Creating a Fundraising Board – Q&A Continued

26/08/2011 at 09:48 Leave a comment


For Board information and resources you can download, check out my website here.

SUE ASKS: Can the Chair of Development (as a trustee on the board) set board expectations in terms of giving? How do you recommend handling board annual giving commitments when many board members are currently paying multi-year campaign pledges?

BARBARA ANSWERS: Sue, this is a great two-part question!

DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE: Without question, the Board members need to hold each other accountable for their personal giving to your nonprofit organization. We believe leadership is essential to creating AND maintain a culture of philanthropy* around the Board table and throughout the organization. At the Board level, the Executive Director, Director of Development and Board Chair MUST be on the same page about engaging and empowering Board members to make their personal annual gift, participating in agency fundraising activities, securing corporate support where appropriate and soliciting major donors. We talk about average gifts and not minimum expected giving. You can download handouts that include a Board pledge form as well as a Board application to serve. These documents are a great place to start the conversation about Board giving and expectations. If your Board has a Development Committee, and not all organizations should or do, the committee and its leader should be involved in this process. If you have a Board of less than 25 people, I would ask, “Why have a Development Committee?” Fundraising is the responsibility of the WHOLE Board – by “giving” responsibility for fundraising to a small committee of the Board – the rest of the Board expects them to take responsibility for it – “So how have you guys been doing with fundraising?” as opposed to everyone feeling their own responsibility for the effort.

BOARD ANNUAL AND CAPITAL CAMPAIGN GIVING: This is a perennial challenge faced by nonprofit organizations in capital campaign mode.  Board members and donors need to be educated about the importance of annual giving before, during and after campaign. A capital campaign does not put the annual giving program on hold – those general operating dollars are as important as the capital campaign effort!

We must treat Board members like the major donors they are or should be. Annual giving has its name for a reason. We revisit, cultivate and solicit these donors and their generosity once a year. The same should be done for Board members. And this does not mean the Board Chair stands up at one meeting and tells the Board it’s time to make their annual gift.  We would never solicit major donors that way.  The handouts included pledge forms for Board members to complete annually. It should be a one on one conversation between the Board member, Executive Director and Board Chair.

So that leads to your question about Board members with outstanding campaign pledges. It is a good time to sit down one on one and have a conversation about the campaign. In addition, it is an opportunity to separate the long-term impact of the campaign and how the annual or general fund is an important part of the organizations’ ongoing fundraising.  A capital campaign often raises the level of giving from individual donors and I expect this may be the case for your organization. While the Board members’ campaign pledges may be stretch gifts, a separate annual gift during the pledge payment period I still expected. Alternatively a portion of the campaign pledge can be assigned to the annual fund – but will lower your campaign total accordingly.  The bigger opportunity is raising the level of annual giving overall and certainly from your Board members.  Accept a gift, $1,000-$2,500, for each Board members’ annual gift. However, when the campaign pledge is paid, the annual pledge amount or half the pledge amount will become the Board members’ annual fund contribution. You will lose a valuable opportunity the capital campaign offered, but allowing Board members to move backward in their financial support once the capital campaign is completed. As I said in the beginning – this is all about leadership – setting an example and pace for your organizations fund development.

Entry filed under: Board Development, Fundraising, Nonprofit fundraising, Resources You Can Use!. Tags: , , , .

Creating a Board that Fundraises – Part 1 – Q&A Assessments for the Nonprofit Board – Q&A

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