April 28, 2022

What Your Board Gets Wrong About Board Giving

Are the results of your nonprofit board giving campaign impressive? Does 100 percent of your board make a cash give every year? Or, is board giving something that’s causing disquiet and resistance in you, your staff and board members?

When you ask for a cash gift, how does your board respond? Do they fold their arms, lean back, and get grumpy when you remind them of their board giving commitment? Do they tell you that their time is enough?

You’re not alone.

This video explores why board giving is vital. It will help you discuss board giving and help you to craft   a board giving policy in your nonprofit.


0:00 How Does Your Board Respond to Making a Cash Gift?

0:25 Spoiler Alert

0:34 The Reasons Boards Thinks You’re Asking for a Cash Gift

1:19 Do You Belong? Do You “Get It”?

1:40 When “Eh” Won’t Do

2:10 What Does Behavior Say?

3:09 How Can You Use Why is Board Giving Important Video?

Transcript of What Your Board Gets Wrong About Board Giving

How Does Your Board Respond to Making a Cash Gift?

Does your board resist making a cash gift? When you bring up their commitment to make a cash gift do they fold their arms, look at their calendars, look out the windows, and otherwise disengage? Or, do they tell you my time is enough?

If this is you, you’re not alone. This video will help you make a board case for board giving that will engage your board and get them off the fence—spoiler alert. The reasons why board giving is important may not be the ones you have shared with them.

Today I spend a lot of time thinking about and working with my clients to change boards’ mindsets, and the question about why is board giving meaningful is an essential mindset for everyone to get straight.

The Reasons Boards Thinks You’re Asking for a Cash Gift

Now, if you ask your board why board giving is important, it’s likely, if you boil down their answers, you’ll come up with a. it’s necessary to balance the budget or b. it’s a ticket to ride. To be a board member, you have to do a ticket.

What’s evidence of this transactional kind of thinking about board giving? An obsessive interest in how much that number should be. If there should be a basic must get or get. Are signs of not fully understanding the value of board giving and why it’s crucial.

Do You Belong? Do You “Get It”?

So why else is board giving meaningful? One often forgotten aspect is it’s about getting all the way in. Have you ever gone to a pool and watched everyone else having a great time but thought it was too cold? It’s a little bit like that. If you’re a board member who doesn’t give, you don’t understand what the experience is all about.

When “Eh” Won’t Do

Another reason board giving is essential is that it sets a higher standard. It’s the difference between renting a property and owning it. You care a lot more when you own the property. Your accountability is greater when you have your cash and dollars into something.

It not only sets a personal higher level of accountability, you recognize that your fellow board members are also caring about the organization that much.

What Does Behavior Say?

Another critical reason that board giving is important is that it signals behaviors. It says to others, that you too should give to this organization. I do. You should, too. Just as when we stand in line at the grocery store and make a queue and people know to get behind us and check with us. We’re sending these signals about how people should behave by our giving, including donors and grant funders.

Finally, board giving is important for some personal reasons in terms of how the board member will experience the world. For one, it gives you skills as a fundraiser. It increases your ability to raise funds. You know what it’s like to make that decision. Another way it allows you to be giving is it allows you to express your philanthropy which makes life better. Working from abundance, you find out that you have more to give than you ever knew you did.

If your board’s not sure about board giving, consider asking them why boards give. Listen to their reasons. Share the ones that they missed. Encourage them to see the full potential of their gifts.

How Can You Use Why is Board Giving Important Video?

If you need more help with your board, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d love to have a conversation about what could be done to help your board reach its potential.

For more solutions, check out Karen’s CEO Library


Karen Eber Davis

Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.


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