Ways to inspire board members to be mission ambassadors

“How can I better inspire my board members to promote our story to others?” is a question I hear frequently from organizational leaders, especially as the holiday giving season nears. Leaders recognize the importance of board members’ personal financial contributions during this time, but their ability to share the organization’s messages with others capable of giving is significant too. A board member’s evangelism could push an organization over the top of its annual fundraising goal.

So before the final board meeting of the year, try these tips to educate and inspire your board members to become better mission ambassadors this holiday:

Education and expectations

If you want to inspire someone to do anything, you must first make sure they have a basic understanding of a challenge or situation and the results if it is solved or changed. With that in mind, it’s surprising that when year-end approaches, many board members have little idea of where the organization’s fundraising efforts are projected in relation to its annual goal. Furthermore, they don’t know how the yearly fundraising success can impact the organization’s mission. As a nonprofit leader, it’s important to be prepared to educate board members about their responsibility to contribute financially, the implications facing the organization if financial goals are or are not achieved and ways their gifts and outreach to others will create a direct impact.

Education on fundraising outreach is important as well. Most board members are not accustomed to asking for money, so resources and training are valuable. You might provide an outline that guides them on techniques to make the “ask” and encourage members to role play with each other, so they feel confident in their pursuits.

Help them stay on brand

Brand messaging is important any time of year in communications to stakeholders, but at the end of the year giving time, brand authenticity can make people act. By staying on brand, there’s a much higher chance to evoke emotions among existing donors in your communications because they are familiar with your message and mission. For communications to new friends, being on brand creates a consistent experience across touchpoints and reduces feelings of confusion that might discourage further consideration.

So, as board members reach out to family members, friends and colleagues, providing them with brand elements like key talking points, donor brochures and other communications like the latest annual report or newsletter are essential for their success.

Don’t forget social media

There’s a good chance that about 50% of your board members don’t use social media platforms frequently. However, that shouldn’t mean that you ignore the other 50% that do. For those members, you have an opportunity to provide them with social assets that tell your organization’s stories and impact.

For the holiday season, create a social media toolkit for board members that includes client stories, key messaging, videos and images as well as general branding graphics that they can use for their member profiles (profile image and cover photo). By presenting these assets, your social-savvy board members will have tools to build awareness of your mission, either independently or along with their testimony of the organization’s influence on them. Social media is a very powerful tool for peer-to-peer influence.

Recognize board members

Board members make a profound impact on any organization. It’s important to recognize that throughout the year, but especially during the holiday giving season. As you ask board members to evangelize your mission during the season, don’t forget to tell their stories and share an appreciation for their voluntary contributions. A simple thank you in the public square goes a long way.