[Strategies for Success - Smart fundraising ideas from Hartsook]

May 23, 2017

Preparing the Way for New Board Members


Individuals should join a nonprofit board for the right reasons, and not simply because a friend or colleague suggested it or because it sounded interesting.  Having the wrong people on a board can be unhealthy for an organization and, ultimately, lead to bigger problems down the road.

Prior to joining a board, individuals be given a baseline assessment of the organization from top to bottom. Once they have joined, help board members continue to understand the organization's leadership, staff and structure at a deeper level.

Here are tips for developing a healthy board member-nonprofit relationship:

Define the organization and know its innerworkings.
Make sure board members ask the right questions and receive clear and complete answers: How long has this organization been around? What does it do for the community? What is its reputation? What kind of fundraising reputation does it have? How are its leaders regarded in the community? Do not assume that board members will arrive with this information or even understand the nonprofit's mission and vision as well as they should.

Understand the personalities.
What is the relationship of the board and the administration? What is the relationship of the president and the board chair? What is the relationship of the president and the development staff? What is the development staff's relationship with the other departments in the organization? Knowing these dynamics will give board members a greater sense of confidence that they are part of a team.

Work together to achieve success.
Create a positive and successful working relationship between a new board member, the organization's leadership, other board members and development staff. Provide board training and be open to receiving professional counsel on visioning and strategic planning.

Once these critical aspects of the organization are addressed, board members will be more engaged and willing to serve pro-actively. This will, in turn, make them more productive and effective board members to help lead the organization.

John Warren, Executive Vice President (Winchester, Va.) [email protected]


logoJoin Us on the Growing Philanthropy Tour

Next stops on the road to achieving Hartsook's mission of growing philanthropy by 25 percent in the next 20 years:

May 23-24, 2017

Third Sector's Annual Fundraising Conference
Thinking Outside the Box: Everything You Wanted to Know about Donor Behaviour
Adrian Sargeant

May 24-26, 2017

Boy Scouts of America
2017 National Annual Meeting

June 9, 2017

AFP Houston Chapter
Adrian Sargeant

Northampton, U.K.
June 12-13, 2017

IDPE 2017 Annual Conference
Jen Shang

New Orleans
June 15, 2017

New Orleans Association of Fundraising Professionals Conference
Adrian Sargeant

Bangkok, Thailand
June 26-28, 2017

IFC Asia International Fundraising Congress
Jen Shang

July 4, 2017

IoF Fundraising Convention 2017
Great Fundraising Events
Adrian Sargeant

Richmond, Va.
July 19-20, 2017

Virginia Fund Raising Institute
Innovating Philanthropy
Karin Cox
John Warren
Presenting Sponsor: Hartsook

August 2, 2017

Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits
Massive Fundraising
Adrian Sargeant

New Orleans
August 24-26, 2017

Top Hands
Boy Scouts of America
Matthew J. Beem
Ross Pfannenstiel

Oklahoma City
August 2017

Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits
Relationship Building: Where Do We Go From Here?
Adrian Sargeant

Rogers, Ark.
September 20, 2017

AFP of Northwest Arkansas
Matthew J. Beem

September 21-22, 2017

Blackbaud Executive Summit, University of London
Adrian Sargeant

Las Vegas
September 26-28, 2017

14th Annual Association of Donor Relations Professionals International Conference
Adrian Sargeant

Scotland, U.K.
October 23-25, 2017

Alan Clayton Associates
Great Fundraising Masterclass
Adrian Sargeant

Scotland, U.K.
February 7-9, 2018

Alan Clayton Associates
Great Fundraising Masterclass

Past Stops on the Tour

Resources for Smart Fundraising Available on Kindle

Keep up to date on the latest fundraising trends with the Kindle ASR Media collection:

imageBook Deal of the Month

Fundraising Leadership: The Essential Guide for Nonprofit Board Members Who Want to Make a Lasting Difference (ASR Media) - an exciting book by Karin L. Cox - is the definitive source for empowering board members to become pro-active fundraising leaders. Click here for a special price of $10 (plus shipping and handling).

On the Web


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Strategies for Success explores smart ideas, connecting with thousands of fundraising professionals. We welcome your best practices contributions or comments. Send to Strategies for Success editor Karin Cox, [email protected]. If you'd like a free subscription to Strategies for Success or its monthly companion, eHartsook on Philanthropy, contact [email protected].

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