Empowering Leaders

Excel at Fundraising

A word I’m hearing repeatedly this November is the word “meeting.” October might have been catch up after Yom Tov month, November seems to be time for multiple, seemingly endless, board meetings. And, more often than not, groans about them. In today’s climate it is not surprising that along with wondering how boards can assist with recruitment and retention come complaints that board members fail to be proactive fundraisers. Some critical steps outlined in Yeshiva University’s Institute for University-School Partnership’s recent report, Developing Jewish Day School Boards that Excel at Fundraising, can help you transform reluctant fundraisers into donors and motivators! As Dr. Harry Bloom, the institute’s Director of Planning and Performance Improvement asserts, “board success at fundraising can become more of a science than an art, within the reach of every Jewish day school board.”

Implement the following three practices and create a supportive climate that fosters strong board involvement in fundraising.

1. Focus on discussions and decision-making relative to committee recommendations on strategic issues (not on day-to-day operational issues). Board members who feel they are integrally involved as architects and implementers of a school’s strategic agenda are likely to feel more ownership of that agenda and a commitment to ensuring it receives adequate financial support.

2. Implement programs to help board members understand the school’s programs and its budget. Collaborative efforts by school administrators and board presidents to ensure board members are educated to understand the special aspects of the school’s program and of its budget, will help ensure that those board members feel comfortable becoming active advocates for the school vis-à-vis potential donors, and are effective in this role.

3. Sign annual agreements to abide by specific conflict of interest rules. Board members routinely maintain high standards that avoid conflicts of interest, there is an important values message in having board members make a 100% public commitment to that standard. Such boards will not only be able to focus single-mindedly on the board’s agenda but will feel an esprit d’corps from having individually and collectively made such a commitment.

(Source: Yeshiva University’s Institute for University-School Partnership’s recent report, Developing Jewish Day School Boards that Excel at Fundraising, authored by Harry Bloom, MBA, Ed.D.)

My team and I are here to help you communicate effectively, increase visibility and loyalty, recruit and retain students, and raise important funds. Should you wish to learn about any of my day school services, please send me an email or call 516.569.8070.

Kol tuv,

Candace Plotsker-Herman