No matter the size of your organization, getting your Board involved in fundraising is not an easy task. Sometimes the fate of the organization can rest upon the effectiveness of your Board in sustaining the revenue stream needed to get you through the hard times. There are two approaches that have developed over time in staffing your Board and setting fundraising expectations.
#1. The Three G’s (Give, Get, Or Get Off)
It simply means that all board members commit themselves to contribute a certain sum of money to the organization or they must persuade others to do so. If unwilling or unable to accomplish one of these two tasks, then the only option left to them is to get off the board. Some organizations allow boards to fulfill their obligation by in-kind contributions but be aware of what you allow. A strong gift acceptance policy can help you ward off unwanted gifts.
#2. The Three T’s (Time, Talent and Treasure)
This approach differs from the 3G approach as it explicitly recognizes the value of the professional expertise of the Board. Board members are not only required to contribute their time to become fully involved with all aspects of the board’s fundraising, they are also required to contribute their considerable talents. This includes, but is not limited to, their own personal skills and expertise. The value stems from utilizing the talent to achieve the organization’s mission. The organization needs to not only acquire needed expertise but also effectively manage it and put it to use. In addition, they might be required to make a personal donation and, where appropriate, seek additional funds.
Whichever approach your organization takes, be sure not to institute such a policy prematurely. Consider the stage of your development (e.g. grassroots, start-up, well established), other sources of revenue (e.g. program fees, grants, and investment income), fundraising targets, your mission, and expertise your board lacks. In our ever-changing world, many are recognizing that they need more from their Board members than just financial resources. Demands of the current time, including a shifting economic and financial climate, calls for committed individuals to contribute passion, creativity, and professional expertise to help set effective policies and provide leadership, oversight and guidance for continuous sustainability of the organization.