How to get board members feeling comfortable making an ask

Yes, here’s the holy grail!  A board member who is willing to ask – and is comfortable asking.  I’ve worked with a lot of board members on this topic around the country and I have heard their pain.

I’ve seen them drag themselves into trainings called “The Art of the Ask” with a heavy heart.  Yep, you can be really sure they are on fire about raising money.

And will those who just HATE it be good fundraisers? Probably not!

I just don’t believe in sending out board members to do a lot of asking.   Do you really want every single one of them out asking for money?  Some of them may just botch it or just apologize their way through it.

What I do is find the two, three or four folks on the board who can be true champions out there in the community for your cause. They actually UNDERSTAND this fundraising stuff.

And they are good at it.

The rest of my wonderful, well-meaning but nervous board members I put to work in other types of fundraising jobs:  calling donors to thank them; holding socials to introduce new friends to our cause, taking everybody they know on a tour to show them the incredible impact you are making.

That’s how I organize my board fundraising work.

Everybody’s happy. Everyone does a job they like.  And everyone gets their job done.

Now, if you have some board members who are willing to learn about “asking,” then there are ways to help them become more comfortable. You do these things (and I’ll be blogging about these in the future in more detail):

Help them understand that they are asking for “help” not money.. . Help them focus on raising friends who will then give later. . . Teach them actually how to have a conversation with a prospective donor. . .  and give them practice making a pitch. . .  Give them one compelling story to tell that can throw somebody out of their chair. . . Teach them how to talk about the impact that a gift will make out in the world.