This piece originally appeared on LinkedIn.
Mark your calendars: November 28 is #GivingTuesday, a nationwide online campaign the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, when nonprofits solicit donations to kick off the holiday charitable giving season. Many nonprofits are wondering how they can get their boards of directors off the sidelines and involved in the fundraising process.
The best organizations know how to get their boards to raise money for them. This is an important morale booster for leaders, who feel more supported by their boards, as well as a major source of financial support for their organizations. But data shows that getting boards involved in fundraising is hard. In my survey of over 250 nonprofit social entrepreneurs around the country, only 15 percent reported their boards were involved in fundraising, with 66 percent saying they wished their board would help more on fundraising. This is a huge disconnect.
The #GivingTuesday campaign is a great way to kickstart your board’s participation in fundraising by giving them some easy and tangible ways to support your efforts. Here are five ideas for how to get your board to step up on #GivingTuesday:
1.Set a #GivingTuesday goal with your board. If you want your board to help raise money on #GivingTuesday, you have to be clear about your expectations. Engaging your board in the goal-setting process gets their buy-in early and sets realistic expectations about what you expect from each board member. The goal may be monetary, it could new donors, or it could simply be 100% board participation. What’s key is that your goal is specific and in writing.
2.Ask your board to match #GivingTuesday gifts for new donors. One easy way to get your board members involved is to ask them to match any new donations that come in on #GivingTuesday. This not only incentivizes new donors to support to your cause, it also increases the amount you raise, a win-win. Create buzz about the matching gift by announcing it a week before the campaign and get your board members involved in spreading the word.
3.Give board members fundraising tools. Even if board members know what the expectation is, they may not have the tools they need to meet that goal. It’s important to support your board throughout the #GivingTuesday campaign, such as by providing sample tweets, a template email ask that they can personalize and send to their networks, as well as some prompts for in-person conversations.
4.Get creative on social media. Think about ways that you can make things fun to get the most out of the campaign. For example, have each of your board members share a photo of themselves with a placard saying “I give because…” with the hashtag #GivingTuesday. Or have them make a quick video on their phones about why they got involved with your cause. These can be tools not only for your board members to share with their own online communities, but as an organization it can also be a great way to show your audience that your board is supportive.
5.Keep a Progress Meter. It’s important that you keep tabs on your board members leading up to #GivingTuesday as well as on the day of so that you can make sure they are on track to meet their goal. Creating a Thunderclap or a Fundly campaign is an easy way to allow everyone to track progress online, or you can just update them manually by email. You can even spice things up by creating a little competition amongst board members to see who is ahead, and call out big wins such as major gifts that come in throughout the campaign.
Helping your board to participate in #GivingTuesday isn’t just about increasing board participation in your holiday fundraising efforts, although that is an important byproduct. It’s about providing a vehicle that will help engage the board in an easy way, which will fuel a culture of fundraising on the board to support the organization for years to come. So make sure that your board doesn’t sit on the sidelines on November 28th. Help them help you reach your #GivingTuesday goals!