News For NonProfits
Board members get low scores in fundraising
If you feel let down by the fundraising efforts of your board of directors, you’re not alone. According to recently released study results, a significant number of chief executives say that, while board members are good at giving money from their own pockets, too many are wallflowers when it comes to asking for donations.
The Nonprofit Governance Index, conducted every two to three years by BoardSource, identifies trends in board policies, practices and composition. Of the more than 1,300 chief executives and BoardSource members who responded in 2012, nearly three-quarters said that the rate of personal board giving at their nonprofits is high, at 90% to 100%.
But while expectations for board members’ fundraising involvement have risen in recent years, only 41% of the chief executives “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that board members are comfortable asking for money directly. And 40% of the respondents indicated that their board “has been reluctant to actively participate in fundraising and relies mostly on the CEO and staff.”
The chief executives ranked fundraising as the weakest area on a “board report card” and cited it as the area of board responsibility most in need of improvement.
What can you do to get board members to actively fundraise? According to the study, it’s not a matter of outlining their responsibilities — three-quarters of the respondents “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that “expectations related to fundraising are clearly explained during recruitment.” Perhaps chief executives can do a better job encouraging board members to raise funds and providing on-point training on how to make “the ask” after they join the organization.
“Innovations in philanthropy” summit brings leaders to capital
Strategies to get more donors to pipe their money into for-profit businesses that foster social missions was among the subjects discussed at a Sept. 21 private forum on innovations in philanthropy at the White House. Jean Case, the event’s keynote speaker and chief executive of the Case Foundation, said that uniform standards for tracking and measuring success would be needed to get more people involved in “impact investing.”
A “crowd-funding” idea, presented by the founder of Benevolent.net, a year-old nonprofit, was a standout philanthropic innovation presented at the meeting. The nonprofit provides a Web-based platform for people to post their individual needs, such as beds for their children or help finding a job. Then, with the assistance of a local nonprofit, Benevolent.net verifies that the request is legitimate. Individuals can make tax-deductible donations through the same nonprofit to help that person on the Benevolent.net website.