In the United States of America, we value service. And when we think of service we frequently think of sacrifice. I know there are thousands of people in our community who serve and sacrifice daily to help others. They serve on boards of charitable organizations to address our medical needs, environmental needs, and to help those who need basic services in order to survive. They work to help during times of disaster, and to enrich lives through education and the arts. These volunteers give to support life, to make life livable, and indeed, to make life worth living.
Board service is a noble and critical component of our society – and it is not easy. The IRS has strict rules for how charities operate, and the Nevada Revised Statues also add state regulations. Serving on a board of a charity is not to be taken lightly. It is a great responsibility.
Yet, giving your time is not all that is required for board service. In addition to ensuring an organization is well governed, the board members must also ensure that the organization is well funded. If the board members are 100% committed, they also donate money. A wise gentleman and author on nonprofit fundraising Henry Rosso described the need for board members to give best.
Rosso wrote, “A board member who does not believe in giving or is unwilling to commit a gift in advance of any solicitation is not in a strong enough position to ask others to give.” He also said regarding the gift amount, “Is this gift a true expression of my commitment to this cause? Is this the kind of gift that would be considered generous by a peer?”
Rosso’s key point is that charity board members need to fundraise for their organization, and if they themselves are not donors, it is impossible to ask. Henry Rosso summed it up by saying that “a contribution in the form of time, talent, and energy in the performance of board duties is not sufficient to accommodate the requirements of true stewardship.” Wow! I couldn’t agree more. If you look around at the organizations that are running well and that accomplish their important mission work, they have 100% Giving Boards.
Eleven years ago the Community Foundation launched the 100% Board giving award. To qualify, 100% of the members of a board must make a personal, financial contribution to the operating fund of their organization each year. I am pleased to share that in 2018, 72 organizations with 903 board members met this standard. Their personal gifts totaled $2,710,545, an average personal gift of $3,000 each.
I encourage you to click on this link and review the list. https://nevadafund.org/nonprofits/100-giving-board-award/.
Are the charities you support listed? Are their board members 100% committed? I could not be prouder of the Board members of the Community Foundation of Western Nevada. When I think about service, and sacrifice, I need look no further than the Community Foundation Board. I salute them and their 100% commitment to our community. Please spread the word about these stellar organizations that are not only well-governed but well-funded by a Board that leads by example.
Chris Askin, President, and CEO
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