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The "101" Department: Helping Them Help You

Engaging your board of directors to raise funds

  • Board members should be made aware that they're expected to raise money to help boost the shelter's bottom line. Monika Wisniewska/

“Money makes the world go ’round,” sang the leads in Cabaret decades ago. In the animal welfare world, though, money can be hard to find. And who wants to shuffle through the wizened faces of Benjamin Franklin and Ulysses S. Grant when the faces of rescued animals are so much more lovable?

And yet, it’s money that keeps the roof over their sweet heads—and helps shelters and rescues do their lifesaving work.

While larger organizations often have a development director and staff, and even fundraising volunteers, smaller shelters and rescues may not. But almost all of these groups will have a board of directors. These folks may be volunteering for myriad reasons, and are at the heart of their organizations—providing leadership, governance, and oversight.

But board members can also play a role as fundraisers for the organization—a role which, depending on the individuals’ personalities, may not come easily. Some board members may embrace efforts to raise funds with ease, determination, and enthusiasm. For others, it may be a scarier prospect.

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