From The Nonprofiteer, reflecting on the common complaint among non-profit managers that “the Board won’t fundraise”:
You can ask Board members to look at a list of your current donors and identify the people they know and whom they’d be willing to call on in your company to ask for a bigger gift. You can ask them to come to the next Board meeting armed with the names of two people to be added to your list of fundraising prospects. You can invite them to join you in calling on the program officer at your most significant foundation donor, where their very presence will illustrate Board support and involvement. You can ask them to help plan a benefit event to raise X while spending no more than Y and targeting Z audience.
What you can’t do is say, “Raise some money!” and walk away, though that’s certainly every staff member’s fantasy. Lest we forget, Board members are volunteers — and volunteers can move mountains, provided there’s a staff member around with a supply of scaffolding, tools, wheelbarrows, safety glasses and maps to the new location. There’s a tendency among harried development staff to disdain Board members’ need for support. But you’re not really authorized to critique the fundraising incompetence of your doctor and lawyer Board members until you can remove an appendix or argue a Supreme Court case without their assistance. It’s their volunteer gig, but it’s your job, so the responsibility rests with you.