03 Jan

Boards: You Don't Have to Fundraise

Before starting a fundraising training session that I was leading the other day, a board member lamented how they hated asking people for money. Another said that she wished that fundraising wasn’t a board responsibility.

Both seemed shocked when I told them not to do it. Don’t fundraise.  Everyone looked at me as if I had lost my mind. Wasn’t I there to give training on solicitation?

Every board has a choice. As fiduciaries, board members are responsible for both the expense side and the revenue side of the organization’s budget.

If the revenue in the form of dues, membership dollars, fees for services, rentals or from for-profit ventures can off-set the organization’s costs, then by all means, do not fundraise.

However, once you budget to spend more than you generate from revenue whether to cover costs of services, improve programs, invest in staff or infrastructure, serve more people or expand your reach, the organization must seek philanthropic support and investment. While you can hire excellent development staff, it is legally and ultimately the board’s responsibility as fiduciary to balance the budget.

The good news for boards is that fundraising doesn’t have to be dreadful. My job is so great because I get to teach people how to raise money and actually feel comfortable doing so. Believe it or not, some of the board members I have trained actually start to enjoy solicitation. The how is a story for another blog. For now, trust me that it is possible.

If you want to have some fun and learn how to raise money for your organization, feel free to email me at

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