100% board giving eludes many nonprofits.
Our own Bloomerang survey found that only 59% of nonprofits saw all of their board members pledge or give a gift in the past year.
According to Leading with Intent’s 2017 National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices, the percentage of organizations who require board giving is also 59%. That percentage fluctuates based on organization size and type between 19% and 69%.
If you agree that 100% board giving is important but struggle with how to ask current board members to give when no prior expectation for giving had been set, there may be a simple solution:
Hear me out before you say “Steven, Giving Tuesday is an online day of giving. Go lie down.”
Most nonprofits would say that a primary goal of Giving Tuesday is new donor acquisition. If that’s the case, why wouldn’t board members who haven’t yet given not be an ideal prospect? It’s a perfect, totally organic excuse to ask, without the need to bring up the awkward fact that they’ve never been asked before.
You could treat it like the silent phase of a large campaign, especially if you have a specific dollar amount goal or have a dedicated project that all Giving Tuesday gifts will go towards (you should). “Help us get Giving Tuesday started with a gift of your own!”
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Another tack you could take is encouraging board members to give in order to make their Giving Tuesday appeals more authentic.
Let’s say you want your board members to go out on social media and make an appeal for you. Imagine the power of a post that resembles something like:
“I’m not only a board member of (org) but I’m also a donor. I support (org) because (all the great work you do). You’re going to see a lot of nonprofits asking for help today, but I hope you’ll consider supporting (org) with a small gift.”
This kind of post from a board member not only makes sense on Facebook, but could be ideal for LinkedIn.
If your board members are leaders in business, they probably have active LinkedIn profiles. Combine that with the fact that, compared to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, LinkedIn will be pretty quiet on Giving Tuesday. This post will stand out.
The goal here isn’t to get a massive gift from a board member. It’s to get their first gift. $5 is fine. It doesn’t matter. The point is: they’ve given. You’ve removed the barriers “I’ve never been asked to give before” and/or “I’ve never given before.” That should at least somewhat pave the way for future giving.
It’s likely that those board members who don’t give simply haven’t ever been asked. What better day than Giving Tuesday to ask?
Do your board members get involved on Giving Tuesday, either as a donor or as a fundraiser? Let me know in the comments below!