Teaching Your Board How to Fundraise

fundraising, board, nonprofit, charity,

Without fail, fundraising stays a top topic for board members and executive directors alike. Each group with its own expectations around the other’s roles and responsibilities. No surprise, the expectations of both the board and the ED rarely align. Leading to all sorts of conflict and passive aggressiveness (sound familiar?)

So I was super excited when Donella offered to give short, but “pow” filled snippets of advice on how executive directors can prep their boards for fundraising. Turning them from fundraising duds to fundraising machines.

At the end of the piece, you’ll find more information on Green Hasson Janks and how to reach out to them.

Getting Your Board on Board with Fundraising

By Donella Wilson, Partner and Nonprofit Practice Leader, Green Hasson Janks

Without fundraising, most nonprofits would cease to exist. However, BoardSource’s 2017 Leading with Intent report, once again, had fundraising performance as one of the top three most important areas needing improved Board performance.

There is no doubt that fundraising is outside of the comfort zone for most Board members, so what can be done to ensure the success of this essential Board responsibility?

  1. Establish expectations for fundraising during Board recruitment:
    • Do conversations with prospective Board members include a discussion about their fundraising responsibilities?
    • Are fundraising responsibilities and personal giving requirements included in the Board responsibilities agreement?
    • If potential Board members are not able to commit to these expectations, then Board service is likely not appropriate.
  2. Recognize that new Board members will need to become familiar with the organization’s mission and programs before making an ask:
    • Do Board members understand the value that their organization brings to the community?  Can they articulate the impact their organization makes and why a donor should support the work?
    • Engaging in an activity to personally call and thank donors is an opportunity for Board members to both cultivate donors and learn about why donors give. These activities give new Board members confidence.
  3. Take advantage of fundraising training opportunities to educate Board members on the development process, the mechanics of cultivation, solicitation and stewardship, and how to engage personal networks.
  4. Encourage the Board Chair to foster a culture of fundraising by placing fundraising on the Board meeting agenda as a priority, publicly acknowledging Board members involved in the fundraising process and following up with Board members to ensure their annual giving requirements are met.
  5. Review the organization’s mission to ensure that it is clear, concise and compelling. This will make the case for giving much easier for Board members to articulate.
  6. Ensure the Development Director is identifying appropriate cultivation and stewardship opportunities for Board member participation:
    • Brainstorm how new donors could be introduced to the organization.
    • Review the current donor recognition practices and discuss how donor appreciation could be improved.
  7. Remember that fundraising is about building and maintaining relationships and that the number one reason people do not give to organizations is that they were not asked. The Board network can be very powerful if it is engaged, and it is crucial that it is engaged, not only for fundraising, but for raising community awareness and attracting volunteers.


About Donella Wilson, Partner and Nonprofit Practice Leader, Green Hasson Janks

Donella Wilson is the partner heading up the Firm’s Nonprofit Practice. She has over 20 years of public accounting experience providing audit, accounting and special project services. Donella works exclusively in the nonprofit sector.

In 2017, Donella was also the recipient of a Women to Watch Award, as well as the Trailblazer Award for her charitable activities, from the California Society of CPAs and honored as a Southern California Leadership Network (SCLN) “30-in-30,” a year-long celebration honoring 30 outstanding SCLN alumni throughout 2017. She was also recognized as a 2017 “Most Influential Women in Accounting” by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Donella enjoys volunteer work, travel and outdoor adventure, with yoga and backpacking being her favorite past-times.


About Green Hasson Janks

Founded in 1953, Green Hasson Janks is a Los Angeles-based accounting firm that specializes in nonprofit, food and beverage, entertainment and media and health and wellness companies.

Green Hasson Janks has worked with public charities and private foundations for over 30 years, and its practitioners are well-versed on current nonprofit benchmarking and governance issues. Currently, Green Hasson Janks serves over 40 private foundation clients and provides audit and/or tax services to nine of the top 25 private foundations in Los Angeles County.

Serving nonprofits is not just our profession, it is our passion.

Named a “Best Places to Work” by the Los Angeles Business Journal eight times since 2008, Green Hasson Janks is passionate about helping clients and its people #BeMore by focusing on building thriving businesses and creating a better future. The firm works as a business advocate for its clients — providing personalized service and building long-term relationships to help position our clients for growth.