PMA Consulting, LLC

Seven Resource Development Roles for a Nonprofit Board

In a time of increased need, most nonprofits look to their boards for fundraising leadership and direction. But for some board members, the notion of being asked to solicit for funding causes panic. Not everyone is born to ask for money, but there are ways a board member can contribute to the fundraising effort without having to engage in the dreaded “ask.” Below are seven resource development roles that are equally critical to securing contributed income:

1. Planner: Help develop the organization’s infrastructure to ensure fundraising success
Evaluating an organization’s readiness and infrastructure for fundraising activities is an essential foundation for all successful development efforts. Careful, comprehensive planning can save considerable time and increase cost-effectiveness.

2. Facilitator: Find a way to contribute your talents
Board members can demonstrate a public commitment to generating contributed income in many ways: serve on the development committee, regularly attend fundraising events, meet with donors and donor prospects, speak with the public, review prospect lists with staff, secure in-kind services… even just their presence in the room can aid the cause.

3. Manager: Review fundraising roles, budgets, materials and messages
Board members have unique insights and perspectives on fundraising messaging which are very useful. Clear messages, solid impact and materials that effectively demonstrate the value of the organization to the community are required.

4. Advocate: Tell the organization’s compelling story
Volunteers should join the board because they care about its mission. Communicating that to others is critically important. It is necessary for the board and staff to communicate openly and honestly and maintain a positive outlook. Take the initiative to understand the case for support, and then make the effort to expand the organization’s influence and exposure throughout the community.

5. Donor: Set an example by giving
It is encouraging to other donors to see 100% participation by the board, who are demonstrating their faith, confidence and enthusiasm for the mission. The community will interpret those board-level gifts as an indication of how much the organization really matters to you. If your own gifts do not speak to your commitment, it will be hard to convince prospective donors to give generously.

6. Recruiter: Bring others to the table
The old adage that “people give to people” is true. Cultivation is at the beginning of the development cycle. Donors will want to hear from board members directly. Securing donors as long-term investors to the health and success of the organization requires an investment of sufficient energy into cultivation of prospective donors.

7. Steward: Ensure the organization responds to community needs
The board must continually take a big-picture and long-term view of the organization. Ethical stewardship means honoring the duties owed to all stakeholders in the pursuit of long-term goals. Asking the tough questions ensures that issues the public may ask about sustainability and future direction can be fully detailed and explained.