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A Closer Look at the Give, Get or Get Off Policy

April 27, 2010

There was a time when Give, Get or Get Off policies were standard among nearly all nonprofit boards of directors. Lately, it seems we’re meeting many people either unfamiliar with or who consider the concept antiquated. As the name implies, the policy requires that all members give $X, get $X or get off the board. At first, this may seem shortsighted, and were it just “Give or Get Off”, we would agree. But with a little ingenuity, the “get” portion of the policy offers opportunities for everyone to contribute.

In our experience 10-20% of board members are good at and comfortable making solicitations.

That leaves 80-90% of the board to help “get” opportunities for these “closers”.  This “donor cultivation” consists of identifying and tracking donor prospects; inviting them to, hosting or facilitating tours or house parties; articulating the mission and case and stewarding a long-term relationship with the person. If your aim is to build a robust self-perpetuating fundraising function, these steps are the minimum that is required before the asking begins.

Fundraising is an essential responsibility of any nonprofit board. Committed and competent board members are hard to come by. Don’t take them for granted. Work with each member to identify their unique skills and how to apply them to reaching your financial goals.

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