Why doesn’t a nonprofit board fundraise? There are a lot of reasons. At a recent Bloomerang webinar, “Getting Your Board on Board,” I offered ways to move board members along the continuum from ‘I’ll do anything except ask for money,’ to ‘I’ll ask a major donor for a gift.

Since we couldn’t get to all the questions, I promised to answer some directly, and some of them in this post. If you want to see the first set of questions and answers, shoot me an email, and I’ll send it along.

And now, here are some of the questions that we couldn’t get to:

Board members who don’t give

Q.

What if your board recruits for new board members, but because they don’t give themselves, they don’t require new members to give? The cycle just perpetuates!

A.

It sounds like your board members may not see themselves as responsible for the future of the organization. Once they consider that thinking about the future is part of their job, you can ask what ensuring the future looks like to them.

In this case, you may have to start by NOT talking about money. Instead, talk about the future, and the kinds of people you need on the board in order to make that future possible. Times have changed since the organization was established, and you’ve been able to change with the times. What kind of people do you need on the board in order to continue keeping up with society? Who might you need on the board in order to build the future you want? That way, board member responsibility for being donors becomes only one part of the whole package of being responsible for the future. By talking about the other board attributes first, the conversation can naturally migrate to money as a part of the whole.

Jump-starting a Development Committee

Q.

Other than sharing this webinar, what other things can be done to “jump start” a development committee?

A.

Oh, so many things. And I wouldn’t start with this webinar. I likely wouldn’t even start with talking about money. I would start with envisioning the future.  What does your community look like if you and your organization were 100% successful with everything you decided to do? Beginning with vision is exciting.  The dollars and other resources are just a means to that end. Once you and your committee are excited, it’s so much easier to contemplate raising the dollars to make that vision possible.

Qualifications of a Board Member

Q.

Can you share a board member outline for qualifications to be used by the nominating committee?

A.

There are many places to go for a classic grid that looks at demographics and skill sets for board members. The best advice I’ve heard, though, is to decide what you want to accomplish in the next three to five years, and figure out what skills and attributes will help you get there. Then, while seeking those skills and attributes, seek to balance the age, demographic and social circles that are represented. This post talks about Five Essential Qualities of board members, and includes links to some sample qualification outlines. This one talks about the need for people of different ages.

Thanks for asking! If you have questions about helping your board see the future, and their role in making it happen, I’m happy to talk. Just reach out and let me know.

Any other questions? Let me know and I may answer them here!

Susan