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Crossing the Board Giving Bridge

Nearly every authority on nonprofit governance I know agrees: One element of board responsibility is to contribute to the nonprofit they serve. The concept does make sense. If members of the board of directors are reluctant to give we’re off to a rough start in our fundraising.

But what if several members of the nonprofit board feel like they give of their time. Why should they also give money? A hush fills the room.

This is very much about attitude. And the problem is exacerbated because this non (financial) giving board member is also unlikely to ask others to give. Makes perfect sense to me.

So how do we bridge this gap in attitude? I suggest we start with an attitude of gratitude, as Gayle Gifford tells it on her blog http://www.ceffect.com/2011/11/16/an-attitude-of-gratitude/.

So let’s start with building a sense of gratitude for those who do support the mission in a financial way. As your annual campaign unfolds, recruit board members to thank certain donors. Start by asking them to scan the donor list for folks whose names they might recognize. Design a Thank You Plan that asks board members, within a specified time following receipt of the gift, to call or email this donor and express thanks. Gratitude. And at the next board meeting, let’s hear from a few members on how the Thank You went.

I recommend we give as much time to the Thank You process as you do in planning the campaign of asking.

Our hope is that as we enlist board members in this activity, and we hear about this at board meetings, we build an attitude of gratitude that leads to growth in personal giving by these very board members.

What do you think?

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