forward to discover donors’ motivations and passions. 
  • Use a well-timed question to warm up a donor for an ask.

We’ve heard so many times how major gifts education and training helped board members support their staff teams, and develop a winning mindset.

BOTTOM LINE: If you want to be successful at major gift fundraising, you need a strong, well-informed fundraising team. 

Do you want to take your organization farther, faster this year –  through exponentially larger major gifts? It’s possible when everyone is pulling together. (And, it’s a lot more fun!)  

Why not follow us on social media for information and educational opportunities you can share with your team? 



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