Rule #10 for Board Members: Make Your Own Proud Personal Gift


Do board members have an obligation to make personal contributions to their organization?

If so, what’s the appropriate amount that board members should give?

These two questions can be the topic of rich discussion and even controversy on boards – especially for smaller organizations.

Hard-working trustees may say:

“We give so much of our time, so we don’t need to give our money. Our time commitment substitutes for our personal gifts.”

That is not quite correct. Here’s the thing:

As a board member, you are legally responsible for your organization. You are literally “holding the public trust” on behalf of your nonprofit.

You are ultimately responsible for what happens at your nonprofit. And whether it’s successful.  Or whether it fails.

This post is an excerpt from The Board Member’s Guide to Fundraising: 10 Rules for Success Every Board Member Must Know.

It’s an easy guide for board members who want to help their nonprofit create generous streams of funding. 

You can find out more and get the Board Member’s Guide to Fundraising here. 

You have a legal duty to assure your organization’s sound financial footing.

As a board member, you have basic legal governance responsibilities.

You will want to be sure that the revenue streams flowing into your nonprofit are solid and stable. Fundraising, of course, is a primary revenue stream.

So all board members want to support and ensure a solid flow of fundraising gifts and contributions into their nonprofit.

When everyone is making their own proud personal gift, they are demonstrating their support for fundraising.

They’re acknowledging that fundraising is essential to financial stability. Everyone is participating in your organization’s philanthropy.

What about board members who have very limited means? They can make just a symbolic contribution to show their commitment to your organization’s financial well-being.

One of the most important jobs of a board member is to support your organization’s full fundraising program.

Your proud personal gift adds integrity to the fundraising process.

Your organization is out there in the community – seeking financial support from generous donors.

It’s trying to build a network of loyal supporters, friends, and donors.

Your nonprofit’s mission – the reason you were founded – is totally based on generating support. Without supporters, I imagine you’d have little or no organization.

So generating revenue is an absolutely vital function. Seeking supporters is vital. It’s basic to your business model.

When board members are not supporting their organization financially, they send a very loud message to the community — that they are not fully behind this organization’s mission.

Or to put it in the words of a funder:

“If the leaders of the organization don’t support it, why should anyone else?”

Many donors and funders expect 100% participation from board members. Period.

You’re setting an example.

When board members give at 100%, they are taking a firm stand behind their organization.

They are saying,

“We ALL stand behind this org; every single one of us.  We believe in the mission and we support it proudly.

We are leading the charge in our community – owning and spearheading the work of this wonderful nonprofit.

Bottom Line: Why Should Board Members Give?

Take a firm stand behind your nonprofit, and support your organization with your own proud personal gift – every year.

A gift that you are PROUD to make.

A gift that demonstrates your love for and support of this wonderful nonprofit’s mission.