I’m Not Here to Raise Money

Have any of you heard this sentiment from a board member, “I’m not here to raise money?” What do you think of that? I’m always a little bit frustrated when board members say they will do anything for an organization except raise money. Yes, I certainly think they raise the profile of your organization in the community (last week’s post) as I wrote about last week, yes I think they help you understand how you are perceived in the community and can be invaluable in crafting your message. But, if they are not willing to raise any money what are they really doing?

I have often found that in terms of running programs and providing good services that board members traditionally cannot speak with much experience. Usually program staff can speak with more experience regarding their programs than anyone else. And if your board member is not there to support the mission or program of your organization or raise your community profile what is the board member there to do?

This is probably more of an opinion column than I usually write but I’m very curious what your thoughts are. What value outside of fundraising do your board member serve?

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3 Responses to I’m Not Here to Raise Money

  1. We have this same problem with a few board members. I agree with your thoughts on their knowledge of the program. We have specific board members that provide legal counsel or serve as a very strong support of our accounting as treasurer. But it always feels like those that aren’t in that position and don’t want to help raise funds…or donate funds, are benefiting more than we are.

  2. Suzy says:

    For our regional Foundation focused on economic development, Board Members are important both in telling our story and listening to our constituents. In addition, they bring strong networks from both their community and professional lives. Even if they are not involved in the direct ask, they are critical in connecting our development team to prospective donors.

    And they do one other thing…lead! Our board members are thoughtful individuals, knowledgeable about our area, its people and its future. While our staff are bright and have great expertise in their program areas, they simply cannot bring in the perspective of each of our diverse communities or the varied personal and professional experiences Board Members bring to their service.

    Don’t forget what a valuable resource these folks can be.

  3. Brian Saber says:

    Absolutely they are there to fundraise! If not, why would anyone need a large board? Professional staff can take care of most decisions these days and guide an organization ably, so in terms of fiduciary responsibility one would only need three board members. But it does take an army to raise the resources our organizations need to function well, especially in today’s economy and state of government support for charitable work.

    We must make it clear to board members before they join the board that giving personally significant gifts and helping raise other funds is paramount. The mistake many organizations make is not being clear from the outset, or becoming wishy-washy after the fact. And that’s very counterproductive.

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