Board engagement: A check list

Arts Boards are responsible for setting an organisation up for success. They are responsible for governance and financial oversight, they set the strategic direction for the organisation and they hire the organisation’s key leadership. A Board’s role in fundraising can also be a very powerful. It’s much easier to raise money from the private sector if the Board is behind you, and even better if they are actively involved.

Below is a checklist of things you can do and things your Board can do that will help set you up for fundraising success.

What you can do:

  • Provide your Board with specific organisational goals that could be achieved with sponsorship or donations
  • Share your fundraising plan, development strategies and fundraising targets with your Board
  • Share your case for support and encourage Board members to use it
  • Provide regular updates on fundraising activity, prospects, achievements, and challenges
  • Meet regularly with individual Board members to more easily identify how they can help
  • Invite Board members to join you at sponsor and donor meetings
  • Fully explain the rationale behind your approach to potential sponsors, as this will make them more willing to open doors for you
  • De-brief with Board members after meetings and functions, to ensure best practice stewardship and stay up to date on prospects
  • Provide support material
  • Offer training in fundraising
  • Outline the organisation’s expectations before appointing Board members to make it clear what is expected.

What your Board can do:

  • Get to know and understand the organisation’s fundraising plan, development strategies and case for support
  • Be advocates for the organisation at all times
  • Lead by example, ideally through giving or sponsoring
  • Have a list of specific needs of the organisation and know how much is required to achieve them
  • Provide general support and advice to development staff
  • Tip off development staff on new opportunities that come to light
  • Discuss development as a standing item at Board meetings
  • Ensure the development team has adequate resources and support
  • Identify prospects and make introductions
  • Host sponsors, donors, and prospects
  • Attend sponsorship and donor meetings with staff
  • Connect to a senior executive of a sponsor organisation to form parallel lines of communication
  • Do some training in fundraising
  • Set up a sub-committee of the Board to assist development staff
  • Ask people and businesses to support the organisation
  • Steward supporters and say personally extend your thanks for their support