Nonprofit Board Training for Fundraising
Serving on a nonprofit board is an honor and can be a rewarding way for people to give back to their communities. Board members have a shared responsibility to ensure the organization is financially stable and maximizes impact. By the same token, nonprofit leaders who provide ongoing board training can equip members with the knowledge and confidence to govern more effectively, participate in fundraising and donor stewardship, and guide the organization to advance its mission.
Empowering your nonprofit board to fundraise
What kind of skills could you help board members develop to benefit your nonprofit? Increased willingness to ask friends and associates for financial support? More relationship building with prospective and existing donors? Additional fund raising know-how? Strengthening your board and development committee is about empowering them to help your organization be successful, which includes asking fellow community members to support your organization’s mission financially.
Fundraising training to facilitate board engagement
Even the most seasoned board development committee volunteers can benefit from a refresher in the art of asking for money and inspiration from your organization’s leadership. Fundraising training on the shared campaign vision, goals, and fundraising tactics ensures everyone is aligned and confident about where the organization is going. Training can also bring together members with varying solicitation experience to discuss best practices.
The most effective board training content for fundraising
Preparation for a tailored board training is a crucial step. Your facilitator must understand the specific challenges your board perceives about fundraising in advance, what additional support the staff hopes to get from the board, and if your board is aligned on the vision and goals of the campaign you are pursuing.
According to the Ebbinghaus “forgetting curve,” people forget half of what they learn within an hour and 70% of what they learn within a day. An effective board training includes instruction, practice, debriefing, team building, and following up with board members after the training to ask what they learned. The extra step of following up helps board members recall information and also shows them that you are invested in their continued involvement.
Fundraising training is most impactful for board members if they learn fundraising principles and skills, engage in practicing as a group, and debrief in open conversation with one another, your staff, and the facilitator. Whether you choose to bring in a professional for two hours or two days, it’s important that the training is custom to your organization and your people.
Training for the ask
Many board members are accustomed to selling tickets to events and soliciting small donations, but may be intimidated by capital or endowment campaign scenarios when the ask is for a significant pledge or estate planning gift. Asking for money is not easy for everyone. Remind your board that it is a positive sign if they feel nervous; it shows they care enough about the mission and their community to make the ask.
- CFA offers Board training as part of services such as Annual Giving Counsel, Campaign Counsel, and Strategic Planning.
Good fundraising facilitators engage a board with conversation on everything from the rationale for conducting a silent phase during a capital campaign to understanding a donor cultivation cycle. Practicing asking for money can help board members overcome emotional reservations and learn how to have difficult conversations. Team building can be especially effective when you have had staff turnover or are preparing for a new significant campaign. Lastly, including specific content in the training presentation such as the campaign’s fundraising case statement allows the overall experience to be more realistic.
When the time is right for board training
When board members or campaign leaders ask for money without proper training, the organization risks doing both the board member and the prospective donor a disservice by potentially hindering the relationship with the prospect. Board training for fundraising can give your board volunteers the confidence and know-how to maximize fundraising and donor stewardship for your organization.
Reach out to CFA today to help your organization facilitate a board fundraising training.