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December 14, 2020

Boosting Donor & Funder Relationships

Fundraising is the noble act of inviting someone to act on his or her values.

Donating to a nonprofit gives people a chance to be involved in a cause they care about. Who better to extend an invitation than members of an organization's board of directors? The good news is that you are already an expert: you build relationships in the course of your work and life every day. Apply these practices to your role as a board member, and you’ll be on your way to helping grow funding for your nonprofit.

Relationships with Individuals

What is more meaningful than inviting others to share in something you care about?

Expose others to your nonprofit. Succinctly sum up why YOU care. Tell stories and post often.

Invite those who reflect your passion to join you in giving. This will be a natural extension of the conversation.

Listen for openness and curiosity. If you sense interest, ask questions, listen, and offer more information.

Express gratitude and make donors feel appreciated. Send notes, make calls, and foster connection.

Tell others how it made you feel to donate. Describe how your gift was used. Plant a positive seed.

Repeat these steps again and again. We think you'll find that it's a rewarding cycle!

Relationships with Funders

Board members can help secure a stronger stream of grant funding over time by taking steps to foster and maintain relationships with foundation staff and trustees.

You may hold valuable relationships and networks that can help open doors to new funding. Share your key contacts
with development staff. Offer to review foundation leadership lists to identify familiar names.

Funders want to see an engaged board. You can represent your nonprofit in key interactions by placing an introductory phone call to a foundation, being part of a site visit, and making conversation with funders at community events.

Encourage fellow board members to play a role in the grants process. Share stories about interactions with funders,
encourage staff to give updates, and spark discussions about the ways board members can assist with grant seeking.

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