How do your ministry’s board members feel about fundraising? Does the very idea of being involved in raising money fill them with fear or with joy? Do they consider fundraising as one of their responsibilities of being an effective board member?
I would like to share five biblically based ways to encourage your board members to embrace fundraising as one of their key responsibilities.
1. Encourage board members to model generosity by giving to your ministry.
To help them fully understand and embrace their role of leading through their generosity take some time with your board to study 1 Chronicles 29:1 – 20.
Here King David led by example in giving generously towards the work of building the Temple (see vs2-3). Then, in v5 he called all the leaders of Israel to follow his example. And, in v6 we read that the leaders of Israel gave willingly, and when the people saw this they rejoiced (v9).
When I look at a ministry’s board I think of it as King David and the leaders of Israel. God has called the board to be stewards of your ministry’s vision and the ones who should ensure that the vision is turned into reality through their giving, as well as fulfilling other responsibilities.
When a board member makes a financial contribution to your ministry it shows that they are putting their money where their heart is. It is also an example for others to follow, because if board members don’t support the ministry financially, why should anyone else? Note here that I am not talking about the size of their gift. What I am talking about is that every board member should support the ministry by giving generously as they are giving to God.
2. Help board members to understand the principles and practices of effective fundraising.
Having done lots of fundraising presentations to ministry boards I have often noticed that most board members don’t know anything about fundraising. They don’t understand how direct mail or email fundraising works. They don’t have a clue about the changes in the giving landscape and what specific funding strategies can yield better results than others.
So, if you want your board to love fundraising and to lead the ministry effectively in this area you should do what you can to educate them on how fundraising works.
For example, purchase copies of good fundraising books like A Spirituality of Fundraising by Henry Nouwen and Relationship Fundraising by Ken Burnett and create a reading circle where you read and discuss these books or others with your board. You can also invite someone to talk to your board about the big picture of fundraising and the challenges of ministry fundraising, etc.
A board that understands fundraising can provide the support you need to create and implement an effective fundraising plan and raise the resources you need for your work.
3. Encourage board members to invite their friends, colleagues and other potential major donors to give to your cause.
Did you know that often in the Old Testament different kings and leaders who loved the God of Israel became ambassadors who raised significant financial support for Kingdom purposes?
Read Nehemiah 1–2 and see how at the request of King Artaxerxes the governors of the Trans-Euphrates region supported Nehemiah and his plans for re-building the walls of Jerusalem. Or, turn to the book of Ezra (7:6) to discover how ‘the king had granted [Ezra] everything he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him.’
In the New Testament also, often those men or women of affluence and influence who became followers of Jesus gave to support his ministry and encouraged their friends and families to give too (see Luke 8: 1-3).
These are great examples for your board members to follow. They too can share what your ministry is doing with their friends and work colleagues and other Christians they know who have the capacity to support your mission.
All they need is some training to become ambassadors for your ministry. They need a clear and compelling summary of your ministry’s mission. They need some inspiring stories about how your work is impacting lives. And they need to know how to do a ‘fundraising ask’.
4. Enlist your board members’ support to cultivate relationships and to thank donors.
This is one of the most significant things your board members can do.
For example, board members can get involved in hosting a group of donors on a trip to the mission field, or in hosting an evening with donors and a mission worker in their home or their church. They can pray with donors, offer hospitality and draw donors closer to your cause.
Also, they can get involved in writing thank you letters or notes to donors, calling some donors to thank them over the phone and much more. By showing appreciation for donors’ contributions they can make donors feel more connected to the ministry and more willing to continue to support it in the future.
5. Get board members to encourage and support your ministry’s fundraising team.
Often fundraising is a challenging task and fundraisers are the least thanked or appreciated members of ministry teams. Yet, for them to be successful, they need all the support and encouragement they can get from the board and the leadership team.
So, if you are a ministry leader you should be encouraging your board members to cheer on the fundraising team or the sole fundraiser in your ministry. Ask them to pray for the fundraisers, to invite them out to lunch and celebrate together the successes of your fundraising team.