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The 5 Real Reasons Why Your Board Won’t Fundraise



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There's a common refrain in the nonprofit world: "People don't give to causes. People give to people with causes." In essence, it's the people--their stories, their passion, their mission--that inspires others to action.

To be successful, a nonprofit's fundraising must be a TEAM effort. And that team includes your Board. Every member of your nonprofit Board should be expected to fundraise—everyone.

Still, there are few nonprofit Boards that do not shy away from fundraising.


While the "reasons" can be as diverse as our Board members themselves, in the end, it all boils down to a comfort level, confidence, and misconception about fundraising.

Following are the top five "reasons" Board members give for not wanting to fundraise--and the real truth behind them.

#1: "I'm uncomfortable asking people for money."

Translation: "I fear rejection."

Even the top salespeople in the world fear rejection. We all do. In the case of fundraising, we're afraid asking others for money will come across as "begging" or pressuring them to do something they don't want to do.

The truth: People don't give because they feel pressured; they give because they are inspired. And there's no better ambassador for your nonprofit than a Board member who is passionate about your cause. When you ask someone to give--no matter what their current circumstance--it gives them an opportunity to make an impact and to do something good in the world. And that's a feeling money can't buy!

Click HERE to download your 3 Tactics to Transform Any Board Member Into A Fundraiser, including scripts, worksheets, and action item lists to get your Board "on board" and fundraising fast!

#2: "It feels 'wrong' to ask for money during a pandemic."

Translation: "There's only so much money to go around right now."

Not to go too far down a rabbit hole, but this reason has more to do with a "mindset' than it does about morality. Board members who feel this way think asking someone to donate to your organization is, in essence, taking away money that person--or another organization--may need.

The truth: The myth of scarcity--the idea there is only so much to go around or to be given--is a mindset often cultivated in childhood around the ideas of money, i.e., "Money doesn't grow on trees." "There's no free lunch." etc. While we should acknowledge, the current economy is challenging for many, not everyone has been impacted financially. There are plenty of people with the means and/or desire to donate if asked. And studies show that those who are experiencing tough times are often more empathetic and, therefore, inclined to give.

#3: "I don't know anyone who has money."

Translation: "I don't want to ask my friends."

Board members are often asked to go through their address books and create a list of people they can ask to donate. This puts a lot of pressure on members who may be afraid of responding in kind and making a gift to an organization their friend supports, especially if the Board member has limited funds.

The truth: The world is full of generous people who want to give. But wealth is not an indicator of generosity. According to American Generosity: Who Gives and Why, 70% of Americans donate to charity, with an average gift of 3.7% of their income. BUT, people living under the poverty line donate on average 10% of their income! Capacity does not indicate a propensity to give.

#4: "I'm not good at fundraising."

Translation: "'I'm not good at asking people for money."

Many Board members think the only way to fundraise for your nonprofit is to ask for money.

And while some may be comfortable directly soliciting your organization's donors, many others simply are not.

shortly followed by…

#5: "Fundraising is a staff responsibility."

Translation: "I don't know how to make a case for support for our organization."

Board members may have an insider's perspective on your nonprofit, but that doesn't mean they know how to articulate why someone should make a contribution.

The truth: Fundraising is 99% relationship building and 1% "the ask." As ambassadors for your organization, all board members have a role to play in fundraising. As nonprofit leaders, our challenge is to find how Board members can best help cultivate those relationships and give them the resources and support to succeed.


Help support and equip your Board members in their fundraising role.

Click HERE to download your 3 Tactics to Transform Any Board Member Into A Fundraiser, including scripts, worksheets, and action item lists to get your Board "on board" and fundraising fast!