10 Tips to Set Your Board Up For Fundraising Success

Jewish day school leaders dream of having a board that understands its fundraising responsibilities and solicits actively and joyfully.

That can be your board if you adopt intentional practices that lead board members to enthusiastically take the school’s case to the community, identify donors and ask for support.

Below are 10 ideas that will prepare your board members to become better equipped to move into donor cultivation and solicitation.

  1. Don’t limit a board member’s school experience to the boardroom. Include board members in school events- give board members meaningful jobs. Be as specific as you can when assigning duties, for example, a greeter at an event should be not only welcoming guests but should identify her/himself as a board member and engage in conversation with a community member. Any significant interaction should be reported to the head of school or development director.
  2. Thanking donors and understanding the donor story. Board members should always call, or better yet, meet in person to thank donors. Learning about why donors support the school gives your board members insight into the school’s position and impact in the community. This helps them shape their own story.
  3. Invite the development director to board meetings. Getting to know the development director gives board members greater comfort in communicating potential donor opportunities.
  4. Underscore personal giving. The emphasis on 100% board giving is greater than ever. Can you give a list of board gifts, without names, at board meetings to show increased numbers at each board meeting? Even if you just show top gifts -that can serve as a great incentive for people to make their gift and be counted.
  5. Provide the board with mission metrics. A monthly or quarterly dashboard with significant achieved benchmarks or accomplishments can be shared at board meetings. These examples give board members easy to remember data to share with potential donors and enable the board to have snapshot picture of the programs and progress.
  6. …and mission stories. Board meetings should have a mission focus-a teacher telling a story; a short video; even a student coming in a meeting to tell about a project he/she initiated. Again, easy to remember and re-tell.
  7. Board members should be able to tell their own story of why the school is important to them. These stories should be shared at meetings. Even spending time at a meeting writing a 30-second elevator pitch can be fun and impactful.
  8. Celebrate any cultivation or solicitation success. Knowing that your outreach is being appreciated will motivate others.
  9. Give board members written scripts for social media and other outreach. The easier you make it for your board members, the more willing these busy people are to participate.
  10. Prospecting together. Can a small group of board members meet regularly to prospect? This can be done respectfully and confidentially.

None of these activities involves asking for money, but all lead to a board that understands what the school does, who the donors are, and their own relationship with the school. The next step is the knowledgeable, joyful ask!