Train Your Board (And Everyone Else) To Raise Money | Book Review

April 20, 2014

What is it about board members and fundraising?

When I asked readers to share their biggest issue with their board, many pointed to fundraising as the number one grievance.

“They feel like fundraising is slimy or beneath them.”

“They think it’s all about finding the next big corporate sponsor, rather than taking care of current donors and donating themselves.”

“They don’t know how to fundraise but they want to tell the staff what they need to do in fundraising.”

“Board members who say they’ll do anything except raise money.”

Here’s the thing:  learning how to be an effective fundraiser takes time and it takes training.  Very few people are natural born fundraisers.  And, I hate to break it to you, but in a healthy organization it’s the job of the executive director and development director to firmly, TrainyourBoardbut gently, guide your board in the direction of good fundraising (otherwise they’ll be trying to tell you what to do…and we all know that’s not a good thing).  That doesn’t mean pulling in a consultant once a year for a pep talk at a board retreat.  It doesn’t mean asking your board members to share a list of contacts.

What it does mean is that you need to create a consistent plan to implement short trainings throughout the year to bring your board members (and everyone else) on board.

Veteran fundraisers Andrea Kihlstedt and Andy Robinson to the rescue!  Their new book, Train Your Board (and Everyone Else) to Raise Money: A Cookbook of Easy-to-Use Fundraising Exercises (Emerson & Church) is a treasure trove of short, easily implemented exercises you can use throughout the year to educate your board.

And you won’t find the usual stale exercises you may be accustomed to in Train Your Board.  Instead you’ll find short, eye-opening trainings guaranteed to change how your board members think about money (you better believe you have some hang-ups there), getting the big vision, why people give, storytelling, how to create a 12-week major gifts campaign, your case statement, and more.  Want an example?  Download Six-Word Stories, a storytelling exercise.

And of course, these exercises aren’t just for board members.  When program staff and volunteers really understand what fundraising is really all about is when you begin to see the makings of a healthy, fully functioning nonprofit.

Train Your Board (And Everyone Else) To Raise Money is a must have for every fundraiser and consultant.

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