Some people find it hard to ask other people for money, even when it’s not for personal gain, but when it comes to not for profit organisations, the responsibility to stay financially viable partially rests on the shoulders of the board. There are however creative ways to create income without ‘fundraising’.
Neil Edgington from Social Velocity has practical and nonthreatening suggestions on his article 9 Ways Board Members Can Raise Money Without Fundraising.
Edgington strongly recommends using the personal networks of board members in a variety of ways. Well connected members may have access to information that can add weight to a submission, tender or contract, or be in a position to arrange a meeting with a contact in a targeted business partner or customer.
Board members who are business leaders or entrepreneurs are also of great value in accessing extra income, as they may be able to help create or assess a business plan in relation to an earned income venture, highlighting opportunities and strengths, as well as potential risks.
Also discussed by the author and according to Penelope Burk’s annual donor survey, 84% of donors would “give again if they were thanked in a timely manner”. A personal visit by a board member, and an explanation of why they are committed to the organisation might be just the catalyst the donor needs to dig deeper, or recommend a donation to another potential benefactor.
Another avenue worth considering but not discussed by Edgington, is whether your organisation has underutilised infrastructure or skills that are worth a premium to other parties. For example, you may own buses or offices that can be used out of hours on a fee for service basis, or be able to offer consultancy, advice or audit type services in your area of specialty to organisations starting out or experiencing a period of change or review.
In an uncertain and less buoyant financial climate than one seen for many years, the responsibility of boards to assist in maintaining financial stability for their organisation is stronger than ever, but need not be confrontational or uncomfortable. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.