Should Board Members be Required to Personally Give?

One of the questions I hear regularly from Board Chairs and Executive Directors is “Should all of our board members be required to personally give?” Some nonprofit leaders share that they feel conflicted about this issue as many of their board members are already giving so much of their time and talents that they wonder if it is too much to also ask board members to financially give. I counter that a financial gift is another means for board members to demonstrate their commitment to your organization.

Board members are your best champions and should be leading the way for the rest of the community as to why it is important to give to your organization. The size of the gift is not always as relevant as your board members understanding that financially supporting your organization is a part of their role as a board member.

The BoardSource Nonprofit Governance Index/Survey found that 71% of boards require board members to make a personal contribution.   Whatever your current practice is – securing resources and/or fundraising is recognized as one of the responsibilities of a nonprofit board.   How this interpreted varies within organizations – as the data above indicates most do require board members to personally make a contribution.   Some boards will have a minimum amount that board members are required to give.

Board members are sometimes given the option of either personally giving money or finding sponsorships/donations up to a certain amount. One common practice in small/medium size organizations is to ask board members a give a donation that is ameaningful gift for them.  This allows the flexibility of having board members with various income levels the opportunity to serve on your board and support your organization.

Setting the goal of 100% of giving from your board is a wonderful way to set high expectation for your board and it demonstrates to the community your board’s allegiance to your organization.
Your board retreat is a great time to discuss the expectations for board giving and explore ways for your board members to be actively involved in fundraising efforts.  Contact me to explore how I can help you create a board retreat that is engaging and fun.