Being part of a nonprofit’s board of directors is a fulfilling role. You get to be at the helm of steering an organization in solving the world’s problems – be it poverty, hunger, good governance, and mental health awareness. Nonprofit organizations rely on their boards to help in a multitude of functions such as setting the strategic direction, ensuring financial sustainability, promoting the cause, and gathering resources. They help steady and pivot efforts back to the mission much like pipe rotators used for welding. But sometimes, fieldwork and serving communities preoccupy management and staff, leaving the board confused on how they can help outside the quarterly meetings.
Board members are in an influential position to significantly advance the mission of the nonprofit. One has to find the sweet spot between the member’s talent, network, and experience to the organization’s needs. If directors are looking for ways to increase their impact especially in acquiring resources, here are a few ways they can commit to helping their nonprofit.
Cash is still king especially in the world of philanthropy. The easiest and most helpful act board members can do, in addition to actively participating in meetings, is to regularly make a financial gift. If every member becomes a donor, it can guarantee a sustainable source of funding for the nonprofit. About 68% of organizations have a “give or get” policy, requiring their board to impart a personal contribution annually or raise an equal amount from friends or family. This shows solidarity to the mission, inspiring others to share their resources also. Some people might hesitate to give if they find out that the board members are not actively donating.
Share your story to others
Every nonprofit has its spiel full of stories and statistics to promote the advocacy. However, a personal story can do more wonders than a generic elevator pitch. Don’t be afraid to tell the story of why you chose to volunteer your time and effort to the cause. People will be able to see your passion and drive which can lead to them finding out more about the organization and even joining the mission. There is also a sense of authority to your story because unlike the employees, you are not paid to say good things about the organization.
Open doors for new contacts and initiatives
If you’re not comfortable yet with asking people for their donation, you can opt to introduce your network to the executive director. An introduction can go a long way in creating opportunities for partnerships. Nonprofits can skip the gatekeeping measures of influential individuals and companies and go straight to talking about the mission and creating value. Try to list down 5-6 prospects that you can introduce to the nonprofit and work on establishing that connection.
Share the blog posts and updates of the nonprofit
Everyone has a social media account. They are great for connecting with friends, sharing updates, and promoting a cause. Marketing for nonprofits is all about getting more people informed about the advocacy, which can lead to their support. If you like and share every update and status on your nonprofit’s page, more people will be able to see the value the organization is creating to make the world a better place. Your friends will become curious and ask you how they can help in their own way.
There are a multitude of ways for a board member to help their nonprofit in raising money, and not all of them require making a direct ask. While there is a shared responsibility for both the board and management to establish a fundraising strategy, board directors can take initiative by giving a personal gift, sharing their story, introducing their network, and sharing news about their nonprofit. Imagine how much more the organization can focus on fulfilling their mission if they don’t have to worry about financial resources.