Should All Board Members Be Required to be Involved With Fund-Raising?

By Eugene Fram

No, just those who have done it before or are willing, with some coaching, to try it.  However, board members also need to maximize their colleagues’ contacts.  That may involve teaming someone who does not usually get involved in fund-raising with an experienced hand, if the inexperienced person knows a potential donor.

The CEO will also need to be an assertive leader when it comes to fund-raising, but all board members will need to play an active supportive role.  Neither board members nor CEOs can abdicate their fund-raising roles.

Everyone on a nonprofit board should make an annual contribution.  Certainly, the amount depends on each director’s personal situation, but even a token amount is significant.  When developing funding grant proposals for foundations or corporations, funders want to know whether or not all members of the board are financially behind the organization. 

Source: Policy vs. Paper Clips, Third Edition, 2011


    1. Joseph: Thanks for your comment. Example of what you have suggested: I severed on one very small board, which had a development committee of nice people that met monthly. However, the committee made pie-in-the-sky suggestions which were never implemented. After about six months of attending meetings, I volunteered to write some letters seeking funds. Results: These letters yielded about 25% of the organizations budget for many years, and they made me an honorary board member after my terms so I could continue to write the letters. It only took a couple hours a month. I took great pleasure in testing my skills, better than playing golf, and knowing all the funds were going directly to help children in need.


  1. Well said. Requiring volunteers to practice an art they fear and for which they have no talent is abusive. It will raise little money and discourage them from contributing in other ways. The Pareto Principle (the 80/20 rule) suggests that most of the money raised by board members will come from a handful of solicitors. Accordingly, the anxiety and frustration generated by insisting that every director ask for money will not be offset by large cash dividends.


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