Is someone recommending that your nonprofit board adopt a give-or-get fundraising policy?

Hang around any nonprofit for a while, and you’ll hear someone proposing and/or using a give-or-get fundraising policy.

Typically found in a board contract or policy, it might say something like:

“I agree to personally give $1,000 annually, or to raise that amount from others.”

Sounds great, right? A written commitment by your board members to raise money?

Here’s why it’s a bad idea.

In organizations that are most successful, there is a culture of fundraising. Everyone participates in fundraising (getting) and everyone gives (to the extent they are able, a personally significant gift).

A give-or-get fundraising policy sets up uneven dynamics on the board if wealthier board members are able to buy their way out of participating in the nonprofit’s fundraising activities. All board members should be introducing the organization to friends and colleagues, and identifying ways that they can contribute to the organization’s financing.

What’s a better policy for your nonprofit board of directors? Joining Vision and Action is a big proponent of the Give and Get fundraising approach. 

If you’re a nonprofit board member, this means you are able to contribute in the following ways:

  1. Give an amount that is personally significant to you.
  2. Find a way to use your strengths and talents in the “getting!”

Give-and-get allows you to select board members for their talents and skills that may not be as apparent if you’re solely reviewing their financial statements.