Should Board Members Be Required to Donate?

nonprofit board giving policy - game tiles with the letters G I V E

In my non-existent spare time, I engage in fundraising work for my alma mater, Fordham University. I’m planning to sit with a Dean and make a very significant ask to an alum to name a scholarship in honor of a dear friend who recently passed away.

On a planning call with the Dean, we discussed the ask “choreography” (that’s what I call it :))

“Would you like me to make the ask?” the Dean said.

“No,” I replied, “I should.”

There were two important reasons: First, my brother and his friend battled the same illness (actually they both lost the battle). But more importantly, my wife and I are donors. And if you’ve been interacting with me for a while, then you know that the two most powerful words in “ask choreography” are…

Say it with me now…

“JOIN ME.”

As a board member, you are responsible for inviting people to know more and do more for your organization, right? You are responsible for increasing the financial resources of your organization so that it can have a greater impact, right?

For me, it’s a no-brainer. The most powerful way to ask someone for money is to talk about why you do it and lead with “Would you consider joining me…?”

“Join me,” says: I am in this. I have skin in the game. It says I am not asking you to do anything that I do not do myself.

So to answer the question: Should board members be required to give?

ABSOLUTELY.

Perhaps this can be the shortest blog post ever because this story pretty much tells you what you need to know about where I stand on this subject. But I think you need more.

I’ve been around nonprofits long enough to know that not everyone agrees with having a nonprofit board giving policy (also known as a give and get policy). And even if a board chair or executive director agrees, there is a board to convince.

Today, when it comes to a nonprofit board giving policy, I’m going to make the case for ABSOLUTELY.

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