Soaring with Board Giving as the Foundation
Don't sell your organization short. Taking a shortcut when it comes to your board members and their leadership - and especially with their giving - shortchanges those you serve.
The board has a role to determine an organization's future - and a fiduciary role that includes ensuring adequate resources are obtained. Board giving needs to be the anchor of any nonprofit with fundraising as a priority.
So many boards wrestle with their own giving. Especially organizations that are maturing and where board roles are changing from operational to more strategic.
I've attended many board meetings where someone is bound to utter, "We just ask that you give - at any level." At a client meeting where we were about to guide through a development plan, the board chair directed them to pass a motion assessing all board members $1 so that they could be at 100 percent board giving for grants. I almost jumped out of my chair in protest.
Yes, a board must be at 100 percent board giving each year - and with any campaign it initiates. Based on my 25 years in nonprofit leadership, I have a firm position - a best practice: not only 100 percent board giving, but board giving at a leadership level for the organization.
For some organizations, that level might be $100, others $250; most we find the minimum level to be $1,000 and for larger institutions it may be $5,000 or more. Whatever the level, you need to consider a leadership gift to fulfill your mission. This may change and evolve as your organization grows in size and effectiveness.
You need strong leadership to establish board giving expectations. I have been part of many strategies to change a board culture - including giving. It takes strategy, a plan - and leadership. You should educate, cultivate and even challenge board members.
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.