Have you ever had a funder require 100% board giving to get a grant? I’ve been seeing this more and more lately. While I understand the rationale (why would a foundation give if your own board isn’t giving) – I’m not sure if it’s the right question to be asking. The foundation is assuming that money = increased commitment to nonprofit – which isn’t always true. I’m sure most of us can think of at least one person that you have served on a board with – or serves on your nonprofit’s board that is not really passionate about your work. They may give hundreds or thousands of dollars a year – but just feel lukewarm about the mission. Maybe they are on the board as a resume booster or for networking. Nonetheless, their donation isn’t an indicator that they care. I’ve even heard of people “buying” board of director’s positions.
I think a better question for foundations is: Do your board members volunteer/attend events outside of the board/committee meetings? If I truly care about an organization, I’m going to give up my time to help the organization succeed. It’s easy and quick to write a check – but it’s not so easy to give up an afternoon volunteering. What would your organization rather have, a board member that hosts house parties, writes letters to their friends asking for donations, and attends your big fundraiser – or a board member that writes you a $100 check?
Photo Credit: Steve Calcott