Best Practices – Sustainability

Fundraising can be intimidating for some people, but it is a vital part of our organization’s work. We consider our fundraising efforts the fuel that allows us to deliver life-changing programs for vulnerable youth. Fundraising is never about the money – it’s about the passion we feel for improving the lives of youth. It’s about working as hard as we possibly can to answer the calls of the hundreds of families who reach out to us every year, seeking help to support their children and mitigate the impacts of significant adversities.

The agency employs professional fundraisers who work on a varied portfolio of fundraising methods. As fundraisers, we really need our Board Members to be active in the community on behalf of our organization. Active can mean lots of things: talking about the organization; introducing new people to our work; bringing in friends and volunteers to help in different ways.


  • Introduce myself as a Board Member at networking and community events. Talk about the important work Big Brothers Big Sisters does in the community.
  • Write donor thank you cards (we’ll provide sample scripts + materials).
  • Call and thank donors (we’ll provide sample scripts + donor information).


  • Invite the Executive Director(s) or Community Engagement staff as my guest at a community/business event.
  • Serve as a team leader at an annual event and fill my team.
  • Organize a group of friends and/or colleagues to attend an event, or volunteer.
  • Introduce my company’s leadership to the Executive Director(s) or Community Engagement staff.
  • Join staff on a discovery visit to get to know prospective donors and their interests.
  • Post agency events to my social networks.
  • Make a “personal treasure map” identifying 5-10 people to invite to: a free feel-good cultivation event, program, or breakfast/lunch/meeting with the Executive Director(s) or Community Engagement staff.
  • Host an event in my home (dinner party with a purpose) to introduce the agency to my network.
  • Identify potential donors or sponsors (individuals, organizations, business, etc.) and share their contact information with staff.
  • Cultivate major gift prospects through personal visits and/or phone calls.


  • Be a greeter at an annual event to welcome and thank participants for attending.
  • Recruit committee members and sponsors for the annual events.
  • Bring interested friends and acquaintances to hear a presentation from staff or outside speaker.
  • Use my social networking resources to send out information on the organization or an issue we are dealing with to my network of friends for the purpose of raising their awareness of our programs.
  • Identify opportunities to introduce our Executive Director(s) or Community Engagement staff as a speaker.
  • Write (or record) my own personal story about why I serve and give to Big Brothers Big Sisters.


  • Write personal notes to addressees on fundraising letters. (Sample notes might read “I hope you’ll join me in supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters” and can be written on the top in ink or added with a post-it note.)
  • Initiate conversations with potential donors for the purpose of assessing their interest in making a gift, update staff accordingly, help advance the relationship, and participate in making the ask.
  • Use my social networking resources to ask my contacts to give.
  • Write personal emails and/or make personal phone calls to invite people to become donors.
  • Serve on an event committee as a solicitor of sponsorships using my contacts or contacts provided to me.