92.8% Success Rate vs. Keeping it 💯

publishedover 2 years ago
2 min read

Dear Reader,

Last month I created a little competition with myself that I dubbed "Power of Two". Each day of the second month of the year I would run two miles, write two pages, and drink two liters of water.

I did a great job but I didn't QUITE succeed on all 28 days. I missed two days (one for running and one for writing)...which is about a 92.8% success rate. Since a challenge is generally a pass/fail scenario, the fact that I almost made it doesn't really count.

So close but, yet, so far.

This reminded me of how it can feel to run a board giving campaign and come up just a couple of participants short. You spend time and effort emphasizing the need for 100% participation - regardless of gift size - but ultimately you can't force everyone to do their part. Which is a shame because, for some organizations, showing 100% board financial support leads to more grant funding and a better organizational reputation.

Here are a few of ways to have better success with your board giving campaigns, followed by more resources on the topic:

  • Conduct your board giving campaign at the same time every year.
  • Consider making it early in your fiscal year & get it out of the way.
  • Set expectations in advance by letting everyone know that you'll be asking for support BEFORE they join your board.
  • If 100% participation is more important than your $ goal, explain why.
  • Make giving easy: accept multiple forms of payment by mail, in person and online.
  • Make it fun with small prizes or a little friendly competition.

Additional Resources:

Skin In the Game: The Importance of Board Giving

If board giving is not a precondition of board membership, some leaders often feel uncomfortable broaching the topic and may avoid asking because it feels embarrassing. They don’t want to feel like they’re pressuring fellow board members, or stretching them beyond their capacity.

Why Nonprofits Should Require Board Members to Donate and Fundraise

It encourages other donors to give and impresses institutions that provide grants or other support. Indeed, many major donors and foundations will not support a charity unless the board achieves 100 percent giving.

And, because I ♥ contradictions, here's an article from the irreverent NonprofitAF blog which makes excellent points against promoting board giving. They are, at least, good considerations for crafting a board campaign that makes the most sense for your organization.

Why we need to drop the idea of 100% board giving.

100% board giving is considered some sort of indication of how dedicated boards are. Anything less than 100% means the board is not truly “bought in” and/or the ED and development team are incompetent. Is this a good gauge for any of that, though?

What's your take? Answer my board giving poll on FB:

Keep Up the Good Work,


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