Part II – If Only my Board would Help – Board Bonanza

by Marcy Heim on April 11, 2018

Thinking of buying a Mini SUV? Suddenly you see them everywhere. Getting married? SO many must-haves! Taking up ballroom dancing? Posters for dances suddenly abound.

Believe me–the cars, wedding info and dance clubs have always been there – NOW you notice and perhaps even get a bit overwhelmed! Do you really need a $90 wedding cake server?

Maybe you do. The point is that stuff comes into our universe throughout our lives because something happens that pulls us in. Car breaks, proposal, hot dance partner sighting (just saying).

Your Board can be your biggest PULL to get others to notice you exist, and then want to get to know you better, NOW!

So let’s talk about Boards – Marcy Style – and in 4 Parts.

Today – PART II Board Bonanza – Creating a Joyful Giver

Last time – Building Trust to Begin (See previous blog post-scroll down)

Next Time – Giving their own gift and helping make an Artful Ask

And Finally – The Power of a Genuine Board Thank you and other shows of appreciation

Why do I say Board Bonanza? A bonanza is defined as a situation or event that creates a sudden increase in wealth, good fortune, or profits.

Your board, properly inspired, can create a relationship bonanza for your mission!

Together – development staff and Board members can take these actions to Create Joyful Givers – engagement is a team sport!


Your Board members are concerned (even fearful) about what EXACTLY will happen to someone they suggest get involved. And that fear is real – there are some awful, pushy, salesy, fundraisers out there. Make sure your words reassure them YOU will be thoughtful and not “hit them up for money” on the first visit.

II. Ask this question, “What steps/actions/people/experiences/ information would help deepen the relationship of a prospective giver with us? Reflect. Have a conversation with Board members around what would be meaningful actions for them to take with a prospective giver – or meaningful actions to share with anyone, anytime, anywhere.

III. Next Step – Where are we beginning with this relationship?

  1. Have your prospective major givers even heard of you? (Of course, everyone knows you – you have a website and Facebook page after all) Don’t assume what they know about you. (and that goes for your Board members, too!)
  2. Are these prospective major givers on the fringes, but have never really been fully brought into the inner circle of what you do?
  3. Are they long-time friends but on “auto-relationship” and need to be stirred up?
  4. If you were the person you were going to talk to about your organization, how would you want that experience to feel and be?

IV. Get very CLEAR on “Exactly WHAT, as a Board member, do I DO?”

  1. Help Board members get very clear on WHY they serve. This is NOT the mission statement. In a client board training I did with a school foundation a board member said, “Everyone deserves a good education.” Well, sure. When I pressed her why THIS board (she’d be a bonus on ANY board) she teared-up and shared, “My son’s 4th grade teacher had such an impact on him. It meant the world to me.” That’s what I mean by clarity on your, “why.” Sharing that experience would immediately connect this board member with anyone from a TOTALLY different place than, “Everyone deserves a good education.”
  2. Help Board pick specific actions that fit THEM – their time, personality and skills. (Thankfully, we are all different.)

Here is an excerpt from a worksheet I use with board members. I tailor it for each board to put in specific steps that make sense for the organization I am working with. I always have blank lines for them to add THEIR ideas on what would be meaningful. They come up with GREAT ideas!


V. Share activity at Board meetings.

Make sure each and every board meeting has 20 minutes set aside for Board members to share their interactions on behalf of artful relationship management. We tend to just report NUMBERS…YUCK! It needs to be THEIR show and THEIR stories. It will start slow and can actually grow to be a significant part of the Board member’s excitement for being at the board meeting! Of course, this is all also recorded in your prospect data base.

Your Board – they really can be your BEST partners and development colleagues. Hit reply and let me know how this is working for you, what your biggest challenges are with your board and how I can help!

Invest in JOY®



Marcy Heim is a trusted authority in the development profession and helps organizations and educational institutions boost their major gift programs through artful, long-term relationship building that dramatically increases fundraising success while promoting increased staff job satisfaction. To receive a free chapter from Marcy’s book, Empower Your Board to Serve as Effective Development Ambassadors, click here.

Questions:  Contact KK Konicek at


Leave a Comment

Anti-Spam Quiz:

Previous post:

Next post: