If you gathered all the board members who really support your fundraising event into a room, how full — or empty — would that room be? I am willing to bet that that events with board support are much more successful than the ones without board support. I would even argue that you CAN’T have a truly successful fundraising event without board support.

I have seen terrific events fail miserably when the board wasn’t behind the idea. I have also seen brand new events flourish and bring in huge profits because they enjoyed extensive board support. So how do you get it? Here are a few things to remember:

Think Strategically
What is the real purpose of the event? Hint: “because we have always done it” or “because everyone else is doing it” are not acceptable answers. Here are some of the most common answers:
• Fundraising: prioritize keeping expenses low and revenues high
• Acquisition: prioritize introducing NEW donors to the organization
• Education: qualify prospects by providing necessary information
• Recognition: invite existing donors for upgrade and renewal cultivation
When you raise the conversation to a strategic level, you’re more likely to engage the board and entice or renew their involvement.

Consider Personalities
What do your board members need and want from their involvement with your organization, and how can this event address those desires?
• Some board members are passionate about your program and will engage when they see how you plan to highlight the program or mission at your event.
• Some board members need to be involved up front in creating the idea or making strategic adjustments so they can point to their personal impact.
• Some board members need to be seen and recognized by those in their community as a supporter or a leader.
Just like a corporate sponsor, if you focus on what they need from the event, you’re more likely to get what YOU need from the event as well.

Get Peer Support
So how do you do these things? It’s most successful when you have a board champion who can speak to and engage their peers in these conversations. Start with one, and with planning and intention, the others will follow.

If your board doesn’t support your event, really ask yourself if you have engaged them strategically while considering their individual personalities. And if you haven’t, start by engaging with one board member, and watch your board support grow from there.

This post originally appeared on the Bloomerang blog. You can check out some of their latest research on outstanding success with fundraising events. You’ll see that Dr. Adrian Sargeant and his team focus on ten key factors and “Create Board Champions” is number 10. Click here to download the full report and read more about how your organization can transform your event to make a greater impact than ever.