Your Most Precious Gift
I’m convinced that the most precious gift your organization can receive is a Board member dedicated and devoted to the institution. You want a Trustee who is burning in his (her) bones for the organization.
Often, working with our clients, we find Directors who are on the Board of three or four organizations. Some more than that.
I don’t see how a person can be on more than one or two Boards and still perform effectively. Ask others for gifts. Make stretch gifts of their own. Be roaring advocates. Attend Board and committee meetings.
If you know of some notable exceptions, let me know.
When we do an internal audit of an organization, we ask Board members where the organization comes on their philanthropic list. It’s exceedingly disappointing to find that where some serve on three or four boards, our client is third or fourth on the philanthropic priority list.
Who wants a Board member where your organization is number three or four?
In order to assure that Board members understand their responsibilities, we recommend “a contract” between the organization and each Board member. This assures a high level of commitment, enthusiasm, and advocacy for the organization.
We have samples of what we call, A Statement of Understanding. It clearly identifies the responsibilities of both the Board member and the organization.
If you use this instrument, it will assure you that you have the most effective Board possible. You can download a sample here.
By the way, I use the Statement of Understanding with all new Board members. But I also have it signed by those who are now serving on the Board. Even some who have been on the Board a long time. Everyone needs to know that serving on the Board is a high calling, and that along with it go some important responsibilities.