One of the most challenging problems that comes up for many fundraising campaigns is just how to approach board members about their own financial support of the charity. Looking at it from another perspective, there can also be feelings of frustration for board members who want to contribute, but because of their birds-eye view of the charity, they're not always sure of how or when to help.
As part of my weekly research, I subscribe to a free service calledMovie Mondays and receive a 5-10 minute video on some aspect of fundraising - often there are great tips and ideas on working with boards both from volunteer members and fundraisers.
Yesterday, I received a video featuring a board member speaking about what motivated her to become a major gift donor and create a legacy gift for the charity that she volunteers with.
The key points? She was treated like a major gift prospect - a very personal approach was taken by representatives from the charity and it helped her and her spouse to better understand specifically how they could help. Their satisfaction with their experience as philanthropists and partners was a strong driving factor in their consideration of a legacy gift for the charity. Her own commitments helped her develop as an advocate in encouraging others to follow suit.
Interestingly, while this donor is aware of potential tax savings that come into play with giving, her testimonial is a great reminder about how it's passion and connection that are the main drivers, not technical tax planning!
(I know, I know, this seems obvious, but 90% of the gift planning marketing material I see is still mostly about rattling off a list of tax incentives!)
Listen carefully to what this donor has to say right around minute 2:45 about the transformational power of her gift - it's what we all hope to experience as donors and hear as fundraisers...
By recognizing that the "ask" cannot happen at the board meetings or by "osmosis" alone and instead, by creating an opportunity to treat this board member like a major gift prospect and make a targeted and personal ask, the charity was able to secure a much larger commitment than they might have expected.
Don't assume that a volunteer necessarily understands where their contributions can have the greatest impact!
If you are on a board and feel driven to do more through your giving, invite representatives from the charity to consider making a proposal and presenting it to you privately. Challenge them to look for an opportunity that matches your interests with an integral part of their mission.
Thank you to Christopher Davenport at Movie Mondays for permission to share this video! For more, head on over to his site and sign up for your free subscription.