Fundraising truly impacts every aspect of your ministry. Why? Because true biblically based philanthropy is not about asking for money. It's about ministry. It's about helping others to steward the giftedness that God has given them. Whatever ministry objective God has orchestrated your organization to pursue— development is a part of it. And since development touches everyone at your ministry it should be part of your governing board's focus, attention and effort. Sadly, most boards express a great deal of resistance to any personal involvement when it comes to fundraising.
Get Around the Board's Fundraising Blind Spot
How can you ask your board members for donor referrals, or ask them to make an introductory call for you? A board member's unwillingness to help in this area is a very common issue for rescue missions. In fact, the Rescue Mission Development Outlook study we did for AGRM members 2 years ago indicated that nearly 90% of AGRM members struggle in this area to some degree or another. It is certainly a lot easier for us as consultants, than it would be for an Executive Director, to get board members to realize fundraising is a biblical mandate for them. But, there are a few ways you can begin moving them in this direction.
First, say: "Ralph, you're aware that we periodically receive large gifts from major donors. The development director and I traditionally send these donors a hand written thank you note. However, because they are often business people of importance it would be valuable for them to periodically receive a thank you note from a board member—since you also are in a position of authority. "Wouldn't you agree?"
When they say yes, you can then tell them that you'll instruct the development staff to give them each a couple of names a month that they can send the hand written note to. Make sure they understand that a prompt response is critical.
Another Successful Tactic
Set up the following scenario during a board meeting: "Imagine each of you had inside information about an investment opportunity. The amount being invested was 100% guaranteed secure. And the return on the investment was many times the amount being invested. How likely would you be to share that information with both friends and business acquaintances, rather than just keep it to yourself?"
Ordinarily they will say that if it was truly guaranteed that they would share it with most, if not all the people they knew. Then you reply, "I'm glad to hear that, because such an investment opportunity actually exists." Investing in (your ministry) is not only guaranteed secure, but the Kingdom return on that investment will be pressed down and overflowing by God Himself. Wouldn't you agree?" (Wait for their response!)
"Now, who on this board will hoard that information for themselves? And who is going to share it with their friends and business associates?"
Note: You are the leader of your ministry. It is your job to lead your board, not the other way around. Use creative stories, examples and scenarios that help your board members catch the vision that God has given to you to take your organization to the next level.
Other Resources on Engaging Your Board
· 4 Things Your Board Must Do by Jerry Grimes
· A Live and Vibrant Board by Randy Bronkema
· The Tale of Three Boards by Jamie Clark
· Videos: Engaging Your Board
Photo Credit: Maryland GovPics