How to motivate board members who are uncomfortable opening doors or making connections

I can’t tell you how often I hear this question all around the country and beyond our borders.  We do in fact have board members who are passionate.  But  – with few exceptions – they are  perennially afraid of fundraising.

And there are lots of reasons they avoid fundraising.  We all hear these reasons every day!

But you CAN change their nervousness and fear.  You have to take them through a specific “attitude adjustment” process.  You have to change their mind about fundraising – that it’s NOT asking for money. It’s changing the world. I’ll show you how to do this in my webinar next week.

You have to take the idea of soliciting completely off the table. But wait, you might say, I NEED them to be out there raising money. But I say in response, you have to bring them along gently.

Start them out with simple easy jobs in the fundraising arena that don’t require “asking.”  Show them how it can be fun and easy to phone donors and thank them.  Or how it’s fun to to go around spreading the viral message about your cause.

Here’s what I would recommend:

1.  Have them share why they care about the cause.  You’ll be amazed at the results.

2. Have an in-depth discussion about how funds raised are actually used to carry out your mission. Drill down to discuss specific programs. Encourage questions.

3. Let them talk about why they don’t like fundraising. Encourage them to “throw up.”  Then have them talk about how they felt the last time they made a gift to their favorite cause.

4. Have a discussion about why board members are important in fundraising.

5. Discuss the concept of “friendraising” – and how it is more important to have a “friend” of your organization’s rather than a “donor.” Ask them how they might like to help spread the word and raise friends for your organization.

6. Show them the fundraising cycle – and point out how asking is only one tiny moment in the cycle. The rest of the time we are cultivating and thanking donors.

7.  Then give them easy jobs to do that don’t involve soliciting. Throw a porch party.  Host a breakfast.  Take people out to the field to see your organization making a difference. Call donors to thank them.  Pile everyone they know on your organization’s bandwagon!

I have several articles on my website that go into much more depth about these exercises and discussions.