CDFI Boards and Fundraising, Week 5: Barriers to Fundraising

In last week’s blog, we presented data on CDFI Board committees and how having a dedicated committee can help organizations meet fundraising goals. While CDFI loan funds are more likely to utilize boards for fundraising, they are also more likely to experience board member resistance to raising funds:

Board resistance

Based on the experience of FUND’s clients, there are several factors that contribute to board resistance to fundraising:

  • The Executive Director did not set this expectation as part of the board recruitment process
  • The individual board members were not vetted according to their ability to raise funds
  • Board members are concerned about how active involvement in fundraising would affect personal and professional networks.

It is interesting to note that while only 30% of survey respondents indicated that their boards actively raise money, 57% report that their board members facilitate introduction to donors. Through insight gleaned from strategic engagements the FUND team has observed the following barriers to increasing the level of involvement from board members, from making introductions to actively securing funds:

  • The Executive Director is concerned about asking too much of board members
  • The Executive Director prefers control over every aspect of operations
  • CDFIs are seen as a hard sell in social philanthropic circles

Do any of these barriers to fundraising exist for your CDFI? What strategies have you employed to address this? Next week on the blog we will share data on what other CDFIs are doing to engage their boards in fundraising.

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