Engaging Board Members in Fundraising Boosts Results, Study Shows

Engaging Board Members in Fundraising Boosts Results, Study Shows

The Nonprofit Research Collaborative found that  organizations whose board members directly reach out to donors were more likely to meet their fundraising goal.

Sixty percent of organizations in which board members actively participate in fundraising met their 2011 fundraising goal, compared to just 53 percent of organizations without board member engagement, according to a new study released by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC) this week.

More than 1,600 organizations were surveyed, making the sample size large enough for the NRC to call this a “statistically significant difference.”

“Active engagement” doesn’t necessarily refer to a board member’s own giving to the organization. Board member contributions totaled less than 10 percent of charitable receipts at a majority of the organizations surveyed. Only 57 percent require board members to donate, and of those that do, only 35 percent set a minimum gift level.

“Seventy-eight percent of those surveyed ask board members to request contributions to the organization from family and friends,” James D. Yunker, chair of the Giving USA Foundation, a member of the NRC, said in a statement. “That simple step is probably the single most important thing an organization can do to engage board members. … Fundraising is all about relationships.”

The study found that having a fundraising committee was an effective way to engage board members. Of the boards that had such a committee, 63 percent met their fundraising goal, compared to just 52 percent of those without one.

“This research delves into what sort of board fundraising tactics are most effective for different types of organizations,” said Andrew Watt, president and CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. “I think it’s a major breakthrough in providing charities practical steps for engaging their board and demonstrating to board members just how critical their involvement is.”

Rob Stott

By Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. MORE

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