• Deanna Ackerman

Why Won't Your Board Own It?

What do successful board have that others don't have?

If you’re talking about fundraising then the key is a “Give/Get” policy that actively engages the board members in fundraising. Recent surveys show that 65% of nonprofit organizations haven’t established a give/get policy for the board of directors. Many have failed to establish a policy because the executive staff and often board members themselves, fear they will turn away prospective board members with such a requirement. So, what exactly constitutes a good give/get policy and will it really prevent you from attracting prospective board members?

The first part of the question is simple. The best policies make it easy for a board member to financially participate and engage their peers. For instance, some boards start their policies off at $2,500 or $5,000. They require that the board members give that amount or raise that amount. These policies often take into account in-kind donations that board members secure.

The other aspect of a strong policy is that it's reviewed on a regular basis and adjusted as needed. If only 50% of the board is meeting the give/get it may be time to reconsider the guidelines or look at how you’re engaging your board members in fundraising. As for board recruitment, most boards have been able to attract the leaders they need even with a policy in place. The policy actually serves as a tool for better recruitment. Engagement of board members through a give/get policy can reap rewards such as bringing in new dollars that become steady ongoing revenue.

But (and that’s a big BUT) give/get policies aren’t just about leveraging your board members’ connections and money.

It’s about creating accountability and ownership. Even some boards that have policies fail to monitor them or even track results. If you want your board to own it, then you have to help keep them accountable. Otherwise they will continue to flounder.

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