The Mikuska Group  

Boards: Philanthropy begins at home

Too often, boards of charities think that philanthropy in their organization resides solely in the development function. Many board members think their volunteer commitment is their “gift” to the organization and so they don’t give monetary gifts. Both trains of thought do a disservice to their organization’s ability to raise funds.

From the board through to the staff and volunteers, a culture of philanthropy exists when everyone takes responsibility for supporting the organization. Board members lead when they each make a gift that is personally significant to them and indicates their commitment to the organization. Note that I didn’t say a “major” gift. Board members come from all walks of life and capacity to give will vary accordingly.

Why is it important that each member gives? First, when you have a stake in the organization, you take greater interest in what’s going on. Second, your public, philanthropic commitment shows the board’s support of the fundraising function. Think about it: if you don’t think your organization is worthy of support, why should anyone else?

Julie Mikuska



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