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Engaging for Impact: Strategies to Boost Nonprofit Board Engagement

Discover effective tips and strategies to boost nonprofit board engagement and maximize impact in our latest blog post!

Published on

May 13, 2024

Written by

Fox Advancement

Over time, many leaders of nonprofit organizations we've collaborated with have expressed concerns about their boards not being fully engaged. This sentiment was echoed in an insightful article published by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, “A Really Tough Job: Nonprofit Leaders Work to Make Their Roles More Manageable”. According to their insights:

Engaging the board of directors in a nonprofit is crucial for maintaining effective governance and achieving organizational goals. Here are several strategies that a CEO can use to ensure that their board members are engaged and actively contributing to the organization:

Clear CommunicationClear Communication

Regular and clear communication is vital. This includes updates on organizational progress, challenges, and changes. Communication should be transparent and involve both formal meetings and informal updates.

Strategic InvolvementStrategic Involvement

Involve board members in strategic planning and important decision-making processes. This helps board members feel responsible for the organization's direction and success.

Defined RolesDefined Roles and Expectations

Clearly define the roles, responsibilities, and expectations of board members. This can include their involvement in committees, fundraising efforts, and other organizational activities.

Orientation and TrainingOrientation and Training

Provide new board members with a comprehensive orientation and offer ongoing training to all members to help them understand their roles better and stay updated on governance best practices and sector-specific challenges.

Regular MeetingsRegular Meetings

Schedule regular and well-structured board meetings. Ensure these meetings have clear agendas and materials are sent in advance to allow board members to prepare and participate effectively.

Special CommitteesEngagement in Special Committees

Encourage board members to serve on committees where they can use their specific skills and interests. This not only helps the organization but also keeps the board members motivated and engaged.

Feedback and EvaluationFeedback and Evaluation

Implement a system for feedback where board members can voice their opinions about the organization's direction and their own roles. Regular performance evaluations of the board, individual members, and the CEO can also foster a culture of continuous improvement.

Recognition and AppreciationRecognition and Appreciation

Recognize the contributions of board members publicly and privately. Appreciation can go a long way in keeping board members motivated and committed to the organization.

Networking and Social OpportunitiesNetworking and Social Opportunities

Provide opportunities for board members to network with each other and with other stakeholders in less formal settings. This can strengthen relationships and improve teamwork.

Impact ReportingImpact Reporting

Regularly report on the impact of the organization's work. Showing board members the tangible results of their contributions can reinforce their commitment and passion for the cause.

Implementing these strategies can help a CEO maintain an engaged, effective, and committed board, which is essential for the health and success of any nonprofit organization. 

Regarding fundraising, another set of strategies can be useful to keep board members engaged and support their fundraising efforts. Though non-profit staff may be well-versed in non-profit operations, management, and fundraising, board members are likely less so–consider it outside of their wheelhouse. Think about the first few times that you made an “ask”. For many of us, it wasn’t easy!

Your board members are inherently passionate about your organization's mission, vision, and impact, making them natural promoters of your work. They possess valuable networks and resources that can significantly boost your fundraising efforts. However, it’s important to provide them with the necessary structure and tools to ensure their success. We’ve put together a list of 10 Tips for Engaging Your Nonprofit Board in Fundraising

Education and TrainingEducation and Training: Provide training to board members on the basics of fundraising and their role in the process. This can include understanding the organization's funding needs, the fundamentals of making an "ask," and ways to leverage their personal and professional networks.

Clear ExpectationsSet Clear Expectations: Clearly define what is expected of each board member in terms of fundraising. This might include personal contributions, obtaining a certain amount of donations, or securing sponsorships and grants.

Personalized RolesPersonalize Roles Based on Strengths: Tailor fundraising roles to fit individual board members' strengths and interests. Some may be great at networking and can introduce new donors, while others might excel in writing grant proposals or organizing fundraising events.

Engagement in PlanningEngagement in Planning: Involve board members in planning fundraising strategies and campaigns. Their input can provide valuable insights and make them feel more connected to the fundraising efforts.

Fundraising Committee
Create Fundraising Committees: Establish a fundraising committee within the board to focus on specific tasks. This committee can lead initiatives, track progress, and keep other board members engaged and informed.

Goals and ProgressSet Goals and Monitor Progress: Establish clear fundraising goals and regularly monitor and report on progress. This helps maintain momentum and keeps the board members accountable and motivated.


Tools and ResourcesProvide Tools and Resources: Equip board members with the necessary tools and resources to succeed in their fundraising efforts. This could include donor lists, templates for solicitation letters, and marketing materials.

Recognize and Reward
Recognize and Reward Efforts: Acknowledge the hard work that board members put into fundraising. Recognition can be as simple as thanking them during meetings or as public as featuring them in newsletters or on social media.

Lead by example
Lead by Example: Encourage the board chair and other key leaders to lead by example. When board members see their peers actively participating in fundraising, they are more likely to engage themselves.

PhilanthropyFoster a Culture of Philanthropy: Cultivate a board culture that values and prioritizes fundraising. Regular discussions about the impact of fundraising on the organization’s mission can inspire board members to commit more fully to the cause.

By implementing these tips, you can effectively engage your board members in the fundraising process, enhancing their commitment to the organization and increasing the overall fundraising success. Their success contributes directly to your success—support them to ensure collective progress.

Human capital is crucial in managing nonprofits. For more on leveraging human resources within and beyond your organization, read our blog post, "Beyond the Numbers: The Human Element in Capital Campaign Implementation".

Ready to enhance your board's engagement and master the many facets of effective fundraising? Contact Fox Advancement today and explore how our expert capital campaign consulting can drive your organization's success. Board engagement is just one piece of the puzzle—let us help you put it all together. Reach out now to get started and achieve remarkable results together!

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