3 Awesome Reasons Your Board Members and Major Gifts Team Should Be BFFs

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Your board members and major gifts team should be best friends. I’m being serious.

Board members have so much potential outside the conference room. They can do more than just pass budgets and review decisions! Their networks, their advocacy, and their visibility are valuable assets to your major gifts team. Here are three reasons your board members and major gifts staff should team up:

Board members have awesome networks

If you’ve chosen your board members well, they’re a group of well-connected individuals who are active in your community. They have access to a whole network of people you’ve probably never met. How many of those people do you think could be like your board members? Do you think any of them could be interested in the same philanthropic goals as your board?

Hint: the answer is probably “yes.”

What if your board members could introduce your major gifts staff to those people? How could that affect donor prospecting? Would it be helpful for board members to introduce your major gifts team to other likeminded people?

Hint: this time, the answer is definitely “yes.”

Your board members have proven their dedication to your cause. They might be able to introduce you to others who could be equally as dedicated. That’s a win!

Board members provide valuable social proof to major gifts officers

Dopey as the saying is, people are “monkey see, monkey do” creatures. When we see others behaving a certain way, we want to behave the same way. If we’re indecisive about something, we’ll look to see what others are doing. We want to fit in, so we take behavioral clues from the people around us.

This isn’t awesome when we’re talking about, say, littering or stupid trends (like eating tide pods), but it’s wonderful for fundraising!

Your board members offer valuable social proof to your major gifts team. They donate their time and money to your organization, and that’s a powerful “proof point” for prospective donors. If others see that well-respected community members are supporting you, they’ll be more likely to support you, too.

There are a few ways your major gifts team can use this kind of social proof:

  • Include testimonials from your board members (use a picture, too!) on your website and any materials you give to major gifts prospects
  • Ask board members to share their stories at fundraising events like galas, donor appreciation events, or auctions.
  • Train board members on basic major gifts fundraising.

You’ve got tons of other options, but the key is this: explain to your board why major gifts fundraising is important, explain how they can help, and give them the tools to make it happen.

Board members and major gifts staff can tag-team donor meetings

That element of social proof is even more powerful when it’s used in the context of a major donor meeting. If a major gifts officer sets up a meeting with a potential donor, ask a board member to go with them. Their stories, motivations, and experiences will bolster your case for support. Having them around makes an even bigger impact if you’re meeting with someone they introduced to your organization.

It’s time to get your board members and major gifts team on the same page

These two groups of people accomplish so much for your organization. Imagine what they could do if they worked together! Now’s the time to get those two groups working together. Schedule some time to talk about major gifts at your next board meeting – it’ll be the start of a beautiful friendship!

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