Recently, we’ve had a lot of people ask about the best way to solicit leadership gifts from board members. As with any major gift solicitation (because that’s what you’re aiming for, right?), it’s always best to make an in-person ask. Having a board member solicit another board member in-person, is hands-down the most effective way to get the kind of stretch gifts you are looking for from your board, especially if it’s not something you’ve done in a while.
Too often, we see nonprofit board’s taking the wrong approach when soliciting their members. Perhaps a mailing is sent or it goes something like this, “Okay, we’re kicking off our annual campaign and it’s important that all board members make a gift. Our development director is passing out pledge cards for you to review and fill out. It would be great if you can do it now, but if you need more time, then try to get it in before our next board meeting.” Sound familiar? We’re always amazed when people wonder why their board isn’t more supportive wen the solicitation is approached in such a way and they either receive very few gifts or the gifts are much lower than hoped for.
Making an in-person ask to a board member is a great way to:
- Train a board member as a solicitor and get them more comfortable on a solicitation call.
- Give board members the opportunity to see a solicitation call in action, which is important — even if they’re not making the calls.
- Educate board members on the organization’s case for support. Even though you think board members understand the organization’s story and the reason they are raising
money, often times they don’t.
- Increase your chances of getting a much larger financial commitment from your board members.
The answer is simple, take the time to treat your board members just as you would a major donor and we assure you that you’ll be amazed by the results. Give it a try and get some practice in while you’re at it.