A Crazy Simple Trick to Help Your Board Members Fundraise

by Seth Rosen

Here’s a nifty tool that was game changing for us. Let’s just say if you do this, I can guarantee that success will be in the cards for you and your Board.

I’m going to assume your board members fundraise. Or at least they mean well and want to fundraise. If that’s not the case, read Joan’s post about how to convince your board to fundraise.

But let’s assume that is the case. That doesn’t mean it’s easy for them. After all, they don’t work for your organization full time. They’re not in the weeds so to speak.

Sure, they care about the mission. They attend periodic board meetings. They read your board packets.

They even make a point to visit the office to meet clients and absorb the culture.

But they don’t live it day-by-day, moment-by-moment.

Usually, they have a real job that takes up much of their time. Most of the rest is devoted to family, hobbies, Netflix binges.

Life is busy. Board members have thousands of things to think about besides raising money for the nonprofit.

But when it comes time to asking for a donation, it’s a big disadvantage if you can’t remember the pillars of your fundraising campaign, or key stats about your organization.

So what is a well-meaning board member to do?

As usual, I have a trick up my sleeve. Here’s what I do…

Earlier in my career I was the Director of Major Gifts at Amnesty International USA. We were fundraising for a special multimillion-dollar programmatic campaign. As with all good campaigns the money raised was going to meet specific needs and the case statement did a great job laying everything out.

It was good stuff. But there was just no way board members (or volunteers for that matter) were going to be able to remember much of it.

So I worked with a fantastic consultant from CCS, Arin Frome Gornstein, to come up with a nifty tool that was game changing for us.

I think it’s going to make you, and your board, very happy.

Let’s just say if you do this, I can guarantee that success will be in the cards for you and your Board.


Board members get asked questions all the time and it’s important to be ready to capitalize on an encounter with any prospect.

Ideally, board members could just carry around a packet with all the information they need (anyone want to build a mobile app for this?)

But of course, it’s impossible for board members to carry a case statement (or even a single sheet of paper) around with them at all times with information about the organization.

Could there be something that can work? There is. It’s something that almost everyone carries either in a pocket or a purse.

A wallet.

And what do most people carry in a wallet?


With this in mind, Arin and I came up with the idea of helping key volunteers and board members fundraise by giving them a card that could be kept in a wallet with key information about the organization.

Here’s how it works.


On this side of the card, list the key programs of your organization.

For example, an organization that works with homeless individuals could list its programs and the number of people served. The list could look something like this:

  • Emergency Housing (100 people helped per month)
  • Food Pantry (250 meals distributed per month)
  • Job Training (1,000 people placed each year)
  • Connection to Health Care (200 people referred each week)

The card serves as a quick reminder for a board member about an organization’s key programs and a demonstration of impact.


This side of the card reminds board members of the specific ways a prospect can be helpful to an organization.

Continuing with an example of a homeless organization the card could list:

  • Making an online gift (include the organization’s website URL)
  • Joining the organization’s major donor giving circle (list the minimum gift)
  • Becoming a monthly sustaining donor
  • Attending an event
  • Volunteering at the organization
  • Donating goods or services

At the bottom, I usually add a reminder such as, “Don’t forget to ask for contact info to follow-up!”

The cards can easily be customized. For example, if you are in a campaign, one side of the card can focus on the pillars of the campaign as we did at Amnesty.

Designing the cards is easy, and business cards are very cheap to print. Since the expense to create the cards is so low they can be updated every six months so that all the facts and figures are up to date.

I would love to hear about any other inexpensive tools you use to help key volunteers and board members fundraise. Please post your ideas and successes in the comments so we can all learn from each other.

4 thoughts on “A Crazy Simple Trick to Help Your Board Members Fundraise”

  1. I love this idea! I have also done something that cost zero dollars and seemed to work well. For my volunteers, I basically listed everything out, as you suggested, took a picture of it (it ended up being two pictures), and texted it to my group. Everyone appreciated having the information at their fingertips. Although, as always, there were a couple who wanted five sheets of paper mailed to their house :). But, for the most part, it was very helpful.

  2. Brenda, that is such a great idea and I love that it costs nothing to do! Thank you so much for sharing this.

  3. Someone from Board Dource recently shared this conversation with a couple of our board members during training. Went something like this:
    Raise your hand if you have been to a really good movie lately.
    Now keep your hand raised if you told someone about how great it was.
    Finally, keep your hand up if you know someone went to see the movie because you suggested it.
    You have just raised money for Hollywood. Why do the same for your organization, it is no more difficult than what you have already done for the movie industry.

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