Why Small Nonprofits Need 100% Board Giving

Your Board is the leadership of your nonprofit organization. 

Not only does the Board fulfill its role of setting policy and planning for the organization’s future, individual members are expected to set the stage for fundraising by making their own gift to the organization.  

That’s important for every Board, but in a small nonprofit, it’s critical.

Having 100% Board giving means that each one of your Board members makes a financial gift to the organization. And it should come from their own checking account. Getting a gift from their company is great and welcome, but it’s not the same as giving from their own personal resources.

Ideally, Board members should do both. They should make their own gift AND get a gift from their employer. They should seek out donations from friends, colleagues, clubs they belong to, and basically, tap every connection they can to support the nonprofit they lead.

Personal giving requires a personal commitment and that’s what you should get from your Board members. In a small nonprofit, those donations mean money for operations but they also are a sign of support and solidarity. For staff in a small shop, having that support from their Board means so much. It helps them feel supported knowing others believe in the mission as much as they do. And can keep staff (especially an Executive Director) from feeling like a Lone Ranger.

For most nonprofits, it doesn’t matter how much Board members give, although it should be one of their top charitable gifts for the year.  By becoming a Board member, an individual is committing to supporting the organization in a significant way.  Surely that organization is worthy to be one of each Board member’s top supported organizations? In other words, if someone sits on your Board, they should be committed enough to the organization to give more to it than just about any other organization they support.

Some Board members think it’s enough that they give their time, but it’s not.  It’s wonderful if they volunteer.  But to be a responsible Board member, they must support the organization monetarily.  It’s also not enough to give in-kind gifts.

I can’t tell you how many donor stories I’ve heard where the donor wants to know how many of your Board members have made a gift.  Donors are much savvier today than ever before.  Some aren’t willing to make a leadership-size gift if your organization’s leaders aren’t giving in that capacity, too.

And if you’re thinking of conducting a big fundraising campaign or engaging them in fundraising during the holidays, you definitely want your Board members to make their own donation first before they try to ask someone for a gift. It prevents some awkwardness for the Board member and the donor.

If you don’t have 100% Board giving, get started on it today.  Your donors and the community are watching.


Sandy Rees is the founder and Chief Encouragement Officer at Get Fully Funded where she shows nonprofit leaders how to fully fund their big vision, so they can spend more time changing lives instead of worrying about money. She has helped dozens of small nonprofits go from “nickel-and-dime fundraising” to adding 6 figures to their bottom line. As a trainer, she shows her students how to find ideal donors, connect through authentic messaging, and build relationships that stand the test of time, so that fundraising becomes easy and predictable. Find out more at www.GetFullyFunded.com.