Three ways your board can support your next fundraising event

Getting your board to help support your fundraising efforts isn’t always an easy task. Especially when it comes to your fundraising events. Often times both staff and board members aren’t always clear about what the board should be doing or better yet what they could be doing to make the night successful.

If you’re looking for ways to get your board involved in your event outside of the decoration committee (or the all to common critique the event committee) then read on!

Here are the top three ways your board can support your fundraising event before during and after your event.

Before the event

Before guests even arrive at your event there are many ways your board members can help your organization set the stage for success. The most important thing they can do is commit to giving a meaningful gift at the event. If it’s not already a part of your yearly board commitment /pledge to discuss how they will financially support the organization then be sure to include this as part of the larger conversation (want tips on how to approach this? Reach out). For many groups, their gala or auction is the #1 way they raise money and having a strong showing from the board on the night of is important and vital to the overall success of the night.

Give your board members a range of options such as:

  • Purchasing a table and committing to bringing other donors who are capable and eager to give generously at the event.

  • If they cannot purchase a table, ask if they would be willing to sell 8-10 tickets to fill a table of friends and colleagues who would love to attend this event and give generously.

  • If they can’t sell 8-10 tickets ask if they would be willing to bring 1-2 couples who are like minded who they believe would be excited to support your organization.

  • If possible all board members should commit to giving a gift at your appeal at a level that is meaningful to them.

  • No matter what it’s important that every board member finds a way to give at the event.

Tip: Many groups find success with leveraging their board giving at the event through challenge matches at their moment of giving. Reach out to learn ways of using board giving strategically at your event.

Bonus Tip: Make it easy for your board to help prepare their guests to give big at the event. Prepare live auction and event previews for them to share with guests, send inspiring mission moments and stories to them to share with their guests, and ensure that the board meeting right before your event is full of inspiring data to arm your board members up with talking points, stories of impact, and a high-level vision of what’s to come to keep your guests excited about their impact.

During the event

Your board is your cheer squad, your ambassadors, your champions. Let them shine at your event. Have visible name tags for them that let others know they are on your board. Give them a meaningful role on the night of your event and make it easy and fun for them to connect with your community. If your board member is hosting a table then their job is to take care of their table guests and ensure their guests understand your work, get them acclimated to the event space, guide them to the revenue streams, get them drinks, talk up the live auction items if you have an auction, and ensure they have a great time. They are the hosts of the party.

If they are not hosting a table assign each board member beforehand 3-5 major donors or sponsors you want them to personally reach out to at the event. And encourage all board members to reach out and engage guests who look like they are not engaged, standing alone, or looking to connect but not finding easy ways to connect with others. Want simple questions to give your board members to help them do this? Reach out!

Tip: To help prep your board members create a handout for them that has photos of the guests you want them to connect with, and also provide an overview of the donor’s connection to the organization, and a few points of conversation to help them get things started. Anything you can do to help boost their confidence and break the ice will make it more likely that they engage with as many guests as possible.

Bonus Tip: Speaking of cheering, make sure every board member (and staff member) is out in the audience being the most vocal supporters. Applauding when it’s appropriate, being quiet when it’s important to do so. Cheering on live auction donors, and giving gratitude to donors at the appeal. They are the audience leaders and help to set the tone in the room.

After the event

A great way to engage your board and give them a fun task for after your event is to have them call and thank donors for the gifts they made at the event. It’s a wonderful way for them to get to know your donors and donors love receiving these calls. Most of the time board members leave messages, but other times great conversations ensue, and opportunities for further relationship building manifest. It’s the best use of board time after your event. Research shows that donors who received a thank you call from a board member within 24 hours gave 39% more the next time they were solicited, as opposed to donors who did not receive a call. Fourteen months later, that same group of call recipients gave 42% more. Want tips on what donors to call after your event? Better yet want tips on how to prepare your board for even more fun and successful calls? Reach out and let’s develop a plan.

Tip: Prepare a google or other shared online spreadsheet to have the board work off of and also leave notes for you on how the calls went.

If you would like more ideas on how to get your board involved in creating your best event yet, reach out today!

*Research conducted by Penelope Burk, author of Donor-Centered Fundraising