Is your board engaged and excited about your capital campaign plans? Chances are, they’re not as engaged as you wish they would be.
Recently, one of our most savvy campaign coaching clients said to me:
My board says “yes” and then looks at me to make it happen. When it comes to our capital campaign, that’s simply not the right model. I can’t do it myself.
She’s right. You can’t conduct a successful campaign all by yourself. Your board has got to be engaged, excited and committed. And that won’t happen overnight.
Train Your Board with an Exercise at Every Board Meeting
You’ll have to bring your board members along step by step so they understand the power and potential of the campaign and they know what’s going to be expected of them.
This post features three downloadable exercises you can use to engage your board in getting ready for a campaign.
You’ll find that if you do these exercises — perhaps one at each of three board meetings — your board will become engaged, excited and committed.
Exercise 1: Features and Benefits – What are We Selling
Every organization begins planning for a campaign by thinking about what their organization needs. Perhaps your organization needs new buildings or programs or equipment. When you’re close to an organization, you understand their needs!
But needs aren’t what makes a capital campaign exciting. While money for a new building is well and good, the real excitement of your campaign stems from the lives you’ll be able to change once the new building is up.
This exercise is simple to do and will help your board members grab onto what’s really exciting about your campaign, not the needs, but the impact.
This will only take about 20 minutes. It’s easy to set up and facilitate.
We like this exercise because it gets your board members thinking differently about the power and importance of your campaign.
Download the exercise here: Features and Benefits – What Are We Selling
Exercise 2: The VIP Prospect Game
Gail Perry originated this exercise as a way of getting board members to identify and share names of major gift prospects. And because Gail’s always looking for ways to make fundraising fun, she designed it to feel a bit like a game.
It’s short — only about 15 minutes which you can easily carve out of a board meeting. And it’ll help your board members identify people who can “catapult” your organization to the next level.
This exercise is perfect capital campaign preparation because “catapulting” is what campaigns are all about.
We like this exercise because it introduces the whole concept of prospect identification and cultivation to your board members without scaring them off.
Download the exercise here: The VIP Prospect Game
Exercise 3: Power Mapping – Who Are the Movers and Shakers
This exercise takes a bit more time, but it’s well worth it. Not only will you wind up with a list of powerful and influential people in your community, but you’ll know where the connections are between them and your board members. And that’s pure gold for your capital campaign.
As your board members help identify influential people they know, they’ll develop more confidence in your organization’s ability to succeed.
We like this exercise because it builds your board members’ confidence, so they’ll be more willing to get engaged. And that’s what you need for success.
Download the exercise here: Power Mapping- Who Are the Movers and Shakers
It’s Your Job to Train Your Board
Board members are often wonderful, well-meaning, and generous people. But don’t assume that they know much about fundraising, especially capital campaign fundraising.
An understanding of fundraising and campaigns doesn’t come automatically just because some agrees to serve on a board.
So it’s your job to make sure that your board gets the knowledge and understanding they need to do a great job. Without that, it’s no wonder that they hold back.
You might speak with the board chair or the governance committee about board training. But don’t assume that it’s a one-shot, 3 hour workshop done by some consultant. The best training, and the kind you should do with your board, also includes small training experiences at board and committee meetings.
Figure out how to train your board and you’ll find that they will become willing and effective partners.3 Foolproof Exercises to Develop a Board of Fundraisers Click To Tweet
The three exercises in this post come from How to Train Your Board (And Everyone Else) to Raise Money by Andrea Kihlstedt and Andy Robinson. These are three of fifty-one exercises you can use with your board to make them more comfortable and effective fundraisers.
You may also check out the Train Your Board companion website for additional exercises.
We’re taking applications now for our January, 2016 Campaign Coaching program. Find out more here.