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Boards that Give, Boards that Get

Nonprofit organizations seeking to improve their fundraising want their boards of directors to be involved. Involved in giving (donating money) and getting (raising money).
An article of faith for most people responsible for raising money is that effective fundraising starts at home. If we can’t convince our board of directors, our volunteer leaders who have legal and fiduciary duty to our nonprofit mission to provide financial support to some extent, then whom can we expect to support us?
Board members frequently complain that they give time; and from their perspective, time is money.
Certainly there is value in the time volunteers give to advance the nonprofit mission.
And this is reported in the audited financial statements.
But we also know that when we go to present a proposal to certain foundations, we get this question:
“What % of your board make a financial contribution to your nonprofit organization?”
And for some foundations, unless the % is at or up close and personal to 100% they question the board’s true commitment.
This is just a fact of life.
But this doesn’t solve the problem of overcoming the reluctance of some board members to reach for their wallets or credit cards to come across with the loot. I believe volunteers on the board can address this. I think it’s a mistake to leave this matter in staff’s hands. It’s up to the board to address this; to engage their colleagues and to intelligently and humanely work to persuade their colleagues that donating according to ones means is the right thing to do. As a reflection of caring.
There are lots of helpful tools out there to rally support on a board.
I recommend that you poke around BoardSource.org for starters.

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