Boards on Fire! Inspiring Leaders to Raise Money Joyfully is a must-read for leaders of every nonprofit board. This short text distills Susan Howlett’s years of experience working with thousands of boards into a slim volume that can be read in a few hours.
In this groundbreaking work, you’ll learn:
- why board members struggle with asking
- what gets board members excited about raising money
- which donors and prospects leaders should focus on
- how to turn trustees into compelling ambassadors
- what board members need to be successful fundraisers
Boards on Fire offers simple steps and practical solutions to get your board on fire about fundraising. This book should be required reading for every board member. Short, practical and very readable, this is one how-to book that leaders of nonprofits will actually read and implement!
Page Chapter title
7 You’re Not Alone
8 Jumping In: Leaders Know When They’re Not Safe
9 How to Use This Book
10 Barrier 1: Expectations Are Unclear
20 Barrier 2: The Context Is Cloudy
26 Barrier 3: The Board Doesn’t Own the Budget
30 Barrier 4: Trustees Aren’t Engaged in Governance
36 Barrier 5: The Mission Is Muddy
40 Barrier 6: Goals Aren’t Driving Behavior
46 Barrier 7: Outcomes Are Vague
50 Barrier 8: The Fundraising Strategy Is Ill-Defined
58 Barrier 9: The Board Isn’t Being Used Optimally
62 Barrier 10: Leaders Aren’t Equipped To Be Ambassadors
70 Barrier 11: Trustees Haven’t Seen Good Models
74 Fundraising Joyfully: How One Board Caught Fire
78 Where Do We Start?
Transform Your Board by Andrea Kihlstedt, March 30 2011 (New York, New York)
It’s tempting to berate board members for not doing their part in fundraising. “My board just won’t ask.” is an all too common refrain. Susan Howlett, in her book Boards on Fire doesn’t castigate board members for being ineffective. Rather, she describes eleven barriers to fundraising and outlines the things an organization can do to remove those barriers.
By the time I finished reading Boards on Fire! I was convinced that the suggestions in this book could help transform the members of any board into willing and effective fundraisers. And that’s no small accomplishment!
Simply by doing things like clarifying commitments when recruiting board members, helping board members understand the broader community context in which their organization operates, and finding a way to have board members internalize the organization’s mission, you can inspire your board members in a way that will help them get over their resistance to fundraising.
This book reminded me that board members don’t shirk their fundraising duties because they want to, but because they aren’t well prepared to carry them out. Most people who agree to serve on boards would like to do their jobs well and by following the advice in this slim and appealing book, we can help them do just that.
Blissfully short, well-written and with many references to specific tools, Boards on Fire! is a great resource for any organization that is having trouble getting its board to fundraise.
A must have for any governing group by Carole J Jones, March 17, 2011
Wow. Our development team has used several books for guidance but this one really nailed it. Short topics that pack a punch really worked for us. It helped us bring our actions back to the reason we are fundraising–our mission statement. That alone brought the first burst of energy.
Excellent, easy-to-implement tips for inspiring boards to help raise funds by Shelley K Milne, December 28, 2011 (Bothell, Washington)
This little gem of a book is a quick read, yet packed full of excellent information, tips, and tools to help transform a fundraising-resistant board into an inspired one, ready for action. As a nonprofit consultant, I have utilized Susan’s suggestions with great success. In my opinion, every Executive Director should read this book at least once per year to beef up their board’s fundraising prowess.
Food at Board Meetings (p 33)
Consent Agendas (p 34)
Governance & Support – Compasspoint Model (p 35)
Governance Topic Examples (p 35)
Mission Statement Exercise (p 38)
Assignments to Prepare for Goal-Setting (p 43)
Goal-Setting Exercise (p 44)
Reasons (other than fundraising) to Hold an Event (p 57)
The Seven Donor Types (p 67)
Fundraising Words to Avoid (p 68)
Open-Ended Questions Board Members Can Ask
Questions to Ask During Check-in
Five Life Stages synopsis
Stages of Board Development
How to do a House Party (Chapter Three)
Prospect Info to Capture