Tap Into the Fundraising Potential On Your Board: Raising Engagement and Impact through CSR
Your CSR program needs all the help it can get to be an effective way of giving back to the community. By committing to a CSR program, you are working as a company to be a positive influence in everything you do—from your workers to your environmental practices to your relationships with nonprofit partners doing great work in your area. Thankfully, there is another group you can tap to grow the impact of your CSR program—your board and executive leadership.
For Companies: Tapping Your Board and Executive Leaders for Your CSR Program
Boards have long been a source of fundraising and leadership for your nonprofit partners, but they can also be a good source of engagement for your company. Consider tapping your board of directors to be a part of your CSR efforts—along with your executive leaders, this group is uniquely connected to help make your CSR program even more impactful. Many of these individuals likely serve on the boards of nonprofits themselves and may know about exciting projects happening in your community. They’ll be able to point you towards helpful connections and may even join the company in supporting the causes they care about. Here are a few things to keep in mind when reaching out to your board and executive leaders to support your CSR program.
Educate Them on the Impact
Your board members are busy people. Keep conversations to the point by educating them on the impact your CSR program has had and the potential for a bigger impact if they get involved. Share statistics as well as anecdotal stories to get them on board and help them understand why you’re asking. By giving them straightforward ways they can have a greater impact, you’ll empower them to get excited about your CSR work and ways they can invite others to join.
Create Opportunities for Engagement with Employees
Help your executive leaders use your CSR program as an employee engagement tool. Resources like DonationXchange can help—you can set up volunteer opportunities for employees and invite a member of the executive team along with easy registration in DonationXchange’s Employee Portal. Executives will appreciate the chance to interact with employees in a low-pressure environment, and your team members will be excited to see leaders showing up to help.
You can also run employee giving competitions with in-kind donation drives or holiday fundraisers—your executives can form teams from their departments or challenge others to reach a match goal that they set. Either way, your employees will appreciate that executives are participating and are more likely to join in themselves.
Give Them Resources for Fundraising
Don’t forget to give your board and executive team the resources to fundraise effectively. While they may be excited about joining the work of your CSR program, it’s important that they know how the process works, what kinds of causes your program supports, and what kind of impact you’ve already had. They may even be able to bring other companies in to join your CSR efforts and support the nonprofits you’re already giving to—increasing your impact and building deeper bonds with other companies. This can be a great way to engage suppliers, clients, and other partners in your CSR work and grow your connections to those organizations.
Encourage the Board to Set Ambitious Goals
Make sure your board has something to aim for in their CSR efforts. Encourage the board and executive team to set an ambitious goal for the number of connections built, funds distributed, and partners brought in. By giving a clear goal for your board in your CSR program, you can have a benchmark to measure how things are going as well as create a level of accountability for your leaders on how they can best support you.
Find Out What Causes Your Board Cares About
Beyond giving your board and leadership team the tools they need to fundraise, it’s also important that you understand what motivates the team. Perhaps you have a board member who also serves on the board of a nonprofit or has a personal connection to a cause—leveraging their passion for that area can be a great way to build momentum with your board fundraising for your CSR program as well as deepening your relationships with nonprofit partners.
Mistakes to Avoid When Tapping Your Board for Your CSR Program
While your board of directors and executive team can both be great resources for your CSR program, there are some common mistakes you should avoid. Making sure you have clear guidelines can go a long way to preventing future issues with your board when it comes to your CSR program.
Don’t Let Executives or Board Members Bypass the Normal Process
Your CSR program processes exist for a reason. By having a formal grant or sponsorship application, you streamline the tasks your team needs to complete and help ensure everything is documented and approved appropriately. Make sure your executives and board members understand how the process works and why it matters—that way, they’ll direct possible nonprofit partners to go through the regular process rather than bypassing it.
Your grant and sponsorship application process is one area you can build in automation and other project management tools to make sure that everything is done correctly and can easily be reported on afterward. Tools like DonationXchange allow you to create custom grant and sponsorship application forms, embed them on your website, and track applications through each step of the process. You can even add a field that allows a nonprofit to list who referred them to apply, including a board member’s name.
Unclear Next Steps for Your Board and Nonprofit Partners
Make sure that board members and nonprofit partners understand how the process works. Consider creating a simple graphic that outlines the steps and sharing it both in the online application and with your board members. Then, when they get questions, they’ll be able to intelligently answer any inquiries instead of having to direct all questions to you. This helps them feel more confident and in the loop and can cut down on delays.
Not Asking Your Board Members to Support the Work Themselves
Bring your board members into your CSR work directly, too. You can ask them to help sponsor a company matching challenge with your employees, support a thank you for employees who are volunteering, or find new companies to partner with to expand the impact of your CSR program. Your board members can be an important part of your CSR program and help your organization to have an even greater impact.
Ignoring the Business Case for a Robust CSR Program
Doing good is good business. Companies that engage in consistent CSR build greater customer loyalty, more engaged employees, and deeper relationships with their community. Showcase how your CSR program supports your company’s overall work when you discuss how the board can help. Seeing that a CSR initiative has positive business impacts will help your board members and executive leaders get excited about being a part of things and will grow their level of investment in your work.
For Nonprofits: Tapping into Your Board for Fundraising
Nonprofits can also use their board as effective fundraising tools. Help support your cause with the right board fundraising strategy—you’ll see a serious impact on your corporate and major donor giving.
Board Members Can Influence Their Companies
Many of your board members will be excited to convince their companies to join in their giving. Whether that’s a substantial match, sponsorship of an event, or being a reference on a grant application, your board members will be glad to make a positive impact for your nonprofit. Help them understand ways they can advocate for your cause at their company as well as how to connect their company’s CSR team to your fundraising group.
Give Your Board Members Tools to Fundraise
While your board may be excited about fundraising for your cause, they often don’t have the tools they need to do so effectively. Arm your board with a few key statistics, a meaningful story of impact, and a document or slide deck they can share with others. By making sure they have everything they need to showcase the great work you are doing, you’ll empower them to be your advocate with their colleagues, clients, and friends.
Have Your Board Invite People to Your Next Fundraising Event
When you’re hosting a gala fundraiser, golf outing, or silent auction for your nonprofit, you can find more guests for your nonprofit event by using your board members. Your board can invite clients, colleagues, and personal connections to attend the event and support your cause—those people are more likely to attend when asked by someone they know, and you’ll expand your network of people who can help fund your work. Consider giving board members language or a special link to encourage people to sign up and make sure to give them plenty of notice about your upcoming fundraising events.
Use Your Board to Find Unique Silent Auction Items
Your board members can also help you find great silent auction items for your nonprofit silent auction fundraising event. Personal connections of theirs can help you find unique, behind-the-scenes experiences. Your board members may have a box for the local sports team or know a chef at a well-known local restaurant—give them some examples like these of special experiences that would surprise and delight your silent auction guests and see what they come up with.
When putting together a silent auction with great items from your board members, make sure that your guests have a seamless, enjoyable experience when bidding! Tools like iBid can help you organize your nonprofit silent auction while allowing your guests to use mobile bidding to track items on their smartphones while enjoying your event. Make sure you have the right tools in place like iBid to make your silent auction a success—and show your board members how much you appreciate the work they did to find you special auction items.
Top Leaders Can Have Top Levels of Impact
An engaged and effective board of directors, as well as a committed executive team, can make all the difference for your CSR program. You can grow the impact of your work quickly and effectively while also making sure that your employees and community see the level of investment your leaders have. Get started today?
Need support with your CSR program? DonationXchange can help automate processes, manage applications and approvals, and provide turnkey employee engagement options. Schedule a free demo today!
Looking for the right silent auction mobile bidding software? Make sure to schedule a demo of iBid today—with robust capabilities, custom branding, and easy mobile bidding software, iBid can make your next silent auction event a success! Schedule a free demo now!
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