Saturday, September 20, 2014

Board Member Giving: 4 Types

According to the ECFA 3rd Annual Nonprofit Governance Survey (watch for the Executive Summary this fall) there’s a big gap between board giving and the training of board members in fundraising and stewardship.

“CEOs and board members agree that all board members should be givers and encourage others to give, but…while a healthy 87 percent to 91 percent agree that board members should be annual givers—less than 42 percent of their organizations provide training to equip and inspire board members on the ‘how to’ of inviting others to give.”

This is a two-part issue—and so I’ll address it in a two-part blog. Here’s part one—to help your board assess and address board member giving.

As Max De Pree recommends, “the first responsibility of a leader is to define reality,” so I’m always on the hunt for precise labeling of strategic issues. Mark Dillon hit pay dirt with his descriptions of four types of givers in his book, Giving & Getting in the Kingdom: A Field Guide

Where are your board members—and where do you want them to be?

THE GIFTED GIVER (2-5% of givers) will show up at the dedication of a new building and ask, “What’s next?” Dillon says “the gifted giver seldom needs to be asked.”

THE THOUGHTFUL GIVER (15-25% of givers) tends to calibrate giving to current income “and rarely involves lowering their net worth to fund what they care about.” And, “They have joy in giving, to be sure, but often lack unbridled delight in investing resources for kingdom purposes.”

THE CASUAL GIVER (35-50% of givers) “possesses a vague understanding of their obligation to be faithful and generous stewards of their resources, but rarely seek out opportunities to give. They usually give in response to a specific request.”

THE RELUCTANT GIVER (perhaps 33% of givers) may be “an overly generous description, because many in this category give very little of their resources for any charitable purpose.” Easy to offend, they’ve had few, if any generosity mentors in their lives. Their parents were unlikely to be kingdom stewards either.

Dillon suggests specific and biblical ways to engage these four types of donors. In the section, “Big Ideas Attract Big Gifts,” he urges CEOs, pastors and fundraisers to engage givers at the front end of a project. “Big ideas are mission-centered.” He quotes one gifted giver,
“Please don’t come to me with an ‘order list’ already thought out,
where my only decision is how much to give!”

So…perhaps your board chair, your CEO and your senior development officer should thoughtfully (and confidentially) look at individual board member giving over the last two to three years—and “define reality” by slotting them into these four giving segments.  Then, prayerfully, make a plan if your reality check reveals you need to move board members into higher levels of commitment.

Caution! This is not a discussion about wealth—it’s a discussion about generosity and commitment. Board members will lack authenticity in inspiring others to give—if they, themselves, are not personally committed at a high level.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” and so many organizations invite people to serve on the board only if they are already in the generous givers circle. 

Many ministries define “generous” this way: As a board member, I will prioritize my giving so our organization is in the Top-3 of my annual giving. 

Again, this is not about wealth. Board members at all income levels can be generous with what God has given them. (That’s the brilliant premise of the biblical tithe.) Note: For more help on this, order the ECFA Governance Toolbox Series No. 1: Recruiting Board Members.

QUESTIONS: What kind of a giver are you? Does your board have written or unwritten guidelines on board giving expectations—that focus on priority (example: Top-3) versus an annual dollar amount? What’s your board’s next step in this area?

No comments:

Post a Comment