Encouraging Board Members to Fundraise

“Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. And be careful that when you get on each other’s nerves you don’t snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out” (1 Thessalonians 5:13-15, MSG). 

You might be an energetic executive director or a dedicated board member, but you’re discouraged because not many people in your ministry are trying to raise money. Even worse, maybe you’re annoyed that some board members don’t even give. If you feel this way, you are not alone. Askers always struggle to motivate non-askers to participate in fundraising. Before you write your resignation letter, consider these words from the apostle Paul:

1. Warn the freeloaders to get a move on! “Obit” board members are motivated by the “praise of men” and only serve organizations to build their obituary resumes. Effective board members are moved by the ministry’s mission and vision and do whatever it takes to advance the cause. Boards who have members who don’t “give or get” face some difficult decisions and must have kind, but firm conversations.

2. Gently encourage the stragglers. Some board members have trouble following through with fundraising responsibilities. People have a thousand things to do, and there aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done. Tasks like setting up a major-donor call tend to fall to the bottom of the to-do list. Come alongside your busy board members and encourage them to keep moving forward with your fundraising plan.

3. Reach out for the exhausted. Don was the rare board member who jumped into a capital campaign with both feet. As he made donor calls, he discovered that many of his contacts weren’t as excited about the campaign as he was. With some encouragement, Don kept pitching. At the end of the campaign, he had raised three times more than anyone else on the committee. Reach out to exhausted board members and pull them to their feet.

4. Be patient with each person. As gift income rises, so does everyone’s mood, but when donations go down, attitudes often follow. The executive director looks at the board and wonders why they aren’t helping. The board looks at the executive director and wonders why he or she doesn’t get out and call on major donors. Take this verse to heart, “And be careful that when you get on each other’s nerves you don’t snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.”

Response: Father, please forgive me. I’ve been impatient with some of my board members. Help me understand their individual perspectives and do my best to help them and us be successful.

Think About This: Ask a board member to introduce you to his or her friend this week. Take them with you and mutually encourage one another as you tell your ministry story!

Have a Spirit-led fundraising week,


Ron Haas has served the Lord as a pastor, the vice president of advancement of a Bible college, a Christian foundation director, a board member and a fundraising consultant. He’s authored two books: Ask for a Fish – Bold Faith-Based Fundraising and Simply Share – Bold, Grace-Based Giving. He regularly presents fundraising workshops at ministry conferences and has written fundraising articles for At the Center magazine and Christian Leadership Alliance’s Outcomes magazine.

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