Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The 6 D's: Donor

Martin Luther said, “There are three conversions necessary to every man; the head, the heart and the purse.” That's a key reminder behind this sixth and final blog on the “6 D's Criteria for Board Members” from the ECFA Governance Toolbox Series No. 1: Recruiting Board Members. 

No. 6: Donor
Because Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, 
“Where your treasure is, 
there your heart will be also,” 
this nominee is already a generous giver to our ministry. 
(Many organizations define “generous” as prioritizing your organization in the Top-3 of a person's annual giving. Board members at all income levels can be generous.) 

I can hear it already, “OK. Now you're meddling!”  

I've shared this principle with hundreds of board members—and interestingly—the first response is rarely, “Hmm. I wonder what giving guideline would be honoring to the Lord?” 

Instead, I often get severe push-back:

  • “Oh. So board service is now all about the money?”
  • “I give plenty of time. Why do I need to give money?
  • “But not everyone is wealthy. Not everyone can give money.”
  • “OK. I get it—but what about a policy that says, 'Give or Get X Amount?' Do I have to personally give it if I can raise the money somewhere else?”

Let's read the verse again. 
“Where your treasure is, 
there your heart will be also.”

If this is your first encounter with this best practice (that many Christ-centered boards have adopted), at least take some time to discuss it, then reflect, pray and discern.  What would happen if you defined generous as “every board member prioritizing our organization in the Top-3 of his or her annual giving?”

  • Spiritually, this guideline aligns with Jesus' giving principle in Matthew.
  • Practically, why would you want someone on your board who has greater passion and gives more generously to three other ministries before your ministry?
  • Foundationally (excuse the pun), this demonstrates to major donors and foundations that your board is highly committed (a key factor as they consider grants).
  • Financially, this allows people at all income levels (single parents, younger leaders, and what some would call “wealthy” givers) to all meet the generosity mark—your ministry is in their Top-3 every year.

Caution! Don't spring this on your board. Plant some seeds. Quietly share the concept with a few first and invite them to move into the generous givers circle.  Then give time for all board members to move to that giving level, after you've established the guideline. (For some, it make take up to two years, depending on other commitments they have made.) Give generous grace!

QUESTION: Before we invite new people to consider board service, what is our giving guideline for board members?  For more on board giving, read R. Scott Rodin's novelette, The Third Conversion.

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