Have You Asked the Board?

I was sitting in on yet another virtual meeting a few weeks ago with two panelists who are working in nonprofit fundraising. The topic? You guessed it. The impact of fundraising during a pandemic. The panel was going over the shift in programs, communications and administration and the rapid change that’s had to happen. What stuck with me was that one organization was running so quickly to shift and change to abide by guidelines that they almost forgot to involve and do outreach to their Board of Directors.

At the time I remember being snarky in thinking, “What’s new?” But it got me thinking. Any time, but especially in a crisis, local to the organization or world-wide, continuously keeping your board involved and engaged will lead to higher rates of success. Nonprofits of any size have board members who are passionate and willing to support their cause. Other than staff, they represent the closest constituents to your organization so they should be well informed on how the nonprofit is moving forward through these uncertain times. So remember to include them when it seems appropriate.

Fundraising is not just about asking for money but starting and maintaining relationships with those who also care about the same cause. Here are three social distancing ways you can include your Board of Directors in fundraising:

  1. Educate your board of directors on how the organization has been impacted by the pandemic. Has the need for your services increased? Or decreased? Are you an essential nonprofit? Have you started new programs/services because of an increased demand? How has the pandemic impacted your ability to staff your nonprofit? Do you have anecdotes and stories you can share with the board the shows the impact? The answers and others form the new case for support for your organization’s sustainability through 2020.
  2. Once you have educated them on the new case for support ask them to be part of spreading the word. Donors, volunteers and online followers simply need to know that you are still providing services, still building programs for education or animal welfare or arts and culture, etc. The balance is to make it easy to do at home or socially distant. Here are some ideas based on non-profit sectors:
    1. Environmental/Parks: Ask Board Members to create a “how to” video on how to safely use parks in their area with the new CDC rules.
    2. Animals: Create videos of board members with their animals from home playing fetch, with a cat toy or on a horse.
    3. Arts & Culture: Ask a board member to teach dance, or create art in a video to promote any virtual programs.
    4. Health: Ask a board member to create a video of them making personal protective equipment.
  3. Ask board members to send out thank you cards to donors. There is always time to thank someone for their time, talent and/or treasure. So make it more personal by providing your board members with thank you cards, a list of addresses and stamps to send a personalized greeting from a fellow donor/volunteer.

All of these ideas aren’t just for when the world is facing a very contagious virus and we are all quarantined. Try them out now and see how your organization can implement them in other ways.

Do you have other ideas Board of Directors can do to help promote and advocate for their nonprofit? Tell us about it on Facebook.

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