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Monday, July 24, 2017

Fundraising and the Nonprofit Board Member: Notes from a Practitioner

Development in all its elements is essentially a board function. Governance is the board's responsibility, and fundraising, which is critical to sustainability, is part of governance. Accordingly, nonprofit board members are responsible for fundraising, while staff members are responsible for management and operations.                                                               

Nonprofit board members:

  • If not you, who? The board is responsible for attracting resources to ensure the financial viability of the organization and its programs.
  • About 5.5% of charitable giving goes to arts organizations. This means that self-funding is paramount in your strategy.
  • 75% of donations to nonprofits come from individual donors.
  • Your board should be comprised of individuals who can "give or get"!
  • When you present your case for support, always explain what the community needs and how your organization fills that need.
  • Constantly build your database: Add friends, fellow club and church members, community leaders, event attendees, etc.
  • The more donors and potential donors are familiar with you, the more they are inclined to give. So make sure your organization stays top of mind with your target audience.
  • Make sure every member has an elevator pitch. Why you support makes a compelling statement to others about why they should, too.
  • THANK, RECOGNIZE, and CULTIVATE DONORS; it's an ongoing process.

If your organization does not have a resource development committee to focus efforts and motivate other board members, establish one. Every member must be actively involved. They should identify prospects, identify relationships, assist in cultivation, write thank-you notes, and write personal notes on solicitation letters. The committee can have non-board members who understand and support the mission. 

Staff can support development but should not be asked to assume major responsibility for it.

Remember, there is no magic. Why do people give? Because they are asked.

To learn more, contact Bonny Anderson at (302) 530-6806 or, or visit us at

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