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Managing your board: Stepping up endowment fundraising in a challenging economy

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It’s difficult enough to engage board members in fundraising activities when the economy is strong, let alone when the economy is shaky. But a challenging financial environment is no time to ease up on managing your board of directors. As 2023 gets rolling, consider getting started right away on steps that may help increase board engagement with fundraising and especially endowment fundraising.

Set the tone early

Make sure that your first board meeting of the year includes a segment on fundraising and the status of your endowment, even if your endowment has taken a hit in the rollercoaster stock market. Most endowment funds are down, and it’s much better to be up front with the information than to sweep it under the rug. Everyone is in the same boat, and board members will be expecting this information. 

Inspire action

After the year-end 2022 reports are out of the way, jump into a thoughtful and confident discussion about 2023 fundraising. Share with board members that your team is prepared and geared up for an enthusiastic fundraising initiative, starting right now. While other nonprofits may be hunkered down, worried and reluctant to ask donors for money, you’re not. You know that this is a great time to show donors just how important it is to have a strong endowment to ensure that your mission stays strong during challenging economies like this one. 

Give specifics

Provide donors with information about the new Legacy IRA provisions, remind them about QCDs and gifts of appreciated stock, provide dates for upcoming events where endowment conversations could take place, talk about your relationship with the community foundation via your agency fund, and so on. Specifics like this will help board members see that you are taking decisive action to make 2023 fundraising a success. 

Ask for help

Your board members are often happy to help with fundraising but they don’t exactly know how to do it or what to say. Make it very easy for them. Start by suggesting a one-on-one conversation with each board member to discuss how they can get involved. Then, in these one-on-one settings, find out if the board member has suggestions for prospective donors you can contact or introductions they could make. One-on-one discussions are an easy way to get board members involved in fundraising without putting them on the spot in a board meeting. 

Above all, reach out to the community foundation any time. Our team looks forward to helping you grow your endowment and making 2023 a winning year for your organization and its future.

For more information on agency endowment funds, contact Brian Reitz, Agency Endowment & Engagement Officer, at breitz@akroncf.org.

This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice.

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