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Fundraising tools: 4 ways to convince your board to invest

March 29, 2022
A nonprofit employee smiles while looking at his computer, making use of valuable nonprofit board fundraising tools.

It’s often easy for an executive director or other dedicated staff members to identify the challenges your nonprofit organization faces and understand the necessary technological solutions to address them.

Convincing your board to invest in something new, however, can be another question altogether, and this is especially true for fundraising and technology related issues, where in-depth knowledge may be required to truly understand the important details. If your nonprofit is ready to invest in new fundraising tools, use these four tips to secure board member approval. 

1. Focus on the return on investment

Your board’s role is to look after your organization’s financial wellbeing. With this in mind, ensure that your fundraising tools proposal addresses their financial priorities. Their initial questions will likely be about the associated costs, so be as transparent as possible. Use past data metrics and estimated projections to convince your board members that the added benefits of new fundraising tools are well worth the cost.

To further your case, focus on the return on investment (ROI) your nonprofit will receive from upgraded technology and use concrete examples to prove your point. For instance, if the new technology you’re recommending automates processes that are currently being done manually, calculate how much of the paid staff time currently spent on those workflows could be redirected toward other more important operations.

Aside from saving staff time, advanced technology can also help your nonprofit:

  • Increase conversion rates on your online donation page.
  • Drive higher email open and click-through rates. 
  • Encourage major gifts and planned giving program revenue.

Gather relevant information from fundraising platform vendors, such as the platform’s capabilities and user-friendliness. Then, compare these details with your current software’s performance to calculate the ROI. Having this information prepared will help you secure board approval.

2. Find a board member to advocate for new fundraising tools

When it comes to persuading your board, finding just a single member who supports your goal can be a huge asset, especially when it comes to encouraging deeper board involvement in your fundraising. Have a one-on-one conversation with board members who you know will be open or sympathetic, such as those with more technical expertise or knowledge.

Speaking with board members privately gives them an opportunity to raise their questions and concerns, allowing you the chance to win them over before you take your proposal to the full board.

Once you’ve conducted these conversations, encourage interested board members to be an ally in your push for new technology. Ask them to speak with other board members when the opportunity arises and to help you answer questions during meetings and presentations. Having a board member on your side goes a long way toward creating a positive environment for the rest of your board to learn about your proposal, so put in the work ahead of time to cultivate advocates.

3. Simplify your proposal

After conducting extensive research, speaking with vendors, and seeing product demos, you’ve probably become an expert in nonprofit fundraising software. However, it’s important to remember that your board members haven’t had the chance to learn the technical jargon for themselves. When presenting new fundraising tool ideas to your board, remember to be clear and concise.

Generally, your board will be more interested in big picture outcomes than nitty-gritty details, so focus on the benefits and leave out any unnecessary technical information. Let board members ask questions about specific aspects they’d like to know more about. This encourages their engagement in the process and allows you to deliver more specific and personal content tailored to their priorities. 

4. Frame new fundraising tools as part of your strategy

To convince your board to invest in new fundraising tools, it’s essential to start from principles everyone agrees on. Luckily, you have a natural starting place, because your board has likely already formulated and agreed to your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy. Use this to your advantage when you’re looking to bring the group to a consensus and ground the discussion in your shared values. 

Discuss new technology as a way to achieve the organizational goals that you all value. Beyond saving time and money, highlight the capacity and capabilities that new technology will add to your program. At purpose-driven organizations such as yours, board members care about more than just the bottom line—they want to see your nonprofit’s impact on the world. 

Framing your arguments in the context of maximizing impact and fulfilling your purpose is a surefire way to win them over. Add data to back up your claims! Ask vendors for case studies from similar organizations that can help you demonstrate the connection between new fundraising tools and achieving your nonprofit’s goals. 

Securing board support

Encouraging your nonprofit board to invest in new fundraising technology can be a rewarding experience for everyone involved. By employing these effective practices, you’ll be well on your way to getting your board’s approval and continuing your fundraising momentum. Show board members that you value their input to keep them enthusiastic about providing feedback to drive your organization’s long term growth.

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