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Fundraising Foundations: A Board of Affluence and Influence
The nonprofit Board, compared with its for-profit counterpart, is distinguished by the leadership role it must play in philanthropic fundraising. While this requires many of the same skills and tactics that Boards from the business community may use in their professional work, we at Schultz & Williams often see organizations struggle to engage Boards as effective ambassadors and fundraisers.
Board involvement is the overarching key to a dynamic development program from both a strategic and tactical perspective. When we counsel an organization to focus on enhancing its Board, we do so with the knowledge that great Boards grow over time. But there is no reason that even a small organization which stewards its Board members well cannot draw prominent Board members – and give those individuals a highly satisfying Board experience. Every organization should strive to have the strongest possible individuals connected to its mission and to engage the Board so that all its members work to their greatest capacity on behalf of the organization.
Volunteer leadership will articulate the organization’s case externally and can identify and have access to new or unknown prospects that even the most accomplished staff may not be able to reach. And volunteers can make an ask personal and meaningful. When we say it’s important who does the ask, it’s about credibility and trust. Knowing that a respected peer has chosen to make a philanthropic investment with an organization is an important seal of approval. We have seen time and again how one influential Board member stepping forward with a leadership gift – for a project he or she has actively spearheaded – can motivate other Board members to give generously.
As organizational leaders, Board members also have the decision-making authority to set institutional priorities and goals. Their involvement in strategic planning is essential – and that is why having a Board that represents diverse professions and backgrounds is critical.
To read the full un-abridged white paper, click here.
Schultz & Williams is a national consulting firm based in Philadelphia providing management, fundraising and marketing consulting for nonprofit organizations, along with full-service direct marketing, database and creative/production services.