The Roles of Board Members, Executive Directors, Staff, and Volunteers in Nonprofit Fundraising

Who is Responsible for Fundraising in a Nonprofit?

Nonprofits rely on donations and fundraising for their charitable goals. Board members play a vital role in soliciting individuals for gifts, introducing their circles of influence to the agency and attending organization events.

Ideally, every board member should donate something to the nonprofit each year. This helps set a strong example and shows that the board takes its responsibility seriously.

Board of Directors

Some board members are hesitant to become involved in fundraising or have cultural or religious beliefs that prevent them from asking for money. To help them overcome these concerns, it’s important to provide training and education to ensure that every Board member is fully engaged in fundraising throughout the year.

Boards can also play an active role in fundraising by donating personally significant gifts, hosting events and introducing the organization to their circle of influence. It’s best to leave the major campaign planning, executing and reporting duties to a fundraising staff team rather than an entire board committee.

Finally, a Board of Directors should understand federal and state laws that impact the nonprofit and be responsible for ensuring that the organization follows these regulations. This responsibility falls under the Board’s Duty of Care and Loyalty. The responsibilities of the Board should be clearly written in the board’s bylaws. If a committee is involved, the terms of reference should be carefully developed to avoid treading on the toes of the fundraising staff or overtaking their policy decisions.

Executive Director

An executive director is the highest-level management position of a nonprofit organization. Executive directors are responsible for carrying out the board’s decisions and coordinating staff and volunteers in the fulfillment of the organization’s mission. In addition, executive directors act as the liaison between the board and the rest of the organization.

An effective nonprofit executive director has strong organizational skills and is well-versed in fundraising. They also have the ability to communicate a vision that inspires staff and volunteers. Additionally, they must be able to make systematic changes in the organization. This could include ensuring that team behavior aligns with policies or setting performance expectations.

Nonprofit executive directors are responsible for collaborating with the organization’s treasurer and setting up campaigns for funding. They also review and interpret financial documents like analysis reports, cash flow statements and budgets. They must be able to determine an organization’s financial health and position it for success. In addition, they should be able to set annual income goals and coordinate fundraising activities with department leaders.


In nonprofits, staff members are paid salaries. These employees are tasked with supporting the organization’s mission. This includes fundraising for the organization. They also serve as a liaison between departments and support the executive director. Staff members must be aware of the organization’s goals and strategies to ensure they are working toward a common goal.

A nonprofit’s development team may include people who manage donor portfolios and solicit annual, major, and planned/estate gifts from individuals. It can also include people who write grants, organize events, and manage volunteer recruitment and scheduling.

Other teams might focus on promoting the organization to the public or using social media to attract donors. These teams can also look at back office data to measure the ROI of specific campaigns or donation channels. Keeping this data can help the nonprofit optimize future fundraising efforts. They can also use software tools to automate their processes and streamline communication. This way, they can save time and money while increasing productivity.


The volunteer spirit has been responsible for a monumental amount of nonprofit work. It has established human service agencies, helped develop health care centers, educated youth and enhanced cultural institutions. And, of course, it’s also been behind fundraising efforts.

Skilled volunteers can perform a wide array of cost-saving services, such as bookkeeping, accounting, website development, social media growth, event planning, grant writing and legal assistance. They can also provide goods and services, such as equipment or venue rental, office supplies, printing, catering, and entertainment for fundraising events.

Effective volunteer leadership is crucial in fundraising. A volunteer who can articulate the institution’s vision and inspire others to join the cause is an invaluable resource. An experienced volunteer who can serve as a mentor to newer volunteers is equally important. A good volunteer can also be a valuable source of information, especially when it comes to current and potential donors. They should be able to share a record of the donor’s contact information, giving history and any other relevant details.

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