Help Your Board Members Become “Door Openers”

What would you MOST love your board members to do?

Many nonprofit ED’s tell me that  – of all possible things – they wish their board members would simply open doors. That’s all.

Just open doors.

But what happens when you ask board members to make introductions and open the door to prospects?

They shy away from it. They just don’t like it.

Lots of times they say they will help and then what happens?  Nothing!

They chicken out at the last minute!

SOOOO how do you get your wonderful board members to help in this ALL-IMPORTANT area?

You have to help them learn the four steps to opening the door happily and successfully. My Virtual Seminar tomorrow is all about this topic: It’s called “How to be an Effective Advocate and Get People Really Interested in the Cause.”  Do join in tomorrow if you can.

1. What to say – they need a personal message that is inviting and inspiring. They need practice with an elevator speech – but it can’t be LEARNED or MEMORIZED!!! It has to be their OWN PERSONAL STORY of why they care!

Here’s a powerful morale-boosting exercise/game you can play with your board members to help them create and rehearse their PERSONAL STORY. It is one of the most powerful activities you can ever do with your board.  It inspires them with their own personal passion for the cause and WHY THE CAUSE IS SO IMPORTANT.

Step Two is Contagious Energy.  Your board members have to be happy, fired up and passionate. If they are like that, then they’ll be engaging. If they are embarrassed about what they are up to, then they put people off. Energy is, in fact, contagious.

Great energy is catching – and awful energy is catching too. Be sure your board members are excited, and totally standing in their passion for the cause.

Step Three is the Right Attitude. Everything, everything starts with attitude.  You have to get your mind-set right before you can make anything happen in the world.

Your board members sometimes may need some “attitude adjustment.” Get them pumped up about the cause at hand. Take the fear of “asking” off their plate.

Remind them that they are trying to raise FRIENDS and not necessarily funds. (But of course FRIENDS of your organization will of course give as well as help in many other ways.)

The Last Step is an Invitation to Follow Up. Say your wonderful board member has inspired a friend with her passionate story about what you are up to.  She has contagious energy and an enthusiastic attitude.

All this is wasted unless she can say, “Can you come down for a tour?” Or she’ll say, “I”m having a small group over to my house next week to meet the new director, can you come?”  Or she’ll say, “Can I take you out for coffee and get your own ideas on how we tackle this huge community problem?”

That’s how you follow up. You have to conclude your elevator speech with an invitation.

Somehow, someway, get the door open for a second conversation. Then you’ll be on your way.