Board Fundraising - The Chair is Key!
28 October 2004 at 1:10 pm
The US experience suggests that one of the most frustrating challenges for a Not for Profit executive director is engaging the board in fundraising. The US Non Profit Times has published a few helpful tips.
According to Alice Korngold, President and CEO of a US organisation called Business Volunteers Unlimited, the key to success is an effective board chair.
She says the first step is to have a board leader who understands the value and the mission, as well as the role of the board to develop resources.
The board chair needs to focus the board’s attention on the case for funding and the responsibility of the board, Korngold explains. To achieve success in engaging the board, the chair will need to facilitate board meeting discussions and various committee discussions (including executive committee) on the case for funding and the responsibility of the board. That is, what good and important things can be accomplished with more funding, and why is the board necessary for success?
She says the chair will also need to make one-on-one calls, by phone or even better, in person, to recruit individuals to support him or her. This is often referred to as “process.” It takes time, patience, and a leadership commitment.
She says the more respect there is for the person who serves as board chair, the more successful the chair will be. Also, the chair needs to lead by example through his or her own generosity.
In many cases, the right people are on the board; they simply need the right leader to rally their attention and generosity. In other cases, the board chair will need to work with the nominating chair and the organisation’s chief executive to recruit new board members, and move others along.
Korngold explains that board members should be selected based on their interest in the mission, their skill sets, and their relationships in the community. The more diverse the board, the richer their vision and the broader their reach.
The board chair and chief executive should function as partners, and the staff need to make this as easy as possible for the board chair and development chair by providing useful, timely, and concise information. If the board is confident in the chief executive’s leadership and the chair/CEO relationship, board members will be more likely to contribute.
Korngold says that sometimes, an outside consultant can help the board focus on the case and the message and reinforce the board chair in making the board’s responsibility clear.
All it takes is good leadership, the right people, time, and a good process!
(courtesy Non Profit Times Sept 2004)