Do most Boards have a Give-Get policy? If so, what is it and how can I introduce it in my organization?
A give-get policy is designed to ensure that all Board members are donating (giving) from their own resources and seeking additional support (getting) from other resources on an annual basis.
From my experience, larger institutions, such as universities, hospital systems, and major cultural institutions, typically have a policy in place, which can range from $5,000 - $50,000+ annually. Smaller organizations often struggle with this concept – and the idea of asking Board members to help in the fundraising efforts – which ultimately does both the organization and the Board members as disservice. Let me share a few details about how a give-get policy can make a difference in your non-profit. A policy will help you:
Ensure 100% Board Participation
Every organization should be able to expect 100% financial participation from Board members. In fact, it is hard to look donors in the eye and ask for a gift if you can’t state that you have 100% Board participation. In fact, these days, prospective funders may even ask how much the Board collectively donates annually. Why would someone consider making an investment if the Board isn’t “all in”?
Set Clear Expectations
Every Board member and prospective Board member wants to have a clear understanding of what is expected of them in their role as a Board member. By telling them before they join the Board – or annually reminding Board members – the expectation is clear. If someone declines a role on your Board because of the give-get policy, chances are, they probably aren’t that passionate about your mission. And that’s OK! That person may choose to get involved in a committee or attend an event, which are still great ways to support the organization. Also, by making it clear from the outset, it makes any subsequent conversation about their give-get more factual and less awkward.
Support Board Members as they Support the Organization
As with any non-profit, no two Board members are the same. Some may be very comfortable seeking support from family and friends, their company or other businesses or funders. Others may have never been in a position to “ask” for support. As the Development Officer or Executive Director, it is your job to make this as easy as possible for your Board members. Be sure to proactively reach out to each Board member to discuss what contacts they have and ask how you can help. Make it as easy as possible by providing them with the materials and resources they need. In addition, remind them that they can simply be the conduit – in other words, they can provide a “warm handoff” by making an email introduction to you – and you can take it from there.
How to introduce (or update) a Give-Get Policy
If your Board is considering a give-get policy, discuss this with your Board Chair and provide examples if necessary. A policy can be simple and straightforward – and it can evolve over time. Simply introducing the concept and ensuring 100% financial participation is a great place to start!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.