The Board … And Fundraising

Sections of this topic

    Give, Get, or….

    A reader asked if we “have any examples of good “get or give” policies for a nonprofit board.”

    I like wording similar to: “It is the policy and practice of the Board of Trustees of (name of the NPO) that each Board Member shall make an annual (cash) contribution to this organization in an amount that would represent the best of his/her ability to give.”

    • I believe strongly that no organization can ask others to give if the
       Board Members of that NPO have not given to the best of their individual
    abilities; and,

    • Where Board Members are (and should be) recruited based on those skills,
    experiences, and perceptions/attitudes that they’ll bring to that role to help
    advance the NPO’s mission; and,

    • Where every Trustee should, to the best of his/her ability, participate in
    the process of identifying potential (major) donors, not every trustee can
    be a good solicitor.

    • Therefore, not every trustee should be required to “get.”

    Even though having a Board comprised solely of major donors and effective fundraisers would be a (tongue-in-cheek) tough situation to live with, Board responsibilities extend far beyond just providing funding.

    That old expression about Board Members having to “Give, Get, or Get Off” is obsolete. And, not only that, it can be counter-productive, even destructive.

    People with the “right stuff” to be Board Members, can’t always be major donors and/or “getters.” You can’t define a good Board Member just based on the size of his/her portfolio or that of his/her contacts/friends/etc.

    When it comes to raising the big bucks, you can always (hopefully) create a volunteer cadre/council/board/committee the purpose of which is to function in that capacity. Board Members with the “right stuff” aren’t always easy to find.

    (See: Leadership For A Major Gifts Program: Part 1 & Part 2


    Have a comment or a question about starting, evaluating, or expanding your fundraising program? Email me at With over 30 years of counseling in major gifts, capital campaigns, bequest programs, and the planning studies to precede these three, we’ll likely be able to answer your questions.