If your board is like most nonprofit boards, it’s comprised of a few in-demand community leaders. Their contact lists are long and their spheres of influence are wide, but their time is limited. How do you keep these potentially effective fundraisers engaged—and working for you—during an intensive fundraising effort like a capital campaign?

Here are a few ways we encourage our clients to communicate with their board members to ensure that they are active participants in fundraising efforts:

1. Communication is key
Communicate with your board members regularly and strategically. Engage them and keep them aware of your campaign’s priorities and its timeline. Give them the tools to talk with their friends and colleagues about the campaign’s progress.

2. Frequency and preferred method of communication
Identify each board member’s preferred method of communication. It may be more time-consuming to email some, mail to others, and even pick up the phone to speak with another, but this is time well spent. Not only does it show that you respect their preferences, but it gives them the chance to digest the information when and where they choose.

3. Discuss & Clarify Information and Marketing Materials
Board members are an extension of the campaign staff, and often its most effective cheerleaders. When sending a packet of documents to them, avoid a “deer in the headlights” reaction by including an enclosures list on top. Tell them briefly about each piece of information and how you expect them to use it. By being clear and up-front about their objectives, your board members will be more successful solicitors.

4. Follow-up and feedback
As fundraiser, particularly during a capital campaign, you should check in frequently with your board members to assess their progress, solicit feedback, and answer any questions. These frequent communications should give you a pretty accurate snapshot of your campaign’s progress. It also provides a sense of team work between the campaign and each board member that will help to further enrich your campaign.

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The generous will prosper: those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.
(Proverbs 11:25)

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