“How much should our board members be required to give?”
It’s a question I receive pretty often.
The short answer, it depends on your board culture. My personal preference, as a board member and a fundraiser, is not to set an amount but ask each board member to make their best gift.
Here are two approaches to consider for your organization.
Their Best Gift
Board members should feel strongly – even passionately about your organization’s mission. Therefore, they should want to make their best gift to help you accomplish that mission. Through their perspective as a board member, they know how much money you need to save a life and their passion should translate into a gift that saves or changes the most lives possible. This also allows each board member to make their best gift based on their own financial situation.
A Gift They Care About How It is Used
Because a board member is responsible for the fiscal health (Board Source), board members who have made a personally significant gift, will feel ownership of how donated funds are used. As they monitor the fiscal activities of your organization, they will see their gift at work. This allows them to shift from an “advisory” role where they are watching over other people’s money to a “service” role where they have a stake in your progress.
A quick thought about minimum gift levels, I’m not opposed to them in all situations. Many organizations have a culture that supports that approach. If it’s working for your nonprofit, stick with it. If you have a minimum amount but most board members aren’t giving it, it’s time to reevaluate.
Board giving is a critically important topic for every nonprofit. Now is the right time to discuss it and take action to improve it.