One of the first things that we hear in many conversations is “how do we better engage our board in philanthropy?” As we look to the early days of 2023, consider a few lightweight, but heavy impact tasks for your board.
November and December are big fundraising months for nonprofits. We know that more than 30% of all gifts are given in December. An organization’s generally small team is already working overtime to send out the perfunctory tax acknowledgements and finish last minute solicitations.
What if the organization asked its board members to each send 10 handwritten thank you cards to its top donors in January? Put together a packet of 11 cards and envelopes (one extra because I know I always misspell something), stamps, and a roster of names and addresses. Give them a deadline and make sure you check in on them to ensure they are completing their task. And, once the final letter is in the mail, make sure you write a thank you note to the board members.
February tends to be a month when people are looking for engagement. They are looking for social interaction. It also happens to be a great month to ask your board members to make some thank you calls. Sure, you can send them a list and ask them to make the calls, but consider inviting them to your office for sandwiches and a beverage or two and start making thank you calls. It is a great way for donors to get to know your board members and for board members to hear why people are motivated to give.
Finally, don’t rule out offering board training in the early months of the year. The new year provides time to reset board expectations while also offering education that supports your development goals for 2023. Whether general “development 101” or specific topics such as planned giving, board members are looking for opportunities not only to serve the organization, but to also learn something.
Cape Fletcher Associates