Clarify Your Message

Dec 1, 2018Message

Help-Board-Members-Craft-their-Elevator-Speech Message


I met with an unhappy board member several years ago. He explained to me that when he gets involved with a nonprofit, it is not in a small charitable way.  He gets passionate about “his” nonprofits. He explained that he turns down serving on a lot of boards. He does not like to be part of something unless he is an active and a positively contributing member. But he does not feel a part of this board.

Wow! That was a wake-up call.

Here are 3 Takeaways from the conversation:

1.    Ask board members how they would like to serve and support the organization.

2.    Identify why each board member serves or wants to serve on the board.

3.    Build a culture of passion. It starts with the most passionate board members. Focus on those board members and facilitate conversations to perpetuate that

Here are four exercises to use at a board meeting or retreat to reconnect board members to the mission:

1.    Go around the room and ask each board member to share in their own words the mission of the organization. Have the mission statement available so it is not a test.

2.    Ask each board member to state in 10 words or less why he/she serves on the board.

3.    Have each board member to share a meaningful success story of the nonprofit’s impact.

4.    Ask if any board members are willing to write a letter that captures their story or how they have witnessed the impact of the organization.

The purpose of these exercises is to help board members better articulate the mission in their own words. When they do this, they are reminded of why they are serving. You are igniting their passion for service. Additionally, when board members hear other board members share their passion, they are reminded of all the ways the organization is making a difference. This is their elevator speech.

Question: How do you engage your board members and tap into their passion?

Nancy Rieves, Ed.D. is a fundraising guide. She provides overwhelmed nonprofit leaders with a roadmap to maximize and sustain major gift fundraising. She prepares leaders to be confident and successful in raising money. Reach her at nancy@nancyrieves.com.


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