Top Tips for Engaging Your Board in Your Online Giving Day and Beyond
by Stacey Wedding, Founder, Certified Governance Trainer & Chief Strategist
Professionals in Philanthropy
Tip #1 – Empower your board members to share their story.
If you are like all too many organizations that struggle with board members who are reluctant to fundraise, consider a new approach: storytelling. Countless research on how the brain activates during the act of giving has demonstrated that giving is an emotional act. Well told, powerful stories can transform a passive listener to an active volunteer, donor and lifelong supporter…better yet, your board members can be your best storytellers!
Ask your board members to consider why they serve on your Board and why your organization matters to them.
Why are they passionate about your mission?
Why do they give their time and resources to your organization when there are so many they have to choose from?
What story about your organization have they heard or witnessed, that has touched them?
Whether board members create their own personal fundraising page for your Giving Day or send an email to friends and family to encourage their support, keep their story front and center. During and beyond your Giving Day, consider including highlights of your board members and their stories on your website, social media, e-newsletters—whether in writing or through video.
Tip #2 – Encourage your board members to walk the talk.
How can we ask someone else to give when we haven’t done it yourself? This applies to your Giving Day as well! Encourage your board members to put their money where their mouth is. Have them make a personal donation to your Giving Day page (this can be their annual financial commitment or an additional gift). If they are already planning on donating to your organization on the Giving Day, suggest that they set aside some of that money to motivate your network to take part in the fun. They could offer a matching gift or donate $5 for every share one of your social media posts gets – or for every new donor that makes a donation. Help them get creative and have fun!
Tip #3 – Enlist your board members to spread the gospel.
One of a board member’s primary roles is serving as an ambassador for your organization. Giving Days provide a great opportunity to do this. Board members can support your social media posts by liking them or sharing with their own friends. They can forward your e-newsletters and/or calls to action with a personal note to their friends. They can serve as speakers at your event (if you hold a live event on the Giving Day) or talk to media as the excitement of the big day nears. The sky is the limit, and asking your board members to share with their networks—whether word of mouth or virtually—is a huge contributor to online Giving Day success!
Tip #4 – Help your board members find the most comfortable seat on the fundraising bus.
There are many parts of the development process beyond solicitation, yet it seems like the “ask” is what board members most fear and what ultimately stops them from participating in fundraising at all. Introduce them to other parts of the process during your Giving Day and beyond such as:
- Identifying friends, family and colleagues who may be interested in supporting them and their connection to your cause. It’s up to you and them who does the outreach!
- Cultivating prospective donors through personal outreach (perhaps hosting a “get to know ABC Cause” dinner party at their home—no ask required!)
- Stewarding donors with a warm and personal thank you—whether in writing, by phone or in person. Did you have a large donor on your Giving Day or a matching gift sponsor? Ask your board member to pick up the phone and say thank you. Nothing else required other than a warm, sincere thank you. Your donor will feel special, and your board member will feel great!