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Monday, January 22, 2018

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Board member giving still an imperative
Joyce Penland, CFRE

June, 2012

Your nonprofit expects its board of directors to participate in giving and you’ve achieved 100% participation every year.  If that’s the case, congratulations!  But if your board hasn’t achieved that milestone, you’re not alone.

In a recent conversation with a client’s board of directors, Bacon Lee & Associates stressed the need for 100% board member support as the client considers undertaking a significant capital campaign.  Looking for additional data, I recently read the report from the National Research Collaborative on the AFP website about results of giving in 2011.

NRC survey respondents answered questions about giving by board members and board member engagement in fundraising.  In the U.S., for organizations with revenue above $250,000, nearly 6 in 10 respondents require each board member to make a contribution. About a third of respondents reported that their organizations set a minimum contribution amount, which averages $4,977. The average for the minimum board member gift is higher for arts organizations ($5,655) and educational institutions ($12,520).  Keep in mind that many nonprofits boards will have a lower average gift size.

About three-quarters of responding nonprofits said that their board members assist with fundraising by making links between the organization and a prospective donor, either through:

  • Use of the board member’s name in appeals (79%),
  • Asking friends and associates (78%), or
  • Making introductions (76%).

Between 50 – 60% of organizations have board members who take a more active role in fundraising, which includes:

  • Chairing events (65%),
  • Securing sponsorship funding (62%), or
  • Making personal visits to prospective donors (58%).

Because board member giving is imperative to an organization’s success, it’s essential to stay abreast of “industry standards” that can be used to encourage your executive director and to influence board members to give.  To read the full report, go to


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