Board members have responsibility to financially support organization
A charitable giving strategy clearly increased the board’s own responsibility. Board members can only ask others to give to their organization when they have made their own gift. It’s important that organizations that ask boards to give first adopt a policy of 100 percent board giving in an amount that is meaningful and significant to each member.
I don’t recommend setting an amount for each board member to give. When boards have a specific dollar expectation, such as “give or get $2,000,” fear exists that individuals without means or influence won’t be able to serve on boards. Some may think such a requirement will eliminate potentially good leaders with fewer financial resources.
It has been my experience that the board members with the least income are the most willing to give at sacrificial levels to support a mission they care about. Another problem with requiring a specific amount from board members is that it may exclude people with limited resources, and provides those people with the capacity to write a larger check to only give the specific amount that is requested.
Therefore, what should be required is a gift that aligns with each board member’s individual ability to support the organization in a personally significant way.
What is your organization’s policy on board giving?
Dennis McMillian, is President of The Foraker Group, a capacity building organization based in Alaska, and the author of Focus on Sustainability: A Nonprofit’s Journey.