Many charity boards use the saying “give, get or get off” to remind board members that they need to donate a certain minimum and raise a specific amount of money, otherwise they should leave the board. While this might sound harsh, it helps to focus the board on their key mission, which is to ensure that the charity is strong and able to have enough funding, resources and leadership to survive going forward.
I recently joined a charity fundraising committee and had to help find a number of resources including a photographer and a tech partner to supply some card machines so that we could sell raffle tickets. It felt a bit daunting at first but it went well in the end (sadly, the photographer had to cancel at the last second). The experience helped me use my network and connect with a lot of different people, some of whom were acquaintances, but that I am now getting to know better.
Joining a charity board has its benefits, but even if you think that you are not earning enough, can you still serve without hurting your pocketbook. You probably have a lot of useful skills (that you charge for on a regular basis at work) that the charity might need and that would help it to save money or make money. Here are some tips for helping to support your non-profit board.
1. Find out what the fundraising goals are – is it realistic for you?
Before you go out and sign up to sit as a board member for a certain charity that you think you will like, make sure you do your own research. Finding out what their fundraising goals are will help to set your priorities right. This is also one deciding factor whether the organization is right for you and if you are perfect for them as well. Non-profit organizations have a lot of needs so be sure that you can help fill a void, otherwise it might be better to lend your services as a volunteer.
2. Leverage your contacts to help you find funds and resources
It wouldn’t hurt to get a little help from your friends – we have all heard this at some point. Some people will have something that you don’t have. Don’t be afraid to expand your network to help you find funds and resources. Looking at it, this will not just help you financially but it will also promote awareness of your charity’s cause to other people, who may not have heard of your organization. It might also be a good way to connect with friends as research shows that asking people for a favor can help you build trust.
3. Volunteer your skills for free in lieu of payment
Got the skills that you think can help with your charity? Say, your charity will be holding a ball. If you have the flair for floral arrangements, why not offer to do it pro bono instead of hiring a professional and pay them for their services? This will also help your charity to cut costs and save money as well. I wrote the press release for a recent charity event so that we could avoid the cost of a PR agency.
4. Sell, sell, sell – help the charity raise money
Do you need to clean out your closet? Maybe you can sell a few items online to raise money. Try running in a charity race or holding a bake sale. You might also sell items from the charity, such as tickets to an exciting event or fundraising activity.
5. Help bring in new patrons and members
Recruiting new patrons and members can also help contribute with the growth of your organization. New members can fill in the gaps and be able to bring something new to the charity. It will also help to spread the charity’s cause and mission to more people. Help out with the next membership drive or help support an activity that is designed to bring in new people. Focus on areas where you can highlight what you do and how it has a positive impact on your community. Don’t forget to invite people to you charities events.